Christopher Klim has published four novels prior to this first collection of short stories. He worked on observation and exploration satellites for the space program, as a photo-journalist, an assistant to a master chef, and a journalism professor. He is the executive editor of Best New Writing

Short Story Collections

True Surrealism
(Hopewell Publishing, 2011)

reviewed by Daniela Norris

Interview with Christopher Klim

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

Christopher Klim: About a decade.

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

CK: Absolutely not. I'm primarily a novelists. Even my shorts are too long for most literary journalist, although most were eventually published. The first and last stories were written specifically to complete the collection.

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

CK: Originally the title story was last. When my editor decided that it should go first, this changed the order of all the others and one was swapped out and replaced. I considered how they should present themselves emotionally in the collection. My original choice, Girl in Landscape, is the heaviest in a collection of sometimes humorous stories. Reading that first might drive a reader away, while True Surrealism gives you a mix of both.

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

CK: It means that you have something to say (engaging, relevant, poignant, etc.) in the crowd or you ought to keep quiet about it.

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

CK: For the most part, I write about people in everyday life pushed to the edges of society and/or themselves. My characters change by learning something about themselves. I hope that any reader can see this.

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

CK: Did you take something away from it? It's never anything specific. Over the years, I've learned that the interpretations people have regarding my work are only a transference of their own thoughts projected upon me. Sometimes they come close to my thinking while writing the story, but most often they do not. It's only important that people first enjoy the story and then they are moved in some way. It's what you do later with the things you learn now that matters.

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

CK: Pleased that I'm making a connection with people. Artists are needy birds. A craftsman creates an exquisite table and walks away from it knowing that it's a job well done. An artist appreciates that when he/she sings, someone is listening. Knowing that makes you vulnerable to criticism, but humbled by the praise.

TSR: What are you working on now?

CK: I'm finishing up a novel about the true story of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. There are so many details still hidden about the cause of the accident and the fate of the astronauts. For example, they did not explode in the sky as commonly believed, but fell for over two minutes watching the Atlantic Ocean get closer and closer. To make a dense technical story, as well as personal journey through a national disaster, accessible to the reader, I've written it as a novel. It was a big, fat two-year project that's drawing to an end.

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

CK: Bear and His Daughter by Robert Stone, Misfits and Other Heroes by Suzanne Burns, and a Jorge Luis Borges collection.
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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 >>>