Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interview with Niteblade Editor and Author Rhonda Parrish

Rhonda Parrish is the submissions editor at Niteblade Magazine, an online horror and fantasy magazine. She's just published her first book, Shades of Green, over at Sam's Dot Publishing and I'm so excited to interview her!

1. You've been writing and editing for awhile now. Has your writing changed since you began your journey? If so, how?

Absolutely, my writing has changed, and thank goodness for that. It wasn't that long ago that I used to use the words 'then' and 'than' interchangeably. Seriously. I wish I were joking. I didn't have a clue what active voice meant and was in love with ellipses. Not only was I in love with them, for some reason I seemed to think if I used more dots it would indicate a longer pause. Again, I'm not joking.

I shudder when I think about (or when I'm feeling particularly masochistic, read) my old stuff but I'm getting better. If I look back at how far I've come, it gives me hope about how much I can still improve.

2. What are you favorite subjects to write about? Is there any subject that you would never write about?

This question really stumped me. So much so that I even asked the people most familiar with my work if they'd noticed a strong theme or subject I returned to over and over again. They hadn't, and neither have I. If I had to try and pick something I went back to the most, I think it would be the uncanny…and Aphanasia. The latter isn't a subject though, but a setting I enjoy.

3. Do you find that the genres you write are also the genres that you enjoy reading?

Yes, but not exclusively. I don't tend to write "literary" (for lack of a better word) works, historical fiction or comedy, but I've been known to enjoy reading them. I do read an awful lot of fantasy and horror stuff too though (which is what I primarily write). To some extent I think you really have to read the genre you are writing in.

4. What do you do when you get a writing block? Do you have any advice for us authors?

It depends on the block. I never feel like I lack for stories to write or ideas, and my biggest block to writing is willpower. Finding the will and the focus to sit down and do it. That is my biggest obstacle. If, however, you mean what do I do when I'm stuck within a story, I find getting away from it for a while helps. If I go walk the dog it frees up my mind to play with the plot and figure out how to fix my problem, and a hot bath has been known to undo more than a few plot knots for me. If that doesn't work venting to my best friend (also a writer) occasionally helps, as does brainstorming and bouncing ideas off my husband.

5. You're also the editor for Niteblade. Can you tell us a tip on submitting? What makes a story stand out?

Read the submission guidelines. Seriously. Can I say it again? Read the submission guidelines. I will know if you haven't. I really will and that handicaps your story. In fact, in some cases it will ensure that I reject your submission without reading it at all.

As for what makes a story stand out in a good way, it can be any number of things. Three dimensional characters I care about, fantastic description or an engaging plot. If you've got a combination of those things you're gold, but even one of them can sometimes be enough to make the story one that has me saying 'I have got to publish this!'.

6. Tell us about your new book, Shades of Green.

Shades of Green is a fantasy novelette set in Aphanasia. It's about a swamp elf named Z'thandra. Z'thandra is the last of her kind and she lives with the Reptar, a race of lizard-people who resent her presence in their village and make very little attempt to hide it. One day Z'thandra meets a human out in the swamp, the first she's ever seen. What happens next, as they say in hooks and blurbs, will turn her life upside down and affect the Reptar race for generations.

Dun dun dun!

At its heart I think it is a somewhat unconventional love story. I really look forward to hearing what readers and reviewers thing. Well, I look forward to it with the appropriate amount of nerves and trepidation.

I have a page dedicated to Shades of Green at my website (http://www.rhondaparrish.com/publications/shades-of-green ). There you can see the cover, ordering information and read the first chapter.

You can read my review of Shades of Green here! I loved it.

Thank you, Rhonda! Your answers are not only interesting, but will help all of us authors out there with writing and submitting.


Cherie Reich said...

Poor Z'thandra! I just read the first chapter, and I'll definitely have to put this book on my list of books to eventually buy. :)

BK Mattingly said...

Awesome interview!

Aubrie said...


If you feel bad for her now, wait until you read the end!

Thanks Bethany! I'm still reading your manscript!

Unknown said...

Excellent interview. I have a tendency to overuse ellipses when I'm writing to. I always have to go back through and yank them out in revisions. Old habits die hard I guess.

Lisa Rusczyk said...

Great interview. I love bathing to get through a writing roadblock too.

Rhonda Parrish said...

Thank you for the awesome interview Aubrie :) I really enjoyed answering your questions and I'm so happy you liked the story.

Nisa and Lisa (ooh do those rhyme?) it's good to know I am not alone in these things -- especially the ellipses LOL I think I'm getting over them, but every once in a while...

Thank you to everyone who commented :) You made me smile.