Q&A: Jim Gavin, author of 'Middle Men'

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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013 12:00 am

Question: What did landing that story in the New Yorker mean to you, how did that come about, what did you do when it was accepted?

Answer: I remember in high school the bank made a $200 dollar error in my favor. Because I have no moral center I immediately spent the money on a new tape deck for my 1985 Ford Tempo, but for a long time I lived in abject fear that the bank would figure out that it had made a terrible mistake and eventually I would be arrested for fraud. That's pretty much how I felt after the New Yorker accepted “Costello.” I thought, “Soon they'll realize what a horrible mistake they've made, and I will be exposed, finally, as a fraud.” I feel like that could still happen at any second. In any case, they took it unsolicited so it was all just an incredible piece of luck. The good thing was that by this time I had actually finished the collection, and in the end that's the only thing you can control. Doing the work, finishing a book. Anything that happens after that is purely a matter of luck. All you can do is hope that the world makes an error in your favor.

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