Issue 049 Author Interview: K. Hartless and “Eclectibles”

Hearing other writers’ inspirations is so interesting. We’re lucky our authors are kind enough to share theirs with us! Today’s sharing is caring moment is sponsored by K. Hartless and her Issue 049 story “Eclectibles.”

LSQ: This story is absolutely lovely, and seems rather prescient as well. It made me wonder whether I have any appropriate books on my shelves for futuristic ailments like the ones you describe. What was your story inspired by?

K.: As a teacher, I see the glaze of screens all too frequently in my student’s eyes: both young students and adult students. A huge part of the battle to awaken their imaginations is getting them to grasp a physical book. As a traveler, one of the first places I seek out in a new city is a bookstore, or even better, a used bookstore. It is one of these bookstores in Munich, The Munich Readery, that I took a seminar in 2019 for female writers about overcoming your inner critique. The bookshop owner walked me through the blockages I had long harbored about embracing my poetry, my stories, and ultimately my voice. It is from this seminar that the character of the cleric was born. I thought of all the miracles on the shelves of a used bookstore, and how the stories in these books can be medicine, bandages, cures even.  Each is an experience waiting to change a reader’s life. Surrounded by the stacks of books, I remember thinking: what will become of this place in the future? “Electibles is my bravest hope that printed books will forever be a part of the human experience. I like to keep my shelves well-stocked so that I have that perfect book for a student in need of something that will change them and help them to live a better life.

LSQ: I love how much worldbuilding you put into so few words. Simple sentences describing the family nest and the digital work they do give a lot of insight into this setting. Overall, your story is fairly short but still so rich. Did you write longer to begin with, or was it always so concise?

K.: Thank you for this compliment. I think it’s my poetic background, but I tend to be a more skeletal writer. I love the challenge of creating amazing narratives with sparse word counts. Also, on my journey as a writer, I started with creating micro fiction, flash fiction, and then short stories. The word counts were like railings helping me to build more and more complex stories. Now that I’ve completed a draft of a full-length novel, I still return to shorter fictional forms, a nice relaxing shallow pool after treading in the deep end.

LSQ: It feels like the owner of Eclectibles would make a wonderful centerpiece for a collection of short stories. Have you considered writing more in this world? If you did, what or who do you think you would focus on?

K.: Yes, I do foresee more stories set in my strip mall of the future. Perhaps more stories about the cleric, but also some other shops. Right now, I’m drafting a short story titled “Aromas” about a perfume shop in the future that buys and sells dreams. I like the idea of the familiar setting of a strip mall, but reconceiving what the future holds for these storefronts. I am hoping to create a story about a future grocery store, a future bike shop, and perhaps a future coffee shop, as well. It’s endless fun reimagining these shopping experiences.

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