The 4th Circle: Interview with REBECCA ROWLAND

-Interview by Desi D

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot and why?

My first instinct would be to say “cat,” if only because I’ve always owned one, and most of the time, when I’m writing at my desk, a cat is lounging on the floor nearby. However, I think a better choice would be an ocean wave. I wish I could be like other writers and just sit at the computer or paper and churn something out on a whim, but for me, I have to be inspired, to hear a snippet of dialogue a character might say or a line or two of narrative in my head.

Nothing in particular inspires me. Sometimes it happens when I am driving, sometimes it happens when I first wake up in the morning. It waxes and wanes, and I have no control over it, like the tide. But boy, is it fun to ride when the waves are huge.

  1. When you sit down to write, do you start with character, setting, plot, or something else? And why?

I start with the line that I hear in my head and cobble the story around it, weirdly enough. If I wish to submit to or am invited to a certain call, I try to shape the story in the call’s direction, but it always starts with the sentence or two, floating in space without a story to call home.

  1. What is it about the horror genre that has attracted your imagination?

I’m very aware when something is going to make me happy or sad, but what unsettles me often catches me off-guard, and it evolves over the years. I also find that dark fiction has the best twists at the end. I have always been a huge Twilight Zone fan, so being able to craft something that pulls the rug out from under a reader is a rush. Romance, weepy dramas: Those don’t have the same kind of “aha” moments that speculative fiction genres do.

  1. What is it about the art of storytelling that excites you? And of course, what is the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

It’s always a nice feeling when someone reads my work. We wouldn’t send our pieces out for publication if we didn’t want people to read them. But a lot of the satisfaction I get is just finishing a story and knowing that I created something different, or that perhaps I took a known trope and twisted it a bit.

I have a story, “Sobriquet,” coming out in Sinister Smile Press’ INSTITUTIONALIZED anthology in September. The authors were given the task of crafting a character who is dangerous because s/he thinks in an altered state of some sort. While doing some research, I stumbled across a fetish that I found morbidly fascinating, and I was able to weave it with a few paragraphs I’d had jotted down months earlier. The tale is a bit disturbing and more than a little unsettling, I am damn proud of it, and I can’t wait for the collection to come out.