“I’m grateful the novel has resonated with so many,” states Edwards-Stout. “I was inspired by the loss of a partner in 1995, Shane Sawick, and his battle with AIDS. I knew I had to find a way to honor him, as well as other friends lost far too young.”
Songs for the New Depression explores the life and loves of Gabriel Travers, who, in the face of his impending death, struggles to make amends to those he has wronged. Mixing the contemplative styling of Michael Cunningham with the dark humor of Augusten Burroughs, Songs for the New Depression takes its readers on a journey to personal awakening.
In addition to his novel, Edwards-Stout is a regular contributor to popular website Huffington Post, which has lead to a quickly growing fan base. “I love the immediacy that writing for Huffington Post provides,” he notes. “To be able to write something one day and see it published the next is quite different from my novel, which took over 12 years to write.”
The novel, the first for Edwards-Stout, has received universal acclaim, with Kirkus Reviews (the “World’s Toughest Book Critics”) calling Songs for the New Depression "a distinctively entertaining novel written with moxie and bolstered by pitch-perfect perspectives."
“It was important to me that I try to capture that period, before the HIV drugs we now have, when people knew the end was in sight,” Edwards-Stout relates. “Often, the temptation is to write of those we’ve lost in sepia tones. I wanted to take a snapshot of the time, relating the laughter, fear, anger, loneliness, and--of course--the passion, in all of its messiness.”
When asked about the response to the novel, Edwards-Stout said, “I’ve gotten so many touching emails and notes from readers, sharing their stories, which I've found incredibly rewarding." Asked what had surprised about the experience, he elaborated, "Aside from the readers' reactions, I guess what I hadn't anticipated was how critics would react. While I'd expected more urban reviewers to ‘get’ the story, I’ve been really grateful that it has received praise from such unexpected places as the Midwest Book Review, or Liberty Press in Kansas, and others, in addition to the awards. It just shows you how universal tales of love, loss, and redemption can be.”
Readers and critics alike seem to find Songs for the New Depression a stimulating read, with Frontiers Magazine going so far as to call it “simply stunning.” It is available now in hardcover, paperback, and e-book, through Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and many other fine retailers.