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

Short Story Collections

Hello Walls
(Balder Press, 2009)

reviewed by Carol Reid

Oh The Girls in France
(Balder Press, 2010)

Crying Over You
(Balder Press, 2010)

New Bottles, Old Wine
(Balder Press, 2010)

Just a Doll
(Balder Press, 2010)

Tiny Bubbles
(Balder Press, 2010)

A Spot of Trouble
(Balder Press, 2009) 

Kid's Stuff
(Balder Press, 2009) 

Wild Women
(Balder Press, 2009) 

Pick of the Litter
(Balder Press, 2009) 

A Work of Art
(Balder Press, 2009) 

Old Wounds
(Balder Press, 2008) 

(Balder Press, 2008)  


Interview with Jack Swenson

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

JS: Normally 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.

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

JS: I 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.

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

JSI chose the ones that I thought were the best, the pick of the litter. The stories are in alpha order.

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

JS:  Here's a pretty good definition from dictionary.com:
–noun  1. a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.

I 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.

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

JS:  No.  What you see is what you get.

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

JS: 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 gigolo?

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

JS: Very few are.

TSR: What are you working on now?

JS: Stories, stories, and more stories.

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

JSPalm-of-the-Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata, Sudden Fiction by Shapard and Thomas, and Micro Fiction by Jerome Stern.
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Find out what other authors, from Aimee Bender to Sana Krasikov, said about their collections, what the word "story" means to them, and how it feels to know that people are buying your books! More interviews >>>