• SummerStorm Press

Author Interview: Randee Dawn

The author of the short story The Way Is Clear has good advice for you! Her story enchanted us from the start. It's dark, yet whimsical, and explores magic throughout a lifetime. The universe she has created fascinates deeply!

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Getting lost in my own head as I spin out stories in ways that often surprise and delight me. It can be like conducting an orchestra where jam sessions often break out.What is your genre? Did you write outside your preferred genre for this anthology?

What is your genre? Did you write outside your preferred genre for this anthology?

Are you a pantser or a plotter? Why?

"Speculative fiction" is the best umbrella; I have written humorous fantasy, dark fantasy and horror alike. My latest book lies somewhere between science fiction and fantasy so ... yeah, let's stick with spec fic!

Are you a pantser or a plotter? Why?

I was a pantser for many years, and then tried plotting for a novel that originally wasn't going to be a novel -- it was going to be an online text-based game. I gave up doing the game aspect and realized I was left with a chapter-by-chapter setup for a book, and ran with that. I didn't follow it word for word, but it was comforting to know that I had things set up for the next part, and the next part, and the next part, so I could focus on the part was on and not freak out that I might forget some element or twist. I'm not a huge plotter -- I still don't use 3x5 cards or whiteboards or anything -- but I am won over to the idea of mapping things out, at least generally.

What is your favorite thing you've written?

A three-book crime mystery that also plumbs the depths and heights of obsession and human longing, but that hasn't been published and it'll be a while before it gets there. Of things I've published, I'm really very pleased with "Home for the Holidays," a dark tale about two neighbors who *really* get into holiday decorations.

What inspired the story you wrote for Another World? What was your writing process like for this story? Was it different from your regular workflow?

"The Way Is Clear" is part of a universe I developed decades ago -- which at the time was not speculative fiction at all -- and has since become dark fantasy. I've long been fascinated with people who live on their own, or live wild/half-wild in the forest, and attaching a mythic element to it came naturally. I have a whole novel that takes Lexi on a slightly different journey with "Gil," though her origin story is the same, that I'm hoping to publish one day. In any case, I'd taken this sliver of an alternate universe of hers and written it some years ago as an experiment, and loved how it went -- it just didn't fit in the novel. Meanwhile, I had success with another sliver from this universe in a story that came out a few years ago, "The Way Is Clear," which was published in a different anthology. I like the idea that we can ask of our own universes: "What other stories do you have to share?" and see where the imagination goes. Lexi is my favorite character, and she's been with me in one form or the other since I was in middle school. I'm thrilled she's getting heard for the first time here (the other short story didn't feature her).

Lastly, what is a piece of writing advice you'd give seasoned or new writers?

That there's always another story, or more story, to tell. You just sometimes have to sit back and let go of what you think *should* happen -- and ask the world you've created where it wants to go.

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L.J. Valente