Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Author Vanessa Furse Jackson Answers Questions About Small Displacements

In the third in a series of posts on 2010 short story collections entered for The Story Prize, Vanessa Furse Jackson, author of Small Displacements (Livingston Press) answers a couple of questions about her work.

How long did it take you to write Small Displacements and how did the book take shape?
The book started to take shape after I'd written the title story and realized how many of my other stories were also about small displacements in my characters' lives. The stories were written over a ten-year period (as were others that didn't make it into this collection). The stories in the book all involve these small displacements, either of location or of thought or of comfort zones. They all involve characters forced to re-examine and re-evaluate their situations. The idea of such small displacements came about, I think, because I myself am an expatriate. I'm from England (where all these stories are set) but have lived in the U.S. for 25 years. I live here happily, with a great job and a great husband. But I'm very often aware of my own translocation, as it were.

What do you like about the short story form?
I love the craftiness of short stories -- the kinds of problems and psychological riddles you have to solve on the way through writing a draft. I love not knowing what's going to happen and then -- eureka! -- finding out. I love the varied characters I discover that I might never otherwise meet. I love the act of writing short stories. I love the endless, ongoing reworking they ask for.