Julie Ann Weinstein has over ninety published stories and is a Pushcart Nominee, freelance writer, editorial consultant and flash fiction workshop leader. She is also published under the name Julie Ann Shapiro.

Short Story Collections

Flashes from The Other World
(All Things That Matter Press, 2010)

reviewed by Daniela Norris

Interview with Julie Ann Weinstein

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

Julie Ann Weinstein: Flashes from the Other World, the story collection emerged while working on my second novel. I'd say it took approxinatley a year. The stories are flashes from the other worlds and are representative of the states between reality and not.
   The collection itself and the majority of my stories are in the vein of magic realism which is a style of fiction that first became popular in Latin America with writers like Isabelle Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I think of magic realism as reality that is slightly bent as compared to science fiction which stretches the bounds of reality exponentially. In my writing it's often a surreal landscape where the question of what is a dream and what is reality blur. It can be a place where the intangible becomes tangible, whether it's a ghost or a flower, vegetables, grains of sand or even a snail talking. In a world where things are often perceived as black and white, I see the shades and layers in between, finding new colors where the human emotions and the senses come alive.

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

JAW: Not at first. The early suggestion for the collection came from an inquiry from the publisher, Pulp Pits. They admired my writing and wanted to release a story collection as an ebook back in 2006. The original version they produced was only eighty six pages. Whey they went out of business I looked at these initial stories and expanded the collection based on the common themes of the paranormal, relationships and the surreal. This new collection is nearly double the original size and has since become a finalist in the Seventeenth Annual San Diego Book Awards.

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

JAW: I chose the order based on the themes, The Paranormal, Relationships, and The Surreal. I also positioned the stories by light and dark tones as well as by size.

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

JAW: To entertain, to enrich, to educate and to take readers to a whole new world. I write my stories from a magic realist perspective. I see wonder in the world and things magical. This is coupled with the sometimes congruent and incongruent dance of both the tangible and the intangible forces and in that space realism is not quite so central of an emphasis. Being realistic is after all a relative term. The emotions, senses and the reactions of my characters are realistic. In my stories it’s a place where a grain of sand can become a phantom or where Elvis, the Impersonator talks to an elephant or of a can of Whipped Cream pontificates about the meaning of life and all sorts of other paranormal and whimsical stories which are not the sorts of things found in most people’s sphere of realism. However, they’re quite at home in Flashes from the Other World.

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

JAW: Yes. Fans of magic realism, the Twlight Zone and even the Three Stooges. In Flashes from the Other World readers will notice these subtle themes:
1. Ghosts meddle with messages and mischief
2. Where the intangible wake up and have their say and then some!
3. Bitter sweetness of mother and daughter relationships 4. Phantom grains of sand wreak havoc for lost youth, love and whimsy.
5. Where romantic love is found and lost.

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

JAW: What are some of their favorite stories and the ones that resonated the most? These are some of mine: Camp Ghosts, Tatooed Thumb, Was Earl. Mosquito Moon, Red and Lavendar Silk, Ode to the Leafblower

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

JAW: It's rewarding to connect to others through my words. I write with an underlying albeit subconscious theme and that's wonder. I hope that as readers go through my stories that they will see more wonder in the world.
   My goal that I hope transcends beyond the words is the ability for others to develop more of an innate curiosity and an admiration, if not an outright fascination with the subtle nuances of the human condition and the world around us coupled with a love of words.

TSR: What are you working on now?

JAW: I am working on two evolving story collections. One is paranormal series with a clairvoyant teenager as the main character. The other project is a collection of single woman stories and is more or less light erotica.

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

JAW: The Whole Stories and Other Stories, Ali Smith ; The Healings, Oana; PP, FF, an Anthology
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