Josh Ritter has been writing novels for the last decade—he just didn’t meet the word count. A vivid songwriter, the Moscow, Idaho-based folkie specializes in three-minute masterpieces, the kind that establish plot, character and motive before the first chorus. It’s what got him named one of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters by Paste magazine. It’s also what makes his leap from songwriter to novelist seem more natural than, say, Ke$ha suddenly deciding to write children’s books. See what Ritter had to say about music and writing his novel, Bright's Passage, in this Q&A.