Web Feature

SHANE JONES
in conversation with BENNINGTON REVIEW

 

COLIN POWERS

How did "The Car Party" begin as a story for you? Did you start with characters? With the new car? With a particular image?

SHANE JONES

I bought a new car.

COLIN POWERS

Many of the darkest and most disturbing moments in "The Car Party" are also laugh-out-loud funny, the humor often heightened through deadpan delivery. Is there any inherent risk in being a funny writer? Can you talk a little about humor in your writing?

SHANE JONES

There's a risk if people think, "Oh, he's being funny" as opposed to "This story is funny." I dislike feeling the author planting a joke. That's embarrassing. As far as humor in my own writing, most of it stems from witnessing how humans interact, so I guess it's not so funny. I like when a story is both sad and funny.

COLIN POWERS

Can you talk about the effect geography and environment have on you as a writer? Is Albany, where you reside, good for your fiction? Has it had an effect on your work?

SHANE JONES

I'm sure it has had some effect, but I can't say how or why exactly. I'm not sure Albany is good or bad for my fiction. That's a difficult question. I think with my first novel, Light Boxes, that the long winter, the month of February, played a significant part. I don't think if I lived in Los Angeles I would have written that novel.

COLIN POWERS

The scenario at work in "The Car Party" is more realist than the conceits animating your novels. Are you moving away from fabulism?

SHANE JONES

In early 2015, I made a deliberate decision to write short fiction marked by a different style. I've never worked seriously on short fiction before because I was consistently working on novels with imaginary "high concepts" with their own world building and internal logic. This story style is more realistic, personal, less image-based, and incorporates short sentences with a deadpan tone. I've been very conscious and detailed about how I approach the short stories with this new style. I have a list of elements, tools, that I look at when doing the stories. It's written on pink paper.

COLIN POWERS

In an interview with The Rumpus two years ago, and in several other interviews from around the same time, you said that you had no writing projects in store for the future, that you were feeling empty after finishing your most recent book, Crystal Eaters. How are you feeling now, two years on? Have you been writing more short fiction recently? Are you at work on a collection of stories?

SHANE JONES

Still empty.


SHANE JONES is the author of the novels Light Boxes, Daniel Fights A Hurricane, and Crystal Eaters. He lives in Albany, New York. 


COLIN POWERS is an editorial assistant at Bennington Review



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