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Dede Crane 


Canadian writer Dede Crane is the author of the literary novel Sympathy. She has also published a teen novel, The 25 Pains of Kennedy Baines and has been published in numerous literary journals.Dede has also co-edited a collection of non-fiction stories about the experience of giving birth. She is a former professional ballet dancer and choreographer and currently calls Victoria, B.C. home.

Short Story Collections

 The Cult of Quick Repair
Coteau Books, 2008

Reviewed by Daniela I. Norris

 Interview with Dede Crane

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

Dede Crane: From start to finish probably about five years. Meaning I would leave a story for another project, come back with what I felt I'd learned and rework it. Never believing my writing up to snuff, I'd do this again and again and again...
    And then when it was accepted by Coteau for publication, they were edited yet again, with some being substantially overhauled. And then when I do readings from the actual published book, I edit them again before the reading. My reading copy is horribly marked up.

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

DC: Not at the start. After a while I did start to see a theme around middle age and the demise of sexual passion, but as the collection progressed not all fit under that label and I saw a broader theme of loss in general. Sounds cheering. There is a lot of humour along the way though.

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

DC: I just knew which ones weren't strong enough or that didn't come from that deep place which gives a story its layers, and which did. The order is always difficult. One tries to put the strongest first, second and last, hide in the middle the one or two you're not sure about and then mix up the content for varied reading. It's a fool's game.

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

DC:  Story means unearthing confusion, poking at a wound, an irritant that confounds you or rubs you the wrong way or moves you or stops you from moving ... and then giving it a context, a lens through which to look at it, relieve it to the degree something can be relieved.

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

DC:  Me. I can only inform myself, entertain myself, express and explore myself and trust that I'm transcending the personal into the collective. Trusting that we, as individuals, are, at the same time, interdependent.

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

DC: I'm always interested in where people were engaged and if or when they were moved by a story, whether it's moved to laughter, to sadness or anger. If those things happen then I feel I've communicated and connected and that's very satisfying.

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

DC: Disbelief. Are they?

TSR: What are you working on now?

DC: I'm waiting for the release of my second teen novel this fall with Groundwood. That will be my first hardcover book which is kind of neat. And I have submitted a novel to Coteau (that I've worked on for the past 5 years) and am waiting to hear if they want to publish it or think it's garbage. I've recently adapted one of my husband's stories into a play and am working with him on that.  Really I've kind of cleared the deck of projects I've been working on for the last ten years, five of which have thankfully been published therefore enabling me to truly move on, and am now waiting for some inspiration to hit and write something new. Will probably start with a few stories and then, if I dare, reach for another novel. I did write a new story this spring that I just sent off to a magazine. That was the first brand new thing I'd written in a long time and that felt good. I had some fun. Hard fun. That's what writing is for me. Hard fun.

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

DC: I read novels as a rule but the last collection I read was Sean Virgo's Begging Questions. I love his writing, so sensual and perceptually rich. The opening two story are especially stunning. Before that I read PK Page's latest. Her stories are always a delight, full of humour and wonder, airy with questions, fable-esque. And I read Patricia Young's collection Airstream. There's an honesty in the writing that seduces you inside the story and takes you over in a surprising way that by the story's end you kind of wake up and wonder where you've been. Also her characters are just so easy to love. I'd like to add that I aboslutely love Caroline Adderson's latest collection and one of my favourite collections of the last several years was Broken Record Technique by Lee Henderson.