D E Fredd lives in Townsend, Massachusetts. He has had over one hundred and fifty short stories and poems published in literary reviews and journals. He received the Theodore Hoepfner Award given by the Southern Humanities Review for the bext short fiction of 2005 and was a 2006 Ontario Award Finalist. He won the 2006 Black River Chapbook Competition and received a 2007, 2009 and 2010 Pushcart Nomination. He has been included in the Million Writers Award of Notable Stories for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010.

Short Story Collections

Dutch Treatment
(Black Lawrence Press, 2009)

reviewed by Alex Thornber

Interview with D E Fredd

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

D E Fredd: The story Steiner Requests was written several years before the other two. I submitted stories that were somewhat diverse and Black Lawrence Press choose three for the book.

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

DEF: I really didn’t have much in mind as to a collection or theme. I’ve had quite a few stories published (over 200 I think) and the only thing that springs to mind regarding a collection is that, being from New England, I thought about putting stories together that are set in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Maybe thirty or so per state. Don’t ask about Connecticut or Rhode Island.

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

DEF: I didn’t choose much either than to submit material. As to what got in and in what order, I’d as soon trust the editors and publishers. I just write the stuff.

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

DEF: I usually think in terms of setting the stage and establishing a tone, developing a theme and "sticking" the ending. I use the gymnastic or diving term to describe the ending. After the triple somersault of my story does the ending hit the mat or water with nary a wobble or splash. It’s rare I’ve written a ten (damn the Russian judge) but when I come close then it’s a story.

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

DH: I don’t have a specific audience or reader in mind other than, if I use a certain reference or allude to something, is the reader going to know what I’m talking about. As an older guy I have to be careful about mentioning things that were part of my education and experiential past that may be irrelevant or too esoteric for the younger literary crowd. This is especially true with respect to any musical reference.

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

DEF: Where did I screw up? How could I have made it better?

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

DEF: My royalty check for the book in 2010 was under ten bucks. It would be nice, however, to chat about literature, reading preferences with the folks who bought it. I really don’t care much about money. Although it was nice to get $500 for a piece I did a while back. I bought a new laptop.

TSR: What are you working on now?

DEF: The trend these days is to compose stories that are short (under 3000 words). Flash fiction is the watchword. Unfortunately my mind doesn’t work that way. The last three things I did were between 8000 and 10,000. I haven’t bothered sending them anywhere even though one is pretty good (I stuck the ending big time). I’ve tried doing pieces under 500 words and I’m not happy with them. Undaunted, however, I am working on fiction that deals with returning veterans. I taught at a college and the paperwork for vets getting tuition and services is horrible. Each class I had two or three drop out because the government hadn’t processed the paperwork. I was reading some material relating to Rudyard Kipling who excoriated his government (Queen Victoria) for its treatment of those returning from the Crimean War and India. There’s plenty of evidence that Roman soldiers got screwed as well. Anyway, I’ve done three and am editing them down to get to an acceptable word count for most editors.

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

DEF: I don’t gravitate towards reading much in the way of short story collections. I do read many literary magazines on line. Of the modern era, I loved Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge and read most of Julian Barnes’s collection entitled Pulse. I have been accused of living in the past and, as such, have re-read many Balzac and Dostoyevsky stories in the last month.
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