WiHM 2023: Rebecca Treasure: A Walk on the Short Dark Side

Rebecca Treasure: A Walk on the Short Dark Side

By Angelique Fawns


I met Rebecca Treasure when I took her course this February, Keep it Short: Tips and Tricks for Writing Flash Fiction through the Reach Your Apex initiative from Apex Magazine. It was nothing “short” of amazing. Apex Magazine features dark speculative fiction, so I asked Rebecca if she could talk to us about her work for WIHM.  She has been published in Zooscape, Seize the Press, Galaxy’s Edge, Air & Nothingness Press, and The Dread Machine, to name a few. 

AF: When did you first decide that you wanted to become a writer? 

RT: That’s a funny question for me. As a young child, I read voraciously and wrote on and about everything. I wrote an epistolary horror novel (though I didn’t know that’s what it was called) about a convicted murderer when I was in seventh grade. I wrote endless pages of poetry throughout my teen years. And then, when I returned to college with some seriousness, I stopped writing creatively. All through my undergrad and graduate years, I basically developed amnesia that I’d ever had any interest in creative writing – while continuing to read voraciously whenever I could. When I finally “decided” to become a writer after my second child turned one, I felt like I was rediscovering who I was meant to be all along.


AF: You are a prolific short story writer, tell me yours secret to grabbing your readers!

RT: I think there are as many ways to grab readers as there are words, and am a big fan of the advice, “if it works, it works!” That being said, I’ll often try to have the opening sentence do something evocative – whether to raise a question or spark an intriguing or startling image or tap into some deep emotion that might resonate with readers.


AF: Why dark, speculative fiction? Is there a reason you prefer the short story form?

RT: It’s funny, because when I started writing, I wanted to be a novelist and didn’t even consider short fiction. When I did start writing short, it was because I thought it would be easier than novels, and I could practice a few things while I was at it. Oh, dear. Turns out short fiction isn’t any easier, and I absolutely fell in love with the power and potency of short fiction. As for why dark – it’s what comes out of my fingertips when I write! I read broadly, but the stories I tend to tell trend toward the darker side of things.


AF: How did you become involved in Apex?

RT: I saw an opportunity to become a slush reader for the magazine and jumped at it as a fan. After reading for the magazine for a while, there was an opportunity to move into a staff position, and I’ve been there ever since! I absolutely love working for Apex.


AF: You are the flash fiction editor at Apex Magazine, what hints do you have for writers? What would you like to see more of?

RT: Because the flash fiction is run as a themed contest, there’s nothing I want to see more of except more stories – but I do encourage writers to try to come up with a unique take on those themes. Every month we get a lot of stories that are very similar – black hole stories when the theme was VOID, for instance – and those rarely reach the final stack. Surprise us! As for hints, there’s no secret beyond telling a spectacular story, but I do see a lot of pieces that are either doing too much or too little with the word count. Think about your pacing and whether there is a complete story (whether on the page or not).


AF: Who are your personal writing influences?

RT: Oh gosh, so many. I grew up reading the ‘classic’ science fiction authors from my parents’ shelves – Heinlein, Asimov, Niven and Pournelle. As a teenager I fell in love with fantasy and read Mercedes Lackey especially. I adored Sylvia Plath and Ernest Hemingway, carrying around a collection from each in my purse throughout high school. I also read so much Francesca Lia Block I stole permanently, borrowed all of her books from our local library and hid them under my mattress. In my twenties, I fell in love with the Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist. And now I read so much short fiction – my favorite authors are Alix E. Harrow, P H Lee, Meg Elison, E. Lily Yu, and about fifty more.


AF: Do you have a day job? How do you achieve work/life balance?

RT: Apex and writing are my day jobs! I’m lucky to be able to work from home doing what I love. I was a violin and viola teacher for 20 years but recently stepped back from that because of the demands of writing and editing. I have two elementary-aged children and spend a lot of time with them in addition to a thriving Stardew Valley farm and exploring Hyrule. I am a big believer in work hard, play hard, take naps. Balance isn’t something you achieve, it’s something you have to continually work at.


AF: What is in the future for Rebecca Treasure? 

RT: Right now, I’m in the midst of a big international move, so that’s about all I can handle. In my writing life, I’m querying a Napoleonic historical fantasy, researching an epistolary historical horror, and writing a fun urban fantasy. I try to write a short story every month, minimum, as well. Apex is running a Kickstarter right now (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/apexpublications/robotic-ambitions) so that’s eating up all my time at work as we anxiously refresh the campaign page.


Thanks so much for having me!


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