In conversation with Dana McSwain – Author of ‘Roseneath’


Hello Guys! I am back with yet another delightful conversation with the author of amazing gothic horror, Roseneath

Click here to check the detailed review

So, what are we waiting for, let’s invite our guest, the author of Roseneath, Dana McSwain.

So, Dana let’s start the conversation with knowing a little bit more about you and your book.

I am the author of the Winter Tales series and an independent publisher at Webb House Publishing.

Roseneath is my fifth book, but my first horror novel. It’s also the first book I ever wrote, it just took a bit more time than the others.


Great, that’s a fun fact I got to know about one of my favorite gothic horrors. Well, from where did you get the idea of writing this amazingly horrifying book? Is there any personal experience or so?

I wrote Roseneath over the ten years I spent restoring an abandoned 1921 Tudor Revival in Cleveland, Ohio’s inner ring that locals believed to be haunted. Basically, my husband was traveling a great deal for work and I was home alone in a creepy old house with a history and my imagination ran wild.

So many literary fiction and horror stories are set in far-flung places. I think the Midwest and particularly Cleveland are uniquely situated to lead the way with genre fiction. Every day, we all exist in the ruins of a Golden Age, surrounded by the remnants of the oil barons and captains of industry. Our homes and neighborhoods are generally over 100 years old and carry the weight of tragedy and despair, hope, and progress. If that’s not haunting, I don’t know what is.  It was easy for me to imagine a story like Roseneath in our ruined old house, and it was interesting to watch the old house come alive with each page I wrote.


I totally loved the backdrop of the old house and basement. Also, the plot was really intriguing. How was your journey with this book ???

It was a ten-year journey from inception to completion of Roseneath. So many drafts, so many times I considered giving up. But I could not let this story go. The voices of the characters, Georgia and Nathan Pritchard, Michael the Archangel, and in particular, Edith, the ghost of the dead child in Roseneath’s attic, would not go away.


I just can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the character of Edith apart from the main characters Georgia and Nathan. So Dana, Did you face any rejections for this book??

The general reaction from publishers and agents when I pitched a literary horror novel set in Cleveland, Ohio in the Midwest of the United States was “Cleveland? Ummm… no. How about England or Scotland?” Over the years I had people suggest I change the location, make the characters less Rust Belt, maybe make someone a teen vampire who sparkled. It was scary to ignore mainstream literature and go my own way. I had to be willing to fail in a big way, and that’s pretty terrifying. A ten-year-long endeavor with no idea how it will be received. But I have to say, when Indie Reader and The New York Review of Books reached out to me about Roseneath, that was incredibly satisfying. I took a gamble on Roseneath and it paid off.


Yeah, it’s anytime better to say oops rather than what if!
Well, what are the other things that you enjoy apart from reading and writing?? Also, what are your favorite books in the horror genre?

I enjoy hiking and baking. Earlier this year, I published a cookbook of recipes from my grandmother, who was an immigrant. She and I were very close and I grew up cooking and baking with her. When I cook and bake now, with my daughter, I feel very close to her even though she passed away 20 years ago. I love hiking in Iceland, Michigan, and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

My favorite horror books are The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.


Woah! These are some amazing book recommendations.
Well Dana, what about book reviews? Do you read them? How do you deal with negative feedback?

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It’s nice to get a positive review, but I try not to let it influence my work. I feel the same about negative reviews. Not every story is for every person. My job is to write the book. What happens afterwards is none of my business.


Yeah, that’s true. So my last question to you, what do you want to say to your readers??

Thank you. Not just for supporting my work over the years, but for supporting the  independent books stores and publishers that carry my books.


It was really amazing to know more about Roseneath from you. Thank you so much Dana for your valuable time and wishing you all the best and success for your book. Wish to read more from you in the future 🙂



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