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 Frances Thimann 


Frances Thimann recently graduated with an MA in creative writing from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Her stories have appeared in, or were accepted by, Mezzanine and other Storeys, Lanterns, Staple, 3D New Fiction and Poetry. She began her career in music.

Short Story Collections

Cello and Other Stories
Pewter Rose Press, 2008

Reviewed by Jason Makansi

 Interview with Frances Thimann 

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

Frances Thimann: It took several years. Most of the stories were completed while I worked towards an MA in Creative Writing in 2006, but some of these were were based on earlier drafts or ideas. Some were added to the collection after that, and all of them were further revised in the year before publication. Even now, there are just one or two things I feel I could improve....

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

FT: Certainly not at first, but five of the stories were grouped together to form the MA collection.

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

FT: I tried to create a unified collection, in the sense that all the characters and situations might be found on any street or in any neighbourhood, rather than portraying situations that were extreme or unusual in any way. Apart from the overall subject of old age and the elderly, I tried to incorporate a number of other unifying themes, such as relationships between parents and children; the effect of the past, rediscovered, on the present; memory (true or false); music; and so on. Within this framework, the stories were arranged to provide as much variety as possible, in terms of age, sex, circumstance, point of view, style and form.

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

FT:  It means a narrative or sequence of some sort, however slight, that has shape and meaning for its characters, and hopefully for its readers too.

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

FT:  No - not in terms of any particular audience - but I would certainly like the stories to be read, experienced, and, I hope, enjoyed.

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

FT: It is always interesting to know if any one particular story has been enjoyed, or not, and why. Above all, it is very good to hear that a story has resonated with a reader, that it has corresponded with or even illumined their own personal experience in some way.

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

FT: It makes me feel responsible for continuing to try to write as well as I can, so that my work is as worthwhile and siginificant as it can be.

TSR: What are you working on now?

FT: I am thinking of another short story collection, and also some separate stories (as always). Possibly a novel, although this might take the form of interlinked narratives. I am more attracted to the shorter form as a writer, though I appreciate that perhaps it demands more of the reader.

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

FTAnn Harleman's collection Happiness (she is a US writer); Edwige Danticat's The Dew Breaker (these are interlinked narratives, by a US/Haitian writer); and Alan Sillitoe's short stories, which are sometimes overlooked in favour of his more famous work. (Sillitoe is an author local to me in Nottingham).