Sweet Connections: Leslie Jill Patterson

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Jill Patterson
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: “Running” and “Heat”
Issue:  10.2

Patterson Photo

Find her:


Jill can be found in West Texas, at Texas Tech University, trying to survive a crazy fall semester. You can learn more about Jill by visiting her website.



What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I received a Pushcart Prize, and one of my essays was listed as notable in Best American Essays of 2018.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I just finished a nonfiction book, written in flash chapters, about a capital murder case I covered, working as the defense team’s storyteller. Both the perpetrator and the victim owned arsenals (over fifty guns in the first, over a hundred in the latter), and the two men taunted each other into a gunfight. The case serves as the book’s plotline, but there are pop-up “chapters” on shooting ranges, self-defense, Archie comics, John Wick, baseball, water pistols, Harold Edgerton, Ted Cruz, active shooter training, snake charmers, etc. The book is a meditation, a long lyric essay, on guns in America.

Who is your favorite author?

Just one? I can’t even. Current writers I’m reading: Landon Houle, Elissa Washutta, Jehanne Dubrow, and I cannot wait to crack open Mitchell S. Jackson’s Survival Math, Aisha Sabatini Sloan’s Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, and Toni Jensen’s forthcoming Carry.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Melanie Rae Thon’s Sweet Hearts remains one of my favorite books of all time—I still admire the storyline, the sound of her language, the compassion and grace of this book, and what mercy Thon feels for her protagonist, Flint Zimmer.

What inspires you to write?

Finding patterns, connections; digging deep into a subject; chasing rabbits.

What is your favorite sweet?

If you’re heading to AWP San Antonio, don’t miss the Mexican Donuts at the Iron Cactus on the Riverwalk: sweet cream filling, powdered sugar, Kahlúa fudge sauce. I love them! My favorite dessert; I wish I knew how to make them!

Patterson Dessert

Thank you, Leslie, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

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