CRW: Welcome Rachel Rager, to Writers Mirror, Writers Wednesday. Please introduce yourself to us.
Rachel: I’m the mother of three beautiful young girls. My husband and I have been married for eight and half years. I love to sing and have a degree in vocal performance for opera. I published By Love or By Sea in April 2009 but have seven stories that are complete and five works in progress! I love to read any good, clean romance book, ride my bike, go on picnics with my family, write, sing and bake! (Not usually at the same time, of course!)
CRW: What inspires you to write?
Rachel: I get inspiration all over the place. One day I wrote a character based on a young man I saw driving a truck through an intersection! I have notebooks everywhere so I can write down things whenever the thought strikes me. I also often find inspiration while on road trips.
CRW: Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?
Rachel: No. That takes the fun out of it. I try to write every day, but I don’t set myself a time limit. I prefer to take the journey and enjoy it. If I try to fulfill something, I get stressed and I find I don’t write as well and the ideas aren’t as good. I do set some goals occasionally, such as when I’d like to finish a chapter, but I don’t do that often. I prefer to just have fun.
CRW: What gets in your way of writing?
Racgel: Everything. As a mother of three young girls, finding time to write is challenging, especially as they get older and take fewer naps. However, my biggest speed bump is checking emails when I get a chance to sit down to the computer. I easily get distracted.
CRW: How do you get past it?
Rachel: Persistence. It’s something I continually have to work at. But I restrict myself from checking my email once in the morning and once in the evening. That seems to help. Then when I’m on the computer, I can concentrate on writing!
CRW: Please tell us about your book, "By Love or By Sea."
WHEN A RAGGED SAILOR appears in town, Alice is reminded of the young boy who once held her heart. Upon learning that the sailor is in fact her childhood love, Caleb, she finds herself falling for him again.
BUT CLANRENCE REFUSES to let this ghost from the past destroy his plans for the future. He exposes the secrets of Caleb’s past, and Alice realizes that the boy she once knew is now a man with a dark history. Soon Caleb and Clarence are locked in a fierce competition for Alice’s heart.
CAN ALICE OVERCOME HER FEARS and surrender her heart to Caleb once more? And what will she do about Clarence?
ACTION, ADVENTURE, and most of all, ROMANCE, make By love or By Sea a thrilling and emotional love story you won’t soon forget.
To read an espert of By Love or By Sea, go to http://www.rachelrager.com/byloveorbysea.htm
CRW: Sounds great Rachel. I am sorry to say I have yet to read it, but I certainly will now. Now back to more about Rachel. What makes you CRAZY about writing?
Rachel: Crazy good or crazy bad?
CRW: Either one.
Rachel: I hate it when people think they know so much about writing and say you can or can’t do something because of a certain rule. It takes all the fun out of writing. I love it when I’m writing and all of a sudden, I just can’t type fast enough. The characters and events are happening so vividly in my mind that all I can do is type out the story, not think about what comes next or how to fix certain problems. I love being ‘in the zone!’ However, inevitably, I am interrupted and have to decide if I should continue on writing or attend to whatever “emergency” has come up!
CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?
Rachel: It depends on the story. It depends on how well I know the characters. I wrote a short story that took me just a little more than a week to write. However, By Love or By Sea took closer to a year before I felt like it was submission worthy. Even then, it took me five years from start until it was published. But usually I can write a story in a couple months.
CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Rachel: Everywhere! I once based a character off of a young man I saw in a pick-up truck at a stoplight. I had to pull over and write down some notes to tie me over until I could get home and write him onto paper! I also find that when my family and I are traveling, just looking at the scenery is extremely inspiring. Needless to say, I have little notebooks EVERYWHERE!
CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?
Rachel: I don’t know. I’m terrible at names. In fact, I had to change many of the names for the characters in By Love or By Sea because they weren’t ‘time’ appropriate. I just pick whatever comes to mind. I’m not very good at it, I’m afraid.
CRW: What is your favorite writing food?
Rachel: Hmmm. That’s tough. I can’t dismiss chocolate, because that’s wonderful! I usually have a cherry Pepsi. Anything that I can just munch on is good. Seldom is it healthy, though. I’ve found gum a good alternative because then my hands can be busy without getting my keyboard sticky or greasy! I also get more writing done and less pounds on my waist!
CRW: Why are you a writer?
Rachel: I’m not always sure. I had other ambitions in life. I wanted to be a mom or a business woman but I never thought I’d be a writer. When I was young, I couldn’t spell well and didn’t like to read and I didn’t read well. I’d sometimes get great ideas but was too impatient to sit and write more than a page.
Shortly after my first daughter was born, my mother-in-law gave me A Heavenly Surrender by Marcia Lynn McClure to read. I loved it and eagerly searched out more of Marcia’s books. At the time, she only had three in print, but I devoured them!
Then one night I had a dream and when I woke up, I decided to try and write it down. Did I imagine anything might come of it? Of course not. I didn’t even know if I’d have the patience to sit and write all those words! Still, I eagerly wrote down an outline and then timidly told my husband. I will always remember the doubtful look on his face as he said, “Well…I guess if you really want to.”
I told no one else! Instead I wrote. After a month of typing during my daughter’s naps and while my husband was in classes, I finished. And it was terrible! But I had done what I set out to do. So I edited and submitted it. (Only then did I tell my mother, who was floored by my revelation.)
Needless to say, my first attempt was rejected, but I persisted. I kept rewriting, editing, and even began writing another book. I also broadened my horizons and read tons of books. With each rewrite or book I read, I learned more and more. Finally, after five years, I had written five stories. I submitted my third story and finally got a contract with Cedar Fort, Inc. Six years (almost to the month) after I started writing, I accomplished another goal and held a copy of my book in my hands.
CRW: Your writing journey is a great story, Rachel. Who do you hope reads your work?
Rachel: I hope that everyone who enjoys a simple, clean romance will read my work. I want people to be aware that clean romance can be just as, if not more enjoyable than romance with smut. Kissing is wonderful and there is plenty of it in my stories but there is never anything inappropriate. I hope my readers will appreciate that!
CRW: Yah, score one for my own personal motto of the "World needs more wholesome stories." What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?
Rachel: My sister gave me a great one. She is very critical and reads a lot. I always ask her to read everything I write first. I gave her my WIP (work in progress) one day and she wrote me the next day. She said that her house was a mess and her family neglected simply because she couldn’t put down my story. She just had to know what would happen next. That was a great complement!
From fans, I just love to hear from them! I love to know that there are people who really enjoy my work! And I always respond!
CRW: What is the topic of the project you are currently working on? Please tell us more about it.
Rachel: I’m polishing up one with a working title of A Dress to the Heart. Ivy Lewis is both provider and nurturer for her seven younger siblings. Plain and poor, she works as an apprentice to a seamstress, yearning for scholastic knowledge and finding her true love. Her social standing places her as an outcast among many, namely the arrogant Eleanora Key, who can’t seem to torture Ivy enough. And like Miss Key, Ivy has her eye set on Lord Sterling Bennett; the contrast lying in that she can never hope to capture his attention, let alone aspire to gain his admiration.
When Ivy meets a mysterious man on the road, Mr. Alan, her entire world shifts. She is no longer invisible to the world. Amid trying to care for her ill mother and her siblings, she finds herself kidnapped, courted by two wealthy men, and demoralized by Eleanora Key. Through it all, she learns her worth as a woman and the importance of maintaining the values she’s always believed in. But she must discover the secrets of Mr. Alan before it is too late.
I’m also doing some rewrites on The Tiger, Unleashed, and A Cold Heart which is a historical romance based at Platte Bridge Station just outside of Casper, Wyoming. I’m also considering writing a book about Betsy Winter’s journey. I have heard so many things about her. Everyone just loves her! So, I’m thinking about that. I have probably a dozen stories in my head and no time to put them on paper. So I hope that you will see many more books from me in the future!
CRW: I hope so too. Thank you so much for sharing with us today. The world needs more voices like yours!
For more information on Rachel see her web and blog.
Her book is available at local book stores and:
Cedar Fort, Inc. http://cedarfort.com/kahuga/product_detail.jsp?product=20067553&ProductType=Books