Interview with Janice Tuck Lively

Janice Tuck Lively

This interview with Janice Tuck Lively was conducted during the Spring of 2017 by Jet Fuel Review Editor Bree Scott. 

Janice Tuck Lively was a visiting author at Lewis University in March 2017, alongside poet Elizabeth Powell. She read an excerpt from a story she had been working on at the time, including an emotionally intense passage about a mother supporting her child through childbirth.

I had the chance to catch up with Lively after the reading — I took a class of hers for one semester at Elmhurst College before transferring to Lewis University. To say that she had a hand increasing my interest in micro-fiction is an understatement, as I had strictly been a poet before meeting her for the first time.

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Sabrina’s Book Corner: Identity Confusion

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Hello, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner! This week we are going to be discussing The Remedy by Suzanne Young.

The Remedy tells the story of Quinlan McKee. Quinlan is a closer, which means she works closely with grief therapists to help families struggling with the death of a loved one. Closers have the responsibility of easing families’ grief by briefly “becoming” their deceased loved one.

Closers are not perfect copies of the deceased loved on, but they wear the deceased’s clothes, change their hair accordingly, and study the deceased person’s personality so they can “become” them and give the families the chance to say goodbye.

Quinlan has been a closer since she was seven years old. Now, at seventeen, she is having difficuly distinguishing between her memories and the memories of those she has portrayed.

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Sabrina’s Book Corner: Night Life

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Hello, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner! This week we are going to be discussing Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

Along for the Ride tells the story of Auden West. Ever since Auden’s parents divorced when she was little, she has been an insomniac. It sounds bad, but never sleeping has its advantages, such as extra study time.

When her parents divorced, Auden threw herself into academics and became a mini-adult so that she would not cause her parents any trouble. Auden doesn’t mind that she seems to have missed out on all the joys of childhood, since she has her outstanding academic record and scholarship to college. Now, all Auden has to figure out is what she is going to do with her summer.

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Sabrina’s Book Corner: What You Thought Was True

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http://amzn.to/2mdq66g

Hello readers, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner! This week we are going to be discussing The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen.

Lindsey is on the verge of getting everything she wants. She is about to be named vice president at her marketing firm, something she has worked endless hours and suffered countless migraines to achieve. Lindsey’s hardworking attitude stems from comparisons to her utterly beautiful twin sister Alex.

Alex is a model, and she has everything she could possible want out of life. Since Alex seems to so easily get what she wants, Lindsey has always worked twice as hard to get the upper hand. But just as she is about to step out of her sister’s shadow, disaster strikes.

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Sabrina’s Book Corner: Twisted

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http://amzn.to/2kRdoXf

Hello readers, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner. This week we are going to be discussing Spelled by Betsy Schow.

Spelled, like so many recent books, is a new twist on an old tale. Everyone knows the story of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, but the Dorothy found in Spelled has never known Kansas. Schow takes the well-known story and twists it into something we’ve never seen before. This concept is very popular in the YA genre at the moment, and Schow weaves her magic (pun intended) extremely well in her retelling of The Wizard of Oz.

Dorthea (or Dot to her friends) has everything she wants out of life — except for the ability to leave home. Sure, being the Emerald Princess has its perks, including extravagant ball gowns made by Glenda, but along with the royal title comes the royal curse. The curse states that one day a girl from the Emerald line will turn evil and leave Emerald to burn. Dot might not be the cursed Emerald, but she’ll never leave the castle just to be on the safe side. However, this is a problem for Dot, because all she wants is freedom.

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“Four Points and a Necklace” by Sharon Houk

Sharon Houk
Sharon Houk

An introductory note on the story “Four Points and a Necklace” by Sharon Houk

For me, the genre of flash fiction is a delicious combination of poetry and storytelling. In China, this type of miniature story is called “smoke long,” meaning you can read it in the same amount of time it takes to smoke a cigarette. You can’t waste time. Every word counts. It reaches beyond itself.

“Four Points and a Necklace” was inspired by an x-ray. I was told to get dressed after four injections were fluoroscopically guided into my neck vertebrae, but instead I snapped a photo of the image remaining on the monitor. My neck: with four points and a necklace. Inspiration can come from anywhere: a picture, a phrase, a hat. Frankly, I have about five lifetimes of inspiration already backlogged. I’m never at a loss when I need a catalyst for writing.

The image that inspired "Four Points and a Necklace"
The image that inspired “Four Points and a Necklace”

The thing that tips inspiration into an actual piece of writing is some problem. I never write just to write. I write to solve problems. I write to understand something that is, for me, just beyond language. I mix fiction and experience and comedy and I don’t stop until I’ve said, “That’s it!” That was the thing. That thing. And sometimes other people find it entertaining, too, and all in the time it takes them to smoke a cigarette.

Sharon Houk is Adjunct Faculty in the department of Math & Computer Science.

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