Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Introducing you to... Rachel Anding

So now that summer holidays are over and we have your full attention again, it is our great pleasure to introduce you to our talented 'Dark Heart Volume 2' author, Rachel Anding. We know that you are going to fall in love with her work as much as we did.

Her story contribution is 'The Queen of The Gillyflowers', a goose-bump inducing modern fairytale in which college student Kate discovers that falling in love is truly a magical experience.

Official Author Bio: 

Rachel Anding grew up in England and the Northern Marianas which prompted her to become equal parts bibliophile and mermaid. She now resides (somewhat unwisely) in the frigid North with a varied collection of books, oddities, tea cups, and a small menagerie. She is a freelance illustrator and writer of dark fantasy and horror with a B.A. in Medieval History and a penchant for all things melancholy and macabre.

Tell us a little about yourself, Rachel.

            I grew up traveling with my mother and lived everwhere from England to Hawaii to the Mid-West United States to the Northern Marianas. I've always had an active imagination and read voraciously from a young age. I fell in love with Victorian and Gothic literature as well as the Classics, and earned my B.A. in Medieval history a few years ago. I've worked as a tutor in inner-city Minneapolis, a waitress in a tea-shop, manager of a traveling Renaissance Festival gypsy cart, face-painter, and exotic animal handler. I have a modest menagerie, diverse library, and collection of odd artifacts and teas from around the world. I enjoy dabbling in dark fantasy, steampunk, occult horror and neo-Victorian genres.

When did you start writing ‘seriously’?

            Some of my earliest memories involve dictating stories to my mother or grandmother, before I learned how to write them down myself. We traveled a great deal and I would always have a notebook and markers with me so I could chronicle whatever was happening in my imagination. In high school I started writing my first book, doing serial chapters for my best friend to read and eventually working with an author for my senior internship. However, it is only within the last year that I put aside my larger personal projects and tried my hand at short stories for publication. I submitted my first short piece in October 2013 as part of a Flash Fiction contest and was thrilled when it was accepted as a winner. Since then I have been focusing on short stories for various websites and anthologies.

What is the favourite thing you have ever written? Tell us a little about it.

            That's a difficult question because whether I'm working on a short piece or a novel-length piece, I get very wrapped up in the worlds and characters and possibilities and enjoy every minute of writing. The most memorable is probably one of the first stories I ever finished. I was in ballet at the time and I wrote a story for my mother's birthday present that involved a twist on the Nutcracker (her favourite ballet) where the Rat King is actually the protagonist and falls in love and everybody goes down in the sewer and has a dance party. I still have the illustration of the giant black rat with his thorn crown dancing with a Sugar Plum Fairy.

Tell us a little about your book / series?

            Right now I am exploring alternate tellings of Fairytales mixed with dark, urban fantasy.

Who is your inspiration?

            There are so many authors and artists that I find inspiring! I've always been fond of Poe, M. R. James and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I love elegant prose and ghost stories. In recent years I have been heavily influenced by the works of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Catherynne Valente, Tanith Lee and Guillermo del Toro. I am also very inspired by the visual arts and many different types of music.

What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?

            Traveling is one of my biggest passions. I have a map in my room with markings on all the different places I'd like to travel from visiting haunted mansions in New England to hiking beneath the Aurora Borealis in Iceland to visiting the Great Barrier Reef in hopes of volunteering with wildlife conservation projects. I want to keep growing, experiencing different cultures and using whatever resources I have to help the environment while continuing to better myself as a person and a writer. I have several writing projects close to my heart that I've never finished and I intend to put effort and energy into completing them in the following year.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers?

            Daydream. Experience life. Anything from picking up a feather on the sidewalk to hearing a snippet of someone's conversation in a coffee shop can be a story seed. Tend your imagination like a garden. Surround yourself with things that inspire you and you will be surprised and delighted to see what ideas grow in that space. And when they do- write them down! Spend as much time as you can reading authors you enjoy. Figure out what you love about their books: is it the prose? The imagery? The characters? Practice until you begin to hear your own voice. If you can write from your heart and find your own voice you won't have to worry about whether something is 'commercially marketable'. Your ideas will find their own niche and you will feel confident saying you have the best job in the world.


Tell us a secret.

... I'm part gypsy mermaid and speak at least three dialects of Shark.

Follow Rachel Anding at: 

Social Media Links

Other publications:
The Ivory Parlour, published in Bones II - James Ward Kirk Publishing

Blood and Stardust, published in Memento Mori - James Ward Kirk Publishing

Grandma Elspeth's Enchiridion for Domestic Harmony in American Nightmare - Kraken Press

The Merry Green Widows of Waterman's Inn, Shots of Terror: Demon Rum Companion - Angelic Knight Press

(Links helpfully provided) 

Go to Dark Heart Volume 2 at AMAZON.COM
Go to Dark Heart Volume 2 at AMAZON.CO.UK