From a desert highway in West Texas to the plains of frontier Kansas to an abandoned mine in New Mexico, K.C. Knouse puts the main characters of the thirteen short stories and novella included in Twenty Miles West of Branch, Texas and other stories into circumstances that challenge assumptions they have made about themselves, their lives, and the world in which they live. With compassion, humour, and an eye for detail, these characters will bind their stories to your heart!
Are you looking to meet new characters that you’ll think about for years to come? Meet the story behind these characters with myself and author K.C. Knouse, as we chat about his short story collection, Twenty Miles West of Branch, Texas and other stories. K.C., it’s been a few months since we’ve last chatted, what has been going on in your writing world since then?
I am working on a small collection of short fiction for publication in April of this year. The working title is: A Short Stack of Short Stories. I have also been publishing short fiction on Medium.com and just completed a serialized story (3 parts) that was published in Farrago Hotel on Medium.
I love that you dabble both in the more medium of both books and the looseness of Medium.com Has your journey, either around the platforms you write on or in other arenas changed since last year?
Except for the occasional promotion, I keep writing and editing.
Writing and editing is an awesome way to spend your time! Do you find both writing and editing equally engaging?
Most of the time, the act of writing energizes me. Editing can be exhausting, but even then, I am energized when I improve on a word or a sentence as a result of editing.
When you’re sitting down improving your writing craft, what kinds of things are at the front of your mind?
I want to produce something that will hold the reader’s interest and make him or her think.
So when you were writing this collection, what ideas did you want to encourage your readers to think about?
Life is a journey of self-discovery. The characters in these stories encounter situations that cause them to question who they are and through that experience come to know themselves better.
Did the stories in this book come from your own journey of self-discovery?
All of the stories are informed by experiences I have had in my life. Even the story set in frontier Kansas drew upon my experience. Obviously, I have no direct experience of living in frontier times, but I have experienced being in debt which is the problem that confronts the main character. I traveled extensively in eastern Kansas as an outside salesperson in my twenties, so I have knowledge of the terrain and history.
Are the characters we’ll meet in these terrains also informed from your own experiences, or are they a little more fictional?
The characters are composites of people I have encountered along with some of my own traits plus made up stuff. The theme of the story dictates the character and vice versa.
What did you learn by working with this interplay of characters and theme?
I learned to let the characters tell their story. The stories always end differently than I had planned.
It’s hard to plan a journey, even if it’s fictional! Have you had a little more luck planning journeys in real life? In particular, has your planning ever lead you on a literary pilgrimage?
Only to a library or bookstore.
*Laughs* If you’re anything like me the journey home from the bookstore of library feels like a pilgrimage because you’re carrying your weight in books! Do you feel that your life journey, from bookstores to beyond has helped your voice as an author progress?
Yes, I’ve has become more confident.
So, with an air of confidence, can you share your favourite line from this collection to whet our appetites?
“Don’t worry,” Will said. “Until something better comes along, we’re just going with the flow.”
Hopefully, the flow will lead us all to more stories! K.C. thanks for sharing a taste of your stories today, and I can’t wait to hear more about your new collection of fiction soon!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Twenty Miles West of Branch, Texas and other stories ( ASIN: B07CBSVXSS )‘.
Want to find out more about Ken Knouse? Connect here!K.C. Knouse