I retold the story of Esther so that beauty and obedience weren’t her most important characteristics. I was inspired by looking at paintings of Anne Boleyn and reading descriptions of Cleopatra (as well as looking at pictures of the coins that feature her). While these women are widely believed to have been gorgeous, they were not actually pictures of traditional physical perfection. Their personalities, including both wit and charm, are what I believe accounted for much of their attractiveness. We have continued to mythologize their beauty as an explanation for their success (however short-lived it was for Anne Boleyn), instead of focusing on their intellects. – See more at: http://lilith.org/blog/2016/03/rebecca-kanner-retells-the-biblical-story-of-esther-in-her-new-novel/#sthash.CQTCkbUd.dpuf
What I love most about the short story is that you can do things that you can’t in a novel. Especially the short-short.
Italo Calvino’s “All At One Point,” is one of my favorites. Who would read a whole novel about the fact that all matter and creation used to exist in a single point? But a book of linked stories that each takes a scientific fact and builds an imaginative story around it? Sign me up.
While the story is short it must go to great lengths to make itself important. It doesn’t have time for the conventions of the novel—there aren’t pages enough to make the reader fall head over heels in love with the characters. Instead the language, the ideas, the plot of the short story have to dazzle, and quickly. Urgently. The short story is an affair, a quick fling, a one-night stand. The short story dwells in the biggest of all worlds, that of possibility.
As anyone who has looked at my facebook author page over the last month can see, I’ve had a ton of support and a lot of fun since SINNERS AND THE SEA was published one month ago, on April 2nd. Still, I’m always looking for ways to improve. Here are a few I’ve found so far:
1. When doing a Q&A with over 100 people in the audience, repeat questions before answering them. A couple of people gave me this advice after my Magers & Quinn reading.
2. When at a book fair, bring something of interest for people to look at. At the St. Peter Book Festival, there were lots of authors. I took the organizer’s advice and brought candy. But bringing a large picture of the ark found on Mt. Ararat would have been good too.
3. Have someone write peoples’ names down before signing their books. I feel bad having to ask someone how to spell their name when I’ve known them for years and I don’t want to mess up anyone’s book. I’ll probably be adding to this list in the future. Stay tuned!