because writing is my vice:

Lisa Wardle is a fiction writer from Victoria, Australia. She has published work in various literary journals. 

Short Story Collections

(Mockingbird/Gininderra Press, 2009)

reviewed by Jason Makansi

Interview with Lisa Wardle

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

Lisa Wardle: Some of the stories in Reflections came quite quickly, others took more work. I guess the majority of the stories were written within a two year period while I was studying for my Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing & Editing.

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

LW: Not at first. One of my tutors suggested a collection when he noticed that my stories tended to have similar themes. This was a good idea because it focussed me as well. There's nothing like having a goal to work towards to get you writing.

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

LW:  I changed the order of the stories many times before publication. I tried to put shorter stories between longer ones and to keep those with the same POV or tense apart to offer the reader variety. As for which stories I chose, I selected the ones that were strongest and worked well together. Some of the stories I'd originally thought would be in Reflections didn't make it in the end. Who knows, maybe I'll put together another collection.

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

LW: Story is what holds the reader. There's an unwritten contract between a reader and a writer where the reader agrees to suspend their disbelief and the writer agrees to entertain them. Story is a window into other places, other people's lives. It's how cavemen entertained each other during long winters. It's communication. Telling stories is what humans do, what we've been doing from the very beginning, what we'll do to the end.

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

LW: Not specifically. I think while I'm writing it's often better to forget some readers, e.g. parents, grandparents, siblings. If you focus too much on who'll be reading your work it's hard not to censor yourself. I write stories that I'd enjoy reading, with characters that are flawed and therefore, hopefully, interesting.

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

LW:  Which is your favourite story and why? I believe that reading is an interactive experience. Readers bring with them their own belief systems, life experiences and such. The feedback I've already received has sometimes surprised me. When a reader's favourite story is my least favourite I realise that every reader will get something different from each story. I guess I hope that each reader will enjoy the stories and that in some small way will be moved by them.

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

LW: It's a truly wonderful feeling, though I don't think about it too much. I'm busy writing new stories. Reflections was my main focus for more than two years. I'm happy it's out there doing its thing, it's like a child that was born, raised and then sent out into the world. It will always be mine but in a sense it's not anymore - it's independent of me. It's so great to know people are reading it.

TSR: What are you working on now?

LW: I’m working on the second draft of a novel. It’s a slow process but I know it’s important not to rush it. I’ve also been writing a lot of poetry lately – mostly on the train – trains seem to work for me in that way. I’ve only written two or three short stories in the last six months but I know I will keep writing them. It’s just a matter of time. For me, the ‘form’ that the writing takes isn’t as important as the writing itself. I just have to keep writing. I’ve also been blogging a series of author interviews at

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

LW: I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately, and I’ve forced myself into a fiction borrowing hiatus this year (I work at a library), but I still have some wonderful short fiction on my shelves. Two of the last three collections I read were anthologies – The Best Australian Stories 2009 – edited by Delia Falconer, published by Black Inc Books and Torpedo Greatest Hits – edited by Chris Flynn, published by Hunter Publishers. I enjoy anthologies because I get to sample the work of many different writers. Each and every story is unique in the way it is told, the author’s "voice", the themes explored. With an anthology you can start anywhere with anyone, and dip in and out of it until you have read every story. The third was a collection of very short stories by Melbourne writer Josephine Rowe; the wonderful How a Moth becomes a Boat, which is an absolute favourite of mine, and also published by Hunter Publishers. 
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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 >>>