Interview With Author Rachael Ritchey

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Your humble host

Author and friend of the blog Rachael Ritchie is an enthusiastic writer who has spared a few moments from her day to sit down with us.

It’s her birthday, by the way, so she’s giving readers a special offer. (Be sure to read to the end for that.)

Born and raised in Northern Idaho (with a seven year stint in scenic SE Alaska), Rachael says she drew inspiration from the picturesque places she grew up for imagining the fantasy world she creates in her books. 

She writes stories she’s proud to share with her kids and you. While her goal is to entertain, she also wants to use her writing to inspire courage and compassion.

But as we’ll see, she’s a LOT more fun than her bio suggests!

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Dan: Let’s start with the basics. Everybody wants to talk about their new book, so: what is the working title of your next book?

00 rachael 1
Author Rachael Ritchie, in a star child type moment.

Rachael: The Treasonous. It’s working and staying. I’ll not be changing that one. I just adore it.

I like it! Where did the idea come from for the book?

From the characters. No wait. That sounds loony. It is a well orchestrated continuation of a subplot. Yeah, that’s it. It has nothing to do with all the voices in my head.

Ever think about just Treasonous? That’s got potential.

Yes, yes it does. Okay, I’ll consider it. Though the ‘the’ might help convey a particular meaning.

You are putting a lot of pressure on “the”

Hmm…this will take some serious thought. I may need to mull it over a glass of wine.

Speaking of wine, which is the more important of these two: write drunk, edit sober?

I fall asleep after one glass of wine, so editing sober is good.

One glass! Cheap date. We have a two drink minimum here, by the way. And while I get you that, is there a Mr. Ritchey? Just kidding. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? And I’ll assume you weren’t drinking when you wrote it.

Uh…still writing it. First draft of the first one was about four months, though.

Four months is the golden rule for first drafts. What about actors? Who would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

No clue. I’m hoping some readers can help me out here! I’m totally picturing a movie deal, though, so get crackin’ on a great list of actors to pick from.

Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?

Dan Alatorre. Duh.

But just one, right?

Oh, no. I’d buy enough to make sure you divulge all your deepest darkest secrets and any supremely special writing advice you save for your inner circles.

That might take more than two drinks. Aside from your lack of alcohol tolerance, what makes you so damn interesting anyway?

00 rachael 6.jpg
Looks like it was a real show.

I could lie, but…well, I’ll go ahead and fib a little. I am a jack-of-all-trades, like the Pretender but a girl. You saw that show back in the early 2000s, right?

Nope. Never saw it. Maybe I was busy drinking.

You are missing out. That’s all I gotta say. Man, I loved that show. The fib part of this is that I’m not perfect at everything I do. I do like to try my hand a lot of different things, like building decks, remodeling bathrooms, drawing realistic sketches, and such. I’m just not amazing at all of them like the dude in Pretender would be.

Well, so you aren’t amazing at 1000 things like a pretend guy on TV. Instead, you get to be amazing at being an author – and my favorite kind, an indie author. What is the best part about being an indie author for you?

I love being indie! The best part about it is I’m a control freak, and it feeds my inner perfectionist. You think that’s a joke? Haha No, you believe it with every fiber of your being.

I do. I absolutely believe you.

You are wise to do so. I should pause here for dramatic effect. I can be quite intimidating. Just ask my kids. Of course, I’m also my own worst critic and strive to continually improve my work.

That must make it hard to negotiate a raise.

You could say that. But, the small successes along the way definitely make it worth it.

I love being indie! The best part about it is I’m a control freak, and it feeds my inner perfectionist. You think that’s a joke? Haha No, you believe it with every fiber of your being.

What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

That I’m a complete ham and love to laugh.

That’s a very admirable quality. It’s hard to make me laugh; I don’t know why. But I think it’s great when other people laugh easily. Do you use that in your work?

I wish it were as easy to make other people laugh. I might look at it as a personal challenge to make you laugh some day. I wonder what your humor weakness is. I’m terrible at writing humor, but I’m great at laughing at myself and having a good time. It’s good to see the humor in life.

I agree. There are funny things everywhere if you know how to look.

Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

00 rachael 5
Rachael’s recent deck project.

Read out loud, do laundry, sketch, clean the bathroom, hike, wash dishes, hang out with my kids, mop, travel (not that I ever get to do this), go to the doctor…this list might be partially false.

I won’t ask which parts, even though I’m curious. Why do you think some authors sell well and others don’t?

Popularity of genre. Hard work. Making connections. Good marketing skills. A recognizable brand. Just being memorable. Offering something of value. Tenacious will to succeed. Then on the flip side: expecting everyone to come to them. Not making connections. Not having a clear genre or marketing. Unable to offer something of value. It’s so hard to really know for sure what makes one successful and another not when you see two people do the exact same thing, but only one finds success. There are sooo many more factors that play into the scenario.

I think you’re right, there’s a lot of hard work and a little luck, but success favors the tenacious.

 Agreed.

 What’s the strangest place you’ve gotten a great story idea? Describe it in detail. Inquiring minds want to know!

Okay, it’s not strange, but it’s the strangest story I can think of at the moment.

That will work.

I was sitting on the couch texting with my mom about my lovely grandma. Grammy’s nose was leaking brain fluid out a pin-sized hole in the lining (for realz).

Maybe I shouldn’t have asked for you to describe it in detail…

That’s what editing is for. J Don’t worry, I won’t get too gruesome. They’ve repaired the hole where it had worn thin, but talking about it got me to thinking about a story.

I’m gonna go get another drink; you keep talking about the brain leak. I can hear you from over there.

00 rachael 4Grab me one while you’re at it. Purely in author-mode, I got to thinking what if it was actually some kind of brain-lining eating bio weapon that had been released into the atmosphere (or water or something) for some nefarious purpose? What if some anti govt or even a govt agency was the perpetrator? That’s just a scratch-the-surface sort of start to a story like that and probably not one I’d write, though I thought it had potential. It doesn’t really fit the genre I am currently writing in.

That was probably the most unique thing I’ve ever heard – and the most horrible. I envision nightmares for my readers. (Sorry, gang.) Let’s change gears. Can you wash light and dark clothes together?

Can I? Yes. Should I? Probably not, but our water is so hard here it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Water softener doesn’t even remove the gray tint of my whites.

Have you ever turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer? I can’t recall ever having turned a load pink, but I have covered everything in purple crayon. I didn’t put the crayon in the pocket, though! I swear I was framed.

I found a lipstick in the dryer once. Aaaaaall over the dryer. I decided to mow the lawn and let my wife “find” it.

I can’t help but laugh! How’d that go for you? I bet she was THRILLED to discover it.

Well, it’s not like it was my lipstick.

Melted crayon is just as fun as lipstick in the dryer.

“Melted crayon is just as fun as lipstick in the dryer.”

I have a five year old, so that’s coming, I just know it. How does the crayon-in-the-dryer episode of Pretender end?

The best (read worst) part is that it hardens on the surface and adheres with terrible vehemence. See, I almost feel like it has a life of its own, crayon is so tenacious.

 I’ll be sure to mow the lawn that day, too.

 What “person” do you like to write in? First Person, Third Person, etc. – and why?

Third person, usually. I suppose it’s because I don’t love books written in first person.

I find books written in first person kind of hard to read. I’m critiquing one for a New York Times Bestselling Author and every chapter jars me. I see, I get, I run. It’s awkward to me. Especially since the MC is a 17-year old girl and I’m reading about “my skirt” or “the safety pin holding my bra closed” or whatever.

Ha ha, I’m imagining you dealing with those issues, and it’s too good not to laugh a little again. Of course, it’s difficult to get into a real seventeen-year-old girl’s head. I should know. I was one. When it comes to books, though, I would rather feel and see things from a slightly distanced perspective. It gives me more freedom to use my own empathetic tendencies without being told by the author how I should feel as the character. Does that even make sense?

It makes complete sense.

Of course, that seems to influence the tone I enjoy writing in as well.

00 rachael 2.jpgSpeaking of enjoying things, I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

Um…no. haha

Spoilsport. Tell us about your blog, then. How did that start?

It started for several reasons, but basically because I used to write long “notes” on Facebook. I’d hear quite regularly, “you should start a blog.”

I did that, too! I think a lot of us did back in the day.

But I was thinking, man, wouldn’t that be pretentious of me?

I totally get that. I felt the same way when people said it to me. My blog probably cut years off my learning curve as an author, and helped me develop a thick skin for criticism because you could see the Facebook posts do well or not based on comments. So you resisted blogging…

That’s so true! I hadn’t considered it that way at the time, but then I became a writer and thought, I really should have a blog. But I’m only a little pretentious. Promise.

We’re writers. We have to be a little pretentious.

How do you decide on a title for your book?

I feel it. No. Just kidding. Titles are one of my favorite parts.

00 rachael 3.jpgReally? Most authors find it difficult.

I like naming things. I like giving drive and purpose with a name. All our names mean something, or at least they did until we started making up names just ‘cause we liked how it sounded at the time. Book names and character names are kinda the same. I decide by thinking about the overall plot and theme of a book. For the books I write, a title needs to be fairly short and somewhat catchy. The Treasonous is the first one not to sound too girly, though. Haha

Not at all! What about editing? How has you experience with editors been? Feel free to name names if you like your editor.

I love my editor, Susan Hughes. She’s tough, but seems to “get” me and my voice. She works so hard to clean up my prose without changing my meaning or intent. I’ve loved every bit of our working relationship.

That’s awesome. What inspires you?

People. Real people who love and sacrifice for the sheer purpose of caring for another. I’m totally inspired by acts of goodness in the face of hardship and evil.

Most writers are a bit shy. Is that how your friends would describe you (shy), or do you have your readers fooled?

Snobby (but in the stronger vernacular) is how I’ve sometimes been described.

Really? That’s… not great, probably.

It’s usually phrased:

“Rachael, I thought you were a b&#@h until I got to know you . . . .”

I think you get the idea.

Yeah, I hear that myself on occasion. It takes us authors a while to open up sometimes.

I really don’t mean to be so aloof, but shy is probably the best way to describe it. I can’t seem to open my mouth without sounding like an idiot, which I really don’t think I am. This makes it nerve-racking to talk, especially to people I barely know. But once I’m fairly certain you won’t go running the other direction, then I open up like a fake can of peanut brittle.

Well, you’ve never struck me as an idiot! And I like your sense of humor and go-getter attitude.

Thanks, Dan! That means a lot. And thanks for letting me come on your blog. You’re a fun guy to chat with, and you serve great drinks. Plus, I find your blog helpful and encouraging, so it’s been a real treat to be here.

Rachael’s Links:

my blog: http://www.rachaelritchey.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writingraci/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rachaelritchey

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13513799.Rachael_Ritchey

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Ritchey/e/B00U6GS07I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1454977910&sr=8-1

The Beauty Thief is the first book in Rachael’s YA series called Chronicles of the Twelve Realms. While she considers the books fantasy because of some of the elements of the stories, they read more like historical fiction. Book two is on its way to completion. She also has a middle grade book started that she hopes to find time to finish, too!

SPECIAL OFFER!

“I’m going to make both ebooks free on my birthday (Feb 25) on Smashwords, which will effect BN, iBooks, Kobo, and some others…whoever carries Smashwords titles. They won’t be free on Kindle, though. I can only discount them to 99c each.”
There you have it, folks! Grab Rachael’s books during this special promo offer – and be sure to leave a nice review!

These are for The Beauty ThiefBarnes & Noble — Smashwords — Kobo — iBook/iTunes Apple

These are for Captive HopeSmashwords – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – Apple iBooks/iTunes

 

33 thoughts on “Interview With Author Rachael Ritchey

  1. Great interview! And I’m glad I got to skip the part where I think Rachael is a b*tch and jump straight to thinking she’s funny and clever. Also, I’m totally going to try the “What? I was mowing the lawn!” excuse if I ever find crayon OR lipstick in the dryer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for this interview. It made me laugh. I loved the part about the crayon and although I never washed one of those, I did dye my white poodle red for a charity walk and had a pink bathtub for months. I also liked the picture of the house.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am putting this in a meme on FB… “Melted crayon is just as fun as lipstick in the dryer.”

    “I really don’t mean to be so aloof, but shy is probably the best way to describe it. I can’t seem to open my mouth without sounding like an idiot, which I really don’t think I am. This makes it nerve-racking to talk, especially to people I barely know. But once I’m fairly certain you won’t go running the other direction, then I open up like a fake can of peanut brittle.” Probably get that from your Dad…and he loves to make people laugh or pee their pants a little (both is better).

    Liked by 1 person

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