NORWICH – Chenango County author Shelly Reuben spoke at Guernsey Memorial Library in Norwich last Sunday, Nov. 6, to promote her newest book 'Dabbling in Crime.'
Reuben has a house in Afton and she says that many of the short stories in 'Dabbling in Crime' were inspired by real-life happenings throughout Chenango County.
In her talk, Reuben spoke of a time before television when short stories were the equivalent of watching an episode on T.V. Growing up, she said that she had two first loves: the first being author O. Henry, and the second being a character named Cyrano de Bergerac. Reuben subsequently had another first-love–which was short-stories as a genre.
She has written over 150 short-stories throughout her career, garnering more talent and confidence as the years have passed.
During her talk Reuben said her that career has sometimes begged the question, 'why Chenango County?' to which she replies that it's home, since she's been a resident since the 1980s.
In light of Reuben's background as a private investigator, she often meshes real-life crimes with her talent as a short-story writer to create something new.
“I like to take reality, turn it around–add some carrots, tomatoes, salad dressing–and it's no longer reality,” Reuben said.
Reuben addressed another reason why she has chosen her career as a writer, saying that while some say 'the wheel is round' and what-goes-around-comes-around, that's seldom the case in the real world. She spoke of former Nazi-officers who live long and fruitful lives, often living to 100 years old, and in turn she asks, 'what wheel is round?!' “But as a writer–I get to kill the Nazis,” Reuben concluded.
Reuben stated that a vindication of justice is something she strives to maintain as a writer–an art that she takes seriously as she strives to ensure that every loose-end throughout a story becomes tied.
Of the many short stories in 'Dabbling in Crime,' three in particular were inspired by real-life happenings in Chenango County including 'Hero Worship Eyes,' 'Mrs. Pomfrey's Elderberry Wine,' and 'The Human Book.'
In concluding her talk, Reuben quoted O. Henry with a notion about short story writing.
“The secret to short story writing–rule one: enjoy what you are writing. There is no rule two.”
Shelly Reuben is an author and contributor to literary magazine The Forensic Examiner and The Evening Sun. She owns property in Afton, NY, and Delaware. For more information on Shelly Reuben or to purchase one of her books, visit her website at www.shellyreuben.com.