The Chills at Will Podcast podcast

Episode 152 with Tommy Dean: Master Editor, Reflective Teacher, and Craftsman and Student of Powerful Flash Fiction

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Episode 152 Notes and Links to Tommy Dean’s Work 


   On Episode 152 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes Tommy Dean, and the two discuss, among other topics, his reading trajectory which started with sports biographies and has branched out in many directions, his start writing in undergrad, his views of flash fiction vs. short shorts, the craft of writing flash fiction, Tommy’s recurring themes and development as a writer, and inspiring works by Tobias Wolff and other titans of the trade.


   Tommy Dean lives in Indiana with his wife and two children. He is the author of a flash fiction chapbook entitled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks. He is the Editor at Fractured Lit. He has been previously published in the BULL Magazine, The MacGuffin, The Lascaux Review, New World Writing, Pithead Chapel, and New Flash Fiction Review. His story “You’ve Stopped” was chosen by Dan Chaon to be included in Best Microfiction 2019. It will also be included in Best Small Fiction 2019. His interviews have been previously published in New Flash Fiction Review, The Rumpus, CRAFT Literary, and The Town Crier (The Puritan). Find him @TommyDeanWriter on Twitter.


Tommy Dean's Website


Buy Hollows 


A.E. Weisberger Reviews Special Like the People on TV


“Past Lives” Story from Atlas and Alice Magazine-2020


“You’ve Stopped” from Pithead Chapel


2017 Mini-Interview with Megan Giddings


At about 7:30, Tommy discusses her early reading (a lot of sports and biographies and horror and “heavy genre”) and writing, with the writing mostly coming after undergrad 


At about 10:00, the two discuss character as seen in these shared sports biographies


At about 11:30, Tommy describes his love for the library and its easy access to Sports Illustrated/SI for Kids


At about 12:30, Tommy and Pete discuss their shared loves for basketball and baseball, the former especially 


At about 14:25, Tommy gives background on how he came to become interested in flash fiction/short shorts


At about 17:20, Tommy responds to Pete’s questions about how he has honed his craft


At about 19:00, Tommy describes what it is about flash fiction that appeals to him


At about 19:50, Tommy differentiates between “flash fiction” and “short short”


At about 22:50, Tommy gives some of the formative texts, literary journals (like SmokeLong Quarterly and Vestal Review)  and writers that are classics of the flash fiction forms, like Stuart Dybek, Dan Chaon, Robin Black and “Pine,” and Elizabeth Tallent and her story, “No One’s a Mystery”


At about 27:00, Pete recounts the connections between the podcast title and Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain”


At about 28:30, Tommy discusses the power of flash in its granularity


At about 29:30, The two discuss Hemingway and his “interludes” or works that could be classified as “flash”; they also discuss breaking convention


At about 34:20, Pete corrects himself on the pivotal line that inspired the podcast title


At about 35:10, Pete cites a powerful use of understatement from Elie Wiesel’s Night


At about 36:30, Tommy talks about how teaching/editing inform his writing, and vice versa


At about 42:35, Pete quotes interviews with Tommy and Megan Giddings and talks about his “lifejackets” as character 


At about 44:00, Pete references powerful opening lines from Tommy and asks about the connections between title and subject matter; Tommy talks about work that became awarded and his process


At about 45:35, Tommy talks about his philosophy of dialogue in flash fiction


At about 47:15, Tommy explains conscious choices in using quotation marks or not


At about 48:30, Pete and Tommy discuss the idea that dialogue to begin a story is fraught; Pete provides an example of a short he wrote that  


At about 52:15, Pete highlights a stunning open line from “Past Lives”; Tommy gives real-life connections to the story before reading it


At about 55:45, Tommy describes an “in” for writers involving unique characters


At about 56:45, Tommy talks about his two chapbooks


At about 57:15, Pete reads a review from the first collection and talks about themes of childlessness and craft shared by Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” and Tommy’s early writing


At about 59:15, Tommy responds to Pete’s questions about development as a writer between his first and most recent collections; he traces his development via “cuts” and themes used 


At about 1:03:20, Pete shares a reader’s review of Tommy’s Hollows and Tommy discusses why he appreciates these particular sentiments


At about 1:05:25, Tommy reads “Baby Alone”


At about 1:14:30, Tommy gives out his social media and contact info, including Alternate Currents and ELJ Editions

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   The intro song for The Chills at Will Podcast is “Wind Down” (Instrumental Version), and the other song played on this episode was “Hoops” (Instrumental)” by Matt Weidauer, and both songs are used through

   Please tune in for Episode 153 with Luivette Resto, a mother, teacher, poet, and Wonder Woman fanatic born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, and proudly raised in the Bronx. A CantoMundo and Macondo Fellow, and Pushcart Prize nominee, she is on the Board of Directors for Women Who Submit.  

   The episode will air on November 22.

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