Today on Paws4Thought I welcome Shades of Fear author Roxie Herman. Roxie’s story Sleep Tight is a new take on the monster under the bed. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Roxie.
I am a Mother of one great daughter, Grandmother of twin seven year olds, Ryan (girl) and Max (boy). I grew up in the west, California, New Mexico, and have lived in Colorado since I was 13, with only a short stint at Eastern New Mexico University in 1970, where I thought I’d become the next Mary Leakey, and discover the true missing link. That dream never came true. I’m not big on camping, which seems essential for finding fossils in the field.
I write under the name rJo Herman…my maiden name is Roxanne Jo Herman…my father’s name is/was John O Herman…so rJo Herman has a little of me and a little of my ol’ Dad, who died at the age of 46, 44 years ago… he wrote stories, too, when he wasn’t busy flying in the Air Force and for United Airlines.
How did you get involved with Shades of Fear?
I am a member of this great NaNoWriMo group, in which a writing challenge with “fear” as a topic was proposed. I had no idea the plan was to publish. I simply wanted to practice my writing, be an active part of the group.
Who are your favorite authors?
Willa Cather writes so beautifully and clearly about the plains, and the death scene in the orchard in O Pioneers has never left me. I have read all of Tana French’s Irish detective tales. She reels you in and surprises just when you think things are getting a bit stiff. Renee Moffett Thompson’s novels read much like Cather, only with a farther west feel and tone, and an eye to the history and politics of an area. Her book, The Plume Hunter, is an amazing “documentary (almost)” on how fashion almost caused the extinction of so many beautiful birds. I recommend her books every day. And, most definitely, I love fairy tales by Andersen, Grimm – trolls, ogres, fairies, good vs. bad…
Tell us a bit about your story Sleep Tight?
Sleep Tight began as a 50 word story. I tried to imagine what would be the worst thing that could happen if there really were monsters under the bed…and it would be that they did not stay there. I tried to imagine this twisted, gnarled fingered creature, not too much like Gollum, not really scary if you got to know him…just lost and fascinated by the owner of the bed…and so it wrote its own sad story.
Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
No, but my youngest brother had two, Buck David and Harriet. Harriet fell out of the car on a trip, and never returned. Buck David could do anything, and helped us all. Once I was babysitting and had to light the pilot light on the gas dryer…wasn’t sure how to do it. My brother (who was five) said Buck David knew how, and so we all got down on the floor, Buck David told Eric how it was done, and I followed their directions…ta da! I don’t know how or when Buck David disappeared, but he was good friend.
(My brother says that never happened, but I was 20, I KNOW it happened)
(My son Joey has many imaginary friends and an imaginary enemy called Sue, who is really mean! DMK)
What inspires you to write?
Books… Poems…stories people tell me…clouds in the sky, rain, snow, ripples on a lake, rocks in my shoe…
What are your own greatest fears and how do you deal with them?
- Being forgotten is a big one. When I see a ghost town or an old, unmarked photo I wonder who laughed on those streets, who is that young man smiling at the camera…
- Having someone else speak for me and getting it wrong is another…I want to speak for myself, to be the one who says what I know and believe…
My Mom died from Alzheimers. She would forget me mid sentence, demanding that I find her daughter for her…I’d say “one minute” then go out the door and come back in, say, “Hi, Mom!” and she’d relax and we’d move on… flowing with the moment helps dealing with fear…projecting yourself an hour, a day, six months ahead is another way – so you’re not focusing on the moment…and writing down what I see, think, believe…writing it down as I want it known… those are the ways I deal…
When did you first start writing?
Have always written…it’s what I do…at one point, before I began taking an antidepressant type drug, I wrote incessantly, on envelopes, backs of matchbooks, in the margins of magazines, on my hand. I saw a documentary once re: a woman who wrote incessantly, too. She opted to take no meds because she didn’t want to lose that flow of consciousness. I didn’t lose it, it’s just more contained.
What do you like to do to relax?
Have a wee dram o’single malt scotch and sleep on a good mattress with a fan running to drown out all other noises
What are you currently working on?
I’m preparing for NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month, during which I will write at least one poem a day… I have a couple challenges from my online writing groups to complete, and I’ve had a couple stories I have worked on for years, which need finishing…we’ll see about that J. I tend to get distracted, have many irons in the fire, enthused about them all…tsk. The more I learn about writing techniques and styles, the more intrigued I become…but I’m mostly in awe of those people who write thousands and thousands of words regularly with a clear ending in mind.
How can readers connect with you?
I just started a “blog”site rJoHerman@wordpress.com there is nothing much there, yet… but it will grow…
Thank you for asking me to participate…makes me realize I have work to get done!
You are very, very welcome Roxie and I look forward to reading more of your stories.