Interview with Horror Artist & Writer Betty Rocksteady
You know how sometimes you find new art by someone you’ve never heard of, and you can’t believe they’ve been doing their thing totally unbeknownst to you? And you feel like you need to share it with the world immediately? That’s why you’re all seeing this interview with Miss Betty Rocksteady.
THW: Let’s start with an easy one: Horror, why?
Horror is everything. I’ve always loved reading and art, and the things that made the biggest impression on me have always been frightening and unusual. When I was a kid, I was easily frightened by things I read or saw, but I kept coming back to them, over and over, dwelling on the possibilities reading a creepy article in the Weekly World News woke in me, or the strange, empty feeling an Edward Gorey drawing gave me. When I got older, I consumed horror fiction and movies like crazy so of course when I make art or write, that’s what comes out.
THW: Do you remember your introduction to the horror genre? Please tell us about it. Lots of little things added up. A fear of spontaneous human combustion. R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps let to Christopher Pike led to Stephen King. An old issue of an Unexpected comic book. Are You Afraid Of the Dark? Listening to Gremlins books on record in the basement with my grandfather. I just got fascinated with what I was afraid of, and kept seeking out more.
THW: Do you have formal training in visual arts? How do you think that has impacted you?
I took a year of Graphic Design/Illustration/Photography at community college, and it sorta wore me down for a while. I was really discouraged and uninspired for a solid year or two afterwards, but when I came back to drawing, it was because I needed it. I spent most of my teenage years filling sketchbooks to avoid real life, and I came back to it for pretty much the same reason. From there I started working through a lot of drawing books and actively trying to improve myself FOR myself.
THW: What would you say is the best horror on television right now?
I’m not watching a ton of current horror television. There are shows I’ve heard a lot of great things about, but there is only so much time! My boyfriend and I watch Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, and I am still loving those. We cruise through a lot of older series and mini-series too, right now we are watching a British series called Dead Set.
THW: In addition to visual arts, you also write. Where can readers find your work?
I have lots of short fiction published in online and print magazines and anthologies. Two things I’m really proud of are my novella Arachnophile and my story in Fucked Up Fairy Tales Volume 1. Arachnophile takes place in a surreal world where giant spiders are treated as everyday citizens, and an arachnophobic man discovers something disturbing about himself when one moves in next door. These New Appetites in Fucked up Fairy Tales is about what happens when a girl falls in love with a wolf. You can find all my work through Amazon here: or find out more on my webpage www.bettyrocksteady.com
THW: What’s up next for you? Any new projects dropping, or in the pipe?
I have lots of short fiction coming out this year! I accept all my Facebook friend requests, or you can follow just my art and fiction page at www.facebook.com/bettyrocksteadyart. I’m finishing some edits now on a novella about a girl and her dead grandfather that promises to be absolutely nightmarish. I’m also working on some illustrations for a secret-for-now project that I’m really excited about.
THW: When you introduce a non-horror loving friend to horror, what kind of material do you expose them to?
I have a lot of friends who aren’t into horror, and I think that’s fine. I totally understand where people are coming from if they can’t handle it or just don’t enjoy it. My mom, for instance, is so incredibly supportive and proud of everything I write and do, but she definitely doesn’t read it and I prefer it that way! So if people would rather read and look at other things, I respect that.
THW: Any advice for budding scary artists or writers?
Do a lot of it. Write a lot and read a lot and draw a lot. Don’t worry if it’s not any good, just keep doing it. You don’t get better by being intimidated. Make friends with people in the genre, socialize online and make connections. Ask for critique. Take advice. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Don’t argue with critique! You don’t have to agree with everything, but be grateful for new eyes on your work. Submit lots of stuff. Take workshops, read books and articles on the craft. Be excited.
Thanks so much, Betty Rocksteady!