Episode 26: How to write literary fiction with author Scott Alexander Hess

Cover image of The Butcher's SonsIn this meta-writing hour, author and fellow New School alum Scott Alexander Hess, dissects his use and balance of language to create scene and character in his latest book, a historical novel, The Butcher’s Son (a literary fiction hell-of-a-work if I do say so mahself.)

The author of three books, Hess masters juxtaposing elements of nature to “aggravate and propel things that are already happening” in the plot.

The novel, set in the 1930s in New York City, gains its viscosity from something Hess calls “method writing” as well as immersion research. “When I’m writing a book, I basically live in a world,” Hess says. “So for a year and a half, I’m living in the 30s.”

The result?

For a day and half, the time it took me to read The Butcher’s Son, I too lived in the 30s in a Hell’s Kitchen tenement with three brothers taking divergent paths that eventually converge and lead Hess right onto my bookshelf of “writers I want to be when I grow up.”

But in the words of the first book reviewer I ever knew, “Don’t take my word for it.”

Listen. Learn. Write.

Show Transcript
Lethe Press

Scott Alexander Hess

Scott Alexander Hess


Scott Alexander Hess earned his MFA in creative writing from The New School. He blogs for The Huffington Post and his writing has appeared in Genre Magazine, The Fix, and elsewhere. Hess co-wrote Tom in America, an award winning short film starring Sally Kirkland and Burt Young. The Butcher’s Sons is his third novel. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hess now lives in Manhattan, New York.



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