How did you understand relationships between people differently after this experience? Does it take some strain to see how relationships really work, or do you think they change during times of economic hardship?
It’s clear from your first story in the collection, “Just Listen”, that your characters want their stories to be told. In that story specifically, the narrator has to interrupt himself to make the reader listen. Do you think there is a lack of voices from “Main Street” America in literary fiction? Who are some other writers who you think do capture these voices?
Then the Ford guy swung and landed a shot right on the chin that knocked down the Plymouth guy. Landed on the ground and didn’t get back up. The Ford guy started kicking him in the side and the head.–from “The North End of Town”
Were you ever in a fight? Did you win?
But your characters aren’t only violent, they are paranoid, hopeful. Some obey, but some revolt. Are these different reactions to tense conditions attributed to character, or are they more about the multiplicity and spontaneity of people in general?
Some of the stories in your collection are more fantastic than others. As the 2012 Mayan prophecy looms over us this month, it makes sense to talk about the end of the world. But what made you want to take some of your stories to a more surreal level where it seems the world is actually ending?
…the desire to start a conversation with [your] audience, and to open their minds to the reality that everyone either fears the end of things, or is numb to this fear. This book is a call for us to recognize our fear about “the end” and examine it.