I disguised the front door to resemble a dilapidated movie theater showing nothing but old vampire movies. When I came in this morning, I found Rhiannon Mills asking which corridor led to the 1992 version of Dracula. After I gave her some popcorn and started the film, I thought I’d ask her some questions to distract her.
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I write because sometimes stories stick in my head, and the only way to get them out is to write them. Characters haunt me in my sleep until I finally just put them to work in the story setting of their choice. It makes me happy and keeps me from going nuts. Well, it keeps me from going too nuts. A little nuts is good for you.
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
Oh, this makes me cringe to just think about it, but if I really had no choice, I suppose the following would go last: Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice, The Vampire Encyclopedia by Matthew Bunson, The Complete Novels Collection by Charlotte and Emily Bronte, The Shining by Stephen King, and The Child of the Holy Grail by Rosalind Miles.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
In 2005, I lost a son. When he was three days old, I was given the choice to keep him on life support or let him go. I chose to let him go, knowing he had no chance to survive regardless. That was both the easiest and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Hardest because I’d only had him in my life for three short days. Easiest because I knew those three days were a gift, and if I let him go, he wouldn’t be struggling to breathe anymore, and he wouldn’t be in anymore pain.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
“SMH”… That one drives me absolutely bonkers.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
I have a few favorites. Draken from The Demon King is one of my favorites because he’s just so selfish. He came from a darker side of my own personality. When one faces the king (Draken), one will not know if he’s going to embrace you or lop off your head until the split second when he reaches for his sword or pulls you close. Demon Kings tend to be moody in that way. That being said, it seems Paul Gray, from The Bones of Willow Lake (to be released later this year) is a reader favorite. I knew people would like him, but I had no idea beta readers would like him to that extent!
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
There used to be (and, it’s probably still there) an old textile mill in Saxapahaw, NC. I lived in Saxapahaw when I was just a little kid and that old mill really bothered me. When I got older and no longer lived there, I looked it up. Turns out, the old mill was a place where children once worked. The kids would have school up the hill, but then walk down to the mill later to work for a very small wage. The mill, by the time I lived close to it, was falling in and had busted windows and was so dilapidated that I was sure the boogey man was just waiting to eat me alive if I got too close to it. It’s never appeared in my work, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t one day.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
I’ve received quite a collection of rejections—enough to wallpaper my entire house, really. Some were just form letters and some were full of helpful criticisms, but the best one came from an editor I fully respected and she gave me some great reasons why my story wouldn’t work for the press.
How did you get that scar?
ATV accident when I was 15. Seventeen stitches in my skull, a million in my leg. NOT something I ever want to do again. My best friend was with me that day and now we have matching scars dangerously close to our brains. West Virginia rocks are not easy on the noggin! And this, children, is why you don’t sneak off to go riding on four wheelers with boys!
But, FYI, I married the boy I was riding with that day, and I haven’t let him forget that accident, either.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
Burn by The Cure
Promote yourself and/or your writing
The Demon King is on sale for Kindle downloads in both the US and the UK from now until June 30th, so it’s a wise idea to snap it up now while it’s cheap! Also, The Bones of Willow Lake will be out from Knight Watch Press, an imprint of Fringe Works Press sometime this year. Still too early to know exactly when, but keep an eye out for it. Details will be posted in my blog as they come. (You can also stalk her on Twitter @RhiannonMills)
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
Thank you so much for having a chat with me! I’ve enjoyed it. Drop by and see me anytime, Rebecca.
Thank you for joining me, Ms. Mills. I’ll certainly take you up on your offer, but first you have to escape. I’ve provided you with an ATV and terrain rockier than West Virginia. Make sure to take as much time as the as you need, especially around the old textile mill, and I’m sure you’ll be fine.