Today’s brief Q&A is with Rebecca Emanuelsen, a contributor of fiction to the inaugural issue of Sugared Water. Her story “Fred the Fish” was our first acceptance of fiction, and also inspired the goldfish cover for SW#001.
Rebecca Emanuelsen lives, works, and writes in Michigan. As much as she likes pointing out locations on her hand and calling soda “pop,” she dreams of moving to a place where the sidewalk will never be coated in an inch-thick layer of ice. Her stories have appeared in Shimmer, Parcel, Fractured West, and elsewhere.
a little taste of “Fred the Fish,” her short fiction:
Fred the fish likes bloodworms and all the flakes except the green ones. Hannah picks those ones out, then sprinkles in a handful of everything else. Her portly little goldfish bobs in the water, gulping down food particles until his stomach begins to swell, only relenting in his feeding frenzy when morsels begin to float back up out of his mouth like smokers’ exhalations. The remnants of his meal eventually drift down to settle on the bottom of the bowl, creating a light film like dirty snow. They blanket the neon pebbles and the small castle that Hannah purchased with spare change scraped up from under couch cushions and inside cup holders.
“Thanks, doll,” Fred says, patting his bulging belly with a fin.
“No problem,” Hannah replies as she pops a piece of bubblegum into her mouth. “But I’m a real girl, not a doll.”
SW: What are you currently reading?
RE: I’m currently reading about fourteen textbooks a week because I’m working as a proofreader over the summer.
I’m also reading Nelly Reifler’s short story collection, See Through.
SW: What are you working on now?
RE: Short stories with various magical elements as well as an urban fantasy novel.
SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
RE: Howl’s Moving Castle and Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones are two of my very favorite books. I really appreciate DWJ’s world-building abilities and her treatment of young characters. She was a fantastic writer.
SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
RE: On long walks and in conversations with my best friend, Nichole “Prite” Mercado, who has kindly drawn a number of my characters over the decade that we’ve known each other.
SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
RE: I have a weird, spotty schedule when it comes to writing. Sometimes I don’t write for several weeks. Sometimes I crank out a 6,000-word story in two days. Either way, my process usually involves thinking about something for at least a week (often much longer) and then researching various elements for a few days before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I’m generally not a “write every day” writer, and that’s fine because my current process works for me, though only for short stories. When I want to actually make progress on my novel, I have to commit to a more regular (preferably daily) schedule.
SW: With what are you obsessed?
RE: So many things. I go through periods of intense interest in various subjects. Chambered nautiluses, accordion music, and abandoned towns are three things I’ve been focusing on lately.