Oct 4, 2009

Author Interview - Rachel Rager

I recently had the opportunity to interview Rachel Rager, author of By Love or By Sea. She's a very talented writer and it was fun to get to know her better.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
~Oh, let’s see. Probably a couple years after I started writing, and I’ve now been writing for nearly seven years. I’ve never had any formal training in writing and I feel weird bragging about myself. But I think I can almost comfortably now say that I’m a writer. However, I don’t know that I really consider myself an author yet. Although my daughter does and tells everyone she knows!

Is your book based on a personal experience?
~Not really. I was writing my second story and was in the shower one day when I came up with the idea for By Love or By Sea. (By Love or By Sea is the third story I wrote. The first and second are prequels to By Love or By Sea.)I wrote down some notes and when I was done with the one I was working on, I began By Love or By Sea. It wasn’t until I was partway done that I decided to use piracy. Of course, then I sat in front of the computer every day for an entire month trying to figure out a way to solve the problem I’d created! All lot of research came into play!

I guess I should fess up to one little secret. Caleb Newman was inspired by my little brother. Though my brother is quite different than Caleb, he has a similar build and attitude. My brother once dropped a plant in his bedroom, spilling soil all over the carpet while he was talking on the phone to a girl he didn’t particularly care for. And, not wanting my mother to hang him for making a mess on the carpet, but not knowing how to get off the phone with the girl, he decided to vacuum up the mess while on the phone! That made me laugh so hard and it just felt like something Caleb would do (if he lived in today’s world!) So, there you have it!

How long did it take you to write the book?
~I think it took me six months to write By Love or by Sea. Of course, that doesn’t include the editing!

What books or authors have most influenced your writing?
~There were a couple authors growing up that I loved! But the author who has influenced my writing the most is Marcia Lynn McClure. 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.

What can we look for next? What current projects are you working on?
~ 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!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
~I have never been able spell. Thank goodness for spell-check! Also, I have a real hard time showing the action instead of telling about it. But I like to think that I’m getting better!

Do you have any advice for other authors?
~Don’t give up! This is not an easy thing to do. If you truly want to be an author, keep at it. Read all that you can and learn from it. If you write in a certain genre, read all about that genre and lots of stories that are in that genre. Then use what you learn in your writing. Talk with other authors. Get a support system and don’t give up! Don’t let rejection get you down. And make sure you make it fun!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
~I mostly like to read! Since I feel I owe my start to Marcia Lynn McClure, it’s obvious I love anything by her. I thoroughly enjoy books by Jaimey Grant and Joyce DiPastena, along with just about any clean romance novel. I don’t get into science fiction or fantasy much but I love Maria V. Snyder’s books who wrote Poison Study. (She’s somewhere in the middle of those two while being completely separate.) But one of my all time favorites is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. That was the only book I read in high school or junior high and it remains one of my all time favorites.

Any last words you want the reader to know?
~Cake tastes better straight out of the pan with a fork! Oh, wait. I mean… Hmm. I love hearing from people who enjoy my work! And I love being a mom!

2 comments:

L.T. Elliot said...

Super fun interview, Kim! I love Marcia Lynn McClure too. One of my favorites of hers is "The Secrets of Ransom Lake", which is just a fun read to me.

Rachel Rager said...

Strangely enough, "The Visions of Ransome Lake" is my original favorite of Marcia's books! I've developed other favorites too, but Ransome Lake is my original fav!

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