I Have Always Loved Stories About Losers: An Interview with Ross Wilcox

Interview conducted by Jaya Wagle

Ross Wilcox is the author of the upcoming story collection, Golden Gate Jumper’s Survivors Society. He has a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. His short stories and poems have appeared in The Adirondack Review, The Carolina QuarterlyNashville ReviewPembroke Magazine, and are forthcoming in Green Mountains Review and Harpur Palate. He lives in Fort Worth with his wife and two cats.

Jaya Wagle: In your stories everyday people confront their challenges with escalating absurdity and the mundane gains a whole new perspective. Can you speak a little bit about how you choose the subjects of your stories?

Ross Wilcox: With short stories, the spark always seems to come from a unique idea, an unusual premise, or a new wrinkle on an existing trope. In fact, if there isn’t something sufficiently odd about the story’s premise, I feel like it’s not worth writing. That’s just me. I envy writers who can capture everyday experience in compelling ways without going beyond the bounds of realism. For example, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck, Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Sabrina and Corina, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies are three of my favorite short story collections ever. They all write about everyday people living everyday experiences. Their stories are brilliant, their characters are amazing…and I think if I tried to write a story like theirs it would just be boring. So, I must stick to weird things that border on surreal. Although there are a few stories in my collection – “Nora’s Sweatshirt,” “Puddin’ Suitcase,” and “Backwater” – that probabl