Welcome to the two hundred and forty-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with poet Rainbow Reed. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Rainbow. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Rainbow: I have been reading poetry since I was a child. I used to go through poetry books and just memorize the poems I loved, I used to enjoy their rhythms as you spoke them out aloud, it was like singing without the hard bit. I used to make up tidy books with pictures in them, creating fantasy worlds and amazing people and hid them in my cupboard. Then I got involved with exams and my little books were forgotten. Years later I went to Uni and did a writing course as part of a poetry module at University. I loved the course, the writing flowed easily and I remembered how much I loved to write. The lecturer then told me to take up writing and forget about the teaching! This was really the first time anyone had ever said I could write and I was really surprised. I thought I would love to write but would I ever be good enough to publish anything?
So I soldiered on with the teaching course, which I hated, graduating and went on to do a masters, all the while experimenting with different poetry styles, forms and structure. I had several poems published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines but I was not happy with my work: it was too similar to traditional poetry, the romantic outlook on life was boring and mundane I wanted to write about things that preyed on my over active dark imagination. So I started writing horror poetry, little stories hidden in rhymes revealing the darker side of humanity, which was much more interesting.
Morgen: I’m not sure I’ve read (or even heard of) horror poetry and as a former Stephen King reader (in my teens, I’ve since mellowed to crime) it sounds intriguing. You said you started writing horror poetry, is that the genre you generally write?
Rainbow: Yes. I write in Gothic Horror and Dark Romantic poems. I am at present writing a fantasy horror book but I am not the sort of person to write about romance or soap operas!
Morgen: What have you had published to-date?
Rainbow: 2010: The Wicked Come. The Official Website is launched as a showcase for contemporary Horror writers. 2011: The Poetic Bond. A General poetry anthology, “The Storm”
The Wicked Come.A Collection of Gothic Horror and Dark Romantic Poetry.
Morgen: Have you ever seen a member of the public (whom you don’t know!) reading your book… in any unusual locations?
Rainbow: My book sells over the internet so I’ve never seen anyone reading it but I like to track where the buyers come from and image someone in a coffee shop in India reading it!
Morgen: … and really enjoying it, hopefully. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Rainbow: I do lots of marketing myself.
Morgen: As most authors have to. Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
Rainbow: I’ve won some regional competitions and been rewarded with a lot of poetry books as prizes which was fantastic.
Morgen: Do you write under a pseudonym?
Morgen: …picking a very alliterative name. 🙂 You said your books are only available online, are they therefore available as eBooks? And do you read eBooks?
Rainbow: My book is available as an ebook on Apple eg Ipad and Iphone but not on Kindle yet. I love real books myself, my house is filled with bookcases which in turn overflow with books so ebooks don’t really appeal to me. They don’t have the same smell or feel as a real book! So far I’ve sold no ebooks just real books.
Morgen: Oh, let’s hope that changes. I prefer paper books to eBooks (although mine are only available in the latter format) because I have so many to read and rarely travel but given a suitcase of books or an electronic gadget that can contains them all, and more, for the size / weight (sort of) of one they definitely are useful. If any of your books were made into films who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Rainbow: If my poems were made into mini plays I would like an actor I have seen in cameo roles he’s quite old with a strong southern accent and has been on Supernatural and Charmed. I don’t know his name but he plays malevolently evil characters with the smile of a sociopath which is brilliant.
Morgen: I’ve not read your poetry but John Lithgow sprang to mind (although he’s not particularly old) but he was in one of the stories (a creature attacking a plane) of Twilight Zone The Movie – he’s so versatile I think he’d make a perfect evilly-smiling character. Did you have any say in the title of your books? How important do you think they are?
Rainbow: I think the title of your book is everything, it is the primarily way of explaining the book to your audience. “The Wicked Come”, is so titled because it’s a collection of evil things and people that are coming out from the shadow lands where they live to visit you.
Morgen: Who designed that book’s cover – if you did it yourself how did you choose what to go with?
Rainbow: I did. I wanted a very simple dark cover with an eye watching people to represent the idea that you never know who or what is lurking in the shadows waiting and watching you.
Morgen: It’s very Blair Witch Project. Spooky. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Rainbow: Many. Mostly said my work appealed to too small a market. I took this as a positive thing though because no one ever replied back saying my poetry was awful and never to darken there door with it again! I just decided to prove there was a market for horror poetry instead!
Morgen: Absolutely. SO many people read horror prose so why not? What are you working on at the moment / next?
Rainbow: At the moment I am working on my second book of horror poetry called “Beware The Shadows” and a fantasy horror novel with the working title “The Torcian Quests: Regeneration”.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day?
Rainbow: I try to write everyday otherwise I feel something is missing.
Morgen: 🙂 Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Rainbow: I don’t suffer from it I have lots of ideas I suffer from Writers Confidence Block instead, I just sit and read and reread my work thinking is this really good enough. It takes me about a month of rereading work before I allow anyone to look at it. Then it goes to my closest friends and then if they are encouraging and force me then I will publish it.
Morgen: A question some authors dread: where do you get your inspiration from?
Rainbow: My mind, nature and people in my life.
Morgen: A good mix. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Rainbow: I firstly throw done a lot of ideas then try to plot them in a logical order.
Morgen: How about the characters in your poetry, do you have a method for creating them?
Rainbow: I meet them in my head and they become my friends so I get to know them that way.
Morgen: Yay, someone else who sees them as real. 🙂 Do you write to form or free verse?
Rainbow: I write in the style which best suits the nature of each individual poem.
Morgen: You mentioned your friends; who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
Rainbow: My closest friends, never my family.
Morgen: Very wise, I have to be very selective (not the dark stuff) as to what I show mine. 🙂 You said you can spend a month re-reading, do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Rainbow: I edit for months after each poem is finished agonizing over each punctuation mark and word.
Morgen: Although I don’t think I’d have your patience, poetry is more ‘fine’ than prose (as a prose writer I think that, anyway). How much research do you have to do for your writing?
Rainbow: As much as I can.
Morgen: Do you receive feedback from your readers? If so anything memorable?
Rainbow: Yes, my feedback is terribly important to me. I list all the positive feedback down to try to give me the confidence to carry on writing. It always surprises and delights me to know someone likes my work! One of my favourite comments was: “I love your work, so sinister, so dark, so awesome! I put all my positive comments on my poetry site just to give me the confidence to write more!
Morgen: It’s a shame that it takes that to give you confidence although I put mine on here too. 🙂 What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Rainbow: I have to be alone and just let my mind flow into the story mode.
Morgen: Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Rainbow: I write in little notebooks, full up with scribbles and crossings out. It only gets on the computer when it is complete.
Morgen: Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc. Do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Rainbow: I write in odd places, whenever I get the chance to really concentrate. When I’m concentrating properly I hear nothing, no background noises at all so I’m quite lucky and I can write just about anywhere as long as I have my own space.
Morgen: It takes me a while to switch off if I’m somewhere noisy but I do zone out enough to write, although I do prefer quiet (or ideally with classical music). Do you use prologues / epilogues? What do you think of the use of them?
Rainbow: No, I think they act as spoilers.
Morgen: I used not to read prologues (or epilogues) but the latest book I’m reading (Trisha Ashley’s ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’) has a great one. 🙂 Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Morgen: Most of us do (I probably have loads, and certainly one of my novels). What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Rainbow: Solitude answers both!
Morgen: 🙂 If anything, what has been your biggest surprise about writing?
Rainbow: That other people will actually read what I write and enjoy.
Morgen: A pleasant surprise. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Rainbow: Be true to yourself and write what you want to write!
Morgen: What do you like to read? Do you have any favourite authors?
Rainbow: I like to read forensic type detective novels: my favourite authors are Patricia Cornwall and Kathy Reichs. I also like to Samurai detective novels from Laura Joh Rowland.
Morgen: Crime’s my favourite too… and weird / quirky. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Rainbow: I run a website at http://wickedpoetry.jigsy.com called The Wicked Come which is for new and exciting dark romantic and Gothic horror poetry, some of my poems are there too but have kept a lot back for my poetry book, also entitled The Wicked Come.
I also have a fan site on Facebook called Rainbow Reed: Gothic Horror and Dark Romantic Poetry found at:
Morgen: If you could have your life over again, is there anything you’d have done differently (writing-related or otherwise)?
Rainbow: I would have just stayed at University doing research and writing!
Morgen: And I might have gone to Uni. 🙂 Thank you Rainbow. Lovely to meet you.
I then invited Rainbow to include an excerpt of her writing and she said, “Here is one of my poems which I hope you will enjoy! Its called ‘Dream Girl’”.
Outside my window.
In my dreams.
Tells me I am
Black dress fluttering
All about her.
Glowing face of
Watching me through
Scratches window with
Bright eyes begging,
Long tongue licking
Waking in a
I open window
Vision of beauty.
A waning moon.
Drawn from Cracks
Inside my mind.
Beckons me with
Long sleeve flapping.
To creaky window sill.
Sounds of flight.
Desperate to belong.
Gusts of hope
The path bleeds red.
As smiling sweetly,
Update August 2012: Since the interview things have really become busy. I would like to thank all my fans who bought and downloaded my first book of Gothic Horror poetry, “The Wicked Come”. I was amazed and really touched by their support of my work. I am writing my second poetry book on Gothic Horror poetry entitled ” Beware The Shadows” as a follow book to “The Wicked Come”. I am producing an anthology of supernatural poetry featuring poets and photographers from around the world called “The Witching Hour” which will be available to buy in October 2012. Finally, from September I am talking my love of writing into schools and hopefully encouraging a new generation of writers!
Congratulations, Rainbow, and good luck. 🙂
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