I am so proud to have Toni Kelner here today celebrating her contribution to the incredible Shattering Glass anthology, (available here from your local indie) the first Nasty Woman Press book and a fantastic collection of stories, essays, interviews, and more. The book proceeds go to Planned Parenthood, but you’ll want it because it’s got such great reading. So without further ado… Toni!
Tell us about your book!
I’m going to go with “Tell us about your story!” because that’s what I’m here for. I have a story in the forthcoming Shattering Glass.
“Nasty” is too short a story go give many details about it without spoiling it, but I can say it includes a cigarette dispenser like this one. You’d wind it up, and it would play music and a dog would pop up and hand you a cigarette. My grandparents had one just like it for as long as I can remember, and I thought it was the coolest thing.
Looking back, I realize “Nasty” is oddly appropriate for this anthology because of how it was written. It started as an experiment in flash fiction for a particular market. After I wrote the story, I found out the market wasn’t going to work. (Note to myself: investigate markets more thoroughly before writing for them.) I put the story aside for a while, then edited it and sent it to my beta readers for comments. I rewrote again in response to the comments, but it still wasn’t coming to life. Finally I heard about Shattering Glass and Nasty Woman Press, and the name Nasty got stuck in my head. That’s I was able to go back to the story and make it work.
This kind of parallels the messages from Nasty Woman Press. First, this organization and this anthology are grand experiments, a reminder that we should always try new things. Second, there is no piece of writing that can’t be improved by input and suggestions from other writers. Third, patience is important for anything worthwhile.
Are you working on anything now? Is your process or routine different?
Ha ha ha ha ha! Process? Now? What process?
Count me as one of those who has had a really difficult time writing in the time of Covid-19. The ambient stress has done me in. But only temporarily. As the world comes to some sort of normality, I feel sure my writing will, too. Which means writing into the wee hours of the night, when it’s nice and quiet. At that time, I will be working on the first book of a proposed new series. It’s a kind of caper set among high school parents. Count me as one of those who has had a really difficult time writing in the time of Covid-19. The ambient stress has done me in. But only temporarily. As the world comes to some sort of normality, I feel sure my writing will, too. Which means writing into the wee hours of the night, when it’s nice and quiet. At that time, I will be working on the first book of a proposed new series. It’s a kind of caper set among high school parents.
Do you think your writing will be changed by this crisis?
Which crisis? This has been the year of crises! Since I think everything I go through somehow filters into my writing—sometimes intentionally, often not—I assume this will, too, but I don’t know how.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we’re free to be social again?
I have three “first” things. I want to eat out at the Border Cafe, my favorite restaurant; visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; and go to a bookstore and browse for hours!
I will see you in the fiction aisle!
Illustration courtesy of Toni’s daughter, Maggie Kelner. Find her at dappercap.net