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David Gardiner


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Website: DavidGardiner.net

David Gardiner is an ex-pat Irishman living and writing from London. His first listed published work is science fiction. This is Mr. Gardiner's second collection of short stories featuring Rainbow Man, a story-telling man about town. You will note David’s brave sense of humor and humanity immediately when you are greeted at his website by a photograph of Osama bin Laden.

Short Story Collections

The Other End of the Rainbow
Merilang press, 2008

Reviewed by Jason Makansi

The Rainbow Man
Boho Press, 2004

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 Interview withDavid Gardiner

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

David Gardiner : I have been writing short stories regularly at the rate of about one or two a month, making use of the UKAuthors.com writers' website and an on-line writers' group called Storyshed to get feedback and polish them up. I also go on regular writers holidays and retreats where I can get peer feedback and support, and even, if I'm lucky, inspiration. The stories in this collection were all written since my first collection was published in 2002, so they were written over a six year period.

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

DG: It wasn’t foremost in my mind, as I managed to find homes for most of them individually in small press publications or as competition entries, but I knew that I wanted to bring out another collection at some point.

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

DG: I think the basis of selection was quite simply the ones I was most happy with myself and which had received the best response when they were published individually. As to the order, I didn't have any strong feelings about that and took advice from Daffni Percival at Merilang Press and others as to the best way to present them. The only one that needed to be at the front of the collection was the one called The Other End of the Rainbow, because that one sets up a link that runs through all the stories and holds the collection together. A reviewer compared it to the device used in Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, which I think is a valid comparison.

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

DG:  A very good question. I have a conventional view of this, I want my stories to have beginnings, middles and ends and to be descriptive accounts of events taking place. I don't go in very much for 'experimental' forms, or little snapshots of life without much narrative content or theme. I don't mind if other people want to write and to read that kind of work but it isn't what I do. I believe that a good short story should leave the reader with something to think about after the book has been closed. It should raise questions rather than answer them, it should present a parable to which the reader can relate and find meaning, whoever he or she may be. I don't want to spoon feed my readers, I want to confront and stimulate them to think and react to the material that I give them and interpret it for themselves. I have often compared the short story to the quick pen sketch where things are just suggested and all the details have to be filled in in the viewer's imagination. The novel is the big painting in oils where every detail is laid down and complete. Sketches and short stories are essentially incomplete, they are completed in the imagination of the reader. They make demands of the reader's imagination and creativity which novels typically don't.

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

DG:  No, I don't write for any particular kind of person. Just somebody who is willing to engage with the material that I am presenting and join with me in the creative process. I assume that my readers will be intelligent and insightful and want to consider the questions that I am raising. Otherwise why would they bother with my work?

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

DG: Lots of things. Did any of my stories affect you emotionally? Did any of them make you angry or sad or make you laugh out loud? Did any of them make you think about some aspect of life in a completely new way? Did any of them give you a bit more self knowledge, perhaps reveal a prejudice of which you were not aware, or see something in your own character or behaviour that you hadn't noticed or thought about before? Did any of them make you think about the way you relate to other people, or what things are important in life and what things are not? When you had finished reading the book, which of the stories if any were still buzzing around in your head, and why? Did we make contact of some kind, you and I, through these little tales? Did we share something of our personalities and our humanity?

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

DG:Of course it feels good if they are buying it, more importantly I am pleased if people are reading it and if it's making an impact of some kind in how they see the world and live their lives.

TSR: What are you working on now?

DG: I never stop writing short stories, so it's very much business as usual. When I retire, which will be in about three years, I want to return to a great mass of material that I wrote when I was much younger about my student days in Belfast in the late 1960s/early 1970s, when the most recent wave of ‘troubles' was just starting up, and try to turn it into either a novel or a collection of linked short stories, really about my own growing up and rites of passage in a war zone. I've tried to do something with this material many times, and have ‘mined' it for one or two short stories, but I think it would be worth knocking it into shape properly, and I think of it as my big retirement project. As every writer knows, writing is 90% re-writing, and this material is mostly good (in my opinion) but needs a big rewrite.

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

DG: That's a very precise question, and I wouldn't consider these the best I have ever read or anything like that, just the three I have read most recently. My answer is further skewed by the fact that I act as a volunteer editor for a couple of small press publishers and therefore work with other small time writers on getting their books ready for publication. The three most recent I find are: Truckerson by John Griffiths (bluechrome, 2007) UKAuthors Anthology: Voices from the Web 2008 (UKA Press, 2008) The Procession by Theron Montgomery (UKA Press, 2005)