Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Airship Ambassador: What kind of attention has Bones generated?
Rhea Rose: It seems to be generating a lot of attention, not my story in particular, but the entire anthology is getting good reviews. My story has been mentioned in a few of those. That’s always a bonus, to be well received in reviews.
AA: What upcoming projects do you have on your plate? What stories should our readers look forward to?
RR: I have a story coming out in Tesseract 20, it’s science fiction, and I have a magic realism story coming out in the fall in Pulpliterature. So, you can see that I hop around in the genres. I’ve written 3 novellas and self published them. They are part of a 6 book series about a Tarot Sorceress (contemporary fantasy). There are another 3 that will be published this summer, just in time for the When Words Collide Festival. As a writer, I am busy, but I’d like to be busier. I also write scripts for tv and movies and haven’t had any luck in that field, although I’ve had a nibble or two.
AA: Every author I’ve talked with has a different journey to seeing their works in print. What have your publishing experiences been like?
RR: My experiences have been incredible, in many ways beyond my wildest expectations, which may sound strange coming from a writer who hasn’t really published a novel, although I’ve written a few. Any “lack of success” I may have experienced is entirely of my own doing! My first mentor was Judith Merril! My next mentor was David Hartwell! I’ve been in writing groups with Eileen Kernaghan and William Gibson, long before he became famous and invisible. My work has appeared in anthologies along side of Margaret Atwood’s!! My very first published short story was nominated for an award and lost to Judith Merril. My second published short story was also nominated! It’s really been a fun ride. And I’ve met great writers and editors both known and unknown, on both sides of the border.
AA: WOW! What an amazing journey and great connections to people. It shows how it’s worthwhile to be social and involved. We just never know where one encounter will eventually lead us. How are new readers finding you – conventions, website, word of mouth, etc?
RR: Yes, I hope, all of the above. I’ve tried to keep up with everything, but it’s difficult because as you know marketing and publicity are really a full time job—how do you write, keep a job and market yourself all at the same time?
AA: For the aspiring writer, what lessons did you learn about having an editor, their feedback, and your writing?
RR: Editors are wonderful people, but you do have to know your own mind. And have the conversation with yourself, how important is this to me? Will this edit drastically change the story, if so do I want that? etc. Have a conversation with the editor and explain what you attempted to do. Often they will come up with a simple suggestion to tweak whatever area they have a concern with. Sometimes they’ll leave it the way it is.
I remember on my very first short story to go to publication the editor wanted to delete an entire paragraph that I felt contained the small beating heart of the story. I said no and explained why. He kept it. And to this day, no one has every discussed that paragraph as being erroneous.
AA: Have you been on book tours and to conventions? What has that been like, and the fan reaction?
RR: I have been to many conventions. I like to work them, so I sit on writing panels and I do writers workshops. I’ve not been on any book tours. I love conventions because that’s when I get to see my writing world friends. I’m always surprised when I have a fan, but it happens and it’s a delight. Once a fellow came to me and asked me to sign his copy of an anthology that had every contributors story signed but mine. I asked him where he’d come from and he’d travelled from the deep south and said he’d collected every story of mine that I’d written!!
AA: It’s flattering any time someone enjoys our work, and in your case, so amazing to have a dedicated fan like that. What do you do to keep a balance between writing and the rest of your life?
RR: I don’t get enough writing time. I like to write in the early morning during dream time. The problem is getting enough sleep to get up early enough to write. The rest of my life is always crowding in. If I give any advice to new writers, it’s take the time to write because the rest of the world wants to fill up your time always and forever.
AA: Yep, common refrain – never enough time. Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
RR: Yes, I belong to a small writing group and I’m in contact with writers who aren’t part of that group. I’m also on the SF Canada listserve, so I have much access to other writers and artists.
AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?
RR: I’ve become more confident as a writer. There’s no more angst like there was in the early days. I’ve never been able to make a living at writing and I stopped worrying about that long ago. Now I simply write, hope that I write well and try to find a home for my pieces. It used to be all about getting published in this or that market, but I’ve come to realize that for me, as a writer it’s about telling the story.
I’ve made writing a much larger part of my life than in the past. I love the direction publishing has gone in. I’m so delighted that I know longer need to wait for the go ahead from another party. Don’t get me wrong, I love when one of my stories wins a spot in an anthology or a magazine. I’m a hybrid author who gets published and republishes herself and new work. I am freed by the self publishing process if I don’t want to wait to sell something I can publish it myself, but that’s not the only reason I do it. I love to design books and covers; there is whole artistic side to myself that most who know me don’t know about.
AA: There’s so many interesting facets to you and what you’ve done! Writing can be a challenge some days. What are some of your methods to stay motivated and creative?
RR: The majority of the time I don’t find it difficult to get writing. On days where things are going on that keep me from writing, I don’t write. But generally I find once I get planted at the computer I can get work done. I’ve actually moved my writing spot all around the house looking for the most inspiring place to write. I take a laptop and write at the library at times, or at work. I also talk to myself; write a paragraph, anyone can do that. I give myself treats when I do long stints of writing, like go to a movie that also inspires me to write. I love looking at artwork and I find artwork inspires my creativity. I go to places on the internet like Shutterstock and look at images that inspire.
AA: There’s a lesson in all of that for the rest of us how to find or create an environment to be productive. How is Vancouver for writing? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc
RR: Vancouver is difficult for speculative writers. It’s very much a literary town, but I’ve noticed a little change in that attitude over the last few years. The speculative community here is small but consistent.
Time to pause in our chat with Rhea. Join us again when she talks about interests and role models.
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