A conversation with author Tobias Carroll at Vol. 1 Brooklyn

We talk books and writing weird things set in fictional towns.

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“Earlier this year, I read with Leland Cheuk at BookCourt shortly after we’d published a story of his at Vol.1 Brooklyn. Over the course of the year, I ended up reading his two books: The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong, a dark comedy about a man’s complex relationship with his morally dubious, politically successful father; and Letters From Dinosaurs, a collection of fiction ranging from corporate satire to descriptions of life in a harrowing near future. In late October, Cheuk and I sat down at Pete’s Candy Store to discuss his work and his future literary plans. A few weeks after our conversation, Cheuk announced the creation of a new press, 7.13 Books, with plans to release their first titles in 2017.” 

Read the conversation here.

On the 2008 financial meltdown, fantasy baseball, and LETTERS FROM DINOSAURS at Necessary Fiction

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“It was the end of 2008 when I started writing short stories in earnest. The Great Recession had just begun, caused by the world’s largest banks playing with money it had loaned to people they knew couldn’t pay back. Bernie Madoff had just pled guilty to operating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, robbing thousands of their retirement savings. I was working in middle management as a corporate marketer, after graduating from the top undergraduate business program in the country. Many of my friends were shuttling off to top MBA schools that would ensure them six-figure-and-above salaries, while the rest of the world suffered. I was one of the fortunate, a man in a suit traveling the world, dining in the nicest restaurants on a corporate expense account, enjoying “off-sites” in places like Chamonix, Singapore, and Hong Kong.”

Read the rest here.

A nice review of LETTERS FROM DINOSAURS from TLR

“Some of the stories in Leland Cheuk’s new collection rank among the best I’ve read this year.”

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A great review of LETTERS FROM DINOSAURS over at Tahoma Literary Review:

“Some of the stories in Leland Cheuk’s new collection rank among the best I’ve read this year. The book opens with “A Letter From Your Dinosaur,” which ran in our premier issue in 2014, and reminded me of just how much I loved that flash fiction. The imagination behind “First Person Shooter” and the speculative “1776” make them engrossing reads.”

Read the rest here.

Craft essay on short short stories over at SmokeLong Quarterly

On using epistolary forms and bullet points in flash fiction.

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Choosing the Shortest Story Forms

Until recent years, I wrote only novels, thinking of them as the ultimate literary art form—the home run. I didn’t feel at all comfortable with the short form. How could I possibly fit my grand and unforgettable themes, my many profundities in a few thousand words? Invariably, I’d start each short story with a novelesque first scene that was four or five pages long—well beyond the typical word count of flash fiction. In the last few years, thanks to so many literary journals moving online, the conventional short story form has become even shorter. I found myself with 6,000-word stories with few places to send them, so I started writing more flash in the hopes of publishing more often. At first, it was difficult squeezing full scenes into a line or two. But with practice and a little trickery, I began to churn out 1,000-2,000-word pieces that felt whole. Several of these flash stories made it into my recently released collection Letters from Dinosaurs. To keep my word counts down, I chose story forms that had inherent word-count limits.

Read the rest here.