David Rhodes may have seemed to appear out of nowhere when his novel, Driftless, hit bookstore shelves in 2008. In fact, it was Rhodes’ fourth novel and the resumption of a promising career.
Rhodes, who lives in southwest Wisconsin, received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1971 and published three novels in rapid succession: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (Atlantic/Little, Brown, 1972), The Easter House (Harper & Row, 1974), and Rock Island Line (Harper & Row, 1975).
A motorcycle accident in 1976 left him paralyzed from the chest down, which brought a temporary halt to his publishing career. His return earned significant accolades, including a report from the Chicago Tribune that called Driftless the “best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years.”
Jewelweed is a sequel of sorts, picking up with some characters from Driftless and introducing new ones as well. Rhodes sat with us for an interview while he was in Iowa City for the 2013 Iowa City Book Festival, speaking about how he writes, the role of place in his writing, and more.