Shut Down Strangers & Hot Rod Angels: Featured Author(s) #8 - Amy Rossi & Meghan Phillips

In the weeks leading up to the release date of Shut Down Strangers & Hot Rod Angels, I'll be featuring some of the pieces and authors here on the blog! Our eighth feature is Amy Rossi & Meghan Phillips and their story "Rosalita Code."

Amy Rossi lives and writes in North Carolina, and her work has appeared in places such as Wigleaf and matchbook. Find out more at

Meghan Phillips is the author of the forthcoming chapbook, Abstinence Only (Barrelhouse). She is the editor-in-chief of Third Point Press and an associate editor for SmokeLong Quarterly. You can find her writing at, and her tweets @mcarphil.

Which Springsteen song(s) inspired your story?

“Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” was our inspiration.

What is it about these songs in particular and/or Bruce’s music in general that inspires you?

MP: Both my parents are from New Jersey, and they’re both extremely into Springsteen. Growing up, I had a teddy bear wearing a “Born in the USA” t-shirt and a wall-sized poster of the Born in the USA album cover hung in our basement for years. My parents played Springsteen records all the time. His songs are the stories I grew up with. His music feels like home.

AR: As a disaffected suburban teen listening to classic rock radio, I just felt like Bruce was made for me. It was all there: the longing, the need for more, the belief that more exists. A couple years ago, Meghan published a story called “If Mary Didn’t Get in the Car at the End of ‘Thunder Road.’” Since then, we’ve been thinking through a collaborative flash project about the girls in songs, the ones who we know by name but whose side has never been told. Bruce’s music is a perfect place to work from for this because the songs are such rich stories already.

What five Springsteen songs do you think everyone should listen to? (This list can include the song(s) that inspired your story, but doesn’t have to.)

AR: 1. “Born to Run” (I know this is just a Hall of Fame Obvious Pick, but it doesn’t make it any less of a perfect song)

2. “She’s the One”

3. “Bobby Jean”

4. “Rosalita”

5. “Because the Night”

MP: 1. “Thunder Road” from Live 1975 - 85

2. “Backstreets”

3. “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

4. “Wild Billy’s Circus Story”

5. “Incident on 57th Street” into “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” (because really these songs have to be listened to together and should just be counted as one song)

What’s your favorite line/section from this story?

AR: “You still think life is something that happens to you. Possibility looks like a man with a band, not your own pink-cheeked reflection.”

MP: “Remember: he put you in a song. A song is forever, but the rest is up to you.”

Anything else you’d like to say, either about Bruce or about your story?

This one is for all the Rosalitas.

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