Interview with Joanna Sterling from The Casket of Fictional Delights

A while back, I wrote a post about short story podcasts that I recommend, one of which is The Casket of Fictional Delights, presented by Joanna Sterling. Joanna and I have since been in touch via email, and she has such an interesting story, combining her love of short stories with her passion for brooches. Yes, brooches!

If you haven’t yet had a listen, I recommend checking out the podcast The Casket of Fictional Delights. It specialises in short, fun and sometimes dark fiction that you can listen to in one session.

I was interested in learning more about Joanna and her reasons behind the podcast and she very kindly answered my questions. So here’s my interview with Joanna Sterling from The Casket of Fictional Delights podcast.

Why did you decide to launch a podcast, rather than a journal or simply a short story website?

The Casket of Fictional Delights started as an online short story and flash fiction platform.  When I started back in 2011 there were few outlets for short stories, especially here in the UK.  Nowadays there is a wide variety of platforms/websites etc. for the short story writer which is great news.  Fairly soon after I started I thought, why not narrate one or two stories.  I knew a former BBC studio manager and she said she could help.  So, we started with just one of my own short stories.  As a writer it was wonderful to hear my story come alive.  Initially they were called ‘storycasts’ as the term ‘podcast’ was little known.  

Does a short story need different qualities to transfer to audio well?

Most stories can be narrated with some judicious editing.  Too much ‘he said/she said’ can sound repetitive.  When you have a professional actor who can do various voices and dialects it makes for a far more interesting and entertaining podcast.  Sometimes stories, especially flash fiction, are too short to be made into a podcast. A story which is less than a minute long would not make a very good podcast.  And the converse is also true, stories can be too long for one podcast.  Listeners have a finite listening span.  In these instances we either edit them down or split them into parts.  

You focus on short stories and flash. Any plans for short radio plays, scripts or dramatisations?

This isn’t an area we are planning on expanding into at present. All our stories and podcasts are free.  Expanding into plays etc. would be too costly. 

How long does it take to produce a short story podcast? Can you tell me a bit about the process?

Once a story text is finalised it takes on average two months to produce the podcast.  But this does vary and is dependent on what voice is required for the story.  We try wherever possible to find the right ‘voice’, but this can prove difficult if the writers have a specific accent/dialect in mind.  During the pandemic when studio spaces were closed it was particularly difficult, not every actor/voiceover artist has their own home studio.  

I have selected 3 of my favourite brooches from your site. Can you cast my horoscope from them? 🙂 or otherwise infer anything about a person’s personality from their preferred brooches?

I would say you like silver as a material, you appreciate clean lines and design.  I think you also like the stories behind the creation of each of the designs you have chosen.  All qualities I too admire.  But I do like a little bit of bling now and again.  Jewellers and friends sometimes ask to come and see the collection and I’m always interested in seeing which brooches from a collection of over 900 they pick out.  

Finally, what plans do you have for the future of The Casket?

For the last couple of years during the summer we have produced a Flash Fiction collection, I plan to continue but going forward they will be themed.  Feedback we have received is that listeners and readers like stories when they are linked in some way.  For 2023 we are planning a ‘summer’ related set of podcasts.  We will continue with our seasonal orientated offerings; Christmas and Valentines.  The Casket of Fictional Delights has a number of regular writers with a variety of styles so hopefully there will be something for everyone.  

2 Responses

  1. Dear Nat
    Thank you for doing a blog on The Casket of Fictional Delights. I hope someday I will be able to show you my brooch collection in person. In the meantime I wish all your followers best wishes for 2022 and good writing vibes.
    Kind Regards
    Joanna

  2. The Casket of Fictional Delights Sounds great, and we’ll have to start listening. Thanks for the awesome interview

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