Interview with Rosemary Van Deuren

Describe your desk
Notes and papers absolutely everywhere. Also books. Cds. Postcards. A ship's compass. A drained tea-cup with an old tea-bag sitting and drying out in its own residue. A rabbit, of course, and a mini Mesopotamian lion replica from an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. And a Magic 8 Ball, which I only occasionally use, but get pretty good results from when I do the exact opposite of what it advises.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing when I was still having a go at being a freelance underground artist -- illustration and painting, mostly. My friends at the time were artists, and I didn't tell any of them I was writing a novel until I was about 50,000 words into my first manuscript -- a 72,000-word purge that was shelved almost as secretly as it was composed.

Eventually I found myself investing more and more time in writing, and less time in art. It didn't really feel like a conscious decision. I kept making bargains with myself that after this next project or this next chapter, I would quit trying to write and do something else entirely. But I just couldn't bring myself to stop. Instead, I would change my own rules -- these meaningless rules I had imposed upon myself -- to give myself just "one more shot."

I had made all my rookie mistakes on that first, disjointed narrative, and after really looking at what I'd done wrong, I began my second manuscript -- the one that would be my "rabbit book," Basajaun.
What are you working on next?
Something completely different from Basajaun. It's still taking form, but it's been exhilarating every step of the way so far. When you debut your first novel, you've unintentionally crafted a set of expectations for yourself, set around that one narrative. Writing a book is such a huge commitment and you spend so much time with it, by the time you've completed your first one, it feels like all you can do or who you are, now. So when you embark upon your sophomore project it's actually thrilling to take step back from your first defining story to see how much further you can push yourself this time around. It can be freeing to let those expectations go and come at your second book as if it's your first, again. Except this time, you have the advantage of being a more seasoned writer.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The human condition is messy, complicated, and random. Writing gives it the illusion of structure and purpose. When I am writing, it's one of the only times that existence seems to make sense to me and the building blocks of life fit neatly around one another.
Who are your favorite authors?
Jim Carroll. Peter S. Beagle. Heather Lewis. Philip Pullman. Hubert Selby Jr. Richard Adams. Oscar Wilde. T. A. Barron. Tennessee Williams. John Irving. Harper Lee. Esther Averill. John Waters.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Hiking in the woods with my amazing partner Guy Davis, who is a concept artist and illustrator.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a farm town in Wisconsin, outside of Green Bay. I was an introspective, shy kid anyway, and the quiet-time I was able to utilize offered kind of the perfect storm to explore writing as a way of communicating, "using my voice," as it were, and making sense of the world around me.
What is your writing process?
I write very quickly when I'm in "the zone" but have the bad habit of writing so intensely and so much in short bursts that I wear myself out for days at a time. This is how I do nearly all my writing; moderation is not my strong suit. I have a tumblr post about my writing process and shortcuts, here http://rosemaryvan.tumblr.com/post/70165416375/individualized-shorthand-and-a-few-tips-on-writing
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design is fun for me since I have a little bit of an art background and a very specific aesthetic of what resonates with me, visually. For the Basajaun cover I talked over concept ideas with my wonderful editor Shawna Gore, and we worked out the imagery we thought would be most striking and befitting the story. In searching for a cover artist to make that happen, I must have looked at hundreds of different fantasy painters and illustrators until I found the incredible Bernadette Carstensen, and I knew immediately that she was the perfect fit. I was right. She was excellent to work with too. The whole process was a joy. I took care of the logo and type layout on the cover.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fiction, of course, but I also really love autobiographies -- everything from 'Christiane F: Autobiography of a Girl of the Streets' to 'It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here,' which is the autobiography of Charles Grodin that I'm reading right now. People are endlessly fascinating. I love visceral or folkloric fairy tales, and I tend to bounce back and forth between "animal stories" and dark stuff like Hubert Selby Jr., Jim Carroll, and Heather Lewis. I also love children's book illustration from the early 1900s through the 1960s or so -- the 30s and 40s are my particular favorite eras -- and I collect a lot of classical old books with sort of ethereal animal or fantasy artwork.
Published 2014-09-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The One Thing You're Good At
Price: Free! Words: 5,250. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
Wanting doesn’t beget anything but more wanting. Jeff has spent two years slaughtering monsters, but the demons that threaten to finally break him are his own. Mature readers.
Basajaun
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 82,700. Language: English. Published: August 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
One girl must rescue a warren of mystical rabbits from a dark and sinister force in the adventure fantasy novel that Publisher's Weekly Select called "a magical tale of defiance and desperation."