Tamara Lazaroff

'Walnut, Almonds, Nuts' is actually a scene – a pivotal scene – from my novella/manuscript, Husk, Root, Bone. But I wrote the short story first. Though I had the first draft of the novella for years, I was really struggling to make the larger story work. It was only after completing the short story that I found a way into the novella. In this way, writing short stories has been an excellent training ground for me. Writing short stories, I find, is a little like writing poetry. Every word must count. But longer works – there's a little more breathing space, but it can take a little time to find the right doorway in.

'Walnuts, Almonds, Nuts' is essentially about apparent eccentricities, risk, wits and, finally, trust in self and others. It's an unconventional love story and I feel great affection for the character of Zlatko and the way he handcrafts a life that makes sense to him. He symbolises so much of what I love about Macedonian culture – its resilience and creativity – and this is what I wanted to share through this story.