Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Amy Jones

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Amy

October 16, 2009 -

Open Book: Toronto:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

Amy Jones:

The first story I ever published was a postcard fiction piece called “I’ll Be A Monster,” in The New Quarterly.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

AJ:

I went to The Scan in Thunder Bay for breakfast. They have this thing on the menu called “The Big Viking” that is pretty much everything in a normal all-day breakfast plus Finnish pancakes. I took one look at it and thought “I can totally eat all of this.” I was totally wrong. I seriously don’t know what those Thunder Bay Finns do to their pancakes, but they’re so filling, yet so delicious that you can’t stop eating them, and by that point you’re too full to even think about your bacon and toast and home fries. Then suddenly the character I was writing about became obsessed with finishing The Big Viking. I basically wrote an entire short story around it.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

AJ:

Driving Men Mad – Elise Levine
The Broken Record Technique – Lee Henderson
Open – Lisa Moore

I like short stories.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

AJ:

My laptop, some headphones and a cup of coffee.

OBT:

William Faulkner was once asked what book he wished he had written; he chose Moby-Dick (with Winnie-the-Pooh as a close second). Is there a book that you wish you had written?

AJ:

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe. It’s about pirates. And it has an exclamation point in the title. And it operates on the supposition that above all, reading should be fun.

I also wish I had invented Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus.

OBT:

Is there a book that you think you should have read by now but haven’t?

AJ:

Many. Hundreds, probably. If I had to pick one, probably Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender. I claim she is my favourite short story writer, and yet I’ve never read her second collection of stories. I’m scared to, actually. I just loved The Girl in the Flammable Skirt so much, and what if I don’t love this one enough? I think my world would crumble.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

AJ:

My Life in Heavy Metal by Steve Almond.

OBT:

Do you have a specific readership in mind when you write?

AJ:

Honestly, I write mainly for myself. Luckily I seem to have some obsessions in common with other people.

OBT:

What are you working on right now?

AJ:

A collection of linked short stories about a fictional subdivision in Halifax called Cherry Tree Hill.

OBT:

Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get published?

AJ:

Keep writing, keep reading, keep sending stuff out. Just keep doing it. Be tenacious; don’t be stopped by logic, natural disasters, ridicule from friends and family or constant rejection. If it’s what you really want, then it’s worth it.

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