AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Rachel Swirsky, Co-Author of “Whose Drowned Face Sleeps”

What were your thoughts when you first encountered the concept behind this anthology?

I wasn’t familiar with the meme [that inspired the anthology] when I got the prompt. So, my first thought was something along the lines of “What the #@&% does that mean?” Later, I tried to wrack my brains for something interesting to write about, and I actually came up with a cool concept—a woman entering the city landscape of her brain, which is dominated by a sinister tower. I wrote several pages of this story. Then I rewrote them. Then I failed to write more.

With the theme in question, you could have taken your story in any number of different directions.  How did you come up with your particular idea?

Since I failed to actually make my idea work, I relied on my friend and housemate, An Owomoyela. An and I had each received invitations to the anthology and were each having trouble battering our stories into shape. An had finished theirs while I still didn’t have a full draft, so An tossed their work my way so we could collaborate.

What challenges if any did it pose having to incorporate a particular phrase into the flow of your story and making it seem perfectly natural?

Luckily, An had already put the line in the story.  The placement was fine. Finding the right vocabulary for the character was harder; I think you (Doug and John) helped with that in editing.

What kind of research did you have to do for your story?

Not much! I think I looked up some stuff about tattoo guns.

What else are you working on right now?  Anything coming out that you’d like to talk about?

I am very pleased to have actual stories coming out this year! Two have been published already:

“Love Is Never Still” in Uncanny Magazine

“Between Dragons and Their Wrath” in Clarkesworld, also with An Owomoyela

I have a third coming out in Jonathan Strahan’s Drowned Worlds anthology. I have great hopes for hopefully getting more out, too!

I’m also blogging regularly about my fiction, recommended reading, and writing advice on