The One That Got Away

RA Busby - Rebecca Rowland - Rowan Hill

RA Busby

How long have you been writing?

Since I was seven. The first thing I can remember writing was basically an Oz self-insert fanfic starring me and my dog, and then a takeoff on A Wrinkle in Time. I remember writing it on that paper they gave little kids for practicing handwriting.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

I have been deeply grateful to have met such a supportive group of people, including Jill Girardi at Kandisha Press especially.  She’s been incredibly encouraging, and even more specifically, she’s woven together a group of women and has been tireless in promoting their work.  I’ve been so thrilled to read the stories and fiction of these outstanding authors.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

Honestly, it’s been an escape. Even though (ironically or not) I find myself writing about the pandemic because it sucks everything around it into its inexorable orbit, for that brief time when I’m writing, it’s like dreaming while awake. It becomes a world to which I can escape even though that world might occasionally be inhabited by such things as demonic mothers and sentient skin.

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

Whichever forces of the universe are listening, I would love to have my novel The Underhouse published, ideally by an indie publisher who values works from women.  You know the big reason why, besides the fact that I think it’s a moving and horrifying story? It’s because I’d love to open it up to the acknowledgements page.  I want to give profuse and grateful thanks--in print and in public--to the many people from friends and family to folks I met through the horror community online. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s something I dearly want to happen.

 

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

I want to see greater cultural diversity. Mexican literature is replete with authors including Amparo Dávila and Carlos Fuentes who have contributed astoundingly chilling stories to this genre, but as Silvia Moreno-Garcia points out, these works are often mislabeled as “magical realism” when in fact, they’re Gothic or horror. I would love to see horror written by indigenous Americans, including writers from Inupiaq cultures. Finally, I want to see more LGBTQIA and neurodiverse characters and protagonists take center stage--and have them make it all the way to the end of the narrative.

 

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

In my own writing? Honestly, this is my favorite. I admire the folks who can write in other genres, especially historical romance, but I am pretty much a die-hard horror fan.

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

You have many dark mothers; read them.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Bio: An award-winning literature teacher and die-hard horror fan, R. A. Busby is also the author of "Bits" (Short Sharp Shocks #45),  "Street View" (Collective Realms #2), "Not the Man I Married" (Black Petals #93), "Holes" (Graveyard Smash, Women of Horror Anthology, Vol. 2), "Cactusland" (34 Orchard #2), "Kiss" (The One That Got Away: Women of Horror Anthology Vol. 3), and a recently-aired contribution to Creepy Podcast, “A Short, Happy Life.”  "I was always instructed to write about what I know," she states, "and I know what scares me." In her spare time, R.A. Busby watches cheesy Gothic movies and goes running in the desert with her dog.

Rebecca Rowland

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid: like most authors, I suppose. I’d fill up spiral-bound notebooks with silly melodramas, most of them inspired by pop songs of the 80s or John Hughes movies. In college, I tried to branch out to poetry—‘thought I was the next Adrienne Rich—but by the time I was in grad school, the dark fiction bug had sunk its teeth in, and it’s never let go.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

For the most part, the experiences have been good. More and more, I am meeting other female writers who support other women, and I think that helps quite a bit. Any time in history we as women have been crushing our heads against the glass ceiling, it’s usually because the women next to us were elbowing instead of offering a boost. Having outlets like WiHM and Fright Girl as well as female-managed and woman-centered publishers in the game has definitely improved the environment. There will always be INCELs and misogynists lurking about, but if we commit to projects that unite rather than divide us, women in horror are going to continue to be a rapidly growing force.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

I wish I didn’t have such a volatile relationship with social media. For me, reading about how so many authors were using the time trapped at home to pen their next novel discouraged me. As introverted as I am, being confined to my house crushed me psychologically, and staring at a blank page, unable to hear the words in my head, only made it worse. So much of my inspiration stems from traveling to new places and just venturing out and seeing life happen that being tethered to a four-room house was the equivalent of a bucket of water on a campfire. It really wasn’t until the late autumn that I finally returned to my laptop and felt things wriggle loose. Maybe it’s because I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

I’ve had a second short story collection in the works for a while; it’s comprised half of published pieces and half of tales that have never seen the light of day. My goal is to finish that collection for summer, but more than anything, I’d like to find a publisher for a handful of themed anthologies I’ve been itching to curate.  I find editing an anthology to be more challenging than writing, for whatever reason; there are so many balls in the air to juggle. To be at the helm of something throughout the creative process is both terrifying and exhilarating, and isn’t that what horror is all about?

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

My subgenre corner has always been psychological horror. Slasher films are fun, and I’ll go for a creature- or sci-fi-terror every now and then, but I am simply enamored with being creeped out. I want to see more films like Midsommar and The Perfection and Raw and read more novels like those of Iain Reid and Alma Katsu: if I am progressively more uncomfortable as the ride continues, I’m happy.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

I dipped my toe in the waters of erotic fiction for a few calls recently. It was an odd sensation, writing a story where no one was plotting, murdering, maiming, or having a mental breakdown. It cleansed my palate, I suppose. I don’t think erotica would ever replace dark fiction, however. The characters are just not deliciously disturbed enough for me, no matter how kinky it gets.

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

Shake off your preconceptions and apprehensions, and show the boys what it really means to play like a girl.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

Rebecca Rowland is the author of the short story collection The Horrors Hiding in Plain Sight, co-author of the novel Pieces, and curator of the horror anthologies Ghosts, Goblins, Murder, and Madness; Shadowy Natures: Stories of Psychological Horror, and the upcoming The Half That You See and Unburied: A Collection of Queer Dark Fiction. For links to the publications where her short fiction has appeared most recently (or just to surreptitiously stalk her), visit RowlandBooks.com.

Rowan Hill

 

How long have you been writing?

Sporadically for the last three years but in Christmas 2019, I made the decision to try and do it full time and see if I was any good at it. More importantly I enjoyed it.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

Nothing but extremely supportive! The ideal of ‘women lift other women up’ is extremely prevalent in this community.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

Personally, I thrived this year and wrote A LOT. Being stuck inside the house was the perfect reason that allowed me to spend five to six hours a day just writing.

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

I hope to have one of my novellas or novels published. I am still evolving in my writing, but believe I have some great ideas and can’t wait to get them out there.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

I would love to see more ‘quiet horror’. The unknowns, when a door squeaks in a quiet house, the glint of a dull black eye from a gap in a door, or something scurrying down the hall. I’m sure there is much of this and it’s simply in my TBR. But in any case, it is something I am interested in and currently using in my writing. 

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

I’m trying my hand at Thrillers and Romances, my guilty pleasure is picking up an old Johanna Lindsey novel (the woman who made Fabio famous). The funny thing is that through another lens, you could easily turn any number of Lindsey’s early works into a Horror.

 

Give a piece of one-sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

If you want to give people a scare, write what makes you feel uncomfortable, then triple it.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

Rowan Hill is a dual national writer currently living in Southern Italy. She enjoys writing over a range of genres, but Horror by far is her favorite. So far, she has found herself writing female villains and hopes to create a truly chilling one in the future. She tries to use her many experiences living in many places in her writing and feels that Bangkok and the Australian outback are by far the best for the genre.

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