So I recently read “X” by Jack Croxall which was wonderful (Review to follow plus a Q&A with Jack) and it got me thinking about short stories in general. Stephen King once described it as a “dying art” but both he and Jack have proved that just aint so. Not all authors, even the best of them, can write a great short story – but if you hunt around you can find a plethora of excellent tales to keep you happy in the odd reading moment when you don’t have the time or the inclination to start a full length novel. Look out at the end of this piece for a few of my favourite collections of short stories – you might find something there to peak your interest. I know that we will have more lengthy tales from Jack set in the world of X at some point – but I hope I have been persuasive in talking him into doing more shorts – perhaps even a whole collection. Hey, hard taskmaster here… Anyway here is what Jack had to tell me about the writing of X amongst other things.
X is a terrifically emotional story. What gave you the idea?
I’d been mulling X over in my mind throughout most of early 2013. The reason I suddenly veered forwards with writing the story was because I finally worked out the theme, and, with it, X’s real plight. Before that all I really had was a setting and a character; nothing to tie them together in any meaningful way.
Was it difficult to write from a female point of view?
I really thought it would be a nightmare at first, but it in the end it wasn’t too difficult! I think X has a lot of me in her, so I only had to tinker with her thoughts once I’d written them down. On top of that another author, the lovely Sharon Sant, helped me with a couple of bits where X wasn’t acting like a teenage girl stereotypically would – those tended to be the bits where I’d written too much of myself in and I was not a particularly mature teenager!
Have you considered writing a full length novel set in this world?
I’m writing one right now! It’s called Wye and, just like X, it’s written in journal format. I don’t really want to reveal too much at the moment because I’m not that far into it, but I will just say that it’s set about a year after the events of X.
Author whose books you would cross oceans to read?
Philip Pullman – when he finally releases The Book of Dust I will be checking out of planet earth until I’ve read it at least twice.
Favourite comfort food?
I love chocolate! Chocolate cakes, brownies, bars, milkshake, cookies, hot chocolate – preferably all at once!
3 people alive or dead you would love to go for a drink with?
That is a seriously tough question. I would definitely choose David Attenborough as one because he influenced my life like no other figure has. I would also love to chat to Agatha Christie about her books and ask her some of the millions of Poirot questions I have. Finally, a bit indulgent of me, but I really fancy Emma Watson and I reckon if I took her out for a drink I might just be in with a chance. Or not …
Fifteen-year-old X thinks she is going to die. Shacked up in the cellar of an old farmhouse, she starts a journal to document her last few days. Much less than a few days if the things outside manage to get in.
So last night I settled down to FINALLY get around to “X”, a short story from Jack Croxall, author of the rather wonderful “Tethers”.
Written in the form of a diary “X” describes her day to day existence in a world that is radically different from the one she knew before – where every day is a fight for survival. Haunting and atmospheric it pulls you along for a short but compelling tale of a few days in the life of….
X. Whose name we never know. Who’s family we will never meet except in her poignant and touching memories…and who is not long for this earth. Her own realisation of that is one thing that makes this story as fascinating as it is.
I loved it. I half wish it was a full length novel whilst realising that it would not pack the same punch if it was. As it is this is a luminous, captivating tale and perfect for giving you one of those reading “moments”
Find out more here: http://jackcroxall.co.uk/
Follow Jack on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/JackCroxall
Purchase Info clickety click : http://www.amazon.co.uk/X-ebook/dp/B00EYMXTJ4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380869048&sr=1-1&keywords=x+jack+croxall
My Favourite Collections
Happy Reading Folks!