Let’s welcome Rebecca to the Scribbler.
We met at the Greater Moncton Riverview & Dieppe Book fair in
April. We had a lot of fun that day.
I extended an invitation to be my guest this week and Rebecca kindly
agreed so, read on my friends.
Rebecca MacFarlane is a lifelong reader and writer of dark tales. Her first novella, originally published in
2015, was later transformed into her first self-published novel. She is currently working on more stories,
including Winterhaven, the companion book to her well-received post-apocalyptic
novel, Dying Season. Rebecca currently
resides in New Brunswick with her partner, her two children and two cats.
Title: When It Rains At
self-proclaimed lone wolf, Spencer is a drifter who lives life by his own
rules. When he crosses paths with a young girl walking alone on the highway,
his gut tells him to keep walking. He nearly passes her by, but there’s
something familiar about her that he just can’t ignore.
Paige claims to have lost her memory, and Spencer finds himself drawn into a stranger's bizarre predicament. Against his better judgement, the pair set off on an unexpected journey to uncover Paige’s identity. When a jittery trucker and a roadside café prompt some terrifying memories, the truth of who Paige really is unfolds into a mind-bending nightmare.
The Story behind the Story: I started writing When It Rains At Night over 15 years ago. I had a vision in my mind of Spencer,
hitchhiking on a dark road with no particular destination. I knew a little of his character, that he’s
smart, fiercely independent, and has a very troubled past, and I knew what I
wanted the mood of the story to be. I knew that Spencer would meet Paige and have
a very immediate sense of Deja Vu.
Somehow they have met before, but I couldn’t figure out the how, or the
why, to turn it into a really interesting story. I did finish a first draft about seven or
eight years ago with an entirely different ending, but I really wasn’t happy
with it. Something was missing, so I set it aside again. Finally last year I figured out what the
missing pieces were. Mostly, it was more
of Spencer. His backstory hit me one
day. I had uncovered the real Spencer; he’s very much a lone wolf with a skewed
moral compass. He’s temperamental and
dangerous. A great friend beta-read the
story and after the first couple chapters, messaged me and said, ‘I don’t know
what to think of Spencer. He seems like an opportunistic predator. That’s when I knew I had it right. I also
decided to be bold and incorporate a concept that I absolutely love – the idea
of multiple universes, and multiple timelines.
I don’t know if I believe in those theories in real life, but one can’t
totally dismiss them, either I think.
Either way, I really wanted to make a story out of that, and I knew When
It Rains At Night had the potential to bear it out. In addition to being a bit of a wild ride, I
do hope that the story is thought-provoking and bittersweet, but that’s up to
the readers to decide.
A question before you go, Rebecca:
Can you tell us about the perfect setting you have, or
desire, for your writing? Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila? Neat or notes everywhere?
As long as I have music and a good cup of tea, I’m ready to
write. Time is a hot commodity in our
house since the kids are always keeping us busy, and some people ask me ‘how do
I find the time?’. While it’s true that I’m always (and I do mean always) busy,
I don’t feel finding the time is really a struggle, because even when I’m not
in that perfect place with my laptop and a hot mug of tea, I’m always
writing. My brain is always working. I
take the characters with me in the car, to work, to the grocery store. They
live with me 24/7. As for notes, I very
rarely make notes. If I do, I usually forget or misplace them. To me, if the
idea is good enough, it’ll stick in my brain until I get it down.
Rebecca is sharing an excerpt from her novel for your
Spencer regretted taking all of this on. If not for Paige,
he might be asleep behind the restaurant they’d just left behind, or perhaps
even in one of the booths inside. Instead he was stuck in the cab of a
transport with this nervy girl stuck to his arm, sandwiched between her and the
driver, who reminded Spencer of a rat. He looked like one, and he kept
sniffing and twitching his long nose.
The walk had worn him out more than
he had expected, and the coffee was not doing much to keep him alert, but he
was keenly aware that he needed to stay on guard. If anything, Paige’s fingers,
stabbing into his forearm like blunt daggers made it impossible for him to slip
He’d put his backpack down between
his feet and had one strap clenched in his fist. The backpack contained
everything he owned; a few clothes, a considerable amount of cash folded into
four tight bundles tucked deep down in the inside zippered pocket, and the Sig
Sauer he had recently bought off of a shady strip club bouncer back in
“What did you say your name was?”
Jay asked, looking over again to Paige, ignoring Spencer, as most people were
wont to do.
For a moment, Spencer thought that
she wasn’t going to remember her fake name. She appeared to have become
even more anxious than before.
“Anna?” she said at
“Right,” said the driver, like her
fake name confused him somehow. He thrummed his fingers on the wheel.
Thankfully, the ride back to Paige’s
car was short. Jay pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway, and Paige
shoved the door open before the truck had come to a full
Her legs were not long enough to
reach the step underneath the door. She sat there for a second, half in and
half out of the cab, and cast a despairing look over her shoulder.
Spencer sighed impatiently. He had never met anyone so ill prepared in
his life. She looked past him at Jay for just a half second, snapped her
head around, and tossed her handbag down to the ground. Paige jumped and
landed awkwardly, the heel of her boot hitting the ground at an angle. Spencer
winced, but Paige didn’t make a sound, not even a whimper. If she had been wearing
a ballet costume as opposed to her denim skirt and half of a shirt, he would
have guessed that she’d planned on landing that way.
He got out and helped Paige to her
feet. Her left knee was scraped and bleeding. She held out her hands and he saw
that her palms were chaffed.
She gave him another woeful look,
and it felt to him for a moment as if they were acting out a play that they had
never rehearsed, and while Jay was the only one in the audience, it was
important that they pulled off a winning performance. He wanted Jay to
get moving. The guy really gave him the creeps. He didn’t want to
give the impression that they needed any more help, and it was obvious that
Paige wanted the same. Spencer gave Paige her purse. She took it and he
took her arm without thinking. She was about to pull away and then their eyes
met again. She eased up a little and let him act like it was totally
normal for him to be touching her, like he had touched her a thousand times
Spencer glanced up and found that he
was looking up into the cab at a rotting corpse. The driver‘s rat-like face was
decaying, patches of skin were missing or hanging loose from his skull in
tatters. The unpleasant lemony bleach undertone of the cab had turned
rank. Sweat and smoke and death wafted out into the night. The driver’s
corpse had no eyes, just two empty sockets. A skeletal hand reached out, and
then whatever he had seen, or thought he had seen, was gone. It was only
the Rat Man’s face looking down at him again, his ugly mug still not all that
pleasant, but alive.
“Take care now”. he said, and he
pulled the door closed.
The air brakes hissed. Spencer
and Paige stood close together, like two stage players waiting for the final
curtain-fall, watching silently as the truck pulled away.
Spencer looked to Paige and found
she looked a little bit ghoulish herself. She was staring after the truck
with eyes that seemed to have grown too large for her face. She didn’t appear
to be breathing. Spencer waited for her to move or speak or give some
sign of life. Finally, when the truck had disappeared into the darkness,
she fell back against the hood of her car and let out a low, ragged
A part of him that didn’t want to
know what was wrong with her. He didn’t want to ask, didn’t want to care. His
good deed was done, but for reasons he couldn’t understand, he found that he
Thank you for being our guest, Rebecca. Wishing you continued success
on your writing journey. Hope to see you at the Next Book Fair.
And a big thank you to all our readers and visitors.