Zsuzsi Gartner, "Laplanders"

It's December 7. Zsuzsi Gartner, author of Better Living Through Plastic Explosives and editor of Darwin's Bastards, hopes you will remember to use correct postage.

How would you describe your story?

ZSUZSI GARTNER: "Laplanders" (working title: "Ich bin ein Laplander") is an epic love story spanning three continents in 3,350 words. I'm waiting for Brad Pitt's production company to come knocking!

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

ZG: I wrote the story a couple of years ago during my "analog year" (off all things digital), so the writing process was distinctly different. The many drafts of "Laplanders" were composed entirely on a cherry red circa-1961 IBM Selectric (and a bit by hand). As a result, I think it (and the rest of the fiction I wrote during that time) are tonally different from my previous work—perhaps a bit less manic, fewer rogue-elephantine sentences.

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

ZG: Vibrancy, a sense of necessity, some humour, and a passion for the sentence as a technology.

Did this story require any research?

ZG: I had been to China a few months before—which is what inspired the story—but I lightly researched the Helsinki and Swedish elements (using good old-fashioned books, but when I couldn't find a description or photo of Nokia Headquarters in any book or magazine, I had to cheat and call on Mr. Google). I have an obsession with Finland—it's on my bucket list—but the Helsinki in the story is more my fairytale version of the place than the real city and environs.

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

ZG: I'm terrible about updating my website—I'm an analog girl at heart—but for what it's worth: www.zsuzsigartner.com.

What's on your Christmas list this year?

ZG: I never make lists because I love being surprised. So looking forward to cracking open stories from the calendar every day in December.

Michael Hingston