“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares
“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant
“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus
“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction
“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper
In the Writers' Studio
I just finished an interview recently for my novella May-September, and it was so wonderful to be asked really thoughtful questions about the story, my motivations, the character's motivations, etc. Interviewing is so hard to do (at least when I'm the interviewer), and to make an interviewee feel like you've really interpreted, devoured their work, is such a good feeling. When you're a writer and someone has responded to your work in such a thorough way, it's like you've won the National Book Award or something. At least that's how it feels to me. Maybe there's a little Sally-Field-at-the-Oscars neediness, too. You get my work! You really do!
The funny thing is, I struggled to write the novella May-September. The story itself wasn't difficult to write, but I didn't anticipate any sort of audience for it. In an industry where everything you do must build on the success of the last book or collection or story, to write a story for oneself, that you may wind up putting in a drawer and letting no one else see, is a big risk. But May-September haunted me. I needed to purge it before I could move on. As soon as I opened the document on my computer, words filled it until the story was finished. What a sweet reward for it to wind up in the Press 53 Open Awards Anthology and to have such a nice interview from one of the industry's nicest people (hopefully it'll up be soon).