Rebecca Rosenblum, "The First Day of Winter"


It's December 21. Rebecca Rosenblum, author of So Much Love, always takes a free sample.

How would you describe your story?

REBECCA ROSENBLUM: Like most of what I write, it’s character-focused and talky. A guy takes his tween daughter Christmas shopping when she doesn’t really want to, and then they go get burgers. Not exactly riveting in terms of event, but Joe and Colleen have such an interesting, intense dynamic that everything they decide—whether to go eat, where to eat, what to eat, even how to cross the street—reveals more of their relationship. I really like these characters and hope readers will, too, at least a little.

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

RR: I wrote it right after I finished the very long and intense editorial process on my very dark and intense novel, So Much Love. Though I am so proud of that novel and thrilled with how much my editor Anita Chong and I were able make it gel through extensive revisions, it was a very long and taxing process. This story, though hardly sunshine and puppies, was relatively easy to write and focused on some of my favourite topics to write about: food, sex, and bickering.

What kind of research went into this story?

RR: Almost no research on this one, I’m afraid. The place where they go to eat is loosely based on one I went to in Toronto, and I do regularly eavesdrop on kids around Colleen’s age to keep my ear tuned, but that’s about it.

What, to you, makes the short story a special form? What can it do that other kinds of writing can't?

RR: Oh, I do love short stories. Concentration of form leads to concentration of focus—you can look hard and quick, and give a reader this brief but intense look at the characters. I have used the metaphor of the spotlight before, a bright but limited illumination. You don’t get bogged down in backstory and logistics and what everyone’s doing next. I love that.

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


What's the best gift you've ever been given?

RR: When my husband and I met, we each owned only one nightstand—our first Christmas together, he got me a second one.

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Michael Hingston