Chapters and Chats Interviews Kergan Edwards-Stout, Author of “Songs for the New Depression”
Chapters and Chats is a fun blog focused on authors and reading. Jodi does a great job both in leading readers to terrific books, but in interviewing authors as well. I was flattered she both gave my book a glowing review, but took the time to interview me as well. You can check out the full interview at her site, but here are a few of my favorite questions and answers:
C&C: First let me say what an honor it is to have read your book as well as the chance to interview such a skilled author. With your writing, directing, volunteer work and being a father and spouse how do you juggle everything successfully?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to discuss my work! I really appreciated your review of the book, and love it when a reader or critic “gets it!” As far as your question, juggling it all is a struggle, and the biggest reason I don’t write more. It is tough to do it all, and in my life, our kids come first–even if that means my next book will have to wait.
C&C: At what point did your sons Mason and Marcus realize you are incredibly talent and celebrated with many awards? How do they react?
(Laughing.) Well, I’m not sure they think I’m talented! I won’t let them read “Songs for the New Depression” until they’re older, due to some racy bits, but they are very proud of my accomplishments. When it’s won awards or gotten great reviews, the kids have done a family toast at dinner, which is really all the acclaim I need.
C&C: Gabe is a tragic character, torn by a past without love and his sexual abandon that inevitably results in his being diagnosed with and dying from AIDS. I know you lost your partner Shane to AIDS and was wondering how much of Gabe’s character is based on your experience with Shane’s battle to survive AIDS or perhaps other close friends in your life?
While the tale is a fictional one, my goal was to try to create for the reader the world that existed in the days before our current HIV drugs appeared. It was a fun, poignant, scary, sexy, and angst-filled time, and I wanted to try to capture that as best I could. I think, when covering someone dying, the temptation is to paint them in sepia tones, but I wanted something more raw and real. Of course, the best way to do that was to try to relate the character as fully and as well-rounded as I could. Gabe was inspired, loosely, on my partner Shane, in terms of capturing some of Shane’s more cynical and sarcastic tone, but I amped up that aspect and allowed myself to create a character that was much harder and more damaged than Shane. But in that character, there are also shades of other friends, and myself at my most nasty.