This week you all will be getting to know some awesome authors. Today we start off with Meeting Rachel Walter.
Rachel is a wife and mother from Central Pennsylvania. Her favorite season is fall, for hockey, changing leaves, pumpkin everything, and bonfires often. She’s also a coffeenista with an insomnia problem. When Rachel isn’t playing with the people inside her head, making her family believe she belongs in the loony bin, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, species confused cat (he believes he’s part dog, love him), and finding new books and music.
Rachel and I sat down and had a little chat about her, her work, and what writing is like for her.
Christina: What’s your current project? Tell us a little about it.
Rachel: Currently, I’m working on Twisted Destiny. It’s book three in The Soul Mate Series, a young adult paranormal romance series. It follows the same theme True Connection and Soul Promise followed. Finding their soul mate and dealing with evil and such. Twisted Destiny’s main character is a “new to Lupiterra” girl named Aisling. She’s Amaranthine, like Seth and Skeeter, but she’s different from them. She’s a completely different can of worms than Jazzy or Skeeter were, but she’s just as fun to write. I’ve found that she’s witty like Skeeter, but she has dryer sense of humor mingling with her sarcasm. She’s also sweet and funny like Jazzy, but Aisling is much more awkward. It’s fun, but it’s also a pain. I’ve been plagued with writer’s block throughout this first draft. I have not written The End yet, nor is it even in sight yet. So that’s the bad news.
Just in case you’re new to me or The Soul Mate Series: the story is set in Lupiterra Pennsylvania. Lupiterra does not exist in real life. In the story it’s just outside Pittsburgh. So you won’t find it on any map 😉
Also, because I know you love Barry so much, Christina… he’s there. But not as prominent as he was in the previous two.
C: What has been your favorite scene to write so far?
R: If I told my favorite scene so far from Twisted Destiny it would be a spoiler. Like, BIG spoiler…so I’ll choose from my others that are out.
In Pucked, I think my favorite scene has to be the mud kiss. Oh, or the scene that Audrey told her terrible joke to diffuse the tension and awkwardness. I have so many favorites in Pucked.
In A Message of Flowers, the snow cone scene and first date scene were my favorites.
In Soul Promise…balloons. And finally, in True Connection I loved the training with Caine.
C: What is your biggest goal with your writing?
R: As a teenager I struggled with depression, and when I finally found books, they became my safe place. I want to remind anyone reading my words that there is still love and beauty inside the deep, dark, pain. You’re not alone even when you feel like there’s no one. It’s okay to barely hold yourself together. It’s okay to fake those smiles. Just don’t ever give up.
C: What is the weirdest location you’ve ever written at?
R: Okay, I have two. Kind of.
I don’t remember which book I was working in…. I *think* Soul Promise, I’m not sure which scene or chapter, but I was writing in my basement while sitting on the washer because it was off balance. The dumb thing would dance into the dryer and cause giant messes… but we couldn’t stop using it just yet. So for four hours over two days I worked in the basement. Fun times.
The other… it’s not so much the location as it is what was playing. I have to have music or something while I write. It usually doesn’t matter what it is. But the first sexy scene in A Message of Flowers was written while Sesame Street played in the background.
C: How do you handle writer’s block?
R: Wine. Lots and lots of wine. And whiskey.
Okay, that’s not completely true.
I try to write myself out of it. I’ll write a blog post or work in a different WIP. Sometimes that doesn’t work. I don’t know all the “right” ways to get through writer’s block, but when I’m blocked I get really, really agitated and incredibly grumpy. So for a few hours I’m a giant B-hole to people that don’t deserve it then I lock myself in my room or bathroom with nothing but my laptop and I do what I can. Even if it’s just one word or three thousand, I write until I can’t. Sometimes alcohol does help though, I won’t lie.
C: How much research was involved in your latest piece and how did you tackle it?
R: A lot. That’s the short answer.
For Pucked – I’m a huge hockey nut so the rules and how the game is played I already knew. But I wasn’t sure how it applied to high school ice hockey, or if ice hockey was a thing in the general area Pucked was set in. I ended up calling my alma mater to get in touch with the ice hockey coach. I ended up speaking with someone within the foundation for youth ice hockey. It was scary, something I’ve never done before, but it was so informative and just an awesome experience. I would do it again. I also interviewed real live people who have dealt with some level of Parental Alienation. I talked to those that went through it as a child. They shared how they dealt with it and are still dealing with it. I’ve talked to mothers and fathers that are being locked out of their child’s life only because their ex wanted to hurt them. And the list goes on… This story meant so much to me before the research, and after researching articles, blogs, scouring the internet for everything and anything, and then reaching out to people, it broke me and made me love the story more.
In general, I usually have a fair amount of research. Language and slang for different areas, the landscape, and such. Bringing life to the story is something I enjoy, so if the story is set in Pennsylvania, and it’s January, it would be wrong for me to have the character sweating profusely in the blazing hot sun….there is entirely too much snow and cold and ick and ice and more ick that happens in a Pennsylvania winter… not a summer month.
So far in Twisted Destiny, I’ve had really light researching. Aisling moved to Lupiterra Pennsylvania from Connecticut. So I had to do a little research on the state to help give that part of her life some sustenance. I can’t really divulge too much of the other things I’ve researched so that I don’t ruin all the little Easter eggs throughout the story. 🙂
C: Are you a pantser or a plotter?
R: I am such a panster in writing. It’s hysterical because in my everyday life I’m a planner. I do not know how to be spontaneous. But that’s exactly what I do while writing. If I plot and plan scenes/chapters I feel too far away from the story to write it to the best of my ability. I can’t FEEL the characters. If I can’t feel the main character, I can’t write.
C: Have your parents read your work?
R: My mom has read everything. She’s so proud of me…even though she’s about as hard on me as I am on myself, she talks about my writing all the time.
C: What made you decide to self-publish?
R: Honestly, it was my fear of querying that pushed me to self-publish. Now, it’s the freedom and control. I don’t think I could let that go, at least, not at the moment. We are cyber-schooling our six year old, so my writing time has dropped dramatically. I can’t imagine teaching her and helping her get the education she deserves with having a major deadline and contract on the line. I wouldn’t be able to give my best to my family or my work. I mostly get work done in the morning, evening, and weekends. Usually. Some days I get no work done, like yesterday…I overslept AND we had a field trip… I just couldn’t get into the swing of anything. Everything was a huge struggle, because I overslept and it threw my plans completely off.
C: Is there any talent or skill you wish you were better at within the writing/publishing process?
R: Blurbs/synopsis … they kick my butt! I wish I could figure them out easier. Also, doing better teaser images. And marketing!!!
Being a better sales person. Yes. This one for sure. I once told someone I wrote five hundred and twenty pages of sh*t… not my proudest moment but I was caught off guard and unprepared. I dislike talking about my own work. I can talk about other books and authors to sell them, but I can’t do it for myself.
I’m always up for learning more formatting tricks and developing my writing. I love to learn, and I love critiques because it helps me learn.
I’m not a master in anything, but I won’t give up on any aspect. Except for maybe the speaking thing…that one I don’t think I can improve too much. I’m far too awkward for that.
C: What’s next for you?
R: Finishing Twisted Destiny and then I have two adult stories and three young adult stories I want to finish. I’ve also tossed around the idea of trying to finish and polish at least one of my older works. I’m not sure. I do know that I’ll announce my next definite release at the end of Twisted Destiny. 🙂
Thank you for having me Christina! It’s been a blast!!
It was a blast having you Rachel!
Now readers, bloggers and authors. If you’d like to follow Rachel here are ways to do so. Also head over to her Amazon page and blog to find out how you can purchase all her books.
Rachel’s blog: http://rachelwalterauthor.blogspot.com/
Rachel on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rachelw_auth
Rachel on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rachelwalterauthor
Rachel on Instagram : rachelwalterauthor