Marcel Jolley was born and raised in Skagway, Alaska and now lives in Camas, Washington with his wife and son. His collection of short stories, Neither Here Nor There, won the inaugural St. Lawrence Book Award and was published in 2007.  Black Lawrence Press will release his second short story collection, Priors, in the spring of 2012, to be followed by his novella, Milk Run, in the spring of 2013.

Short Story Collections

Neither Here Nor There
(Black Lawrence Press, 2007)

reviewed by Carol Reid

Interview with Marcel Jolley

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

Marcel Jolley: The bulk of these stories were written between early 2003 and summer 2004. The only real exception is the title story, which I wrote in the mid-90's, intending it as the opening of a novel. That one waited in a drawer until 2003, when I finally figured out how the story should end.

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

MJ: Not initially, but after they were all completed I did think they fit together well.

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

MJ: I simply included all the stories I had written during that period.  There was a story I wasn't sure really fit, and the editors at Black Lawrence Press agreed, so we omitted that one from the collection. As for the order, I remember putting the most thought into which stories should be first and last - the ones in between just sort of fell into place after that.

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

MJ:  I guess my initial thought upon hearing the word "story" is of something told aloud rather than written down. Growing up I spent more time sitting around telling stories with friends and family than I did reading or writing, so maybe that's where the association comes from.

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

MJ:  I can't say that I work with any particular reader in mind, but instead just try to tell the story as best I can, and hope that in doing so some aspect of the story, large or small, will ring true with each reader.

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

MJ: That's a tough one - I would probably just say thanks and that I hope they found something to enjoy in the book.

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

MJ: Really good.

TSR: What are you working on now?

MJ: Black Lawrence Press has kindly agreed to publish my next collection, Priors, in spring 2012, and then a novella in spring 2013, so I have been working on getting those manuscripts in the best possible shape.  Otherwise I just finished the first draft of a novel, so we'll see if anything happens with that.

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

MJ: In the Devil's Territory by Kyle Minor, I Remember the Day James Dean Died by Albert Drake, and The Rainbow Stories by William T. Vollmann.
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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 >>>