I’ve known Rhonda Parrish for several years and am always amazed by her latest accomplishments. In addition to inspiring other writers through an online writing community, she edits Niteblade and somehow manages to find the time to write original material. Her story, “Sister Margaret“, was recently published by Eternal Press. In celebration of the occasion, Rhonda allowed me to interview her. She’s got a little surprise for you at the end!
Amber: Congratulations on your recent Rhysling Award nomination. You write in many formats and genres. Is there a specific piece you’re most proud of? Or one you have a funny story about?
Rhonda: I am very proud of “Lovers” which is my Rhysling nominated poem. It’s a haiku, which I think is one of those poem formats which is easy to learn and difficult to master. I’m a very long way from mastering anything, but I think I have a very solid poem in “Lovers”. That someone else felt that way too makes me exceptionally happy.
By Rhonda Parrish
Where river meets bank
We linger, yet again, with
Your fin in my paw
Interestingly, I read “Lovers” at the World Fantasy Convention’s open mic poetry event and was quite surprised when people laughed. The story behind the piece in my mind wasn’t a funny one, it was a very sad one. I think that message got lost when I changed the title from “Cursed Lovers” to “Lovers”. That’s one of the reasons I adore that poem so much, it can be interpreted in many different ways.
I’m also incredibly pleased with “Sister Margaret”. It turned out exactly how I envisioned it and has been getting positive reviews, which makes me happy because I’m pretty much just an ego with legs
Amber: Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?
Rhonda: I don’t. I kind of wish I did because that could make for more interesting writing sessions (and a better answer to your question). Really, I just sit down and write.
Maybe I should make up a ritual!
Amber: Have you noticed an evolution or style change in your writing since you began writing fulltime?
Rhonda: Oh, absolutely. When I wrote my first novel for NaNoWriMo in 2005 I used then and than interchangeably, had no idea what active voice was and over used ellipses. Really, really overused them. And commas? Don’t even get me started on them.
I’ve come a long way since then, but I’ve still got loads of room for improvement.
I guess that sounds like the mechanics of my writing as opposed to style, but the two are related to one another. Without the ellipses, passive voice and misspellings my writing style is hugely different. The drawback of that, of course, is that sometimes when I go back and read things I wrote even a few months ago it can take a lot of willpower not to revise it. Again and again. LOL What stops me is knowing that if I kept doing that, I would never write anything new again LOL
Amber: “Sister Margaret” could have worked well in a contemporary setting. Would you say Dungeons and Dragons has influenced your work in the fantasy genre?
Rhonda: Without question. The vampires in “Sister Margaret” are far more of the monster variety than the sexy or even the sparkly/sexy variety, and I think that’s a direct reflection of the roleplaying I used to do. In addition, one of the main characters, Bayne, is the child of my favorite Dungeons and Dragons character.
I know one of the unwritten rules of RP and writing is ‘No one else will ever think your roleplaying character is as cool as you do’ but surely writing about their offspring doesn’t fall into that category right? Right?
Amber: Did the story for “Sister Margaret” appear fully formed or did it take a few revisions to get to where it is today?
Rhonda: Both of the above. The skeleton for “Sister Margaret” appeared fully formed in my brain, but it took several revisions to get it where it is today. Heck, I had to do one revision solely to take out extraneous ‘thans’. Apparently I was very fond of the word than when I wrote the first draft LOL Just another example of how my style has developed I suppose.
Amber: In “Sister Margaret”, the narrator mentions dwarves, elves, half-humans, and incubi as some of the species that can be found in Haven. What other species might be found in the city of Haven?
Rhonda: There are several different elvish races, and a few different varieties of demons in addition to the incubi. The demons, including full-blood incubi, aren’t welcome in Haven any more than undead are, though. There are several flavors of them too, zombies, vampires, lichs…
Amber: Will your readers get to explore Haven or other places with Michael and Bayne in future publications?
Rhonda: I hope so LoL.
I’ve written a few other stories set in Haven, or Aphanasia (the world in which Haven is set). I’m currently looking for publishers for the shorter pieces which feature Bayne, his sister and a few other very interesting characters. I’ve also written a novel called “Shadows” that is sort of a sequel to “Sister Margaret”. It features Michael, Bayne and a whole host of other characters. I’m seeking agent representation on that one. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Amber: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Rhonda: I’d just like to thank you for having me here today and for this wonderful interview Amber. As a way to show my gratitude I’d like to give out a copy or two of “Sister Margaret” to your readers. Anyone who comments today or on my guest blog post tomorrow will have their name entered into the draw to win an e-book copy of “Sister Margaret”. I will hold the draw on May 2nd to give people a chance to pop by and enter, and if there are more than 15 comments (not counting mine) I’ll give away two copies.
Thank you again for having me here Amber. You rock!