In his short story collection Everyone Worth Knowing (Circuit Breaker Books, June 1, 2021), author Jeff Richards explores the stories of everyday acquaintances through the stories of 17 male protagonists.
I believe that music—especially rock and the blues—influenced this collection. Could you talk a little more about how music has informed your writing, and this book in particular?
Four of the stories in this collection are based on the lyrics in songs. For instance, the title for Riding the Fences comes from the Eagles song “Desperado.” The story itself follows closely the lyrics and theme of the song. Happiness comes from the John Prine song “All the Best.” Both are about the break-up of a marriage. One of the other stories is based on Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers’ “Cool Guitar.” I interviewed Jimmy for a magazine article and this is what he said about that song: “It sounded like, you know, it came from an old blues singer and it had a great twist, a great hook, ‘I’m gonna sell the bitches car./And buy myself a cool guitar.’ You know the guy gets even with the lady for throwing him out of their apartment. And, of course, I thought either this will be a big hit or I am going to be in big trouble with the National Organization of Women. But the real idea, when you listen to the lyrics, is that the guy singing the song is the asshole and he admits it at the end. And fortunately people get this. I think more women than even men.”