5: Jason Lee Norman, "Americas"

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.

  1. I want a short story machine like the one they have in France. 
  2. I want people to buy copies of the book I published this year called 40 Below Volume 2. That would make me extremely happy.