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Feed Your Head: Ross Raisin

The idea of a streaking Elvis inspired the novelist's short story in Dazed's July issue

In the July issue of Dazed & Confused we invited 11 young and exciting novelists to write a short story inspired by their favourite song lyric. The literary playlist includes everything and everyone from The Cure to Nirvana and Cher to Elvis Presley. Author Ross Raisin chose the Elvis song and here he explains the thinking behind the tune and his story. Meanwhile, Dazed is offering you the chance to submit your own short story. Email us a 700-1,000 word long story inspired by the lyrics from your favourite song by July 2, 2012. We'll publish the lucky winner in Dazed's September issue.

The song is 'Trying to get to you' by Elvis. One of the lyrics is 'I've been streaking all the way', the idea of which, Elvis streaking, has always caught in my imagination

Dazed Digital: Can you tell us a bit about how the inspiration behind your latest book?
Ross Raisin:
My last novel, 'Waterline' was inspired by the thought of how a person could disappear, from family, work, home, city, to the point where nobody knows where that person is, and that person finds themselves living in a kind of limbo in which they feel they belong to nothing. I wanted to take the stereotype of an alcoholic Glaswegian rough sleeper and try and express something true about their inner world.

DD: What song/artist did you choose and why?
Ross Raisin:
The song is 'Trying to get to you' by Elvis. One of the lyrics is 'I've been streaking all the way', the idea of which, Elvis streaking, has always caught in my imagination.

DD: Is it difficult to write such a short piece?
Ross Raisin:
Yes and no. It's difficult to write anything, I find, but there's something attractive about doing something very short, partly because there's a quite specific structural challenge to get your chops around, and partly because the whole thing can hang off something quite small and simple, like a line, in this instance.

DD: How do you normally come up with ideas and characters for your novel?
Ross Raisin:
That's a big question. Crikey. I suppose the only true answer is that they usually start off with something so slight that it doesn't really count as an idea or character yet. Those things grow by following a line of thought and trying to be open to what it might become, over a long time, with quite a considerable amount of effort.
DD: What other books are you working on right now?
Ross Raisin:
I'm starting a new novel at the moment - I'm only a few thousand words into the first draft.  I know vaguely what it is about although I'm not entirely sure where it's going yet. That said, I have written a pretty full-on sex scene already. Well, why not?
DD: What advice do you have for young authors out there?
Ross Raisin:
Think about the writing, not about publishing. Think about that only when you've finished the writing, and what you have written is as good as you can make it. Believe in re-writing. Share it with people you trust. Don't forget to talk to socialise. Don't have a baby.

The paperback version of 'Waterline' is out now. Email your short story to THIS address by July 2, 2012.