1. So what made you write these short stories?
I wrote these stories over three years after returning to my hometown of Newcastle Australia, after a long absence, in a period of rebuilding and re-acclimatising to living in a post-coal-mining-boom regional centre. A lot of the stories are about adjustment and fear of change and awareness of time passing. I got the confidence to write them down due to the encouragement of my local writers group and the Hunter Writers Centre. I think participating in round table discussions, live readings, and feedback session with a diverse range of local writers opened me up to experimenting with form and scope.
2. Are short stories less stressful than writing a full novel?
For me it was a safe way to enter the publishing market. A short story collection is a bit like a mezze platter of writing, a bag of mixed lollies if you like. There is bound to be something that appeals to somebody. Short stories are their own special art form. In many ways they have more in common with poetry than with novels. Writing to a word limit can be very challenging, you need to be able to ruthlessly edit your own work if you are writing for competitions that cap word length. It takes judgement to know what scene from a larger story arc you can drop the reader into to perfectly illustrate your message about the characters.
3. Which short story is your favorite?
I have a bit of a soft spot for Garsdale, it is my most soul baring story, told allegorically using imagery from one of my favourite adolescent songs: Mind Riot by Soundgarden. But like all proud parents I like all of my babies equally. I like Strings & Ribbons for its poetry and reprieve. Its placement in the collection is like a lighter musical interlude on a heavy rock album.
4. Can you relate to any of your stories?
I can relate to every one of them. The collection is something of a confessional for me, very self-revealatory, whilst indirect. There is plenty to consider and analyse in this collection, and that is me all over, the perpetual critic and over-thinker. Even the order of stories is meaningful and self-reflective. Shark Fin Soup and the idea of grief in a loss other than death is a concept very personal to me. Mrs Jackson was an actual anxiety dream I had, much of the imagery has a Freudian bent.
5. What do you have in store next?
I have a short story about to be realeased in the 2014 Hunter Region Speculative Fiction Anthology, the anthology is called Novascapes, the story is called The Switch. I will be releasing another flash fiction collection at the end of the year, called Laissez Faire. I also have the bare bones of a speculative fiction novel planned out, the working title is Daughters of Mallory, it will be a feminist dystopia centred around several female protagists, riffing off a few fairy tales and nursery rhymes and the odd Dickensian villain.