“The Sin Eater and Other Stories”

June 2, 2013 |

Elizabeth Frankie Rollins

Elizabeth Frankie Rollins
Queen’s Ferry Press, 2013

It’s a refreshing April morning at Café Passe. Elizabeth Frankie Rollins’ blonde hair is backlit by the springtime sun burning beautifully bright, creating a halo of golden-white. She glows with genuine happiness – it shines from her blue eyes. It is a time of celebration, the release of a book years in the making, the culmination of life experiences lovingly collected and turned into a graduate school manuscript (2001). Stories added to and subtracted from that grad school project, then, more years spent trying to get it published.

“I had an agent for awhile, who didn’t have a clue about social media, so I fired her.” We laugh, acknowledging that social media is a super important marketing tool while admitting the fact that we are still learning about the nuances of the Twitterverse, we aren’t reading on Kindle or Nook but it is most certainly OK for people to purchase “The Sin Eater & Other Stories” on those platforms. Why limit distribution?

But for some of us, there’s nothing like holding a book, the physicality of turning the pages, feeling the cover, dog-earing the corners. To devour stories as richly vibrant as these it seems better to grip onto the pages and crease that spine. Maybe it’s not logical, but it seems right because the characters in “The Sin Eater & Other Stories” aren’t logical yet their actions are understandable. We all have to find a method to and/or out of the madness, to reconcile life’s uncertainties, hope for the best and try to expunge our transgressions.

In each of Rollins’ thirteen stories, her scribing ferries the reader to surreal lands of odd circumstances that somehow ring with unexpected normalcy. You are this character, you’ve lived this life. It’s a Vulcan mind meld, a body swap, you are the protagonist and you know what they know and feel what they feel and ache with their pain and rejoice with their unexpected wins. This is masterful storytelling.

Rollins’ is perfectly honest about her muses: “I just steal from the world.” As they say, reality is oft times stranger than fiction, and her life has provided much fodder for these fantastical tales. This is what a writer does, gathers experiences and Rollins’ thirty-seven jobs helped create these characters. She explains the background for “I See Her,” a haunted story about a woman murdered on the beach: “I worked in a crumbling hotel that had bed bugs and barely working air conditioning and there was a murder there. I did get that porch furniture, and I did sand it, and I did cry.”

The background may be personal, but the themes are universal. Like a great song, any story that is relatable to diverse individuals channels the waters of humanity’s collective unconscious. The ability to craft symbolism that speaks to unique viewpoints is a gift.

“It has been an incredible experience,” Rollins says about the book’s publishing. “Every day, I get feedback about how it has touched someone. It is really magical.”


“The Sin Eater & Other Stories” is available online at QueensFerryPress.com and locally at Antigone Books, 411 N. 4th Ave.

Category: Books