Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Allison Rott in her featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
The bare bones of the story started as a submission to a call for Halloween stories, the stories to be linked by “The Dealer.” I didn’t end up submitting it then, not thinking it was scary enough for Halloween. The pocket watch I chose because while working on the orginal draft a friend was telling me about some other people she had hung out with recently, and I remembered one of the people she hung out with used to carry a pocket watch around in high school. Which I thought was the more obvious tie in when I read Transmundane Press’ call for submissions on the theme time. And then I started revising, building on the depth of Jane and Mark, and working more with the pocket watch and the nightmares.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Jane is a perfectionist, which is workable and useful in some ways in her career as a fashion designer. She is also shy and introverted. Nightmares and night terrors aren’t uncommon for her, and she really appreciates her husband Mark, for helping her through them.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
I think the pocket watch. Or specifically the history of the pocket watch and how it affected the lives of those who owned it.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
The first nightmare could be considered horror. While the rest falls into speculative fiction, paranormal or magic of the watch itself. And then playing with the character type or niche in fantasy novels with a character who can see the future.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
As previously mentioned, I chose a pocket watch as the central object because I knew someone who would carry one. I thought they were interesting, and since they are small and collectable now, it wouldn’t be a stretch to have a character need to obtain one.
I watch way too many crime dramas and documentaries, and some of those stories helped me write Jane’s nightmare about the mugging.
I remember studying the World Wars in school, and went through a phase of reading novels set in those times, taking inspiration from what I had learned to create another of Jane’s nightmares.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Trust is important in all kinds of relationships. And you can’t win against time.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
Jane’s nightmares were actually really fun to write. They got to be strange, and it was interesting to play around with structure and almost nonsense writing, since nightmares and dreams don’t always make much sense. Trying to capture that, but also place enough real and sensible clues so readers can piece together what has happened and what is important for the history of the watch and Jane’s fears was a great challenge.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I didn’t actually put stories down on paper until, well, high school I think. But I told stories. My parents like to tell a story about three year old me telling all our neighbors stories about Mickey Mouse. Many asked when we had been to Disney World. I hadn’t yet, wouldn’t go until seventh grade. The first stories I remember telling came from recess and long summer days playing outside. Throughout elementary school and middle school I made up games with friends. One drawing inspiration from superheroes using animal powers from Animorphs, and another game we made up different species of dragons and a quest to collect elemental power orbs. And I managed to keep an oral story going for years to entertain my best friend while we walked to middle school and rode the bus to high school.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
I prefer to have a drink nearby, most of the time water. Coffee if I snag early morning writing time and pop if I write after dinner and I haven’t finished it yet. If there isn’t other background noise, which doesn’t usually bother me much when I’m writing, I’ll play music. Either orchestral pieces or video game music. Video games have come into their own type of storytelling and the music goes around with it. I always feel pumped to write when a boss battle song comes up. I own the Fire Emblem Warriors soundtrack for this reason.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
I’m a bookworm. I was that kid in school always carrying around at least one book to read. I read almost everything I could get my hands on. I enjoy stories, I enjoy the entertainment of them, of losing yourself in a different world, even if that world does look and act so much like our own. I was rarely bored, because I would just grab a book if I had nothing else to do.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
Mignon Fogarty, also known as Grammar Girl. Her book: Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing was required in one of my college classes and since then I reference the book often when editing.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
My favorite word is shenanigans. I love to say it and the sound of it plays towards playful mischief. I’m not sure I have a least favorite word, but I’ve started to have a little bit of grudge against the word slightly. Overuse on my end really, and I’m getting tired of having to cut so many of them out of my writing.
Allison Rott lives in Illinois, a train ride away from the Windy City. It is the perfect length ride to catch up on her reading or let her daydreams work on stories. She works with children, keeping the imagination muscle working. She has stories in two other anthologies, The Lingering Rift in Foxtales 4 and Feeding the Universe in 72 Hours of Insanity: Anthology of the Games, vol. 7.