I am thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview with Keith Rosson, the author of Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, a collection of quirky short stories that is available now from your favorite book seller.
With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and the returning soldier in “Homecoming” navigates the strange and ghostly confines of his hometown, as well as the boundaries of his own grief. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes new work as well as award-winning favorites.
Keith Rosson is the award-winning author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide, Some City, and Road Seven. His debut story collection, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, was published in February, 2021. His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at keithrosson.com.
And now, an exclusive Interview with Keith Rosson
Is there something special about the book you are currently promoting that you want everyone to know? Your inspiration maybe? A fun hidden fact?
Some of the stories are loosely interconnected, and there’s some world-building going on – geography, place names, etc. – that connects some of them with my novels as well.
From where do you get your ideas for your books?
Who knows? It starts with a little of kernel of an idea and goes from there. Layering, thinking, editing, cursing, rewriting. A lot of note-taking and rewriting. Sometimes I’ll just catch a blip of a situation out in the world, or read something interesting, and it snowballs from there.
Where do you begin when you develop new characters? Physical characteristics, personality, plot? What comes first and how do you go from there?
Their physicality is honestly the least interesting aspect of the whole thing, at least for this writer. It’s usually a setting or a conflict that starts the process.
Does writing exhaust or energize you? Why?
I feel very stuck in my life if I don’t write regularly. And in spite of the many distractions I put upon myself, I still love writing very much.
What is your writing kryptonite? And what is the cure?
Inactivity. And a lot of times I’ll get stuck on a certain story or novel, so I bounce around between a number of different projects.
What book are you reading right now?
John Hornor Jacobs’s story collection, MURDER BALLADS.
What do you do to keep yourself healthy? What is your #1 healthy lifestyle tip?
I was getting into running pre-pandemic. As a legally blind guy, I had to use the treadmill at the gym, as I have an annoying tendency to get hit by cars. With the gyms shut down and/or unsafe, we’ve hung a heavy bag in the basement and I beat the hell out of that.
What is your go-to recipe when you cook at home? It doesn’t have to be healthy – just yummy. Bonus points if it has something to do with your book!
Not book-related, but my kids have never turned down tacos, so that’s a good one in this house.
Fun Facts about Keith Rosson
Favorite snack to eat while you are writing
If you were a WWE Superstar, what would your entrance music be?
“Goo Goo Muck” by the Cramps
What would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A coffee cup
If you didn’t write, what would your occupation be?
Well, this implies that writing pays the bills. I’m fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home dad who writes sometimes.
What do you enjoying doing when you aren’t writing or reading?
Punching a bag, listening to records, pining for the library to open again.
How do you take your tea??
Coffee guy here, black and bitter, thank you.
Thank you to Keith Rosson for this interview!