We talk to Rebecca L Brown (whose poems appeared in Issue #33) about archaeology and vampires.
My favourite of your three pieces was “Timothy Hawkins”. There’s something fascinatingly horrible about the idea of a man’s life and death being broadcast on the radio. Where did you get the idea for this poem?
The idea was based on the way in which people seem to spend more time “broadcasting” their lives than living them, for example through social media. There comes a point when there’s simply nothing there to talk about, nothing worthwhile being experienced. The reporting – the sharing and the audience with which it is shared – almost becomes more important than the experience itself. At the same time, there is sometimes such a distance between the real life and the broadcast life. If we choose one, the other becomes an illusion.
I was surprised to read that you have a BA in Archaeology. Can you tell me a bit more about that? How (if at all) has it influenced your writing?
I write a lot of fiction based in or on the past. I think it gives an extra dimension to that kind of writing when you can fill in some of the details. I’m intending to write some archaeology-based fiction at some point, but I never seem to get round to it!
You refer to yourself as a British writer. Have you always lived in Cardiff? Are you ever tempted to call yourself a Welsh writer? What would the difference be to you?
I grew up in the north of England and only moved to Cardiff when I was eighteen so I don’t think I qualify as a Welsh writer although of course living here does affect my work. When I’ve called myself an English writer in the past, publishers seem to have some odd expectations about what I’ll be sending them, so I prefer to say I’m British just to avoid that as much as possible.
You’re the author of the Blood Cravings series of vampire novellas. How have these books been received and have you had any interesting experiences writing and publishing them?
The books have been generally well-received. I enjoyed writing them and I think that shows in the end result. I’m planning to revisit the premise of the series in the near future at the request of fans.
I think the most interesting thing about these books in particular was that I found it really hard to stop writing them! No matter how many times I edited and re-edited them, I just couldn’t bring myself to let them go. In the end, it took the combined efforts of my beta-reading team and my publishers to prise them out of my “draft” folder and into the stores! I’ve never had that problem with any of the shorter fiction I’ve written.
You have a long list of publications on your website. If you had to pick a few favourites from the list what would they be?
I’ve really enjoyed working with some publishers – Hazardous Press are always great to work with, for example, as is Mark Crittenden (editor of Their Dark Masters etc). I was also really happy with the pieces I had included over at Sword & Sorcery magazine and I’m always delighted when my poetry gets published – I always think of myself as more of a genre writer than a poet! My very favourite piece is always the one I’ve just finished, though – or the one I’m about to write – and for that, I’m afraid you’ll have to watch this space…
Rebecca L Brown is a British writer. She specialises in horror, science fiction, humour, surreal and experimental fiction, although her writing often wanders off into other genres and gets horribly lost.