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.”
I have a spotlight post for my stop on the blog tour for Down The Tubes, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.
A hard-hitting novel based on the author’s experience of working in the field of addictions.
It’s the late 1980s and mother of four, Cheryl West, lands herself a job at a drugs project in London. But memories of her old life are never far away, especially when her surly daughter, Elaine, makes her unwelcome visits.
Anouk and the Secrets of Happiness is an illustrated story (not only) for children, about the 4 happiness hormones and how to activate them.
It’s my pleasure to spotlight The Northern Reach, a debut novel due for publication on 2nd March.
‘W. S. Winslow’s The Northern Reach is a breathtaking debut about the complexity of family, the cultural legacy of place, and the people and experiences that shape us.’
About the Book
Frozen in grief after the loss of her son at sea, Edith Baines stares across the water at a schooner, under full sail yet motionless in the winter wind and surging tide of the Northern Reach. Edith seems to be hallucinating. Or is she? Edith’s boat-watch opens The Northern Reach, set in the coastal town of Wellbridge, Maine, where townspeople squeeze a living from the perilous bay or scrape by on the largesse of the summer folk and whatever they can cobble together, salvage, or grab.
At the center of town life is the Baines family, land-rich, cash-poor descendants of town founders, along with the ne’er-do-well Moody clan, the Martins of Skunk Pond, and the dirt farming, bootlegging Edgecombs. Over the course of the twentieth century, the families intersect, interact, and intermarry, grappling with secrets and prejudices that span generations, opening new wounds and reckoning with old ghosts.
Edith Baines stares out the living room window at the schooner on the far side of the Northern Reach. It’s a traditional boat, big, maybe eighty feet, gaff-rigged with raked masts and some kind of carving on the prow, but in the inky light of the late afternoon she can’t make it out. The funny thing is, even though both the mainsail and the mizzen are raised, the boat isn’t moving. She squints but can’t see an anchor line, or even a buoy through the spitting snow. The current, she knows, is too strong for a mooring over there. Why doesn’t the boat drift? Where does it come from? Where is the crew? The questions itch unmercifully in her brain.
I’m pleased to share an extract today from Forgotten Lives, a soon to be released (10th January) follow on to Ray Britain’s debut novel, The Last Thread.
A single blow of the door-ram smashed the flimsy wooden door from its hinges and had barely landed before heavy boots trampled across it as helmeted, black-clad firearms officers pounded along the hallway shouting out commands as each room was reached, checked for occupants and contained as other officers raced behind them to reach the next room. Behind them, more officers thundered up bare wooden stair treads to secure the upper floor. Every officer carried a semi-automatic carbine rifle. Briefed for a potential confrontation with a skilled killer, the officers’ adrenalin-fuelled breathing filled the interior of the command vehicle a few hundred yards away where Stirling sat watching, waiting.
About the Book
Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast.
He thought he’d left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can’t-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver’s seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear.
Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland…or die trying.
Like Ocean’s Eleven meets Drive, with a Southern noir twist, S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime.