Born in Kenya, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone lives and works in London. She is a partner of Apis Books, an independent publishing company for shorter fiction, and a teacher of creative writing at City University. Home, a story about the manipulation of neglect, is Rebekah’s first novel. She is currently working on her second novel and a series of picture books for children under 5 and is a regular horror blogger and reviewer.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
I think horror found me rather than the other way around. I’ve always been interested in the extremes of human behaviour, particularly in the idea that the possibility for evil resides in all of us, most frequently in a careful form of ignorance or forgetfulness. We are very good at pretending not to notice the suffering of others, especially when it is to our advantage. When I started thinking about how neglectful we can be of the elderly, I wanted to write a story about how that neglect could be manipulated. That story became my novel Home. When I then went on to write short stories that followed equally dark themes – a manipulative professor who persuades his nurse to breastfeed him, or the undoing of a liberal-minded woman once a homeless person threatens her home – I realised I was definitely writing horror fiction, but perhaps not always in a straightforward form.
What is your most notable work?
My novel Home, published by Red Button Publishing, is my most notable work of fiction. Set in a care home, Steve the new caretaker begins to uncover dark secrets about his work place. Milos, the male nurse, is privy to most of these secrets and tells himself that his art can atone for his actions. You’d have to read it to see whether you agree.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my second novel about two half-sisters. Only one sister is aware of the other, having been conceived during an affair. Set in England and Malawi, the novel tries to explore the complications of trying force reality to fit fantasy. I am also working on a series of stories for children under 5. People often ask me how someone interested in the darker side of life could write children’s stories, but it seems to me they go very well together. Fairy tales are some of the darkest stories you can read. One of my current favourites is a Tahitian folktale called Rona Long-Teeth. Rona is a cannibal who grows teeth all over her body when she’s angry. In the end, it’s her daughter who helps orchestrate her death.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
I love the classics: Euripides, Virgil, Poe, Shelley, Le Fanu and Stoker. I also love Bret Easten Ellis, Thomas Harris, Stephen King and Joseph D’Lacey.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
I prefer psychological chills because those are the ones that keep me up at night, but anything that sheds light on the monster within us all does it for me. As long as the gore matters to the plot, I’m all for it.
Why should people read your work?
I’m interested in exploring the limits of being human, particularly in the competitive hunger to survive that we try to pretend we have evolved beyond. I hope my work will attract anyone who shares that interest.
Recommend a book.
If you haven’t read it already, Joseph D’Lacey’s MEAT is one of my all-time favourite books.
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