THREE QUESTIONS WITH TNAE WILCOX

There was a brief exchange between me and a friend a couple of weeks ago about my collection, The Missing Loved Ones. We were trying to do an audio interview but it just didn't work out, so I'm just going to post it here.

Q: You have a short story collection. Tell me a little bit about it, and why you chose to title it The Missing Loved Ones.

A: The Missing Loved Ones is a work of speculative fiction. It includes the last 3 short stories I’ve published, plus 4 shorter stories that are new. I chose the title because it was a common theme. It’s not necessarily someone not being there physically, except for in 2 of the stories. In He’s You the son was dying and the parents found an unnatural way of dealing with the pain, because they didn’t want to miss him.

In the other stories though, for example, The Prankster in the Box, it was the brother who was a completely different person than the sister remembered. In The Gift, it was both wife and husband who’d gone missing. It’s about waking one day and realizing that someone you love is (or close to being) someone else. Unrecognizable in some cases.

Q: Which story is your favorite?

A: It’s hard to just pick one. I love The Gift because it’s about marriage and I’m married, so I can relate. Then there’s He’s You, which I think might be unpopular with readers, but I liked it because it’s about this little boy who comes home from a miraculous recovery and finds out that he’s not done fighting yet.

I’ll choose the story Safe Word, that’s the bonus story and has nothing to do with the title at all. It just touches on a subject I’m passionate about, which is bullying.

Q: Some might say your writing can be sparse. What do you have to say about it?

A: I’d say it’s true. It can be a bit bare and I am working on it, but my main focus is telling a good story. That’s #1 priority. I’ve added more poetry to my reading list so that it can show up in my writing but I’ll never have ‘purple-y prose’. It’s just not my style. Books that take a whole paragraph to describe a tree in the yard isn’t my first choice to read so of course I don’t write that way. I’m a fan of sentences that aren’t complicated.

I wish someone in Hollywood would ask me for a list of book I’d like adapted to the screen because there are so many books with good premises but reading them feels like doing hard math on every line. You won’t get that from me.