Photo_ Shane Hinton_credit Keir MagoulasThere are a lot of fictional Shane Hintons in your book.

Like you, for one.

 

Exactly. What’s that about?

Well, I think it’s important to blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction. We feel betrayed when we find out something that has been sold to us as “real” is actually some combination of fact and fiction. I want to play with that distrust.

 

You’re saying the stuff in this book didn’t actually happen?

Some of it happened. Some of it didn’t. If the reader ever starts to wonder what’s real and what’s not, I think that’s a pretty special area of possibility.

 

Do you ever worry that people are going to think terrible things about us?

I’m afraid people already think terrible things about us. Maybe they’ll laugh a little instead of just being disgusted.

 

What about your wife? Your kids? Have you stopped to consider how they feel about being fictionalized?

If you marry or are born to a writer, you’re taking certain risks. We’re all adults here. Except for the kids, of course, but you know what they say: you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick how your dad uses you as a character.

 

Fine. But what about me? My life is, what? Traffic accidents? Digging through trash? Battling pythons? I didn’t sign up for this.

I do feel kind of bad for you. Still, better you than me.

 

I don’t feel that it’s necessary for either of us to go through these things.

Maybe not, but here we are.

 

Is there any way I can opt out? It seems my rights are being violated.

It’s a good question. The rights of fictional characters maybe aren’t as prominent in the national dialogue as they should be. But the book is already printed. Sorry.

 

I’m going to have my attorney contact you.

We both know you can’t afford that.

 

Fair enough. Next time you try to write about me, though, I’m going to make it very difficult. You’ve heard of writer’s block? Writer’s block has nothing on me.

That’s fine. I think I’m done with you anyway. On to new things. Lately I’ve been writing about the real Shane Hinton.

 

I feel used.

Well, you were.

 

This conversation is over.

It’s been nice talking to you.

___________________

SHANE HINTON holds an MFA from the University of Tampa. His fiction has appeared in The Butter, Word Riot, storySouth, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. His debut story collection, Pinkies, is out now from Burrow Press. He lives in the winter strawberry capital of the world.

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TNB FICTION is proud to showcase book excerpts and original short fiction from some of the finest writers in the world. Features have included work by Aimee Bender, Dan Chaon, Stuart Dybek, Jennifer Egan, Bret Easton Ellis, Roxane Gay, Etgar Keret, Antonya Nelson, and hundreds of other internationally acclaimed and emerging writers. Spotlighting a recent book release each week, TNB Fiction helps bring awareness of new literary fiction, from both trade and independent publishers, to readers around the world, providing a global, free-access arena for spotlighting the genre in an era of shrinking coverage among mainstream print publications. TNB Fiction has its finger on the pulse of a vibrant new generation of writers, as well as established literary greats whose work continues to shape the future dialogue of literary culture. Fiction Editor Rachael Warecki lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Masters Review, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere, and has received residency invitations from the Wellstone Center and Ragdale. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles and is currently at work on a novel.

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