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The Candid Nature of Humanity

Eliot Parker
Eliot Parker Author Interview

Snapshots is a collection of short stories that explores who we are in moments in time and how that can change. What was the inspiration behind this collection of stories?

I have been working on the story collection, periodically, since 2011. I primarily write thriller novels. However, I often found that working on short stories was a great way to keep my creativity for writing high and also provided a good break from writing the thriller genre. I wanted to write a collection of stories that takes readers on an exploration of the human psyche and the candid nature of humanity. These stories display a blend of emotions, and it unveils many of the demons of real-life.

‘Hands’ was my favorite story from the collection. Do you have a favorite, or stand out, story from the collection?

I love all of the stories in the collection for various reasons. One of my favorite stories is Old Lady, which features a woman named Rachel who is struggling to move on from the death of her beloved husband, Peter. She is in a relationship with a wonderful and handsome man named Mason, but there is a tangible, physical item that Rachel will not get rid of that bothers Mason and the item keeps Rachel from committing completely (both emotionally and physically) to Mason. Later in the story, Rachel encounters a plucky little girl who teaches here the importance of love and moving on from emotional pain. I loved Rachel as a character. There is an emotional rawness to her character, and she is hurting so badly, but trying to move on with her life. I enjoyed spending time with her in the story. I should also mention that I get more comments from readers about Old Lady than any other story in the collection.

What were some ideas you wanted to explore in your stories?

Each of the eleven unrelated stories is character-driven with distinctive settings and twisted, unanticipated happenings.  Some of the plots involve the paranormal, with strange, eerie happenings. Other plots resonate today’s contemporary life. All the stories climax or culminate with strong, unexpected endings. 

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have just finished a new thriller novel titled A Final Call, which is a sequel to my other thriller titled Code for Murder, featuring Cleveland Homicide Detective Stacy Tavitt. It will be out in late 2021.

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Each story within Snapshots places the characters in situations where their past behaviors will be changed in a moment that is like a snapshot picture: freezing in time who they are in a moment but facing new challenges that will alter that snapshot and create a new reality.

Eudora Welty’s quote “A good snapshot keeps a moment from going away” is a theme that permeates all of the stories in Eliot Parker’s collection of short stories, Snapshots. These stories are set in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. In the plots of the stories, the makeup of the characters is more interesting and important than the circumstances that the characters find themselves trying to manage. Each protagonist finds themselves in a complicated set of personal and professional relationships. By their nature, relationships are complicated. The protagonists in these stories are shaped by their backgrounds, life experiences, and expectations of other people. Conflicts arise for these protagonists when decisions and choices made by others alter the expectations and circumstances expected by the protagonists.

In each of these stories, the lives, values, and beliefs held by the characters are deconstructed and each of them face a new reality brought on by an experience or situation that forces them to reexamine who they are and who they need to become. Each of these characters occupy a variety of professional spaces: cops, a rich, successful couple, convicted criminals, and others grieving the loss of a loved one and grieving the absence of love.

Snapshots: A Collection of Short Stories

Snapshots by [Eliot Parker]

As the title suggests, Eliot Parker’s collection of short stories, Snapshots, is all about that moment in time, a moment where things can change forever. This collection of ten short stories focuses on a variety of characters and a variety of experiences or situations that they face which will change their future.

Eliot Parker’s descriptive writing draws you in from the very first paragraph of the first story. Well written, the stories quickly get to the heart of the situation, without making the reader feel that they are being rushed. One thing I did wonder was how the author chose the stories to include in the collection. While all the stories fit into the descriptive title of being a snapshot in time, some stories verged more towards being almost paranormal and the others focused on human behaviors. I’ve never considered who might be the last person to look into the eyes of the dead, but ‘Hands’ has left me knowing I never want to be that person! Sticking with the theme of death, ‘The Trip’ had tension but was not verging towards the paranormal, instead making you think about living life and not taking it for granted. The characters drive this collection, not the plots of each story. The author creates characters that are fully developed and relatable in such a brief space. Writing good short stories is not easy. Short stories are an art form. Eliot Parker succeeds in that art form.

Pages: 163 | ASIN: B084FQ9PZM

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