Editor’s Choice Week: An Interview With Josh Denslow

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The story from this week’s submissions will be selected by a member of our editorial staff. All stories submitted October 8-14 will be read by Josh Denslow.

Josh Denslow has been an editor at SmokeLong since 2012. In that time he’s read thousands of stories for SmokeLong and still found time to make three sons. We know his plate is Thanksgiving-dinner full, so we feel very fortunate to have his valuable feedback and to call him one of our own. Look for his short story collection, Not Everyone is Special, in the not-too-distant future from 7.13 Books.

We asked him a few questions, and here are his replies:

Themes, topics, or styles I’m drawn to:

I like to be immersed in a totally believable world and then something happens that makes me question reality. Give me a talking chinchilla at a funeral and we’ll be best friends.

Dealbreakers in flash:

I don’t know if there are any dealbreakers. But I know things I’m not that in to. Like a murderer plotting a murder. Or stories that are almost entirely dialogue. Or the slow, wasting death of an elderly parent.

A flash story I LOVE:

I love the story “Recess” by our previous Fish Fellow Adam Peterson. It’s about how recess is canceled after a boy is found murdered on school property and it has this line in it: “It seemed unfair to teach us about mortality then not let us live.”

A flash I’ve written:

A flash I’ve written: I’ve been working on a series of thematically-linked pieces that I hope to put into a collection. Many of them are flash or flash-adjacent and I think one that really sums it up was over at Catapult in May. It’s called Where the Magic Is.

About the Reader:

Josh Denslow’s debut collection, Not Everyone Is Special, will be published in 2019 by 7.13 Books. His recent stories have appeared in Catapult, Pithead Chapel, wigleaf, BULL, Bending Genres, apt, and Split Lip. He plays the drums in the band Borrisokane and spends a lot of time eating pizza with his three boys.