Say hello to this week’s featured author, Rob Watts! He is the author of horror/suspense novels with a folkloric twist to one of them, called “Huldufolk”. Here he is:
Megan Cashman: What inspired you to get into writing?
Rob Watts: When I was in college, I took a creative writing class as an elective, not expecting to get much out of it other than hopefully a passing grade so I could complete the required credits for my degree. As it turned out, I really enjoyed it. If memory serves, I wrote a short story about a detective who solved a murder case the very same day of his retirement. Turned out, his son was the murderer. My teacher gave me high-marks on that assignment, and from there on, I think writing has been one of my biggest methods of expression. These days, however, it’s very much therapeutic for me. Being able to think of a storyline, sitting down and executing it, and finally completing it, there’s a real sense of accomplishment in such an undertaking. Plus, what better way to share your creativity with others? Everyone loves a good story and encouraging a little bit of reading in this day and age isn’t exactly the worse thing you can do to a person.
Megan Cashman: Describe your writing process.
Rob Watts: I find that I’m better suited for writing in the early morning, when my mind is well rested and it hasn’t been polluted with the days events, phone calls and other distractions. When possible, I’ll take a walk along the beach to clear my head a bit. I’ve also just recently taken up meditation,which has improved my everyday life as well as my writing. Once my mind is “cleared for take off”, I’ll turn the cell phone off and put some background music on. A lot of writers can’t work with any noise in the vicinity, but I need a little bit. Just music though, no television, city traffic or crying babies.
Megan Cashman: Where did you get the idea to write “Carman”?
Rob Watts: The story of “Carman” came to me one night when I was actually in the same situation as the main character “Bill” in the story. “Carman” is a short story about a guy who’s driving home one night on his way from work and picks up a young female hitchhiker. I too was driving along a long dark road one evening and saw a woman thumbing for a ride. I kept going but thought to myself the horrible different ways I could have brought trouble upon myself had I stopped to pick her up. Shortly thereafter I wrote the story of “Carman”, and yes, things went terrible wrong for the guy who picked her up.
Megan Cashman: Your love of traveling helped you come up with the novel “Huldufolk”. Please explain how this story all came together.
Rob Watts: I’ve been back and forth from Iceland for many years since 2003, and during those first couple of visits I would hear stories about elves, trolls and gnomes called hidden people, or Huldufolk as it’s referred to in the Icelandic language. At first I thought it was a made up tale for the sake of the naive tourists. After further research, and talking about with with friends from the country, it turned out that it was legitimate folklore throughout the country. I was fascinated with the notion that almost half the country of Iceland believed that such creatures existed. Their government takes it seriously enough, where-in-fact they will suspend any construction projects if they believe they are disrupting a Huldufolk dwelling. Once learning about this, I was hooked.
When I started writing Huldufolk, I wanted to incorporate their folklore into my horror story without being disrespectful to the Icelandic people. I approached it as a typical American haunted house story, where a young couple honeymoons in Iceland and disturbs a Huldufolk dwelling, returns home to their new home in New England and discovers that it’s haunted. Perhaps it’s due to the Huldufolk? Perhaps it is due to something else? I don’t elaborate on it because I left the ending as a cliffhanger. I’m still getting hate mail as a result of it.
Megan Cashman: How did the idea to have “Huldufolk” be the first in a series of interrelated novellas come about?
Rob Watts: It wasn’t my plan at first actually. It was intended to be written as a standalone novel in its infancy stages. Once I started developing the characters, the neighborhood, et cetera, I began thinking about if this was a real life situation, then life is going on for the rest of the people in the neighborhood. So why not give them stories of horror as well. So for example, the characters in “Huldufolk”, Susie and Jeffrey, are dealing with owning a possessed home. Perhaps on the next street over from them, someone is going through their own torment. At that point I decided that I wanted to create a series based around all the characters that life in the fictional town of Cedar Grove in which a horrific series of events are unfolding around them. My latest book in the series “CRABAPPLES” deals with a young girl new to the town who gets bullied because her mother is institutionalized. This story takes place during the time of “Huldufolk.” The last two books in the series will follow the same format when they’re released in 2013.
Megan Cashman: Do you believe print books will eventually fade and eBooks will be the norm?
Rob Watts: I’m afraid to say it but they already are. More and more e-readers and computer tablets are being produced and sold everyday and sadly the market for print books suffer greatly. I don’t think print books are going to die a painful death anytime soon but their fate has pretty much been sealed as of late. Unfortunately, consumers are no longer buying books to sit down with and actually read. There is too much multitasking going on in today’s world. They want instant gratification. Download a book while watching television, while texting their friend, while eating a sandwich. I do see the appeal though. I myself download certain books but I still purchase physical books because they mean something to me. As time goes on, however, I don’t see many people having relationships with books the way they once did. Unfortunately, Books are now intangible.
Learn more about Rob Watts here: RobWattsOnline.com