Meghan: Hi, Rebecca. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books, and thank you for agreeing to take part in our Halloween Extravaganza. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Rebecca Besser: Hi, I’m Becca. A wife, mother, and author. I write mostly dark fiction, but have been published in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction for all ages (children – adult). I like to read, watch movie, and cook.
Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?
- I’m a sometimes goat midwife, since my son has a small mini-goat farm.
- I’m a published photographer.
- I was homeschooled after 6th grade.
- I’ve been to Israel twice, and have also visited Rome and Holland (all before I was 16).
- I snore.
Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?
Meghan: What are you reading now?
Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?
Meghan: What made you decide you want to write?
Rebecca Besser: I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I won an award for a story when I was in 1st grade. But, I signed up for my writing course with the Institute of Children’s Literature after I had a miscarriage. Writing ended up being good therapy for me.
Meghan: When did you begin writing?
Rebecca Besser: Writing for serious? Like trying to get published? About 12 years ago. So, around 2007.
Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?
Rebecca Besser: At home, on my laptop. Usually in my living room, on my couch/recliner.
Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Rebecca Besser: No, not really. I do like it when my house is quiet and I know I won’t be interrupted.
Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Rebecca Besser: Finding the time to do it. My family is important to me, so I give them a lot of my time.
Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?
Rebecca Besser: I’ve written a number of articles for Super Teacher Worksheets. One of those articles was about my husband and his job. Writing that was pretty satisfying, especially knowing that it will help educate children.
Meghan: What books have most inspired you?
Rebecca Besser: As a writer? I can’t think of any in particular. I love all kinds of books, writing styles, and story-telling formats. You can learn for any book, even a bad one.
Meghan: Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?
Rebecca Besser: I’ve never tried to pattern my writing story after another writer. Writing style, I believe, is something unique to each and every writer. No two writers can tell the same story, because their insight and style change everything.
Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?
Rebecca Besser: A good story needs to be told well, easy to follow for the reader, and be interesting. If you can easily entertain and captivate your reader, your story will be loved regardless of the content/genre.
Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character?
Rebecca Besser: I need the character to seem as real as possible. I want to forget I’m reading about a fictional person and actually think I’m reading about a real person.
Meghan: How do you utilize that when creating your characters?
Rebecca Besser: I try to make my characters seem as real as possible. I want them to have quirks, realistic dialogue, and seem like someone you could walk past on the street at any moment.
Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Rebecca Besser: Oh, that’s an easy one, since I actually wrote a short story with the main characters based on myself and my husband. The story is entitled, “My Kind of Woman,” and can be found in my zombie short story collection, Twisted Pathways of Murder & Death. I named her Brooke.
Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover?
Rebecca Besser: Sometimes. But if I find the blurb for the book interesting, I will probably still read it. Some really great books have bad cover. Also, some really bad books have great covers. Covers don’t always represent the book well.
Meghan: To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?
Rebecca Besser: For my self-published works, I create my own covers using stock art, but sometimes I have an artist do an original cover. Undead Drive-Thru’s covers (both versions) were done by artist, Justin T. Coons. Also, my Nurse Blood novel was inspired by one of his original paintings, which I bought from him and now own. Nurse Blood’s current cover (with Limitless Publishing) is based on some pictures I found on the internet.
Mostly though, I do my own covers.
Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?
Rebecca Besser: I’ve learned to create and format book covers, edit, and do eBook and paperback internal formatting. I can do it all because I worked with some small presses years back and learned a lot about indie publishing overall.
Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?
Rebecca Besser: In an anthology entitled, Fading Hope: Humanity Unbound, my story, “When Plans Fail,” has a scene that was hard to write. The book was about hopelessness. My story was set in the zombie apocalypse. The characters were a young mother and her infant. The mother was bitten when she attempted to get supplies, mainly food, and she tried to take the baby and find someone to care for it. Unfortunately, she didn’t find anyone before she started to turn. She didn’t want to eat her own child… so she ended the baby’s life so she wouldn’t hurt it and it wouldn’t suffer and starve to death.
That was hard to write, and I imagine it was hard for the reader to read.
Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Rebecca Besser: I try to stay away from the mainstream norms of the genres. Nurse Blood is an organ harvesting thriller, which isn’t a huge genre. For zombies, I try to do stories with themes I haven’t seen, heard of, or read before. My Zpoc Exception Series (ebooks) is based on characters that are immune to whatever is making people zombies. They get bitten, they get sick for a time, and then they’re fine. Undead Drive-Thru only had one zombie in the entire book. Undead Regeneration, the sequel, has zombies, but not at apocalypse level.
Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?
Rebecca Besser: I used to really struggle with titles, but I’ve gotten better. I decided the title needs to have something to do with the book, like I’m summing up the entire book/story in just a few words. That’s incredibly hard. I usually have a few working titles and pick one when the book/story is complete. It really helps if I can take a line or phrase out of the actual work to use as a title, but that rarely happens. You also have to make sure the title actually sounds interesting so you can catch people’s attention. Because, you know, it isn’t hard enough already.
Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?
Rebecca Besser: I feel fulfilled if the story is told well. It doesn’t matter the length of the work. Making everything make sense in a way that will engage and grab the reader is fulfilling always, no matter what the work is. I really enjoy when I can make things clever in a way that there’s this huge “Ah-ha!” moment, especially at the end.
Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.
Rebecca Besser: Undead Drive-Thru and Undead Regeneration are Scifi zombie books about a man who comes home, turns into a zombie and is protected by his wife—she keeps him as kind of a pet. Things go bad. People get hurt. Things happen and lives are changed.
Nurse Blood is a serial killer organ harvesting thriller. A group of a couple medical professionals, a couple thugs, and a black market dealer kill and part out people for money. That, and they have a warped sense of righteousness, because they’re killing one person to save many lives (depending on how many organs they get from their victim).
Twisted Pathways of Murder & Death is a short story collection of various horror stories, from broken humanity to monsters.
Zombies Inside is a short story collection of various zombie short stories I’ve had in anthologies (there’s a brief history of each story after it in the book). That was also has a short story by guest author, Courtney Rene.
Zpoc Exception Series: Re-Civilize series is currently available in eBook only, and is about the few among the many that are immune to whatever is turning people into zombies. Thus far, there are four character books available that start from the outbreak to where they meet. I’ll do a novel series also, with all the characters together after that point, when they’re turned into a team to help re-civilize the world for humanity after the zpoc (zombie apocalypse).
Hall of Twelve is a short story Scifi horror eBook about monster from a different dimension who come to Earth to use humans for food.
Curse Bounty is a short story western zombie story about outlaws that rob a bank. When the sheriff asks for help tracking them down, he’s given help from a zombie bounty hunter.
Heart of a Soldier is a short story YA Scifi story about love, healing, and hope.
My main audience is anywhere from YA to adult. I like to provoke people to think, to ask themselves what they would do in the characters’ situations. At the same time, I want to entertain people.
Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?
Rebecca Besser: There’s not usually much I take out. Nurse Blood has a missing flashback for Roger, because the publisher insisted I take down the word count a bit. Otherwise, you usually get it all.
Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?
Rebecca Besser: I have idea journals with so many ideas they’re too vast to put here. But, even if they weren’t, I don’t share my unwritten ideas with many people, at least not until I start writing or am at least halfway done.
I was told once to never throw any drafts away, even if things change majorly in the story, because one day you could use those bits or ideas to write something else. I have a bunch of those in a writing folder on my comp somewhere too.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
Rebecca Besser: Scary stuff. Stories that are hard to read because they question morality and the reader’s humanity.
Meghan: Where can we find you?
Rebecca Besser: I make it easy to find me, since everything has a version of my name.
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?
Rebecca Besser: Thank you for having me on your blog and including me in your event!
Also, thank you to all the readers that love my work—you inspire me when things get hard.
Rebecca Besser is the author of Nurse Blood. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization. She has been published hundreds of times in magazines, ezines, anthologies, educational books, on blogs, and more in the areas of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for a variety of age groups and genres. Her nonfiction article on skydiving was picked up by McGraw-Hill for NY Assessments. One of her poems for children was chosen for an early reader book from Oxford University Press (India). Her short story, P.C., was included in Anything But Zombies! published by Atria Books (digital imprint of Simon & Schuster).
Rebecca’s main focus has been on horror works for adults. She writes zombie works, suspenseful thrillers, and other dark fiction related to the horror genre/community. She has also edited multiple books in these genres.