Our TRANSCENDENT Authors: a Featured Interview with Rachel DiMaggio

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In our new author series, we’ll be offering a clairvoyant peek behind the veil of who and what makes up TRANSCENDENT. Here’s a glimpse at Rachel DiMaggio and her story “A Family Film.”



What inspired your story?

The “lost film/book/artifact” trope is one of my favorite jumping off points in horror. I’m fascinated by the idea of an art object taking on a life of its own and becoming a force within the world. I also love horror movies, and I started to imagine how easily a fragile psyche could become obsessed with and influenced by a lost horror film – especially if it was viewed early in childhood.

Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?

I didn’t do any research – I’m a horror movie fanatic, so I already had the materials I needed to create a fictional slasher movie.

Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?

Alice is a loner. She’s obsessed with this missing movie, and it’s all tied up with trauma that the family hasn’t really come to terms with. Viewing a film is subjective, and Alice has this even more personal experience since she’s the only one who believes this movie exists. She’s searching for validation that no one can possibly provide.

Tell me about the setting you chose and how it influences your work.

I decided to set this story in homes and neighborhoods that could be anywhere. The characters don’t have any special skills or particularly evil tendencies. The supernatural seems to single out Alice and her family at random, and bizarre events take place in an otherwise ordinary world. If it happened to these normal people, it could happen to anyone.

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

Darkness can find its way into our lives from the most innocent of doorways – in this case, a VHS tape.

If your story was front-page news, what would the headline be?

Decades-Long Obsession with Missing Movie Causes Family Rift.





What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Probably the monthly Duotrope subscription. That site is invaluable when I have a story that’s ready to submit. You can find fledgling markets, see at a glance which markets have a submission window open, and filter search results so you can find markets that are a good fit for your work.

If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?

Probably The Imago Sequence. I’m fascinated with Laird Barron’s creation of the Old Leech mythos, and a universe where cracks may hide entities far beyond human understanding. I wish I had created this mythos – it’s a deeply scary world that you can explore in many of Barron’s short stories. Start with The Imago Sequence or his novel The Croning to see if it’s your cup of (murky) tea.

When did you decide to take writing seriously?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I can remember. Before I could write, I would dictate stories to my mom, who would patiently write them down. I wrote my first masterpiece on purple construction paper when I was five, and we stapled the pages together with a front and back cover. I think it was about cats.

If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?

My superpower would be endless energy. I would get so much done!



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Rachel DiMaggio is a writer of dark fiction who lives near Boston, Massachusetts with her husband and two rescue cats. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English and Literature from Southern New Hampshire University. Her fiction has been published by the Tales to Terrifypodcast and by Rose Red Review. When she isn’t writing, Rachel loves to cook; as a ginger, she can sometimes be spotted nibbling on the souls of the unlucky.



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