Kristopher Jansma grew up in Lincroft, New Jersey. He received his B.A. in the Writings Seminars from Johns Hopkins and an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia. His story "A Summer Wedding" took second prize in the 2011 fiction contest held by The Blue Mesa Review. His story "Aunt Gin and the Solipsist Slope" was a finalist in BOMB Magazine's 2011 fiction contest. He writes the Literary Artifacts column for Electric Literature's blog, The Outlet, and he's written articles for The Millions. Jansma lives in New York City and works as an adjunct professor and lecturer at Manhattanville College and SUNY Purchase. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is his first novel.
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Kristopher Jansma discusses his debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, and how his teaching job helped - and influenced - the writing of the book.
First things first: how does an adjunct professor working on two New York-area campuses manage to do any writing, let alone the thoughtful, sophisticated work that went into The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards?
During the semesters, I've typically taught five sections a weekthough I've done as many as seven, and yes, often on two campuses, though they are thankfully close to one another. When you factor in the preparation and the grading and the advising and another four or five hours at a tutoring desk, it's a lot of work, as thousands and thousands of other young adjunct professors around the country can tell you. But I actually get more writing done during these packed semesters than I do over the summers. When I know I can just get to it later, it's too easy to put off. But when I've only got one free hour to write, and that it might be my only hour for the next two or three days I have to give it everything I've got.
Beyond that, though, teaching gives me the chance to spend several hours each day thinking about writing and talking about writing ...
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