Interview: Jessie Kwak (FISH)


Name: Jessie Kwak

Age: 30

Author of: “The Needlepoint Fish of Azure City”

Current Geographic Location: Seattle, Washington

Original Hometown, if different: Harrah, Washington

Twitter: @jkwak


Recent publications: I’ve had a lot of travel writing and other articles published, but this is my first fiction piece (!!!).

Which zodiac sign where you born under? Pisces, though I’m actually not too fond of being wet.

If a magic fish granted you one wish, what would it be? Maybe it’s cliche to ask for more time, but I think that’s really what I need the most right now.

What inspired your story? I’m not entirely sure–I had an image in my head of embroidered fish slipping off a bride’s veil and frolicking in the hem of her gown, and I so I had to write the story to see why that had happened. Though I’m a seamstress, I’ve never dabbled in needlepoint, and I’ve always been in awe of the beautiful, intricate detail that people put into their work.

Did you listen to music while writing it? I don’t often listen to music while writing, unless I’m in a busy place and I’m trying to drown out my surroundings. I’ve found a couple things that seem to work for me in that case, mainly Gotan Project, Bach, and Arvo Part.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? Three or four? I wrote the story in quite a few sittings, each time revising the parts I’d already written and adding a bit more as I slowly began to figure out what was happening. A story rarely comes to me all at once, and so I end up piecing it together through the process of tapping my fingers against the keyboard.

What is your favorite bit?

The Princess trailed off in her vows as she bent to pluck the terrified little fish from her skirt. It calmed in her palm, its chest spasming for breath. She turned slowly to look out at the scene behind her, her guests in poses of disarray as they chased after the final shimmering glitter of little fish disappearing into the floor vents.

“What is happening here?” she whispered.

Want to read the rest?

Get the ePub (for nook and other readers) here and mobi (perfect for your Kindle) here. Only $4.99 each, instant downloads.

You can also get FISH as an ebook through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Kobo.

Official Table of Contents for FISH

Table of Contents, FISH (due out February 8, 2012)

  1. Alexa, Camille “The Skin of Her Skin”
  2. Bennardo, Matthew “The Fish-Wife’s Tale”
  3. Blake, Polenth “Thwarting the Fiends”
  4. Darrach, Shay “I Know a Secret”
  5. Davis, Amanda C. “O How the Wet Folk Sing”
  6. Dixon, Paul A. “One Let Go”
  7. Duyvis, Corinne “The Applause of Others”
  8. Englehardt, Megan “Anansi and the New Thing”
  9. Fleming, Sam “What the Water Gave Her”
  10. Fuller, Andrew “A Salmon Tale, 2072”
  11. Fullerton, H.L. “The Fish Are There On Land”
  12. Gardner, Cate “Too Delicate for Human Form”
  13. George, Zachary “You, Fish”
  14. Hendrix, Sarah “Never to Return”
  15. Kane, Tim “Vanity Mirror”
  16. Kneeland, Andrea “Becoming Human”
  17. Kwak, Jessie “Needlepoint Fish of Azure City”
  18. L’Orange, April “Quick Karma”
  19. Lalumière, Claude “Xandra’s Brine”
  20. Liu, Ken “How Do You Know If a Fish Is Happy?”
  21. McBride, Tracie “The Touch of Taniwha”
  22. McIntyre, T.J. “How Did the Catfish Get a Flat Head, You Wonder?”
  23. Nakayama, Timothy “Fallen Dragon”
  24. Obedoza, Mel “The Fisherman and Golden Fish”
  25. Palmer, Suzanne “Lanternfish In the Overworld”
  26. Povey, Jennifer R. “Water Demons”
  27. Rambo, Cat “The Fisher Queen”
  28. Romasco-Moore, Maria “Fisheye”
  29. Ruby, Jacob “The Talking Fish of Shangri-La”
  30. Shvartsman, Alex “Life at the Lake’s Shore”
  31. Spencer, A. D. “Fish Tears”
  32. Wood, Mjke “The Last Fisherman of Habitat 37”
  33. Zup, Andreea “Maria and the Fish”

Please note the Table of Contents is currently listed alphabetically by author’s last name, and does not reflect the final order of stories.