Really exciting 3Q’s Special today with the fantastic author and anthologist, Rebecca Rowland!
I’ve read some of her work and what I have has been really great! With the launch of a really thrilling anthology on the horizon, I was so happy Rebecca was able to stop by for a visit!
Steve: What does your process look like once you finish your first draft? Do you immediately dive back into it, or do you take some time away?
RR: As an author, I pay more attention to how I write things than what I write. More often than not, I type a handful of paragraphs, then go back and revise those snippets two or three times before continuing on with the story. When I’m done, unless I’m under a tight deadline, I put the story away for a few weeks before revisiting it. When I finally read the first draft as a whole, I’m looking more for plot holes than for syntax or diction tweaks.
As an anthology editor, I read stories as I receive them—often, two or three times. I have never been a fan of editors who try to align a writer’s style to their own, and I try to keep a creator’s voice intact: that means not fussing too much. In general, I select stories for projects based on the writing rather than on the story-telling, so when I copy edit, it’s very minimal, and once the story is placed, I tend to not look at it again because by that time, I can’t see the forest for the trees. I send the stories back to the authors and ask them to take one final scan for typos: by that time, they should be able to see their pieces with fresh eyes. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to trimming and shaping our own work; we pick at things too much. Outside proofers are godsends: they clip stray hangnails without any emotional attachment.
Steve: What’s the one thing you’d change now if you’d have known it when you started writing?
RR: I would have gone into writing horror not giving a fuck about what others think, to be crudely honest. For years, I was so self-conscious about how something might come off: to my friends, to my co-workers, to people who might form a first impression of me based on what they read. Maybe it’s a product of age or maybe it’s a product of experience, but these days, I write what I want to write without much filter. Sometimes it’s too filthy for people; sometimes it’s too clean. It took me a while to feel comfortable in my own writing skin. Some authors mold their work around what’s “hot” or what sells. I can’t fault them. However, I try to approach writing and curating the way I approach my personal relationships: for me, duplicity is one of the most loathsome traits to possess. I can’t employ it in my relationship with others, and I can’t employ it in my work either.
Steve: Of the books or stories you’ve released, which is your personal favorite and why?
RR: Although I will always have a soft spot for “Bent,” I’d have to say Shagging the Boss is my new favorite. People hate the title. One well-known reviewer refused to even look at the story because she insisted it “had” to be erotica (even though there isn’t a wink of sex anywhere in it). The novelette takes place in Boston—where I set a lot of my fiction—at a location where I worked in the mid 1990s. On one level, it’s a fun creature feature, but at its heart, the story is about the ethical limits people bend (or break) and the nefarious actions they ignore when they want something badly enough. Ambition isn’t a bad thing, but it can be monstrous at times as well.
Steve: Bonus Fun Question! Would you rather be lost at sea or in the mountains?
RR: It would have to be the mountains, if only by default. My skin’s pallor rivals a graveyard ghoul’s. If I were adrift on the open sea, the sun’s reflection might damn well set me ablaze.
Thank you once again for doing this, Rebecca!
To find more of her work, check the links!