Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog today. I am Rebecca Scarberry (Scarberryfields on Twitter. My next interview is with a very interesting and talented author. His name is Reb MacRath. You are all going to really enjoy this, trust me!

Scarberryfields: Can you tell us a little about your nationality?

Reb: For me, that's the trickiest question.  And it's one that taps into the heart of everything I've written, so I'll give it my best shot.  I'm an American, twice over.  I've written about this experience at length in my next ebook, Nobility.  To summarize:  I was born in Buffalo, NY but renounced my citizenship in Toronto, Ontario.  Though I'd planned to become a Canadian, I never did...and drifted as a stateless person for the next seven years.  Realizing what I'd done in 1976, I began a long legal battle to return to the States.  I was granted a Green Card in 1979...remaining stateless for another half-decade, until I formally re-became an American citizen.  By that time I'd been 'Nothing' for nearly a third of my life.  The price was high, but worth it because I'd learned a wonderful lesson:  Before, I'd been haunted by the sense of arbitrariness. I had had nothing to do with my having been born in this country, but I'd come back knowing I was one in my blood and in my bones.

Scarberryfields: Can you tell us about your ancestry?

Reb: Born Irish.  But, once again, I'd had nothing to say about that.  Scotland has always called to me.  And twenty years ago, when I first started to write a thriller called Southern Scotch, I identified so strongly with the hero that I adapted Scotland as my spiritual source. 

Scarberryfields: Please tell us about everything you have written (published and unpublished).

Reb:  I had a long apprenticeship.  In Canada I developed a successful freelance practice, writing book reviews and personality profiles for the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun and various literary 'zines.  The highpoint was a 13-part series sold to the Toronto Star about quitting smoking, which went on to appear in all major Canadian papers.  This background proved to be useless when I returned to the States.  And it would be another eight years before I published my first novel, The Suiting, with Tor.  That was in 1988.  Tor also published Makoto in 1990.  Though I'd always wanted to write mysteries, I found myself firmly locked in the horror genre.  When Tor passed on my next book option, I moved on to Dell, which published Mastery and Angel Kiss, in 1991 and 1993.  And then began my long stretch in The Desert.

Scarberryfields:  What happened?

Reb:  Changes in the industry, decline of the horror genre, and a disastrous change in agents...I think I'll spare y'all the details for now. I only thought I was alone.  Nearly all the bright stars then went under as well. Midlist Monsters like myself.

Scarberryfields: Once you finish writing a poem or fiction, do you miss the characters you’ve written about?

Reb:  Yes.  I miss Boss MacTavin, the hero of Southern Scotch, terribly.  The sequel's already completed.  So we'll have a groovy reunion when I get to revise and proof it.  But then we'll be apart a while. I've been so busy e-pubbing my Desert books, I haven't started Boss 3.

Scarberryfields: While writing, if you need help with punctuation, grammar, etc., where do you turn?

Reb:  The long apprenticeship I mentioned gave me a solid foundation, I think.  Plus, I went on to work with some world-class editors at both Dell and Tor.  I still have my old copy of The Chicago Manual of Style and find Google a trustworthy guide for fundamental matters.  Finally, I trust my ears and eyes:  'Between you and I?'  Noooooo, no more than we'd say 'Between you and we'.  Etc.

Scarberryfields: With the number of hours spent writing, do family members support you or complain about the time spent away from them?

Reb:  I live alone these days. For a long while I saw that as a curse, but now it's a blessing and a matter of choice.  I chose an unusual job to give me time to write in sustained stretches, something I'd never been able to do.  Basically, I work third shift: 7 nights on, then a full week off.  I tell young ladies, whom I meet to think of me as a sort of grounded airline pilot:  I'm a lot of fun when I'm around...but my hours are irregular.

Scarberryfields: Does writing benefit you in any way and if so, how?

Reb:  Where else could I get to star in my own home movies, saving whole worlds that I've wrecked in real life?  The pay's nothing to brag about so far, but I enjoy top billing.

Scarberryfields: When you are writing, do you shut-off all social networks?

Reb:  So far, I haven't had to. Then again, I'm rewriting and proofing a series of books, I labored on for years.  Ask me again next year, when I begin Boss 3!

Scarberryfields: Did you use any family members as Beta readers for your debut novel?

Reb: No. But over the years I've come to appreciate the importance -no, the necessity of having a core of these readers.  The great trick is to find a group that's supportive and loyal, yet also fearlessly frank. 

Scarberryfields: Do you read ebooks? If you do, and write reviews, do you have any special process you use to write a review?

Reb: I bought a Kindle reader recently and am putting it to good use.  There's some amazing ebook talent out there and part of my job, I believe, is keeping current with my field.  I've just started writing reviews on my readings.  As a matter of fact, the Kindle reader assists me in the process, since I enter my notes as I go and highlight passages I like. 

Scarberryfields: What is the last book called that you completed and published? Also, where can we find this book?

Reb:  I've provided the particulars above for my four trad-pubbed books (under the name Kelley Wilde).  These are all out of print, but most can be found on Amazon. 

Scarberryfields: Where can readers go to find your new books?

Reb:  From now through 2013, I'll publish all of my Desert Storm books written since Angel Kiss in 1993—as ebooks on Amazon Kindle.  These will all be updated, revised and in keeping with my present standards.  Readers can find The Vanishing Magic of Snow and Southern Scotch on Amazon. By the end of July, Nobility will join the front line of my siege.  Next year, joining the new books, will be a 25th Anniversary edition of my first book, The Suiting.  If the interest is there, I may revise and reissue the other 3 Kelley Wilde books.

Scarberryfields: What makes a novel a Reb MacRath book?

Reb: My books are all thrillers, but in their own way.  I'm sick of books I can't put down. Anyone can write one with a half-dozen hooks and some narrative glue. I offer books you can, will and must put down repeatedly in order to gather a tan in the sun of their style or savor a tryst with a foxy young phrase.

Scarberryfields: Say, Reb, just one last question...How old are you, anyway?

Reb: Oh, that's on a Need to No basis. :)

Scarberryfields: Thank you so much, Reb. After reading your answers to my questions, I could hardly wait to post this on my blog. To have you and all of the other authors, consent to having me interview them, I now feel like I know all of you so much better. I am certain all of the people taking the time to read these wonderful interviews, will feel the same. I feel so honored.


  1. There was some good advice in that interview.

  2. Hey Rebecca, loved the interview. Wow, he has certainly been around eh? He's persistent too, I like that. I recently wrote an article on my blog about accepting criticism and learning from it, acceptance and perserverance is all about maintaining a positive attitude and not simply giving up. I too have that same relationship as Reb, in that once I've finished a book I miss the characters I've created (countless hours spent building their profiles)it's stupid I know, but I find I wonder what they would/could be doing now. I have heaps of unpublished manuscripts that I keep adding to, but the one I did publish I left an opening for a continuation as I finished with "The End" "or is it? Reb MacRath's books certainly seem to be something I need to add to my ever growing list. So glad I read your interview with Reb, kool. Thanks Rick Canhan.