Rose Blackthorn writes in the world of speculative fiction. She has published numerous short stories which have appeared in Necon E-books, Siren’s Call, Massacre Magazine and many others. She has also appeared in many anthologies including The Ghost IS the Machine and Fear the Abyss by Post Mortem Press, Eulogies II: Tales from the Cellar by HorrorWorld, and Equilibrium Overturned by Grey Matter Press. The last contains one of my personal favorites from Rose, Through the Ghostlands, which is a great apocalyptic story. Rose’s talent also extends to the world of dark poetry in her collection Thorn, Hearts, and Thistle. Many thanks for your time, Rose, I hope everyone enjoys your interview as much as I did.
The Scary Reviews: When did you realize you were going to be a writer and when did you write your first story.
Rose Blackthorn: I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. As a ‘tween, maybe 12 or 13 years old, I started telling myself stories. I’d go for long walks (we lived in a rural area, and I could walk around in my grandparents’ fields and never be bothered) and I’d just make up stories and say them aloud. It took a year or two to realize that if I wrote those stories down, then in the future I’d be able to go back and reread them. I’ve been writing them down ever since.
TSR: If you were not an author, what would your ideal career be.
RB: For a long time in my youth I wanted to be a singer, but I don’t really have a great voice. I did some drama in school, but I don’t think I was ever very good. I wanted to be a musician (and I won’t tell you how many years I played the accordion) but my love of the guitar did not extend to a talent for it. I also took dance classes from age 5 until my mid-teens. However, since I’m extremely shy, I’ve never pushed to be a performer. That’s why writing is just about the perfect thing for me.
TSR: I know you write in various genres, do you have one you prefer or feel more at home in and why.
RB: Really, it just depends on my mood and the story that I want to tell. I really enjoy writing horror, I just like the ambiance and the character reveals and the options for unexpected twists. That being said, I’ve spent most of my life reading fantasy and science fiction, and am still (sporadically) working on an epic fantasy trilogy. Maybe someday I’ll finish it.
TSR: I’d be very interested in that after reading your short story Worthy Vessel. Do you write every day or have a set schedule you use when writing.
RB: The last few months have been difficult for me. Previously, I wrote almost every day, it was rare that I missed one. That was when I was submitting stories weekly, and publishing something at least once a month. However, over the last few months I’ve been finishing up a certification and looking for work, and now working a job with a very different schedule than I’ve ever had before. I’m hoping to settle into this new schedule and start back on a regular writing cycle.
TSR: What books have most influenced your life and how did they influence your writing.
RB: That’s a lot of books! My mother started me on King and Koontz when I was very young, and so obviously they have had a great impact on me. We were also members of the Science Fiction Book Club of America, and I think we might have kept them in business for a couple of years :) The authors/books that always pop up on my favorites lists, the ones I’ve read and reread over the years, are these: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and the Riddle Master of Hed trilogy by Patricia McKillip; a whole long list of Dragonrider/Brain Ship/Crystal/Talents books by Anne McCaffrey; God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell; the Diadem from the Stars series by Jo Clayton; Someplace to be Flying and multiple other books by Charles de Lint; Clan of the Cave Bear, and to a lesser degree the following novels, by Jean Auel; The Darwath Trilogy by Barbara Hambly; 90% of what I’ve read from Stephen King, starting with Firestarter; 90% of what I’ve read from Dean Koontz, starting with Watchers. All of these, to a greater or lesser degree, have changed the way I look at the world. In turn, they have also influenced my own voice in writing.
TSR: What is your writing Kryptonite.
RB: Lately? Netflix. I can’t tell you how many series I have binge-watched over the last 6 months. Of course, I have no one to blame but myself.
Really, though, my biggest issue is that (for me) writing is a solitary pursuit. Over the last few months, I haven’t had any time alone, and I need to learn how to pull away and get my alone time specifically for writing. I’m working on it.
TSR: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be.
RB: Stop putting it off. Stop being insecure. Stop letting others validate/invalidate you. This is what you love, do what you love. Yep, the same thing I need to tell myself now!
TSR: What a great answer! I wish I could have given myself the same advice growing up. I know many women who write in the horror genre use initials instead of their first name, did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym.
RB: Technically, I am writing under a pseudonym :) And, I’ve changed it several times over the years, at least until my first publication. That being said, I never considered using initials. It just never occurred to me that doing so might be advantageous to my career.
TSR: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones.
RB: Yes. How could I not? It’s that whole validation thing again. As time goes on, however, they have less of an impact on me. Good reviews always make me happy; I love to hear when someone has really enjoyed something that I’ve written. In the beginning, a bad review could just destroy me, at least for a few hours. Now? Not so much. Like anyone, I don’t like reading bad things about me (and even though the reviews are about a specific piece of writing, it still always feels like they are talking about me). But sometimes it’s obvious that it has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the bias of the reader. And sometimes, a bad review can point out something to me that helps me in the future. Take them with a grain of salt, always.
TSR: Can you share what your current work in progress is or the next book/story we can look forward to.
RB: As usual, I’m working on several things. I’m putting together a collection of my own short stories and possibly some poetry. I’m working on a novel, a follow-up/continuation of Through the Ghostlands which appeared in Equilibrium Overturned. Still checking back in on that epic fantasy trilogy from time to time. And as usual, I have at least a few things submitted out and awaiting a response. Fingers crossed for more acceptances than rejections!
Please write that novel! I would love to read it. That was a great story and when it ended I wondered what happened to the characters afterwards.
Thank you so much for your time, Rose. It sounds like you are very busy and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what comes next. I’ve been a fan for some time and it was great to get a chance to ask you a few questions!
Thank you so much, David. I’m glad that you’ve been following my work, and hope you like what will be coming in the future.
Connect with Rose Blackthorn at the following links