AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – RANDEE DAWN


These interviews are related to our GHOST AND GHOULS AND OTHER CREEPY THINGS campaign. For those just joining us, we are crowdfunding three projects on Kickstarter and also taking some time to introduce you to our participating authors, some of whom are new to eSpec. The campaign has passed the halfway point! Check it out to see how we’re doing, and what awesome rewards are left to be had!

eSpec Books interviews Randee Dawn contributor to Even in the Grave, edited by James Chambers and Carol Gyzander.


eSB: Even in the Grave is a collection of ghost stories, without spoilers, can you tell us a bit about your story and how you came up with the idea?

RD: Whenever presented with an anthology prompt that hooks me, I try to think outside the box: What’s a story no one else will be submitting? And that often sets the imagination free. What if our ghost wasn’t human? What if it was a dog? Where are the ghostly dogs in our folklore? And things took off from there.

eSB: Okay, first off the top of your head, who is your favorite ghost and why?

RD: The one that sticks with me best is the ghost in 2017’s A Ghost Story. It gave a real sense of longing and emotion to this spirit, and a sense of what it’s like to be locked into one place, one mood, one existence, over years and years and years. I mean, it could have been ridiculous: He stands around in a sheet with eyes cut out, like Charlie Brown or something – but over the course of the film he becomes a meditation on memory and existence.

eSB: Do you believe in ghosts, and why? Is there an experience in your life you can share with us that strengthened that belief?

RD: I kind of want to believe in ghosts! But not angry, thwarted ones – just ones who love a place or a person so much they can’t move on. I like to think of them as romantic figures, not so much as incorporeal villains. I read a book about ghosts when I was young, and I seem to remember a fair interest in the mystic Edgar Cayce. I’ve also been known to look between my dog’s ears, which is reportedly a way to see ghosts.  No success as yet.

eSB: Have you ever incorporated aspects of your own experiences in your fiction? Tell us about it.

RD: Every author leaves a piece, or pieces of themselves in their work. Things we’re interested in, the way we perceive the world – even if our characters perceive it in the opposite way – so I’m no different. I love writing about dogs and have been a dog owner since I was a little girl. I grew up reading books where they were the main characters. But I was never too fond of the overly sentimental stories: Richard Adams’ works, or Albert Payson Terhune’s Lad books were more my speed. These are animals, and if you spend time with them it’s impossible to believe they don’t have souls, which means they can become ghosts, too.  

eSB: What haunts you as an author?

RD: The unending fear that nobody will read the stories I write! Or if they read them, that they won’t leave reviews! Or if they leave reviews, they’ll say they hate my writing! Or – well, this could spiral infinitely, right?

eSB: What is your least favorite aspect of being an author, and why?

RD: Marketing. On the one hand, I love getting out there and meeting readers, or hearing someone has found my book, or even selling a book directly! But shifting mental gears from “I am a creative person” to “I am a shill for my work” is not something I actively would choose to do, if there was another way. But there’s a lot of noise in publishing, a lot of books come out every day, and you have to do something to raise your signal above all that. I’d rather do another rewrite of a book than tackle some of that stuff!

eSB: What are some of your other works readers can look for?

Across The UniverseRD: I’ve got a bunch of short stories out in anthologies, plus I’m the co-writer of The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion, which has a foreword by show creator Dick Wolf – he gave us total access to the show and the cast. And finally, Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles was my first opportunity to co-edit an anthology, and it was a huge learning experience. Plus, the book has some amazing riffs on other jobs the Fab Four might have taken on, or lives they might have led.

eSB: As a horror author, where do you find support for your writing?

RD: The Horror Writers Association, particularly the New York branch I’m a part of, has a wildly enthusiastic, talented and creative bunch of folks who’re inclusive and welcoming. Even before I was a member I felt like part of the gang. I’m also a member of a group called Broad Universe, which is geared to female, female-identifying and nonbinary authors of all genres, and they really have proved to be an invaluable source of hive mind expertise, inspiration and friendship.

eSB: What advice would you give aspiring horror writers?

RD: Find what scares you and make it scarier. Specifics and detail and emotion are what will turn an ordinary frightening story into something that really clutches the heart and refuses to let go.

eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?

RD: So glad you asked! My first published novel, Tune in Tomorrow comes out on August 16, 2022 via Solaris/Rebellion. It’s about a struggling actress who gets a gig on a reality TV show run by mythical creatures. There’s a love triangle, a missing cast member, transportation via marble and a dragon security guard – and it was so much fun to write. I’ve been an entertainment writer for decades, and I totally dove into that lived experience of talking with filmmakers, actors, and screenwriters, as well as hanging out on various TV and film sets over the years to flavor the book. I wanted to both respect and gently rib that industry in the novel, because it’s both overblown and magical, much like fairy land.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you?

RD: My website, RandeeDawn.com, is the best place to start. I’ve got loads of blog posts up there, along with a list of my books and how to acquire them, plus a newsletter if you like your information delivered directly to your mailbox. I love hearing from readers!


Dawn

Randee Dawn is an author, journalist, and lucky denizen of Brooklyn. Her first novel, the humorous pop-culture fantasy Tune in Tomorrow, will be published in 2022 (Solaris).

Her short fiction has appeared in publications and podcasts including 3AM Magazine, Well-Told Tales, Where We May Wag, Children of a Different Sky, Magic for Beginners, Dim Shores Presents, Another World: Stories of Portal Fantasy, Dim Shores, Horror for the Throne, and Stories We Tell After Midnight 3.

She has a short collection of dark speculative fiction short stories, Home for the Holidays, and co-authored The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion. She co-edited the speculative fiction anthology of “what if” stories about The Beatles, Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles.

When not making stuff up, Randee publishes entertainment profiles, reviews, and think pieces regularly in outlets including Variety, The Los Angeles Times, Today.com and Emmy Magazine, and writes trivia for BigBrain. She can be found at RandeeDawn.com and @RandeeDawn (on Twitter).

Learn more about Randee Dawn:

Website GoodReads  *  Amazon  *  BookBub  *  Newsletter

Follow Randee Dawn on social media:

Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Instagram

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