It’s been a busy week (and weekend!) at Crone Girls Press. In case you missed it, Thursday saw the release of Objectified (Midnight Bites 5), with stories by three fantastic, intense authors. This week, we’re going in depth with each author, learning more about them, their writing, and what it took to bring their ideas to the page. Let’s get started with Jennifer Nestojko…
Q (Crone Girls Press): Welcome back! All three authors in this publication have previously published with Crone Girls Press. Can you share what your previous works were, and what you’ve been working on since then?
A (Jennifer Nestojko): I’ve had stories included in The Stories We Tell After Midnight, Volumes I and III. The first one – “The Soul Within” – is an intimate look at a trauma response. The second one in that series – “Bad Hair Days” – is a weird little story, and I am rather fond of it.
Q: Where did your idea for a cursed object story come from? What spurred you to think about it when coming up with your story?
A: When my mother was cleaning out my grandfather’s house after his death she found the class ring that had belonged to my grandmother’s first love. He was a pilot in WWII, and he never made it overseas. He died in a plane crash before the wedding and before he was deployed. I had never heard of this; my mother hadn’t known until later in life. My grandparents were happily married for over fifty years, and they were devoted to each other, but this was a part of her history that was new to me. I believe she was haunted by the image of him going down in flames, and this idea stuck in my imagination. I appropriated it for the story, though I can attest that the actual ring is not haunted.
Q: The three stories in this volume bring a certain horror from the modern-but-mundane. Can you talk a bit about the choices you made around the setting and characters when writing the piece?
A: I developed the story before we went on lockdown, but I pictured someone becoming more and more isolated, caught up in a web and fed on by something, rather like the fly caught in a spider’s web. Now that we have experienced Covid, the concept becomes even more creepy to me.
Q: What were some of the challenges that popped up during the writing/editing/revising process?
A: I got the idea, and then it refused to develop further for a while. Some of the original imagery shifted and what I originally envisioned morphed into something else. While I am satisfied with what it became, I am wistful about some of the possibilities it refused to accept.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your story?
A: Empathy is one of the most necessary human traits, and the last few years have demonstrated that need. We have seen what happens when people refuse to cultivate that trait. However, it can be possible to lose oneself under the weight sorrow and pain that people endure every day. That’s what happens in the story. We have to remember hope and joy as well. Acknowledging suffering while remembering joy can spur us to reach out to each other, build community, and perhaps bring about change needed in our world.
Q: What is coming up next on your writing and publishing timeline?
A: I recently had a piece of flash fiction published by Zoetic Press in their NonBinary Review, #27. I also have a story being released in December by the Lesbian Historic Motif Project. It is an epistolary story set in late 19th century Boston.
I have a number of finished and half-finished stories calling to me, asking to be made whole and sent out into the world, but I also have papers to grade. Hopefully I can find the balance between these things.
About the Author
Jennifer Nestojko has many conversations throughout her day – with her students and colleagues, with the driver who cut her off during her commute, and with any trees she encounters. She also talks to her car and the food she is cooking, so having a story involving a suspicious object is not a stretch. Jennifer lives in Monterey County and has been writing fiction and poetry for many years.
Check out Objectified (Midnight Bites 5) on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, and leave us a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Thank you for reading!