books: Move Over Carrie Bradshaw 

Local writer’s tale of love takes her to the big leagues.

Curran’s take on faulty love is “LDR,” short for long-distance relationship, a humorous story about a young woman who moves away and dumps her boyfriend, even though he is the only man who has ever treated her well. Curran admits the story is somewhat autobiographical, modeled after her own LDR breakup when she first moved to Richmond in 1998.

“The thing about long-distance relationships is that it is just a raw-raw deal, even though I know some people who make it work,” she says. “You get all the emotional baggage, the fights over the phone, the jealousy and none of the good stuff.”

Yet personal problems usually make the most interesting stories, and Curran says she is excited to be a part of an anthology on heartbreak. “The thing about breakup stories is that everyone has been through something like this, so everyone can commiserate.”

A native of Milwaukee, Curran started writing fiction at 15 and has been trying to get published ever since. Her undergraduate years were spent at New York University. In New York City she tried to break into the publishing business after graduation. Lacking funds, she took a job in Chicago as a trade-magazine writer and later moved to Richmond, where she earned a master’s of fine arts degree in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University.

After finishing her master’s, Curran earned national recognition when her short story “Miss Richmond’s Beauty Secrets” was published in Jane Magazine in 2002. Her work also has been included in Meridian, the literary journal for the University of Virginia, and she recently won Richmond Magazine’s fiction contest with her work “Handicap.”

After her story appeared in Jane Magazine, Curran was contacted by editor Meredith Broussard, who was looking for up-and-coming writers to include in “The Dictionary of Failed Relationships.” When she heard she was picked and would appear among such writers as Susan Minot and Pam Houston, Curran says she was “thrilled and totally honored to be with these ladies,” two of whom she has admired for years.

Along with promoting the new book, Curran is finishing a short-story collection titled “Bad Boyfriends” and a novel that deals with high school and sex. Also in the works is “The Beast,” a satire of the reality show “The Bachelor.” Though the titles seem a bit harsh, Curran says her work is not disparaging toward men. She points out that many of her male characters are more sympathetic than the females.

Riding this wave of success, Curran is focusing on finding a literary agent to take her to the next step in her career. She says the key to success is perseverance, writing every day and not being discouraged when a story doesn’t “hit a home run.” Curran can’t predict what will happen next, she says, “but at least I’m in the game.” S

Colleen Curran and other authors will read selections from “The Dictionary of Failed Relationships: 26 Tales of Love Gone Wrong” June 19 at Chop Suey Books, 1317 W. Cary St. 497-4705.

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