Friday, January 24, 2014

Blog Tour: SIXTEEN by Emily Rachelle

Dear imps, today I am taking part in a fun blog tour for Emily Rachelle and her debut novella, Sixteen. I hope you will enjoy meeting Emily Rachelle and learning about her work and her writing!

Born in Panama, Emily Rachelle has traveled throughout the country and the world with her Air Force family. Currently, she lives with her parents and three brothers in middle Georgia. While Emily enjoyed reading as far back as she remembers, writing didn't come to her until she learned the forms of poetry and the basics of story in fourth grade. Since then, she's written scripts for homeschool dramas, poems for birthday presents, and stories for friends and family to enjoy. Sixteen is her debut into the professional world of words. You can find Emily at her blog, Emily Rachelle Writes, http://emilyrachellewrites.blogspot.com.

Emily Rachelle's blog's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmilyRachelleWrites
Website: http://emilyrachellewrites.blogspot.com/

Be sure to visit Emily Rachelle's blog for a list of other stops on this tour!

INTERVIEW

 
 
1. Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
 
I was born in Panama, but I don't really remember it. My dad's in the air force -- we moved around a lot. I lived in Europe, America, and Asia, but I only remember the US and Japan. Right now, my three brothers, two cats, and I live in middle Georgia. Other than reading and writing, I'm a bit of a Netflix junkie, and I absolutely love making things. Jewelry, party decorations, you name it. Can't say I'm great at it, but crafting's fun! :) My personality is officially an ENFP, or extroverted intuitive feeling perceptive. I'm not exactly your typical writer - most writers are introverts. Not to mention I don't write very often (at least compared to the rest of my writers' group) and there's many days I would rather see the movie than read the book. I'm not really a tea or coffee person... but I never say no to chocolate.


 2. What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?
 
I enjoyed writing for school assignments throughout elementary school, but I didn't start writing for fun until fourth grade. That year, I was in public school (I've mostly been homeschooled) and we studied a writing unit, learning about the types of poetry and how to write a business letter. That got me started on journaling and poetry. Later, in middle school, I wrote a short story and a children's chapter book for assignments. From there, I abandoned assignments and discovered how to write just for me. That's when Sixteen came about.

 

3. Tell us a little about your work! Is Sixteen your debut novel? What was the inspiration for this story?
 
Sixteen is my debut, but it's not a full novel - it's a Christian coming-of-age novella. I originally wrote Sixteen as a Mother's Day gift for my mom, and it focused on a pro-life message. Later, when I found the story sitting on my computer, I gave it a major overhaul. Now it's hardly the same book - I focused on the mother-daughter theme and enhanced the romance subplot, and I cut the whole pro-life bit. No book written to teach a message is going to be as good as a story from the heart.

 

4. What led you down the self-publishing path?
 
Plan A was the traditional route, but the more agents I queried, the more I realized that a novella was going to be hard to sell. I knew about self-publishing companies, but I also knew about their crazy price tags. Then I started reading self-publishing blogs, particularly http://catherineryanhoward.com/ and http://selfpublishingteam.com/. I rejected the idea at first - I didn't have the money for a cover or editor of quality. More research uncovered a premade cover on one designer's site that I loved and was on sale. Then my pen pal started freelance editing. To top it off, I found a job cleaning a lady's house, and later as a cashier at Chick-Fil-A. Once I knew I could afford self-publishing, I could see absolutely no reason not to pursue it. I've never been scared of a little hard work, and the control factor thrilled me. I could have the final say in everything! What's not to love?

 

5. Can you pick a favorite character from this novel?
 
My writer friends say choosing a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child. Either I'm a very bad mom, or that's not true, because I have favorites, without a doubt. Nikki, in this book. While her love interest is sweet and her best friend is based off me, the main character will always have my heart.



6. What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
 
Usually, dreams are the original spark. Sixteen can be traced back to two dreams I had of being a teen and pregnant - in fact, the climax is practically lifted straight from one of those dreams. Once I've gotten a story started, Pinterest keeps me going. Having a visual of my characters, of the setting, even of just a certain outfit, makes me long to write a story. There's a reason I have over 10,000 pins in less than a year on that site.

 

7. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
 
My favorite is the brainstorming. I love to build worlds, create characters, design the perfect plot. I log thousands of words in notes before ever writing my first sentence. My least favorite part is editing. To be honest, I hate it, through and through.

 

8. If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
 
Cidney Swanson. She's not a Christian writer, but her writing is gripping, compelling. If I'm staying up late with a book, there's a 75% chance it's hers. I can't get her characters out of her head, and her worlds are more real to me than any others I've read - or even written.

 

9. What are you actively writing right now?
 
After all the editing with Sixteen, I'm struggling to get back into the writing mindset. I'm trying to pick up where I left off with a Little Mermaid retelling called The Rebel Mermaid. I prefer to call it The Rebel Manuscript -- it's the most difficult story I've faced yet.

 

10. Can you share a short snippet from Sixteen?
 
This is the second scene in the book, when Nikki meets Matt:
 

Excerpt from

Sixteen

 
"Arabesque, and plie, two, three, plie, two, three, plie. Very good, Marissa!" The song ended, and Nikki glanced at the clock. She looked to Ms. Renee, the senior ballet teacher, who nodded.
"Okay, girls, class is over! Line up at the door and no running, please." She skipped over to the cabinet at the far wall and pulled out a sheet of stickers, returning to the nine five-year-olds waiting impatiently for their prize after an hour of hard work. As she stuck a kitty or a puppy on each child's outstretched hand, they scurried out the door to their waiting parents and siblings. One of the girls, however, stayed behind. A new student, the shy blond with sparkling green eyes displayed amazing concentration in class for a five-year-old. Nikki knelt down to eye level, knowing her five-foot, ten-inch height would most likely seem imposing to a girl about three feet tall.
"Hey, sweetie. Your name's Abigail, right?"
The girl nodded.
"Well, Abigail, how about we go find your parents?" Nikki stood and held out her palm. The child’s tiny, trusting hand wrapped around Nikki’s front two fingers.
Once outside the dance room, Nikki glanced around the small community center. After a moment, she noticed a tall, broad-shouldered man with blond hair sitting at one of the tables in the corner. A National Geographic magazine held his attention; he wore a plain brown t-shirt and jeans. Nikki pointed at the man. “Is that your dad, Abigail?”
The girl began leading Nikki to him, so she took that for a yes and followed.
"Sir?"
The man looked up sharply and smiled, first at Nikki, then at Abigail, who climbed into his lap and picked up the magazine.
"Dance class is over, so I thought I'd bring your daughter to find you. She's very good, you know."
The man laughed. "Oh, she's not my daughter -- she's my niece. My older brother is out of town on a business trip, and his wife teaches piano from three to six. They asked me if I could take her to her classes."
Nikki smiled. "Cool. My name's Nicole, by the way -- but everyone calls me Nikki. I'm the junior dance teacher here. And like I said, your niece is really good. You should tell your brother."
"I will. My name's Matt." He offered his hand, and Nikki shook it. She felt something -- almost a jolt, as their fingers touched. She smiled into his clear, green eyes.
"Nice to meet you, Matt."

____________
 
Thank you for letting us get to know you a bit, Emily Rachelle! It was delightful to have you here today on the Tales of Goldstone Wood.
 


4 comments:

Allison Ruvidich said...

That sounds great! Thanks for sharing, and good luck in self-publishing. : )

Hannah said...

Congratulations, Emily! It's always such a joy to hear another success story!

Meredith said...

Wonderful work, Ms. Rochelle. I enjoyed the excerpt and learning about your journey toward writing. Your Little Mermaid story sounds very intriguing, and I will be praying that all goes well. Keep up the outstanding work. God bless.

Emily Rachelle said...

Thanks, everyone! :)