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Aimee Bender

Website: AimeeBender.com

Aimee Bender is the author of three books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998) which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, and Willful Creatures, which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper's, Tin House, McSweeney's, The Paris Review, and many more, as well as heard on PRI's This American Life and Selected Shorts. She's received two Pushcart prizes, and was nominated for the TipTree award in 2005. She lives in Los Angeles, and teaches creative writing at USC.

Short story collections

Willful Creatures (Anchor, August 2006) 

Reviewed by Tania Hershman

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (Anchor, 1999) 

Interview with Aimee Bender

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

Aimee Bender: About six years.

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

AB: Yes, though in a vague way-- I liked the idea of having the stories mix and mingle.

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

AB: Mainly I chose the ones I thought were working best, though my editor chimed in too, and suggested a few cuts. There were also stories he suggested cutting that I insisted on keeping because they felt crucial to me for the book as a whole. Order-- for this book, I put the harsher ones first, and then moved towards hope.

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

AB:  A tough question! The feeling of holding onto a sparkling handrail into the dark.

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

AB: Both no and yes. There is always a reader, someone I'm telling the story to. It has to be an act of communication. But who that person is, I don't often know. I think each story may have a different particular reader.

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

AB: Lots of things, so it's hard to pinpoint one. How'd that go? comes to mind.

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

AB: Feels great-- very good to feel that part of the duet happening.

TSR: What are you working on now?

AB:A novel.

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

AB: Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You; Isaac Bachevis Singer, various stories from his Collected Stories; Steve Almond, The Evil BB Chow