Poignant collection of short stories explores the search for a better life in California despite obstacles of human connection

GARDEN CITY, NY – Psychotherapist and writer Linda Feyder’s upcoming evocative short fiction collection, “All’s Fair and Other California Stories” (Sept. 28, 2021, She Writes Press), transports the reader into brief, but telling moments in each character’s lives around different California landscapes. This psychological exploration ruminates over the desire for human connection and a better way of life despite challenging experiences.

In present-day Southern California, a diverse group of characters seeks the fulfillment and connection this sunny state has always promised. They come with hopes for a better lifestyle, for a change of perspective, or for the dry, mild West Coast weather.

A couple moves to Palm Desert from New York for the arid, warm climate a doctor prescribes and they manage both illness and homesickness. The woman makes an unlikely friend in a young albino boy who teaches her a harsh lesson about the margin for cruelty that resides in us all. A young Mexican woman migrates to California and marries an American man—only to be deserted. A young man is disqualified from the Naval Aeronautical program and returns to his sister’s home, where he struggles with his identity and sexuality. After years of estrangement, a teenage girl travels to California from New York to spend the summer with her father.

This collection contains several “snapshot” stories—poetic pauses—that blend a set of images into an artistic visual unit, much like a brief cinematic experience. Every character in this collection is distinct from the next, but all of their stories unfold under the glare of the same Southern California sun—a western desert light so clear and unfiltered that it reveals everything.

“All’s Fair and Other California Stories”
Linda Feyder | September 28, 2021 | She Writes Press | Short Fiction
Paperback | 1647421993 | $16.95
Ebook | 1647421993 | $9.95

LINDA FEYDER is a practicing psychotherapist in New York. She has been writing fiction for many years and her stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines. She sees her love for the human narrative as the drive behind both of her professions. Born in California, her interest in the state and the people it attracts are the subject of her debut collection of short stories. She earned her MA in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and her MSW from New York University. She lives in Long Island with her husband and enjoys traveling to different locales.

Follow Linda Feyder on social media:
Facebook: @Feyderlinda | Instagram: @linda.feyder

In an interview, Linda Feyder can discuss:

  • How fiction and psychotherapy compliment one another
  • Her work as a psychotherapist
  • The Mexican immigrant experience in California, including her mother’s story as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant.
  • Understanding a person’s narrative and the human condition
  • The search for fulfillment, a better life and human connection

An Interview with Linda Feyder

1. What are the different characters seeking or experiencing?

Most of my characters desire human connection despite real or imagined obstacles. So many of the obstacles that stand in their way are emotional: Joyce’s inability to tell her husband what she’s really feeling because he’s going through an illness in “All’s Fair”, Russell’s confusion about his career path because he can’t come to terms with his sexuality in “T-Zone,” the male character in “Blind Date” who can’t be with the woman he loves because he still feels over responsible toward his parents. (Yes, guest article could expand on this – people so often feel they can’t do things or have what they want because of emotional obstacles.

2. How did you step into all of their shoes and come up with the various glimpses into their lives?

I think the one quality a psychotherapist and writer must have is empathy: the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and imagine what that feels like. My characters usually come from spotting someone on the street or in a store or in some facet of my life and being curious about him or her. I usually don’t know anything about them, but imagine a brief moment in their lives that reveals something.

3. How has your work as a psychotherapist reflected in your writing?

I became a psychotherapist after I was a writer. Writing was always my first love since I was a child. But raising children and seeking a stable career moved me into the direction of psychotherapy. It’s only now that I see the link and realize the two professions aren’t far apart. My love for the human story is evident in both places. I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s stories, real or imagined. I want to understand what they are thinking and feeling, how they view situations and what that says about them. I’m not sure if my work as a psychotherapist is reflected in my writing, but I do know that my work as a writer is reflected in my psychotherapy. Listening to my characters and trying to figure out what they are saying to me has informed my work with my clients. I realize this more and more as I have grown as a therapist. ( I can expand on this).

4. What was growing up in California like?

California will always be my first home. I was born and raised there and left when I was 25 for graduate school in Houston, TX. There are things about a place that once you have left stay with you: love for natural beauty, the smell of eucalyptus, eating al fresco, and the influence of Mexican culture. I grew up free to roam and lived across a field from a horse stable where I learned to ride, had my first job at 13 cleaning and feeding horses, and met my lifelong friends. I didn’t see my parents until dinnertime and I’m so grateful for that freedom and experience. I realize now how self-sufficient that made me. I also craved a cultural life and was probably far more bookish than my peers. It is hard to stay inside to think and write when the sunny California weather beckons.

5. What is the connection between all of your stories?

My collection of thirteen stories is a portfolio of observed scenes from modern life set in Southern California with all its diversity and allure. Each character is seeking connection with others and a better lifestyle in the sunny state that promises much, but often doesn’t live up to the dream when met with each character’s own limitations.