I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Welcome back to the Lockbox and another author interview. This week Rachel Robins (one of my fellow 2s at Seton Hill) is in the hot seat. Let's have it, Rachel.
-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?
Definitely, it’d have to be Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the AB:VH book series. I had picked up her series in high school and loved the earlier books—yanno, before everything went downhill. I ragequit when she shifted her genre from urban fantasy to paranormal erotica, keen on coming up with something better on my own.
I don’t know if I’m succeeding, but I’m trying all the same.
-What genre do you write?
I’m entirely enamored with urban fantasy. I love playing with reality and elements of the fantastic or absurd. At the moment, though, my current work in progress will likely be marketed as New Adult fiction in YA.
-What project are you working on now?
My main writing priority is my thesis novel, but I’m also working on my blog and trying my hand at other lengths of fiction. My small writer’s book club, The Ladies of Book Wookery, have banded together to challenge ourselves to write a monthly flash fic each, incorporating a specific noun, verb and genre, all chosen at random. My first addition went up September 23rd at The Wood Word.
Here’s an excerpt from Ex Nihilo, Chapter Five:
I shook my head to brush it away and hobbled over to the handicap stall to wait just outside of so I could claim it once the fairy left it. I couldn't maneuver around in the smaller ones.
Slouched against the wall waiting, I couldn’t help but stare at the girl who held open the door. She was some sort of anthromorph, or furry. Dense auburn fur coated her like skin. Maybe it was a trick of the light that made it seem to grow longer with each heartbeat?
But that wasn’t why I stared. Sometime in between me coming in and walking to stand outside the stall, she had whipped her shirt off. Bra and all. I looked up in time to see her vigorously shearing her left breast. There was hair everywhere. Even the nipples. It shocked me.
She grunted when she noticed through the mirror. “What? Never seen a pair of tits before?"
Not like those. I shook my head. “Sorry."
She seemed absolutely comfortable with her nudity. If it didn't bother her, I wasn't going to let it bother me. I just wanted to make conversation. “So, uh. Are you a werewolf?” I realized afterward that it wasn't the best choice to start with.
She glowered at me. “Who are you calling a Vulkodlac, bitch? With a face like that, you ain’t got no right to start in on the name-calling."
My face warmed. I knew with the scars, I was no looker. “Sorry. I’m just kinda new to all this. I didn’t mean any offense."
She hesitated, like she was weighing my words. Testing for sincerity. “That’s fine. I guess. Just so you know. It’s sort of rude to ask people what they are."
“But then how will I know?"
“I don’t know. Be a mindreader?” She gave a short bray of laughter. “No, really. You pick it up. That, or get your ass kicked. Maybe both. One sort of helps with the other.” Finished with the left boob, she moved on to her shoulder and upper arm.
“I see,” I said.
-For other aspiring writers, any tips?
Like my mother says, “Keep it simple, stupid.” Just because you have a complex world or a surplus of intertwining subplots doesn’t mean you can hurl everything at the reader all at once. Put your blinders on, and focus on one element at a time. Only feed the reader information on an as-needed basis, detail by detail. Any more than that, either your story will start to bloat in places, or you’ll entirely confuse your audience.
-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?
Due to my critical hag nature, it’s a rare thing for me to really enjoy most books.
Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series was a front runner for me I think the longest now. I have certain issues with the last two books at the moment, but mostly, the series is pretty solid.
-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
Generally anything I’m currently writing is my favorite thing at the moment.
Rachel Robins is currently a graduate student in the MFA program of Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. She writes, she reads, she dabbles in almost every craft known to man, except possibly underwater basket-weaving. Rachel maintains a wide range of interests, from bento-making to crochet to French, drawing, graphic design, ABJD, jewelry making, designing fairy houses, and pretty much anything that looks spiffy, really. When she's not mucking about with any of that, she's most likely reading or slaving away on her urban fantasy work in progress, Ex Nihilo.
Want more from Rachel?Pinterest, Tumblr, and on Twitter @RSquaredWrites.