How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Davies: I wrote most of the stories in Some New Ambush
over a period of about five years, between 2001 and 2006, though a
couple were written earlier. Perhaps it’s the same for all
writers, but for me, writing short stories feels like panning for gold;
I have to do an awful lot of writing before I have something worth
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
No, not at all. I just tried to write every
story as it came as best I possibly could. But as the stories began
slowly piling up on my desk I began to see that even though they were
all very different (some contemporary, some historical, some almost
like fairy tales) they were all, in some way, about the way the
unexpected rips into our lives, and how we respond when that happens to
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
just chose my favourites, though I did end up excluding a few because
when I came to putting them in some kind of order I couldn’t
seem to fit them in. Somehow wherever I put them they were always in
the wrong place. Of course the reality is that some readers won't even
read the stories in the order in which they appear, but many will, and
I do think the order is very important in a collection – it
has its own structure and you have to think about that very carefully.
You want the whole to be somehow greater than the sum of the parts, so
you’re looking at the effect each story might have on the
others, at all the different narrative voices and how they follow on
from each other, at moments when you want things to speed up or slow
down, and of course you’re looking for the right beginning
and the right ending.
TSR: Do you
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
so much when I’m writing the first draft, because at that
stage I’m invariably not even sure myself what the story is
yet. But after that – yes, definitely, in the sense that
I’m very aware that I’m telling this story to some
one – not a particular kind of person but some one I want to
understand the story, to be intrigued and entertained and in some way
moved by it. I always read everything aloud and I’m always
looking for the places in the story where I’m in danger of
losing or confusing the reader.
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your
anything at all?
If I get the chance, I always like to hear which story was their
favourite, and if anything made them laugh or cry.
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
It’s very exciting. The short story form has to fight so hard
in this country for attention, so it’s great to know that
people really do have an appetite for them.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
More stories, which I hope will eventually shape themselves into a