Suspended in Dusk II: Dan Rabarts

Today’s SiDII author is Dan Rabarts, talking about his story “Riptide”.

1. What was the inspiration for your SiD2 story?

Several years ago I was working on story fragments for an anthology called Regeneration, and one of those story threads started with the idea of the tide, and how it washes up the beach to sweep away the traces of the past few hours to leave it clean, fresh. This story drew me into a place I struggled to go, especially since the beach that forms the background of Riptide is a place I know very well, a stretch of sea where I spent many hours growing up, a stretch of sea that once tried to hold onto me forever. On the one hand, this story is an exploration of what might’ve been, had things gone differently that particular day, and how so many of the monsters we live with we never see and so struggle to confront. I ended up placing a (very) different story in Regeneration, but I’ll always credit the editors for planting the seed of this story, which is particularly personal to me.

2. Who are your top five horror-writing inspirations?

Only five? Let’s mention Mr King, since reading IT when I was 14 I simply had to find more stories that left me haunted. Kiwi fantasy/sci-fi author Hugh Cook, now sadly deceased, is right up there too. His writing is slivered through with moments of sudden, brutal darkness, and as another author I was reading in my mid-teens, his impact has had an influence on my writing from the time I first tried my hand at wordsmithing. (That’s a Hugh Cook reference, BTW. See what I mean?). A couple of indie authors are next on the list, starting with Jack Kincaid. Kincaid’s novel Hoad’s Grim, a notoriously underappreciated book which I first experienced as an audiobook drama and which remains my preferred entertainment for long drives up the country on my own in the dark, brought me squarely back into the horror zone after a few years of traipsing around in fantasy worlds.This also drew me into the realm of podcast fiction, where I discovered Phil Rossi and his cosmic horror, including CrescentEden and Harvey. And no such list of this nature could be complete without mentioning the single biggest inspiration in my efforts to create dark fiction that resonates, burns, and haunts, and that of course is Lee Murray, my writing partner and one of my favourite authors hands-down.

3. You get to choose one book for a desert island exile (yes, you did something terrible): what is it?

The Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency? Bear Grylls’ Survival Almanac? Weave Your Empire from a Coconut Palm?

4. What’s your favourite trope in horror? 

Probably the well-worn path that the monster is not really the monster we think it is; that the real monsters are inside us. People are far more monstrous than any vampire or zombie can ever be, thanks to man’s inhumanity to man and all that, which is possibly why I’m such a fan of dystopia and apocalyptic fiction where the horror stems from what we’re capable to doing to our world and to each other. Possibly because those are far more real terrors than the made-up ones, and also because if fiction serves a purpose it may be as a warning to the rest of the world, and although we’ll never know if those warnings just might change the future, we scream them to the darkness regardless, hoping someone can hear us.

5. What’s next for you?

I have two novels due for release later this year. Teeth of the Wolf, the sequel to Hounds of the Underworld with Lee Murray is due out from Raw Dog Screaming Press in October, and we’re just starting work on Book 3. Brothers of the Knife, the first book in the Children of Bane dark fantasy series from Omnium Gatherum is due out later this year, with the second book, Sons of the Curse, slated for early next year. The third book in that series, Sisters of Spindrift, is my current work in progress and the reason I get up at some insane cold hour of the morning to tap words onto a screen to the smell of hot coffee. I’ve also got short fiction due out this year in Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud, and Pantheon Magazine. So basically, what’s next for me is a lot of daily wordcounts and quite a bit of proofing and editing. And early morning coffee.


Dan Rabarts is a New Zealand author, editor and podcast narrator, winner of four Sir Julius Vogel Awards and two Australian Shadows Awards, occasional sailor of sailing things, part-time metalhead and father of two wee miracles in a house on a hill under the southern sun. His science fiction, dark fantasy and horror short stories have been published in venues such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies and The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. Together with Lee Murray, he co-edited the award-winning anthologies Baby Teeth – Bite-sized Tales of Terror and At The Edge, and co-writes the Path of Ra series from Raw Dog Screaming Press, starting with Hounds of the Underworld and continuing in Teeth of the Wolf. His first solo novel, Brothers of the Knife, kicks off the grimdark-yet-madcap Children of Bane fantasy series (Omnium Gatherum) in late 2018. Find out more at


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