Iseult: Welcome, WB, it’s so great you agreed to speak with me today. I’m a big fan of your poetry and of The Last Letter, your zombie novel coauthored with Tory Hunter.
WB: Thank you for having me as a guest. Agh! You read Wet Water? Thank you so much. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read of mine so far. I’m flattered.
Iseult: I loved Rose’s Gold. I found it very emotional and haunting. What inspired you to write it?
WB: The original inspiration came from a dark and moody photo I came across on Instagram along with a random tower I saw in a field. It was nothing like the tower in my book. I’m in Texas, so it was very farm themed, but I didn’t know what it was for. It didn’t look like a typical barn or silo, so it stuck with me. I was curious why it was there. I decided to write a story about it, and for some reason, the thought of that tower came together with the image I’d been holding onto…then I thought of Rapunzel. So, there were many things influencing the story, but the emotional aspect evolved on its own as Rose told her story.
Iseult: The story of Rapunzel, and stories of isolated women fighting to survive, is very close to my heart. How difficult was it writing about a character who is alone for most of the book?
WB: This was a challenge, more than I originally expected when I started the story. It became a huge hang-up about halfway through, maybe a little sooner, and I ended up shelving the book for a few months while I let it steep. I struggled with knowing how to keep the story compelling when it was just her and a room and a few windows to watch from, but life provided me with a little perspective that helped me to better understand Rose’s experience. The story really came together in the end, and I am so pleased with the outcome.
Iseult: One of the things that stood out to me was Rose’s habit of touching her scar. It made the character very real to me. What inspired such a great trait?
WB: I worked in the dental and orthodontics industry for about fifteen years. One thing I learned during that time is that your tongue kind of has a mind of its own, and if there’s something texturized in your mouth, there’s a good chance you’re going to tongue it. Dental patients experience this when they have work done and maybe the surface of a filling isn’t smooth or when they have an appliance added and the acrylic wasn’t polished well. They’ll mindlessly tongue it until there’s a sore. It made sense to me that Rose would have a habit of tonguing her scar in moments of stress, as it would likely be a mindless habit carried over from childhood. The other aspect of her scar is the physical deformity. While I don’t have a scar that caused distance between me and my peers, I never quite felt like I fit in, and I think a lot of people can identify with that. Grade school is hard, trying to fit in while you’re trying to figure out who you are. It’s hella tough.
Iseult: I hear you! Standing out in any way adds fuel to those who seek to put you down.
You had me drooling reading about the delicious food in your book. Are you going to publish a companion recipe book? Please say yes!
WB: While I do LOVE food, and I mean I love love it, I have no intention of publishing a recipe book anytime soon. It is something I’ve honestly considered, but it would be many years before I consider such a project.
Iseult: I guess I’ll have to attempt to recreate Rose’s recipes as best I can in that case.
It’s great to meet another multi genre author. What draws you to write fantasy and horror?
WB: I am a big horror fan, and I have been since I was very young. I saw my first horror movie when I was eight, and though it terrified me, I was hooked. Writing horror is fun for me. It’s something I do as a hobby. The moody and literary stories with fantasy or speculative elements, they came to me on their own. They are more insistent and eat at me until I sit down and write them out. I have a novel that I’m querying that’s in the same genre and another that’s about a third of the way done that’s also a speculative literary thriller.
Iseult: I’m intrigued! I look forward to reading them both.
I love how you incorporated various myths and fairytales into your novella and gave them a new interpretation. Have you plans to tackle more fairytales in future projects?
WB: I do. In my #amquerying novel, I’ve created a being that’s inspired by some of the mythological tales and fairy tales I’ve read, though it’s an original concept. My novel in progress is heavily inspired by mythology. I don’t want to give details because I don’t want to spoil anything, but HOLY COW, I’m excited about this one.
Iseult: Even more intriguing!
I’m still devastated by the ending to Rose’s Gold. Please tell me there will be a sequel?
WB: When I stared the book, I had no intention of writing a sequel, I didn’t expect the story to leave room for one, but the ending evolved, and I would like to keep it going, so yes, I do have plans to write a sequel. I’m hoping for a 2022 release.
Iseult: That is great news. Lots to look forward to from you. I hope you will write some horror too. I’d love to read more stories from the world of The Last Letter, which you coauthored with Tory Hunter.
Thank you again, WB, it has been wonderful talking with you and I can’t wait to read more of your writing.
Rose’s Gold will be released July 29.