Jack Swenson on Fictionaut
Jack Swenson was born with a pencil in his
hand. He has been scribbling one thing or another for many years. He
lives in Fremont, CA, where he also teaches a writing class at the
local Senior Center. His age is a secret, but he is no spring chicken.
His stories have appeared in many literary journals such as Wigleaf, Ghoti, Boston Literary
Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Grey Sparrow, and Staccato. Many
other story collections by Jack Swenson, including Tiny Bubbles and Just a Doll are
available through lulu.com
by Carol Reid
Oh The Girls in France
(Balder Press, 2010)
Crying Over You
New Bottles, Old Wine
Just a Doll
A Spot of Trouble
Pick of the Litter
A Work of Art
with Jack Swenson
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
I would write a book of this size in about three months, but this is a
collection of my best stories from the past ten years, which is the
length of my fiction writing career. I had approximately 1,200
stories to choose from.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
didn't think of putting together a "best of" book until after most of
the stories were written. Then, however, I began revising the ms,
adding and deleting, changing and (I hope) improving individual
tales. What you have in your hands is I think the ninth revision
of Hello Walls.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
JS: I chose the ones that I thought were the best, the pick of the litter. The stories are in alpha order.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
JS: Here's a pretty good definition from dictionary.com:
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
1. a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed
to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.
like stories that start with a bang, cut to the chase, don't waste
words, and suggest more than they say. I do not insist that a
story show and not tell, but I like a little dialogue, and I keep an
eye peeled for the telling detail. I'm a fan of both clarity and
innuendo. You better be wide awake if you are going to read one of
my little tales.
JS: No. What you see is what you get.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
Did you like it? Why or why not? None of these stories have
been nominated for a Pushcart. Are you outraged? I
am. What was your favorite story in this book? Your least
favorite? Do you agree with nun who read my book and called me a
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
Very few are.
What are you working on now?
JS: Stories, stories, and more stories.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
JS: Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata, Sudden Fiction by Shapard and Thomas, and Micro Fiction by Jerome Stern.