Once upon a time… A teacher, tattoo collector, mom, and rock ‘n’ roll kinda gal opened up a doc and started purging her demons. Twenty-five published works later, with more tucked away in her evil lair, R.L. Merrill strives to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after. You can find her lurking on social media, being a mom-taxi to two brilliant kids, in the tattoo chair trying desperately to get that back piece finished, or headbanging at a rock show in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance.
How did you become interested in the Victorian era?
Everyone gets so excited about the Victorian era in Britain, but I’ve always been more interested in what was going on in my neighborhood. There are several historic homes in my area and I’ve often wondered about the people who lived here before us and what life was like, what the area looked like.
What is your favorite Victorian horror story?
Edgar Allan Poe is one of my literary heroes and I love his tales of darkness and despair. “Ligeia” is one of my favorites along with “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
Do you have a favorite Victorian horror movie? What attracted you to this film?
I absolutely loved the film version of Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp. It was incredibly well done. I also think Corpse Bride is brilliant and a much better Burton film than A Nightmare Before Christmas, which is not a popular opinion, I know.
Are your characters based on real people?
In “Breaking Bread,” the main character, Fidelia Meek, was the real lady of the Meek Mansion. I use the names of the Meek family as well. They were wealthy landowners in the East Bay; their orchards were vast.
Do you use an outline to write? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I’m a plotser. I actually do character organizers before I write. Usually. Mostly. My current WIP? I’m pantsing the heck out of it.
Do your characters have free will? Or do you decide their fate?
Oooo pretty sure I’m a firm believer in fate. Things happen for a reason, despite whatever we may do to change our destiny.
What are you most afraid of?
Besides the obvious, something happening to my children, I’m also terrified of getting sick again. The coronavirus has reminded me how hard I’ve fought to not get pneumonia again, and I continue to fight.
What is your favorite form of divination?
Growing up, I loved the Magic 8 Ball! But for now? I’m fascinated with Tarot. I want to learn more about it. For my story, though, I wanted to dig deep and find something unusual, and that’s where the Barley Bread came from. According to several sources, Alphitomancy is an ancient method of determining the guilt or innocence of a suspect person by feeding him or her a specially prepared wheat or barley loaf or cake. If the person suffers from indigestion, or finds the loaf to be distasteful, this is interpreted as a sign of guilt. If enough people believe in something, it gives it power. Apparently lots of folks—including the Greeks and Romans up through the Irish—believed in this form of divination. Who am I to disagree?
Who is your favorite horror author?
Anne Rice. Her books fed my imagination for years. I also love Stephen King, Robert Louis Stevenson, the aforementioned Poe, and contemporary horror author Rick R. Reed.
What does the future hold for you? What books, short stories, or works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?
I recently dropped a new supernatural suspense/paranormal romance called Healer: Havenhart Academy Book One, and book two will be out in early 2021. In June and October, I’ll be releasing my third and fourth Magic and Mayhem Universe books which follow a congregation of Alligator Shifters and witches living in the Bayou. They’re a lot of fun to write and I love being a part of a group project. And in June I’ll also be a part of the Love is All Vol. 3 anthology to support LGBTQ charities. That story will be an m/m contemporary romance.