Thimann recently graduated with an MA in creative writing
from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Her stories have appeared
in, or were accepted by, Mezzanine
and other Storeys, Lanterns, Staple, 3D New Fiction and Poetry.
She began her career in music.
with Frances Thimann
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Frances Thimann: It
took several years. Most of the stories were completed while I worked
towards an MA in Creative Writing in 2006, but some of these were were
based on earlier drafts or ideas. Some were added to the collection
after that, and all of them were further revised in the year before
publication. Even now, there are just one or two things I feel I could
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
FT: Certainly not at first, but five of the stories were grouped together to form the MA collection.
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
tried to create a unified collection, in the sense that all the
characters and situations might be found on any street or in any
neighbourhood, rather than portraying situations that were extreme or
unusual in any way. Apart from the overall subject of old age and the
elderly, I tried to incorporate a number of other unifying themes, such
as relationships between parents and children; the effect of the past,
rediscovered, on the present; memory (true or false); music; and so on.
Within this framework, the stories were arranged to provide as much
variety as possible, in terms of age, sex, circumstance, point of view,
style and form.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
means a narrative or sequence of some sort, however slight, that has
shape and meaning for its characters, and hopefully for its readers too.
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
No - not in terms of any particular audience - but I would certainly
like the stories to be read, experienced, and, I hope, enjoyed.
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
It is always interesting to know if any one particular story has been
enjoyed, or not, and why. Above all, it is very good to hear that a
story has resonated with a reader, that it has corresponded with or
even illumined their own personal experience in some way.
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
It makes me feel responsible for continuing to try to write as well as
I can, so that my work is as worthwhile and siginificant as it can be.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
I am thinking of another short story collection, and also some separate
stories (as always). Possibly a novel, although this might take the
form of interlinked narratives. I am more attracted to the shorter form
as a writer, though I appreciate that perhaps it demands more of the
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
FT: Ann Harleman's collection Happiness (she is a US writer); Edwige Danticat's The Dew Breaker
(these are interlinked narratives, by a US/Haitian writer); and Alan
Sillitoe's short stories, which are sometimes overlooked in favour of
his more famous work. (Sillitoe is an author local to me in