It's December 5. Jason Lee Norman, author of Americas and publisher of the 40 Below anthologies, remembers the old days when you could travel just by folding a map.
How would you describe your story?
JASON LEE NORMAN: My story is actually made up of a few tiny stories. Each takes place in a Central American country. They're supposed to act like a tiny tour or history of each nation that may or may not be that accurate at all. These stories are taken from a larger work called Americas that had a story for each country in the Americas.
When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work?
JLN: I wrote this a few years ago. The writing process was quite similar to what I was writing at the time. I would take historical fact and mix it with pure nonsense. I wrote all the stories for the book in a very short period of time. I wanted it to feel like a real travelogue that was written in one big voyage.
What, for you, are the essential elements of a good short story?
JLN: I don't even know where to begin. For me, I think that the fact it is a short story means that it already has the potential to be something unique. A short story is a great place for experimentation and risk in storytelling. A great short story can take a banal situation and put it under a microscope and unveil some humour or mystery that one wouldn't normally see.
Did this story require any research? If so, what?
JLN: This story did require research. I researched the history of each country in the book and I would take some morsel from that history and mutate it into fiction. Every story has a kernel of truth at its centre. I love Wikipedia.
Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
JLN: They can go to jasonleenorman.com and if they email me I will send them a fake Yelp review of their favourite restaurant.
What's on your Christmas list this year?
JLN: For Christmas I really only want two things. I know that it's selfish but you asked.
- I want a short story machine like the one they have in France.
- I want people to buy copies of the book I published this year called 40 Below Volume 2. That would make me extremely happy.