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What kinds of things would you like me to ask you? Since you’re me, I mean.

Why don’t you ask all the things that I wish people would ask me just in my everyday life?

 

Sweet. Good idea. You have two cats, and they are absolutely gorgeous. What are their names and why are they so awesome?

Thank you! They are very beautiful, I know. Their names are Vesta and Ilsa. Vesta for the Roman goddess of the hearth, and Ilsa after Ingrid Bergman’s character in Casablanca. They’re awesome because they’re mine, of course.

 

Why are your legs so weirdly short?

My growth was stunted, I think. My mother says I was a picky eater and that my grandmother was always giving me coffee, and that it must have stunted my growth. My husband calls me stumpy.  I would have made a good hobbit.

 

Who is your favorite Marx brother?

Well, of course, really, it’s Harpo, but I’ll say Chico, because nobody ever says Chico, and I do I have a huge crush on him in all those movies. The way he plays that piano. The little pinky finger thing. It’s wonderful, vaudevillian magic.

 

Speaking of magic. If you could magically have anything you wanted, right now, what would it be?

A piano. A Yamaha baby grand. I had to leave my piano behind when we moved to Washington, DC from the Midwest, and I miss it every single day, even after almost seven years.

 

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

Halloween. Because you get to dress up and terrify children and eat candy and tell ghost stories and watch monster movies and how could that be anything but the best thing ever? I’m so excited that it’s coming up. Every year my husband and I spend all month watching horror movies to celebrate.

 

What drives you completely insane?

I’m neurotic and overly judgy. Everything drives me insane. But outside of all of that, people who still think Queen songs are funny. 

 

Why is fashion important to you and isn’t that superficial?

It’s not superficial at all. It’s important to me because I love art, visual art, and I believe that if you truly love art, then you should endeavor to make it all the time, everywhere you go. I want everything I wear and do to be beautiful because of that. If I could afford to, I would go around all day in drop-waist beaded gowns from the twenties and feather boas and garters. Well, maybe not at work because of the dress code. But all the rest of the time.

 

What do you wish could be catapulted into the sun and burned up, if you could pick one thing?

Cancer. And if I get two, then cancer and Alzheimer’s.  If I get three, then cancer and Alzheimer’s and Fifty Shades of Grey, all the copies.

 

What jobs have you held? Aside from writeress?

I’ve worked at a frozen custard joint, Hallmark, Blockbuster Video, a market research company where I did phone interviews, a telemarketing place where I tried to sell people stuff, and a used car lot. I also did commercials and dinner theatre, put stamps on envelopes, sold makeup at Marshall Field’s (which is now, sigh, a Macy’s), worked on some political campaigns, ghostwrote a novel about a Vietnam war vet, donated a whole bunch of plasma (I guess that’s not a job but it sure seems like one when you’re broke), and I work now at a labor union. I’m sure I’m missing a few in there. I’ve been working since I was fourteen. That’s a long time. Whenever my social security report comes in the mail I’m always like, damn. Can I retire yet? Just kidding, I love my job. It’s pretty fantastic.

 

Why do you think that people should buy your book? I suppose we should do that, right? Talk about the book?

Oh, sure thing. Yes, I have a book just out. It’s called MAY WE SHED THESE HUMAN BODIES and the awesome folks at Curbside Splendor were nice enough to publish it. Well, I don’t think that everyone in the world should buy my book. But I think if you’re a person who’s ever been lonely, or sad, or felt like a weirdo or an outsider, or wondered about or worried about death, or wished that you could be a ghost or an animal or Paul Bunyan, then probably you would love the book and you should buy it. It’s not very expensive. You could skip lunch one day and buy it. Maybe two days if you eat fast food. I think it’s better for you, in the long run, than fast food. It will stick with you in a nicer way.

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Amber Sparks’s short stories have been widely published in journals and anthologies, including New York Tyrant, Unsaid, Gargoyle, Barrelhouse, and The Collagist. Her chapbook, “A Long Dark Sleep: Stories for the Next World” was included in the chapbook collection Shut Up/Look Pretty from Tiny Hardcore Press, and her first full-length story collection, May We Shed These Human Bodies, will be published in September by Curbside Splendor. You can find her at ambernoellesparks.com or follow her on Twitter @ambernoelle.

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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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