Thursday, May 15, 2014

Interview with Ron Parsons, Author of The Sense of Touch

RON PARSONS is a writer living in Sioux Falls. Born in Michigan and raised in South Dakota, he was inspired to begin writing fiction in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. His short stories have appeared in many literary magazines and venues, including The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Storyville App, The Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, and The Onion. His debut collection of stories, THE SENSE OF TOUCH, was released by Aqueous Books in 2013.

You can visit his website at or

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in the Detroit area and lived in Michigan until my family moved to South Dakota when I was nine years old. One of my fondest childhood memories is when my parents bought on old sailboat. We would sail out to a small island in the middle of Lake Michigan, build a fire on the beach, and cook hot dogs. After moving to South Dakota, where my father had secured a job at the EROS Data Center, the first thing we did was drive to “Buffalo Ridge,” a local tourist attraction, to look at a herd of buffalo, whose numbers were dwindling at the time. To a kid from Detroit, it was like seeing live dinosaurs.

When did you begin writing?

I was always pretty good at English and writing in school, but really did not do any serious writing until I began taking college fiction writing classes at the University of Minnesota. I am an appellate attorney now, so in that capacity I am writing virtually every day. My creative writing stops and starts in stretches. If I am really energized about something, I will work on it late into the night.

What is this book about?

“The Sense of Touch” is a collection of short stories that focus on how people of different ages and circumstances attempt to connect with others, with varying results, and how they are changed by the encounters. The book’s epigraph is from a wonderful Wallace Stevens poem called “It Must Change,” and the cover, beautifully designed by my publisher Cynthia Reeser, depicts a butterfly, which is a symbol of transformation.

What inspired you to write it?

I was inspired to write a short story collection many years ago while attending the U of M. A friend of mine had loaned me two books of short stories: “Like Life” by Lorrie Moore and “The Watch” by Rick Bass. I thought at the time – and still do – that they were perfect gems, and I resolved after reading them that someday, somehow, I would produce a collection of my own. It took a long time and a lot of luck, but I was finally able to make that happen.

My favorite authors still tend to be short story writers. In addition to Moore and Bass, I love Tobias Wolff, Raymond Carver, Annie Proulx, Italo Calvino, Raymond Chandler, Louise Erdrich, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Ford, Marilynne Robinson, Joseph Campbell, Tim O’Brien, George Orwell, Toni Morrison, and William Golding.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s Books, Tower Books, and in various, mostly independent bookstores around the country. If you are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, be sure to purchase your copy at Zandbroz Variety located on Phillips Avenue in our historic downtown!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

The main advice that I would give to aspiring authors is to be receptive to the editing suggestions of others, while still remaining true to your own voice, and to remember that persistence is your truest ally and procrastination your most dreaded foe.

What is up next for you?

I am continuing to craft short stories to submit to literary reviews, but have found my attention increasingly drifting toward a novel. Thank you very much for hosting me here and I wish you and each of your readers success and satisfaction in all of your creative endeavors.

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