Author Interview – Rachel Nussbaum

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Story Art Sneak Peek

Amazing Artwork By Daniela Rivera


Anthology: More Than a Monster
Release Date: Sept 8th, 2023
Preorders: Paperback
About the Author: Rachel Nussbaum is an author from The Big Island of Hawaii. Her previous works have been published in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk from Running Press and Crash Code and several other anthologies from Blood Bound Books.

Some more recent publications include her short story Whiskey to the Wound, which was published in Brewtality by Evil Cookie Press and reprinted in Years Best Hardcore Horror Vol 6 from Red Room Press, which was was nominated for a Splatterpunk Award at KillKon 2021.
Q & A

How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?

I'm absolutely delighted! I’m especially excited that there’s going to be an illustration. I originally thought of doing Starved as a short comic, so the fact that it gets a picture to go alongside it feels so perfect.

What inspired the idea for your story?

Being alone in nature, oddly enough. I wrote Starved soon after I finished college and moved states to northern California. I was staying at some very rural properties in the Redwoods, often petsitting on my own for weeks at a time. I'm an extroverted person, so being totally on my own for long stretches was rough. Being so isolated during a transitional period especially, I think it was pretty easy for anxiety and self doubt to creep in.
And that's how it started. I thought about a character who'd spent her whole life in a self imposed isolation; years starving herself of relationships, friendships, all joy. I thought about the hold her self doubt would have on her when she finally met someone special.

We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?

My attention span. I think all writers and creative people struggle with that; It's so easy to get distracted with a shiny new idea. My WIP folder has dozens of shelved drafts in it.

Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?

“KEEP GOING”. I attempted to start so many novels in highschool that went nowhere. Sometimes I got a chapter or two in and went 'this is dumb nevermind'. A few times I got further, a quarter or even half of the way through, but I eventually put like 99 percent of those boys on the shelf to chase those shiny new ideas (and do the same to them). I wish I'd built the habit of sticking with longer form writing projects back then.

We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?

That homophobia has any place in art or literature.
It was very important to me that Starved was a love story between two women, and that it didn’t revolve around coming out or coming to terms with their sexuality. Just a love story about self doubt and anxiety and werewolves. Like all good love stories.

Representation matters, now and always. Love is love.

What do you love most about your story’s genre?

The same thing I love the most about all genres: watching different characters with very different personalities interact with each other and grow. For a long time I thought I didn't like romance much as a genre—turned out I was just reading and watching a lot of media with characters I wasn't connecting with; of course I didn't give a shit about their relationships.
I wanna see two characters with depth and dimension drive each other up the walls and fall in love with each other because of it. <3

Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?

I don't know if it will show much from Starved, but I started reading Junji Ito's comics like six years ago and it changed everything for me. I’ve always loved monsters and body horror but Ito’s work is what made me finally understand just how scary cosmic horror can be. I started exploring that genre a lot more in my own writing and I think those have been some of my most creative (and scariest) ideas.

What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?

A genre I've ALWAYS wanted to give a go is graphic novels and short comics. I was an artist before I was a writer, but my writing was always better than my art. Lately I've been trying to get my art out there a bit more! I've also got some plans for adapting some of my narrative horror poetry into comics.

If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?

If you're a fan of slow burn romance and heartache you should check out my YA dystopian horror novella "We Rotted in the Bitterlands"!
And if you're not afraid of weird & gory stuff mixed in with your romance, you should check out my extreme horror stories "Whiskey to the Wound" and "You're Mine Now" which will be out later this year!
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