In addition to
being a short-story writer, Michelene Wandor is a poet, playwright, and
musician. Her adaptation of The
Belle of Amherst received and International Emmy and her
dramatization of The
Wandering Jew was performed at London's National Theatre.
She also teaches writing workshops on fiction, poetry, and drama.
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Michelene Wandor: Very difficult to say exactly: probably the stories accumulated over 2-3 years.
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
consciously. But, of course, I was amassing stories with the
possibility of getting them published once I had enough for a
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
this isn't easy to explain simply. I chose the stories I thought were
"complete", and which would combine well. The order gradually fell into
place, but there were a couple of carefully considered decisions in
relation to the first and last stories. As your reviewer noted, some of
my stories have interpolations, and have parallel narratives. People
sometimes find these tricky, since realism is still the most familiar
mode for most people. I wanted to start with a relatively conventional
(!) story, which would read continuously all the way through. So "The
Devil in the Cupboard" seemed the best choice, and I love its title.
The final story is about an Israeli and a Palestinian, with what is
perhaps some difficult content. I wanted to lead up to that, and it
kept being put later and later in the order, until it ended up last!
does the word "story"
mean to you?
MW: A short piece of fiction, complete, generally between 2000-7000 words.
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
Not really. However, I am very interested indeed/keen to know what
people's responses are. Not just did they/didn't they like the stories,
but what do they think about the content, the meanings, do they have
any questions, etc.
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
Great. Unfortunately, however, the book is in virtually no bookshops.
And yet peopel seem to like it when they read it, or hear me read
stories at events. So I hope your review will encourage some interest,
and perhaps persuade bookshops to stock it.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
Three things: a novel, set in the 17th century; a third creative
writing book (I have written two others, 'The Author is Not Dead,
merely Somewhere Else: Creative Writing Reconceived', and 'The Art of
Writing Drama'), and i am completing a play about the British Mandate
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
may sound odd, but I tend not to read short story collections, much as
I love writing them. Perhaps because I love writing them?