"Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum." Graycie Harmon
Friday, September 18, 2009
Interview with Rachel Ann Nunes, author of Saving Madelin
Rachel Ann Nunes (noon-esh), acclaimed best-selling author of the Ariana series and Daughter of a King is also a stay-at-home mother of six who understands priorities. “In a hundred years no one will remember if I had a perfectly groomed yard or a spotless house, but my children will make a difference in the world and hopefully so will my writing.” Rachel’s twenty-nine published books are centered around issues close to women’s hearts. Some of her titles include Flying Home, Fields of Home, Eyes of a Stranger, and Saving Madeline. Visit her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saving Madeline is the newest release by beloved author, Rachel Nunes. Packing a punch with intensity and drama from the very first page, Rachel delivers a well-written story with strong characters and a riveting plot.
As the story opens we meet Caitlin, a public defender, who dreams of locking up the bad guys she represents instead of defending them. Then Caitlin meets Parker, charged with kidnapping a 4-year-old girl. At first Caitlin thinks he’s just another criminal, but she soon learns that Parker has risked everything to save the girl from her mother and her concealed drug use.
Caitlyn is assigned to the case, which she doesn’t believe in, until she spends more time getting to know the defendant. When she learns the real story, she realizes that she must put everything on the line to defend her client and save the little girl before it’s too late.
Saving Madeline is a brave and bold novel with plenty of plot twists to keep the reader wondering what will happen next.
If you make a comment to this post, you will be entered into a drawing to own this newly released book.
Here is my interview with Rachel:
M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Rachel: I knew from the time I was in the fifth grade that I would be an author. I was an avid reader and yet I couldn't find the perfect story I wanted to read, so I decided to write it.
M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Rachel: I started writing seriously after giving birth to my third child. That was when I realized that I couldn’t wait to start working on my dreams because I planned on having more children and if I waited until they were all grown, it might be a little late (not to mention that I might be insane, since writing seems to keep me balanced). There was never any doubt in my mind that I would write and publish. It took about two years of daily writing, three novels, and one non-fiction book before my first project was accepted.
M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Rachel: Sure. I was discouraged when I had rejections, when publishers didn’t answer within their timelines, when my friends didn’t like my writing, or when things conspired to keep me away from the keyboard. Fortunately, I had a blessing that promised success—I just had to learn that it would come in the Lord’s time and not my own. When I came to that understanding, I knew all I had to do was to keep plugging away until I was accepted.
M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?
Rachel: I now have all my children in school for the first time in my entire writing life, so I’m still working out my new schedule. Mostly, I have the computer on from about 8:00 AM until 2:30 or 3:30 PM (depending on carpooling). I do business first, then the writing, but that’s not working as well as I’d hoped. So far things keep cropping up that aren’t in my schedule: doctor visits, mailing stuff to my daughter in college and missionary son, dealing with contractors (we’re in the midst of remodeling projects), sending more stuff to my daughter, and doing other odd errands. My dog is sick as I write this, so it looks like I’ll have to take him to the vet.
I want to spend about four hours at the computer, minimum for writing (let’s not even talk about the business side). I also plan to squeeze exercise in there somewhere when I figure out a schedule that will work. For now, I’m just shooting for 2,000 words a day/ 10,000 a week on new writing projects. I’m currently I’m in the midst of rewrites, so that’s a different thing altogether. I just work on the book until my family needs me or until I have no more time that day.
I’m trying to be flexible until I figure out what is going to work for me. I suspect I will have to put the writing absolutely before any business or errand, as that is how it has worked best for me in the past. I’m hoping to up my daily word count goal, but we’ll see.
M.B.: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Rachel: My ideas come from things I see, hear about, dream, imagine, and some show up out of the blue and won’t leave me alone. Inspiration. How I know they’re good enough is when I’m fascinated with the idea, or when I can’t think about anything else.
M.B.: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Rachel: Never give up. Those who keep reading writing books, practice their craft, and seek other aspiring authors to give them feedback are the ones who will eventually succeed. Develop a support group. Have confidence in yourself. You must believe, even if you have to say it to yourself every day. Remember that NOTHING beats hard work. Take the time and effort to really learn writing. Everything worthwhile has a price.
M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Rachel: I rarely outline and never at the beginning of a story. In fact, the only time I sat down and outlined a book was the only time I didn’t write the book. I just wasn’t interested anymore. So usually when I begin, I have in mind a few scenes. Then as ideas occur to me when I’m working, or things come up that need to be addressed later, I’ll write them at the bottom of the screen. Every day I scan those to see where I’m at. Usually when all those are gone, I’m finished with the book. Occasionally, when nearing the end of the story, I’ll write a list of things I want to happen before the end in the order I need them to go. That’s pretty much the closet to an outline I ever get.
M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Rachel: If the story isn’t working, then usually I need to do a little more research. As I do that, an idea invariably comes to fill in whatever I need. Occasionally, I have ripped out entire chapters or scenes if they don’t work and put something else there. Maybe add a new storyline. If I’m feeling bored with the story, then readers probably will too, and it’s time to spice it up with a twist. If I’m not bored then I know I’m on the right track.
M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Rachel: In the old days I could write through ANYTHING—kids under the desk, talking on the phone, noisy playing next to my chair, music somewhere in the house--but in recent years my preferred way to work is to be alone in my office with no interruptions, music or noise. Yes, I can write anywhere if I have too: the doctor’s office, the park, or poolside while my kids are swimming (thankfully, they all know how to swim so I just have to oversee a bit), but it’s not as easy as it once was. I get distracted or irritated. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m getting older or because I have access to more undisturbed hours than I did when my children were small and so have become accustomed to quiet.
M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Rachel: I like to research a subject I’m writing about because that always gives me new ideas. I like to talk to my family about the plot. I like to lie down and think about it. I turn off the radio in the car when I’m driving and talk it through in my mind. I play out different scenarios until I settle on one I really like.
M.B.: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Rachel: My family and their support would have to come first. And then I’d have to say all the many, many science-fiction and fantasy authors I read as a child, who not only taught me that anything was possible, but inspired me to want to share the stories in my head.
M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?
Rachel: During first drafts I don’t want anyone to look at the book or bog down my creative mood with rewrites, though I will bounce ideas off friends and family members. After the novel is finished, I’ll go through it several more times. Then it’s out to readers and author friends to critique. Then I rewrite and depending on the feedback, I may send out to another person before giving to my editor. There have been a few books, however, that I didn’t have readers on. Either there wasn’t time, or I just knew it was right. My publisher has been very good at offering feedback for those books (and the one I thought was just right, they agreed!), so the rewriting took place after acceptance. I think critique groups are invaluable if the members involved are on about the same writing level. Having someone critique a book always makes it better.
M.B.: Which of your books is your favorite, and why?
Rachel: Always the one I’m working on now! It’s the best!
M.B.: Any final words you would like to share
Rachel: If you want to accomplish something in your life—whatever it may be—don’t give up everything else to achieve this goal. Keep up on your family and other important things. This will make the journey a lot more fun and meaningful and balanced as you strive toward your dream. Do something every day for that goal and never give up.
M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
My greatest claim to fame is my family. I am married to my prince charming and have four awesome children. This year I experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother to my sweet baby girl Halle. I love to travel and I love to write books.