Thursday, December 8, 2011

Q&A with J. Caleb Winters, a new Fiction Reader here at Our Stories

J. Caleb Winters has work published or forthcoming in Camera Obscura, the HumanistGulf Stream, and Fiction Writers Review, and an interview with him can be found at Dark Sky Magazine. He earned his MFA in Fiction Writing from Boise State University and was Assistant Editor of the Idaho Review. He teaches Humanities at West Virginia University.

Besides teaching, J. Caleb Winters has worked as an apprentice electrician, a landscaper, a framing carpenter, and a house-painter, and he officiated three marriages during his time as a minister. He occasionally travels to Greece and frequently travels to Idaho. Along with Literary Fiction, he is deeply interested in Hellenistic Philosophy. 
Here's a Q & A we had with J. Caleb Winters. Enjoy!

OS: Could you tell everyone a little about your writing process? When, if ever, is a draft "done"?

J. Caleb Winters:  I tend to write in bursts--an hour here or there, and I find that if I'm diciplined enough to take advantage of my "free" time, I can get quite a bit of writing done.  I revise the same story over and over until I feel like it's done.  Then, I put that draft aside for a few months, so I can look at it again, with fresh eyes.  Issues with the story, that I couldn't see before, tend to become apparent to me if I give myself that distance from my work.  I repeat the process of revision and storing the draft away, and when I can return to a story, after months of not reading it, and the story doesn't reveal any flaws, then I start to get excited, because the story is getting close to "done."


: Could you share some thoughts about what you tend to look for in a work of fiction?

J. Caleb Winters:  I love stories that take risks--that fight against expectations and knock readers out of their comfort zones.  In a story, this can be accomplished in many ways.  Beautiful language, stylized dialogue, or an imaginative plot structure are all examples of ways a story can push boundaries.


OS: What's next for you and your writing?

J. Caleb Winters:  I'm begining to experiment with shorter peices.  I've been really influenced by Airships by Barry Hannah, and I love many of the shorter peices in that collection and how "big" they feel.  At the same time, I'm also expanding and pushing myself by working through the first draft of my novel.  It's a story about an absentee dad who falls in love with a married woman, whose husband is dying of liver disease.

Thanks for the interview. We're happy to have another dedicated writer here at Our Stories.

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