Rowan Hill is the latest author to join Bayou Wolf Press, so we thought we’d introduce her properly to our readers. Continue on to learn more about the fantastically talented Rowan Hill, her inspiration for writing horror, and why a Ben Affleck film still haunts her. Then check out her novel Foxfire, available through Bayou Wolf Press on October 10th.
What inspired you to write Foxfire?
This was absolutely a book fueled by the location. I was lucky enough to take an impromptu vacation and cross off my bucket list for the northern lights, and it is impossible to not be inspired by Lapland in winter. Every other moment was either pure magic to inspire a rom-com-Santa movie, or eerie and unnerving and could prompt the best cosmic-folk horror you’ve ever read.
How did you gravitate toward writing horror?
Do I sound psychotic if I say it is the easiest genre for me to write? I find that a crazy and unhappy horror finale is easier (and honestly, more satisfying ) to write than a believable romance. I have yet to master those nuanced feelings of deep romance, so… horror. Viola!
What are some of your favorite novels/writers?
You know, looking on the shelf beside me, there is not one single author that dominates the rest. I try to spread out my reading instead of sticking with one author. There are so many of us! We are all writing so many great things! Of late, I have enjoyed Jeff Van Der Meer, Christopher Buehlman, and Red Lagoe.
What’s the scariest movie/book/tv show/etc. you’ve ever experienced?
I’ll never forget when I was 17 I rented a movie called ‘Phantoms’ from VideoEzy (Australia’s answer to Blockbuster). It looked pretty cool with Ben Affleck and Rose McGowan on the cover. I swear to all that is holy, that movie, for a 17 yr old girl alone on a Friday night in the dark rumpus room, it was terrifying. That was when I went ‘oh shit’. Of course, this was based off the Dean Koontz novel of the same name, but the movie version really made it pop enough for it to scar my psyche.
This book has a healthy dose of mystery along with the horror elements. Are there any mystery writers you admire?
Of course I am a lover of the GOAT of mystery writers, I.e Agatha Christie, and have my fair share of Arthur Conan Doyle books. In one sense, I do try to keep the mystery alive in Foxfire, right until the very end, but I do love unreliable narrators and other quirks of reverse engineering stories so you don’t see anything coming. I am currently reading Catronia Ward’s Looking Glass Sound, and of course her Needless Street was a great mystery of with was going on!
You’ve lived in a lot of places — can you tell us a bit more about this? How has this shaped the way you write?
Yes, I have, haven’t I!? At first, it was because I worked in a field that allowed a lot of travel and working/living overseas, but then I got married, and then it was more of the same thing with my husband! This likely affected my writing in the ‘write-what-you-know’ aspect. I write of many overseas/foreign locations, and usually as a traveler/outsider to these places. I like to think it brings authenticity to my stories while hopefully readers can connect with characters like themselves.
Why did you decide to publish with an indie press and/or Bayou Wolf specifically?
Oh geez, Elizabeth, you’re going to make me admit my girl crush. Well, when I was looking for publishers, I had sent Foxfire out to two or three very successful small presses with disappointing results, and then had the idea to take another approach to querying. What if instead of looking at the books they had published, I looked at the publishers themselves? Like, if there wasn’t this book, would I want to be friends with this person? And yes, so there it is. I read the Gillands’ bios, recognized a lot of similarities between us, and then wrote a very honest and strange query letter saying as much. And I guess that was the right approach!
(Interviewer interjection — thank you, Rowan! That’s very sweet!)
What’s next for you with your writing?
Well, I have slowed down somewhat in 2023, but the next novel ‘These Wolves are Different’ is under way. I am trying to dip my toe in the sci-fi horror world and of course, this is in another isolated location. Which is the only place to be!
FOXFIRE by Rowan Hill releases on October 10th, but the preorder is available now. Check it out below, or follow Rowan / Bayou Wolf Press on social media to stay up-to-date on the latest release news.
Rowan Hill: https://www.writerrowanhill.com, @WriterRowanHill