Curtis Smith, a high school teacher for kids with special educational needs, has been writing for some time. His highly developed command of words and structure has led to notable successes from flash fiction collections to full length novels.  

Short Story Collections

Bad Monkey
(Press 53, 2009)

reviewed by Mark Dalligan

The Species Crown
(Press 53, 2007)

In the Jukebox Light
(March Street Press, 2004)

Placing Ourselves Among the Living
(March St Press, 2000)

Interview with Curtis Smith

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

CS: The oldest story was written in 1990. The most recent one was just this past year.  Most of them are within the last five or so years.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

CS: Not really—at least nothing coherent or linked. I just wait until the number of pieces I feel happy with reaches a sort of critical mass and then begin both the shopping and the shaping process.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

CS: I’m fortunate to have had many stories published, so I had a few extra to play around with. I just tried to pick the ones I was happiest with and then arrange them in a way I found pleasing. I write both long stories and flashes, so in this collection, as with my last one, I alternated between long and short. 

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

CS:  Anything that I can read and which can take me someplace new.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

CS:  I don’t have one particular person—but I guess I do think of a particular demographic, people who read for the same reasons I do, people who want to find work that is all at once engaging and entertaining and thought-provoking.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

CS: Not really. But I would offer a very sincere thank you for taking the time to check it out.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

CS: Humbling.

TSR: What are you working on now?

CS: I’ve just finished the final edits for a novel that will come out next spring. The past eight months or so I’ve been working on a new novel—I’m hoping to have a rough draft done by the end of the year. I recently took a break from the novel and wrote a cycle of ten or so flash pieces. Every so often I’ll take a break from the novel to write a longer story.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

CS: Big World by Mary Miller, Gallatin Canyon by Thomas McGuane, Mad to Live by Randall Brown.
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