What some of his characters are saying about him...

"I have utmost respect for the man. I mean, he created me, did he not?" - Sierra, from "The Knack at Astor Place," published in Meridian, Winter 2009.

"I heard he used to roam around that mysterious abandoned mansion too." - Henry, from "Back to Rosemary Farm," published in Cream City Review, Fall/Winter 2010/2011.

"He was the one who suggested I collect a few musicians on Sunday night and hide inside the heavy metal. I am forever most grateful." - Altea, from "Black Sunday," published in The Gettysburg Review, Autumn 2013.

"I never would have thought a story he wrote about me drawing maps would win a literary award, but, well, okay then. Good for him." - Ethan, from "Critical Cartography," published in The Florida Review, Fall 2007.

"He's a lot like our stepbrother but not as outspoken. We don't think we'd be as inclined to slap him around. The next time we go back to the villa on St. John, he can tag along if he likes." - Reckless and Ruthless (otherwise known as Nora and Ethel), from "Scorpion," published in Eclipse, Fall 2010.

"I don't think he should have had Mary break George's bicycle in Montauk. It's an extremely touchy subject we have yet to really put behind us." - Mary and George, from "The Musketeers," published in Other Voices, Spring/Summer 2003.

"I didn't happen to meet him quite by chance roaming aimlessly in Central Park, if you really must know." - the nameless protagonist, from "Big Button," published in Sou'wester, Fall 2008.

"Why did he ever mix me up with that model? The woman is just never satisfied." - Peter, from "Chrome," published in AGNI, 2005.

"He keeps me busy, he does. I'm already the fourth grade teacher at the school and run the puppet shows besides, and now, apparently, I have my own chapter of his recently completed novel. It is a bit wearing on me, might I say." - Judith, from "Undercurrents," published in Zone 3, Spring 2015.

"I think he was the one who helped inspire some of my famous lists. I keep records of things: mostly wants and desires. But I am not a selfish person, and I'm sure Mr. Levens will back me up on that." - Margie, from "Realistic Situations," published in Yemassee, Spring 2017.

"Never heard of him. And I do get around." - Krystal, from "Meet Krystal," published in Sou'wester, Spring 2012.


Joseph Levens is a fiction writer, living in Smithtown, New York. He founded The Summerset Review in 2002—a literary journal of prose and poetry—and continues to edit it and publish it quarterly with the help of several generous, talented, and passionate volunteers. Work of his has appeared in many literary magazines and won some notable awards. His short story collection was finalist in the Bakeless Prize and the annual contest at Autumn House Press. He has recently completed a first novel, as one of his characters above points out. You can contact him at editor (at) summersetreview.org.