lives in Cheshire. His work been published widely, in the UK and abroad. He is author of the children’s book I Met A Roman Last Night What Did You Do
with Nik Perring
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
oldest one in there, ‘Seconds Are Ticking By’ was written, if
memory serves, at some point in 2007, but the majority of the stories
in Not So Perfect were written over the last eighteen months.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
Absolutely not. I’d always hoped that I’d be lucky enough to have
a collection of short stories published one
but when I’m writing (or when I wrote them) I concentrated on the
individual stories, on making them the best they could be
individually. I’m very happy with the way they fit together and
work as a collection, but I think that’s probably more down to luck
than any conscious planning on my part. I’m not particularly good
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
question! Mostly, again, by luck/intuition. We (my publisher, Roast
Books and I) knew which story the collection would begin with and
which one would go at the end pretty early on. After that it was a
case of printing them off and seeing how they fitted together. There
wasn’t all that much swapping around after the initial experiments.
the ones we included were, I like to think, my best ones. In fact, I
think from the ones I sent initially, only two didn’t make the
final cut because they didn’t quite fit.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
story is a moment, or series of moments, told. It’s a beautiful,
affecting and important thing that should stay with a reader long
after it’s ended. If it’s done well it’s something that changes
you in some way. It’s a precious, fragile and incredibly strong
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
don’t think so, but I don’t think I’d be being honest if I said
I didn’t keep The Reader in mind while I wrote. I think my job, as
a writer, is to tell the stories in the way they should best be told
and I think if I can do that well, or to a standard I’m happy with,
then I can be happy. A good story, told well, has a very good chance
of finding an audience.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
I don’t know! I guess I’d be curious to know which stories they
liked the best and why. As long as they enjoyed it then that’s more
than good enough for me.
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
terrifying and occasionally over-whelming. I must say though that
I’ve been incredibly lucky in that the general reaction to Not So
Perfect has been utterly, and unexpectedly, terrific. I love that
people have got it and I thank them all very, very much.
What are you working on now?
I’ve not been writing at all over the past couple of months. I made
the decision to stop so I could a) have a break (I’d not had one in
a few years) and b) so I could concentrate on promoting Not So
Perfect without feeling guilty for neglecting my writing. That’ll
change soon though. I’m starting to really miss it!
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
also taken a back seat since the book’s come out. Let me see... I
re-read Etgar Keret’s brilliant Missing Kissinger and Mary
Miller’s Big World. And I read, for the first time, Chekhov’s The Exclamation Mark. I’d recommend them all highly. And I
should say thank you to The Short Review because it was your review
of Big World that
encouraged me to buy it.