jackswensonhellowallscover-1Jack Swenson has long admired the beauty and power of miniature fiction. Writing flash is a labor of love in his opinion. His scribblings have appeared in many online and print journals including Ghoti, Wigleaf, Metazen, Staccato, and Pindeldyboz. Hello Walls, a book of his best stories, is now in print.

Q (Meg Pokrass): When in your life, Jack, did short story writing become a passion?

Twice. I ran smack dab into the work of some fine writers when I was an undergrad. I loved the short-short pieces of Isaac Babel and the poet William Carlos Williams. Make Light of It is the title of WCW’s book of stories. Great stuff. More recently I came upon Raymond Carver’s work, and, well, that was the second time lightning struck. The passion smoldered for about ten years and then burst into flame.  I’ve written hundreds of stories in the past two or three years.

What short story writers inspire you?

In addition to the above, I would have to make a long list of folks who write flash and micro fiction. Somebody named Pokrass comes to mind. Also Jeff Landon, Kathy Fish, Susan Tepper, and many others.

What are your favorite short stories or story collections of all time?

Make Light of It, The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel, The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, Where I’m Calling From (Carver), Mark Twain’s Short Stories, The Portable Chekhov. And that’s just the short list.

What do you want to do next? What are you working on?

I’m currently acting on a suggestion by Susan Tepper and organizing a number of my stories into four books in which the stories are arranged chronologically. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this myself, but I didn’t. Heretofore in my self-published books, I used alpha order, which more or less isolates each story. That doesn’t bother me, but I suspect it creates difficulties for reader.

Tell us about Hello Walls.

Hello Walls is a self-published book, a big fat collection of what I judged were my best stories at the time. Since I’ve written more, but Hello Walls contains many of my favorites.

How has the internet effected your reach as an author?

Oh, my gosh, Fictionaut has changed my life. I have “met” so many fine writers, not just prose writers but poets as well.  It’s such fun and so useful to get the feedback, not to mention a chance to shoot the breeze with “real” writers, people who know their stuff. Veterans reach out to rookies on the site and take them under their wings. The outreach is an amazing and beautiful thing. Yours truly exchanging messages with Meg Pokrass and Sam Rasnake and Kathy Fish? In-effing-credible!

The Fictionaut Five is our ongoing series of interviews with Fictionaut authors. Every Wednesday, Meg Pokrass asks a writer five (or more) questions. Meg is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly, and her stories and poems have been published widely. She blogs at

  1. Sheldon Lee Compton

    Great interview (love the title Hello Walls, too.) Thanks Jack and Meg.

  2. Jack Swenson

    Meg, I’m speechless. I can’t thank you enough!!

  3. susan

    A well-deserved spotlight on a writer who truly bridges the gap in literary evolution to bring story and contemporary focus together. Well done.

  4. Kathy Fish

    Jack is so prolific and extremely nice. Great interview.

  5. Marcelle Heath

    Great interview! Jack’s a great, great writer!

  6. Ajay Nair

    Great stuff, Jack.

  7. CRB

    Great interview. I love Jack’s writing, and he’s one of the most gracious writers I’ve encountered.

  8. Larry Strattner

    You had it coming, Jack.

  9. Danielle


    Just thought you’d like to know that your interview/review has been plagiarised.

    By this site:

    It sucks, I know. They did the same thing to me.

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