August 2022 4th Circle: Interview with REBECCA ROWLAND
DESI D: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot and why?
REBECCA ROWLAND: 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.
DESI D: When you sit down to write, do you start with character, setting, plot, or something else? And why?
REBECCA ROWLAND: 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.
DESI D: What is it about the horror genre that has attracted your imagination?
REBECCA ROWLAND: 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.
DESI D: 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?
REBECCA ROWLAND: 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.