Elephant, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Elephant?
JIM BRESLIN: Elephant is a collection of twenty-one short stories and flash fiction that explores the soul of suburbia; the disenfranchised and the desperate. These are stories that I hope will remind readers of people in their neighborhood, or perhaps even themselves, in those quirky and sad moments of life. These are stories about marriage, familial responsibility, love, sex and death. There is some black comedy to these stories as well.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
JIM BRESLIN: Most of my characters start with a flash of a predicament and I see how far I can take the idea. In these stories, the characters are really developed by the torture I put them through. No pain, no gain. Ha! I’m not one to write a lot of flashy descriptions about my characters but I do want their struggles to be identifiable with the reader.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
JIM BRESLIN: I think about this often—I’m trying to connect with readers who enjoy short literary fiction but are also willing to try a writer from outside the mainstream publishing world. My stories are not for everyone—they have moments of darkness. I think my ideal reader probably is the same type of person who likes movies such as American Beauty, Little Miss Sunshine, The Graduate, and/or Blue Velvet. Those are the types of stories that inspire me.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
JIM BRESLIN: In grade school, I was the kid who read every day on the bus. I remember reading the book Alive! and asking the bus driver what the word castrated meant. He looked in the mirror and said, "What are you reading kid?”
In college, I focused on television production and journalism. I remember the first day of Creative Writing class at Kutztown University, my professor, the poet Harry Hume, came in and read Raymond Carver’s “Why Don’t You Dance?” This changed my life.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
JIM BRESLIN: I write every morning for approximately three hours. I will sometimes return late in the afternoon for another hour or so if my family time permits. I have to force myself to focus on one piece to get it done. I have three novels drafted and a few dozen more short stories that are in development. I often float around from one to another.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
JIM BRESLIN: Raymond Carver, Lydia Davis, Flannery O’Connor, Larry Brown, Charles Bukowski, Ernest Hemingway, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Donald Ray Pollock, Tobias Wolff, Anton Checkhov, John Cheever.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
JIM BRESLIN: I read The World According to Garp when I was in high school and I remember how floored I was. TS Garp was just an amazing character at that point in my life.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
JIM BRESLIN: I am very active on Twitter under @jimbrez and very interested in connecting with other writers, particularly those interested in literary fiction and short stories. I’m just reaching out to book review blogs now. Most seem to be focused on specific genres. Short Stories is such a niche. If anyone knows of short story blogs, I’d love to hear about them.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
JIM BRESLIN: I’ve been following the publishing NY publishing world on Twitter for the past few years and the trend is clear. Ebooks are the wave of the future. Although still a small part of overall publishing today (in 2011) ebooks are growing so quickly. This provides an opportunity for outsiders to publish. I grew up listening to punk bands who had a great DIY ethos and I see this wave of writers having the same attitude. It’s refreshing.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
JIM BRESLIN: First—revise, revise, revise. It is all about the writing. Don’t publish until it’s been vetted by critique groups and you’ve listened to their feedback. I belong to four critique groups and they have been invaluable in helping me evaluate my stories. Two—invest in a professional editor to line edit your manuscript. This is a painstaking process but necessary. Third—use a seasoned graphic designer for your cover and study cover design aesthetics.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For seventeen years, Jim worked to maintain peace and love between celebrities, hosts, viewers and the production crew at electronic retailer QVC. He held various positions such as: Director of Live Production, Managing Producer and Line Producer. Jim was also a news producer for three years, producing live shows from the Reagan/Gorbachev Summit and the 1988 Republican Convention.
Jim lives in West Chester, PA with is his wife and two sons.
Visit his website and follow him on twitter.
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