I’m thrilled to welcome a fellow Rachel to BookEnds. Of course, it wasn’t her name that made me offer representation, but her fantastic YA historical fantasy novel which pulled me into her world and wouldn’t let go. Enjoy learning more about author Rachel! ~Agent Rachel
What do you love about writing HISTORICAL FANTASY? I love doing research, but I also love not being tied down entirely to historical accuracy. I love it when I’m researching, and I find something that happened in real life that solves a plot problem or deepens a storyline I already have in place. It’s a weird kind of synchronicity that sends chills (the good kind) up my back. I love it even more when a real life element connects inherently to something pure fantasy. How is that even possible?!
What book do you wish you had written, and why? Dorothy Dunnett’s historical series The Lymond Chronicles (written in the freaking 1970s even). Readers are either hooked by page 1 or put it down as unreadable. The hero’s opening line is, “I am a narwal looking for my virgin. I have sucked up the sea like Charybdis and failing other entertainment will spew it three times daily, for a fee.“ If you don’t mind wading through the density of prose, Ms. Dunnett’s use of language is awe-inspiring. The series contains both the most disturbing scene I’ve ever read and the most torturously romantic. I wish for a finger-nail-clipping of her skill.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing? Chauffeuring kids and animals to their various classes, appointments, and competitions. Which generally means either pulling a horse trailer or loading the back of my car with (separately caged to avoid unplanned romantic liaisons) very cute puff-ball rabbits. I also love to make glass mosaic tables, have a long-term weekly date-night with Grey’s Anatomy, and an addiction to podcasts (especially those on economics, animal training, and the brain).
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read? Reread of Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I’m a compulsive reader (meaning once I start a new book, I can’t stop until its finished regardless of schedules, deadlines or kitchen fires). When I’m in a need-to-get-it-done work phase, I stick to rereading my favorites to solve this problem.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
“Yes, but what does your heroine DO?” The ‘DO’ was font-size 30, capped, bolded, bright red and written by a man whose avatar was a squirrel pointing a bazooka at me. All of which forced me to answer his question. And wasn’t that the biggest revelation on how story structure actually works…
Plotter or pantster? 80% pantster. I start with a general feel for the direction of the story and can usually see about 30 pages in front of me. But as I write, I make changes until the story intuitively ‘feels’ right. Which means I get stuck a lot, end up doing too many scene rewrites, and editing back and forth. It’s torturous, and I regularly envy the plotters.