Interview by Helen Stubbs.
Rebecca Fraser is a full time copy and content writer and part time speculative fiction author based on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Her dark short stories, poems, and flash fiction have appeared in various anthologies, magazines and journals since 2007. Rebecca holds a Certificate of Publishing (Copy Editing and Proofreading) and recently completed a Master of Arts in Creative Writing. To provide her muse with life’s essentials, she supplements by freelancing for the corporate world, however her true passion lies in storytelling.
Tell us about your most recent publication and your masters.
This year I finished my Masters in Creative Writing. It was a challenging but rewarding journey. Being an online student is not dissimilar to writing – it’s a solo practice. That said, a virtual classroom environment is very inclusive and supportive, and it’s great to engage with writers across all genres, leanings and mediums.
One unit I particularly enjoyed was creative nonfiction. Essentially it’s writing about the real world with grace, power, and personal commitment … It’s about having the legitimacy to say: “Here’s my point of view. Here’s how I see my world.” The more I delved into the different aspects of creative nonfiction, the more I felt like I was exploring something of value to myself and my writing. Applying the narrative techniques of fiction to works of nonfiction was a wonderfully personal experience.
This lead to my most recent publication in The Quarry journal. ‘Brave New World’, is a combination of theme and place, drawing on self exploration during a transitional period in my life.
Truth be told, study took up a great deal of my ‘personal’ writing time, so it’s great to be back in the submissions game with some new work in the genre I’m passionate about.
I hear you’ve been working on an undersea middle-grade novel!
I recently completed a novel targeted at a middle-grade readership, which is an audience I’ve never written for before. It’s a dark(ish) fantasy that brings together a psychological drama about a young upcoming surfer moving through the grief of his father’s death, combined with a dramatic speculative storyline in which two warring undersea species fight for an all important object.
It combines my love of the ocean with my passion for speculative fiction. It’s been a long term project, and a lot of fun to write, rewrite and edit, and I’m hopeful there’s a printing press warming up for it somewhere.
What do you plan to work on next?
At the moment I’m really enjoying getting back into my first love, short stories. Among others, I’m currently fiddling around with a dark little tale that shines a frightening light on the plight of our farming communities.
I’m also in the plotting process (I’m not much of a ‘pantser’ as much as I’d love to be) of a novel length work, set in 1991. While this will be a move away from spec fic, I’m very excited about where this story of family secrets and relationship dynamics will take me.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
The last book I read was ‘Islands of Angry Ghosts’ by Western Australian author, Hugh Edwards. It provides a beautifully written account of the ill-fated Dutch East India Company Ship Batavia, covering its 1629 wrecking, blood soaked mutiny-massacre, and subsequent salvage off the coast of Geraldton in 1963. What a tale! (And what story fodder).
Other recent Aussie reads I’ve enjoyed include Gary Kemble’s ‘Skin Deep;’ ‘Two Wolves’ by Tristan Bancks; and I revisited a youthful read, Robin Klein’s ‘People Might Hear You.’
Next off the line is ‘The Natural Way of Things’ by Charlotte Wood, ‘Day Boy’ by Trent Jamieson, Maria Lewis’s ‘Who’s Afraid?’ and the ‘Bound’ series by Alan Baxter.
There’s so much talent in Australia, my ‘to be read’ pile will never diminish.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
This is a toughie! I am going to run with two authors, and imagine myself positioned in the middle seat.
Stephen King can have the window seat. Shirley Jackson, the aisle.
Stephen King is a giant to me. He was my first crush (I’m not kidding), and his body of work continues to enthrall me since I first picked up a dog-eared copy of ‘Skeleton Crew’ as an early teen. His earlier works influenced me greatly – they challenged me to write outside the safety of my cognitive parameters; to look more intensely at the mechanics of character, and to indulge and embrace my love of horror. King’s nonfiction book ‘On Writing,’ focusing on craft is also – I believe – a valid reference for any writer.
Shirley Jackson – how I love her quiet style. Her voice is one so cunning, so clever that her horrors sneak up and swallows you before you even know it’s happened. What a glorious gift. I wish I could write like that.