Author Interview: Keith Rosson

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Today I am interviewing Keith Rosson, author of the new literary/magical realism novel, Smoke City.

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DJ: Hi Keith! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Keith: Two novels out, a bunch of short story appearances. I rent an office where, at 9 pm sharp, I can hear the bass begin to throb through the walls from the bar across the street. It is not conducive to working, and that’s usually when I pack it up for the night. I live with my girlfriend and our two three-legged dogs.

DJ: What is Smoke City about?

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Keith: How about I just use the synopsis we’ve been using, since I’ve kind of run out of different ways to describe it at this point? Hope that works!
Marvin Deitz has some serious problems. His mob-connected landlord is strong-arming him out of his storefront. His therapist has concerns about his stability. He’s compelled to volunteer at the local Children’s Hospital even though it breaks his heart every week. Oh, and he’s also the guilt-ridden reincarnation of Geoffroy Thérage, the French executioner who lit Joan of Arc’s pyre in 1431. He’s just seen a woman on a Los Angeles talk show claiming to be Joan, and absolution seems closer than it’s ever been . . . but how will he find her? When Marvin heads to Los Angeles to locate the woman who may or may not be Joan, he’s picked up hitchhiking by Mike Vale, a self-destructive alcoholic painter traveling to his ex-wife’s funeral. As they move through a California landscape populated with “smokes” (ghostly apparitions that’ve inexplicably begun appearing throughout the southwestern US), each seeks absolution in his own way.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Smoke City?

Keith: Régine Pernoud and Marie-Véronique Clin’s wonderful biography of Joan of Arc, Joan of Arc: Her Story was where I first read, however tangentially, about Geoffroy Thérage. I found myself captivated by his story, what little could be discovered of it. Numerous accounts of the Hundred Years War between England and France. The explosive and gluttonous ‘80s art market. Jean-Michel Basquiat. The highways that connect Oregon to California, and all the little pockets of life and commerce you can find along the way.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?

Keith: They’re jerks, both of them. But hopefully the reader surmises they’re jerks for a reason, and are ultimately loveable jerks at that.

DJ: What is the world and setting of Smoke City like? 

Keith: It’s pretty much the same as it is here, except there’s the occasional ghost sighting, and a grumpy, morose reincarnation of a 600 year-old executioner, and a chain of restaurants called Bean There, Bun That where they make the staff wear hats shaped like lettuce leaves.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Smoke City?

Keith: I enjoyed the research aspect of it – learning enough to convince the reader of something outlandish, whether it’s the minutiae of fly-fishing lures or peasant life in medieval France is always a blast. I love that immersion into a subject. I also loved finishing the book.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Keith: Hopefully that the characters were jerks, but loveable jerks, and jerks for a reason. Also – I hope – they’ll be like, “How in the world did he bring all of those disparate elements together? I’m going to go buy three or four copies for all of my pals!”

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Smoke City? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Keith: I mean, it’s the same kind of themes that I explore in all of my stuff – these notions of regret and guilt and redemption. Forgiveness. These are the things that I keep coming back to – they seem to be the themes that are kind of meant to be explored in literature, you know? These basic, challenging, universal themes.

DJ: Now that Smoke City is released, what is next for you?

Keith: I’m right in the middle of doing some novel edits with my agent on a new book that I’m really excited about. Thankfully, most of the hard part’s done. Now we’re just in the fine-tuning stage before he starts sending it out to editors. Once it starts getting sent around, I think I’m going to spend some time with short story writing again. It’s my first love, as it were, and after writing a bunch of novels all in a row, I’m looking forward to taking a break and getting weird with stories again.


DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Keith-Rosson/e/B01MZ5B05P/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1516233839&sr=8-1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/keith.rosson.7
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/252338.Keith_Rosson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/keith_rosson
Website: keithrosson.com


DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

Keith: Hey, thanks so much for your interest! I appreciate it.

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*** Smoke City is published by Meerkat Press and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo

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6239EA51-07C0-4A15-8F0C-AE36E0F96F54About the Book:

Marvin Deitz has some serious problems. His mob-connected landlord is strong-arming him out of his storefront. His therapist has concerns about his stability. He’s compelled to volunteer at the local Children’s Hospital even though it breaks his heart every week.

Oh, and he’s also the guilt-ridden reincarnation of Geoffroy Thérage, the French executioner who lit Joan of Arc’s pyre in 1431. He’s just seen a woman on a Los Angeles talk show claiming to be Joan, and absolution seems closer than it’s ever been… but how will he find her?

When Marvin heads to Los Angeles to locate the woman who may or may not be Joan, he’s picked up hitchhiking by Mike Vale, a self-destructive alcoholic painter traveling to his ex-wife’s funeral. As they move through a California landscape populated with “smokes” (ghostly apparitions that’ve inexplicably begun appearing throughout the southwestern US), each seeks absolution in his own way.


65F61026-C01E-41B8-9117-8F3858A7303F

About the Author:

Keith Rosson is the author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City, and his short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, December, The Nervous Breakdown, and more. He’s been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a finalist for the Birdwhistle Prize for Short Fiction. He’s also an illustrator and graphic designer, with clients that include Green Day, Against Me, the Goo Goo Dolls, and others. A fierce advocate of public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at keithrosson.com.


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4 thoughts on “Author Interview: Keith Rosson

  1. Tammy says:

    I love lovable jerk characters😊

    Like

  2. I’ve read this one, and they’re definitely lovable jerks lol. Really interesting getting to see the author’s thoughts behind the inspiration and different things! Great interview 🙂

    Like

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