It's December 21. Russell Smith, author of Confidence and Girl Crazy, putzes around his garage in search of nothing in particular.
How would you describe your story?
RUSSELL SMITH: An unhappily married man fends off an attack of raccoons on his house while fielding threatening phone calls from an unhinged ex-lover.
When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work?
RS: I never understand process questions. The process is always the same: I get an idea for a story and then I sit in front of the computer and I write it down. Is there ever another answer?
What, for you, are the essential elements of a good short story?
RS: A story must show a change taking place.
Did this story require any research?
RS: Most of my stories are inspired by anecdotes—things that have happened to me and my friends. I did have a serious raccoon infestation in my house once, and I did once have to placate a furious ex-girlfriend who wanted our sex tapes back. But the two did not coincide in real life.
Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
RS: I have recent news and reviews up on my website, russellsmith.ca, and I have a Wikipedia entry with a bio. And you can read me every Thursday in the Globe and Mail.
What's on your Christmas list this year?
RS: For Christmas I want peace in my troubled family.