Sunday, February 14, 2010

Interview with Author Rebecca Brock

Join us as we chat with Author Rebecca Brock about her literary journey and her new book The Giving Season. The Giving Season is a charming heartwarming love story you do not want to miss.

****Contest Alert - Leave a comment (attached to an email address) on Rebecca Brock's interview and be entered to win a copy Of The Giving Season. This contest will end March 31st

1)Tell us about yourself? I live a (thankfully) quiet life. I read a lot, in all kinds of genres, and I tend to be a bit “conspiracy theory” minded at times (depending on what type of non-fiction I’m into at the time). I like to cross stitch, but my attention span isn’t what it used to be, so now I mostly stitch up Christmas ornaments and smaller projects. I also crochet, even though the afghans I’ve made tend to unravel after a while. On weekends I like to catch up on my favorite TV shows (I have a weakness for wedding reality shows) and movies. Good grief, I didn’t realize I was this boring! (ha ha)

2)How long have you been writing? I started writing when I was in third grade, I believe. I liked to write sequels to horror movies and “kill off” all my friends (they loved it, and thank goodness no one took it seriously). I got impatient writing in longhand and taught myself to type with the help of my aunt’s manual typewriter, an old typing textbook, and some black tape. That sped the process up a bit. I don’t know if anyone remembers those old typewriters, but I had finger muscles like you wouldn’t believe.

3)What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I honestly don’t know. I started reading at a very young age (I think I was 2) and the first novel I read was Carrie by Stephen King when I was five or so. I don’t remember what impulse made me think I could write—I just started doing it without much thought to the hows and whys.

4)Along with this interview we will be giving away a copy of The Giving Season. Tell us a little about this book and why you decided to feature a plus size heroine in this novel? I wanted The Giving Season to be about the importance of family, especially to someone who is alone in the world. The main character, Jessy, is on her own and lost (literally and figuratively) when she meets Michael, and his act of kindness—inviting her to share Christmas with his family—changes her life. Not only does she find a family, she finds someone who loves her. It’s hard for her to accept his sincerity, so she struggles against her own self-esteem problems in order to allow him into her life.

I wanted to write about a plus-size heroine because I’ve struggled with weight issues all my life. I liked reading romance novels, but I’d inevitably feel disappointed (if not flat out annoyed) with the books because the heroines were always so perfect and beautiful and thin. Where was the struggle to find love? Where were the self-esteem issues and self-doubts and worries and nights of feeling lonely just because they felt they were “different” than everyone else? The heroines of those books didn’t have the emotional struggle that I wanted (needed) to read about. So I decided to write a total “wish fulfillment” novel, in which a woman like me—full-figured, shy, self-esteem-challenged—meets a wonderful guy who sees beyond all her real and imagined “flaws” and falls in love with her.

5)The Giving Season is a bit different than your other work. Your personal blog, as well as your self-published collection of short stories all fall within the horror genre. Why did you decide to step out of your norm with this novel. I guess there’s only so much horror you can take before your brain starts screaming “I need fluffy happy sunshiny stuff!” Writing horror helps me to exorcise my worries and fears, but writing romance is an exercise in optimism and hope. There’s always a happy ending. As much as I love writing horror, I love writing romance just as much.

6)Do you plan to write more books featuring plus size characters? (Maybe a horror with a plus size heroine now that would definitely be interesting) Funnily enough, in my horror stories I leave the descriptions of my characters fairly open-ended, so the reader can fill in the blanks however they want. I do plan to write more books with plus-size characters; that’s the life I know. I’m familiar with the problems and issues than can come with being plus-sized. Plus, I think it just makes stories more interesting when the main character is struggling with the same drama as me. I might not have to worry about zombies in my life, but discovering that I can’t zip up my favorite jeans anymore? That I’m all too familiar with.

7)What is up next for Rebecca Brock? Do you have another book coming out anytime soon? I’m working on a few things all at once (nothing like juggling fifty balls in the air). I’m trying to finish up a final draft of a plus-size romance to submit to Pearlsong Press, as well as working on a script for my brother, David, who is a director (it’s a zombie movie, of course), and finishing up a few short stories here and there.

I do have a story in a horror anthology called “The Best of All Flesh,” which should be available now. It’s a zombie anthology, and my story is about a guy who is stuck at his job at a youth detention facility when the world goes kablooey and the zombies attack. He has to decide between his responsibility to the kids at his job and his family, even though he doesn’t want to have to choose. My brother, Matt, inspired the story—he worked at a facility like that and told me some real horror stories about the kids.

8)What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? Getting published, to be honest. When I was a teenager and full of youthful arrogance, I would send out novel manuscripts to publishing houses such as Zebra and Tor, fully expecting that my writing was good enough to be in print (this was when I was 16, mind you). I started collecting rejection slips. I couldn’t let myself think about how many other people were submitting stories and novels, and how many other people were flat-out better writers than me. I just stubbornly kept submitting my stuff—and this was in the days before the Internet, when I actually had to send hard copies of my novels through snail mail. It was an expensive, slow, frustrating process. Plus, living in the boonies put me at a real disadvantage when it came to finding/reading the few magazines that were publishing short horror stories. We have no bookstores in my town, so it was really difficult to study the market. The Internet, of course, changed the game completely.

9)Where do you see yourself a year from now? Hopefully talking to you again about my second or third romance novel. Getting a horror novel or two out there to publishers. Working on more scripts with my brother. Basically, I'd like life to be the same as now, only more successful and better.

10)What are you reading now? What types of books (genres) do you read in general? I’ve just started “Under the Dome” by Stephen King, and I’ve got a few non-fiction books in various stages of completion. Right now, I’m primarily reading non-fiction works concerning conspiracy theories and other creepy things (aliens, UFOs, cryptozoology, etc.) because I’ve got a feeling my subconscious is storing up the information for a story. I tend to flip-flop around in my tastes—last week I read biographies on John Lennon and Elvis, before that I was totally into horror, before that, I was interested in books about Christmas traditions and pagan origins. I never know what I’ll want to read. My home library is eclectic, to put it mildly.

11)Who are your favorite authors? In the romance genre, I’d have to say LaVyrle Spencer is my absolute favorite, followed by Jude Devereaux. I remember spending my junior prom night at home reading a LaVyrle Spencer novel (senior prom night was spent watching “Return of the Living Dead,” but I digress). Of course, I’m a fan of Stephen King (especially the early novels, like “The Stand”) and Dean Koontz, but I also enjoy books by Jack Ketchum, Richard Layman, and Robert McCammon.

12)What is a typical day for you like when you are on a writing deadline? Panic, followed by much procrastination, wailing, and beating of the breast.

Actually, I just try to keep my head down and my attention focused and get the words on the page. My thinking is that it’s easier to edit than create, so the priority is to just get everything I’m planning to say on the page, with the plan of going back later to fix it. Right now, though, any writing deadlines I have are of my own creation, so I have a bad habit of scooting the deadlines back as needed.

The biggest deadline I ever faced was when I was working with the drive-in movie critic, Joe Bob Briggs, as the researcher for his book "Profoundly Disgusting." I had put together hundreds and hundreds of pages of research for him and knew the subject matter about as well as he did. The book was in the midst of its final edit when I got an email from his editor asking me if I could fact-check about fifty or so items by the next morning (because Briggs was in Europe and unreachable at the time, otherwise he would have done the work). I worked all night to get it done, but by golly, the finished product was emailed back to the editor first thing the next morning. Don't ask me how much I got paid for the job (she said with a bitter laugh).

13)Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal? How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? I hope to be at the Ohio River Festival of Books in Huntington, WV on April 17th to sign copies of The Giving Season and Abominations (see http://ohioriverbooks.org for more details). Readers can get in touch with me by email (Rebecca_brock@hotmail.com). My website, http://www.rebeccabrockonline.com, is currently under semi-construction, but it’s up and running. I’m still trying to figure out the whole “webpage” thing.

14)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? That I honestly hope that my writing—whether it’s a romance or a horror story—genuinely entertains them and gives them a laugh or a scare or a swoony sigh. They say that you should write for yourself—and that’s true—but it’s the reader who is the most important element. I try to write for them.

Plus, I’m really not that weird. Honest.

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About Rebecca Brock: (Borrowed from Pearlsong Press website) Rebecca is the director of a small library in southern West Virginia. She is also the author of a collection of short horror stories (Abominations) and a variety of other horror stories published in anthologies and online since 2000.

When not cleaning up after her cats, Rebecca enjoys books and movies in a variety of genres (romance, horror, true crime, sci-fi) and attempts to be crafty by crocheting, sewing, and cross stitching. The Giving Season is her first published novel (all the others are hidden away in drawers somewhere).

1 comment:

Leni said...

Your work is new to me and I'm looking forward to it.

lenikaye@yahoo.com