A little over a year ago, Tom Perrotta was surprised to discover he had written enough new short stories for about half of a collection. Although HE DEBUTED IN 1994 WITH “Bad Haircut,” A SERIES of linked stories, he has since focused PRIMARILY on novels. Somehow, between writing six of them — including the bestsellers “Election” and “Little Children,” both adapted for the screen — he managed to finish half a dozen works of short fiction, including “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face,” the inaugural selection for the Boston Book Festival’s One City One Story program.
During the past year, when he wasn’t busy turning his 2011 novel, “The Leftovers,” into a pilot for HBO, Perrotta managed to complete his collection, “Nine Inches,” due from St. Martin’s in September. Perrotta finds writing short stories an anxiety-inducing process, one he mitigates with routine, exercise, and peppermint tea.