SR71 Contributor Interviews: Jordan Scott

unnamedWhat is it about the genre or cross-genre you write in that interests you/draws you in?

I came into fiction from a place of being a poet first and foremost, which has really informed the way I construct my short stories. There’s something pleasurable about accessing modes that feel more rooted in poetry—such as a sort of incantatory lyric—and braiding them through a story on a sentence level. The short story as a form also gives me ample space to layer different ideas into my writing.

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“Investigating the Nature of Reality”: An Interview with Brian Evenson


Photo of Brian Evenson

Recently, Sonora Review‘s 2017-2018 Co-Editor-in-Chief, Patrick Cline, interviewed Brian Evenson, writer of numerous works of fiction and our 2017 Fiction Contest judge.

First off, thank you so much for judging our Spring fiction contest. We love your choice, Kate Berson’s “Luz, Milagro,” and are thrilled to publish it in Sonora Review #72. What do you admire about this story, and what led you to choose it out of the other submissions?

I found it a subtle story, and somewhat elusive–which I mean as a great compliment. It’s the kind of story that gave me just enough to move forward but also maintained a certain amount of mystery. It’s also not necessarily the kind of story I would naturally gravitate toward, and so it had to work a little harder to draw me in. I found it an exceptionally well written story: that, above all, was what convinced me to choose it.

As a semi-frequent contest judge, can you give us a sense of your process in this role, both in this case specifically and generally speaking? What do you look for in a story, and what do you pay attention to? Do you see any tendencies in your choices?

I try to go into each contest with an open mind. It’s more that I’m waiting for the story to convince me that it should be chosen than that I’m looking for something specific–which I guess means I’m looking for something well-written, original and convincing. But, honestly, the story that I chose for the last contest I judged and Berson’s story are radically different. The only thing they have in common is that the people writing them are thinking really actively about language and what it can do.

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Interview with Charlie Hanline

Natasha Stagg: How long have you been writing?

Charlie Hanline: Approximately ten years

NS: Do you write every day?

CH: No, but then I feel guilty

NS: What are your thoughts on writing?

CH: Writing lets you live vicariously those elements that you are unable to experience directly. Writing makes you be more in tune with people and your environment. You are more aware of what you say and do. You notice the details in life. Good writing never hurts another individual.

NS: Ever read the advice that authors give?

CH: Definitely, I have at least a hundred books of writing advice from authors.

NS: Do you have some advice to give?

CH: Never write anything that would embarrass your mama. Never try to hurt another through writing, or any other means. When you stare at a blank page, don’t pay too much attention to the blood draining from your ears, eye sockets, nose, and forehead. Write with passion.

NS: Who is your favorite author of the moment, and why should we read them?

CH: I’ve always enjoyed westerns by Elmer Kelton. He provides thoughtful keltonisms (words of wisdom to live by) throughout his books. I was sorry to hear of his passing last year. He was a great author and a true gentleman. I was also saddened by Tony Hillerman’s passing. He was a great author also. Carl Hiaasen – he’s funny, entertaining and interesting. One other author I’d like to mention is Dan O’Brien. He may not have saved the world, but he sure helped save the peregrine falcon and has helped to restore the grasslands of South Dakota.

NS: What is a book that kind of blew your mind, that we’d be surprised by?

CH: The War Prayer by Mark Twain

Writing in Arizona

Writers for Justice on the Border: What does it mean to Write in Arizona?
A Reading/Discussion presented
by Sonora Review, No More Deaths, and the Poetry Center

Gary Paul Nabhan
John Washington
and actresses from Borderlands Theater.

Sonora Review is proud to announce that on October 11, 2010 Tucson
residents are invited to the University of Arizona Poetry Center to
attend “Writers for Justice on the Border: What Does it Mean to Write
in Arizona?” The reading intends to raise awareness of SB 1070 and how
it affects individuals living on the border between Mexico and
Arizona. This event is presented by Sonora Review, No More Deaths and
the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Writers reading at the event include Gary Paul Nabhan and John
Washington. Nabhan has lived around the border for more than 30 years,
has published books on the subject and contributed his work to many
anthologies. Washington is an MFA student at work on a novel about the
borderlands and is a volunteer with No More Deaths. Actresses from
Borderlands Theater will be performing a part of the play, “Arizona:
No Roosters in the Desert,” which is showing at Zuzi theater from Oct.
7-24th. The play is based on the fieldwork of Ana Ochoa O’Leary and is
written by local playwright Kara Hartzler.  Additionally, No More
Deaths will give a presentation on SB1070 and there will be live music
by Rebeca Cartes.

Sonora Review is proud to be affiliated with this event and its
dynamic group of writers and thinkers.  In addition to sponsoring this
event, Sonora Review is involved with many literature-based events
around Tucson. The journal’s website,, includes a
regularly updated calendar of literary events around Tucson. The
website is an excellent resource with an entertaining blog, and offers
information on Sonora Review’s current poetry contest, which runs
until December 1, 2010 and will award $1,000 and publication in the
journal. Sonora Review is proud to present “Writers for Justice in the
Border: What does it Mean to Write in Arizona?”

-Margaree Little and John Washington