23: Kevin Wilson, "The Pigeon Cove Festival of Lights"

It's December 23. Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang, says he isn't competitive, but how do you explain that glimmer in his eye?

How would you describe your story?

KEVIN WILSON: I try to place magical realism in any story idea that will allow it. So this is a kind of magical realist Christmas story. And because I can't get over my adolescence, there's some coming-of-age weirdness in there, too.

When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work?

KW: I wrote this story just after college, when I was still trying to figure out if I was decent enough at writing to keep trying. It came really fast, which is how most of my short stories come to me. I usually write the first draft in a few days, and then I have the sickening realization that it's going to take months and months of revision to get it to actually work. So I played around with it from time to time, trying to figure out how much I could brighten the lights in the story without overwhelming the rest of the narrative. Eventually I just decided to push it as far as I could, ruination be damned, and it finally came together.

What, for you, are the essential elements of a good short story?

KW: Magic and grace. I don't need wizards and I don't need a happy ending, necessarily, but I want the slight reordering of things in an interesting way and a moment where the world comes into focus. 

Did this story require any research?

KW: I tried to research holiday light arrangements, and I think I looked up some information on power grids and how it might work, but then I gave up, and I felt so much happier once I stopped trying to research it. Then the story could get messy in a way that I needed.

Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?

KW: I have a website, Kevin Wilson - Official Website of the author Kevin Wilson (lots of other Kevin Wilsons got domain names before I did).

What's on your Christmas list this year?

KW: This cap from Kiriko in Portland, Oregon. I have an unhealthy need for baseball caps.