Kev’s Author Interviews, Presents…
Rachael has been married for fifteen years. She has four children and a new puppy which makes them all rather happy. She’s always been a writer, but becoming an author was something new. Her second novel in the Chronicles of the Twelve Realms continues in the vein of YA historical fantasy fiction. It happens to be one of Rachael’s favourite genres outside classic literature.
Kev: Rachael, what is your latest book about and what is its genre?
Captive Hope is Young Adult Fantasy Fiction and is the second book in a series called Chronicles of the Twelve Realms. This second instalment follows a character from the first book, Idra.
Idra, the unassuming lady-in-waiting to the beautiful High Princess Caityn, has not only caught the attention of Sir Ahmad but also that of the unsavoury mercenary, Zaide, with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.
When she is supposed to be travelling home to Taisce to pay a surprise visit to her parents she is kidnapped. Several days pass before anyone realizes, but those who care for Idra are in a race against time to discover where she’s been taken and rescue her before she’s lost forever.
Idra is grounded in her faith and has hope for the future, but she desperately wants to go home. She makes friends along the way who will do everything in their power to help her get home, but if they do, it could cost them dearly.
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
This being the second book in the series, it was actually influenced by the characters themselves. As I wrote The Beauty Thief, the various characters stood out as people who needed to have their own stories. The Chronicles of the Twelve Realms will continue to progress, and we’ll see more from the various characters, many of which come from the first book. Ultimately I want to continue with themes of love, beauty, hope, compassion, self-sacrifice, honesty, purity, and the like.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
I did do research for this book. I had a ton of fun learning about pirates, pirate weaponry, clothing, sea lore, shanties, and various types of sailing vessels. It hopefully gave the story an authentic feel without going over-the-top. I even wrote my own shanty!
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
When you ask about challenges my mind automatically goes to outside challenges like family, kids, pets, life in general. If that’s what you are interested in then there is plenty of it. Ha! There weren’t many challenges within the story because I’d already mapped it out with my timeline board. I will say I had an internal struggle over killing off a character, and that did become a challenge. I had to weigh the pros and cons in relation to the overall story and all continuing stories because the life and/or death of this character was integral to the lives of several of the others.
Kev: Who is the protagonist?
The protagonist is Lady Idra, she is the daughter of a noble and lady-in-waiting to High Princess Caityn, who was the main character from the first book, The Beauty Thief.
Kev: What would you say is the protagonist’s greatest weakness or obstacle and why?
Idra’s greatest weakness is her fear and self-doubt. She doesn’t see herself as brave in any way and it blinds her to all of which she’s capable. She never stands up for herself and doesn’t realize how valuable she really is to those who love her. It’s this lack of self-confidence that makes her more of a victim than she needs to be.
Kev: What would you say is the main antagonist’s greatest strength?
Zaide has amazing self-control and hides all emotion. This helps him to be cunning and keep others on edge, never sure what he is thinking or what he will do.
Kev: Could you provide a short passage from your book to give us a taster?
She stopped in the center of the conservatory and tipped her head back. A heavy sigh, on the verge of exasperation, escaped her lips. Idra closed her eyes and focused in on the broken rhythm of rain beating upon the intricate glass barrier above.
There was no way to undo the past, and it continued to influence the present. Why must she always feel out of her element?
Kev: Do you use some kind of formula when you write?
Other than beginning, middle, end? I would say probably not. I always attempt to focus on a story arc with the classic pity, fear, catharsis structure. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, but I have to admit I wasn’t able to give Captive Hope an altogether happy one. If I may use a pun, there’s still hope for the future!
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or Night?
I have four kids and a puppy (just got her in May!), so interruptions are the norm at my house. I have a hard time staying focused when regularly having to stop and referee disputes. Eating is also distracting but a bit of a necessity. That being said, I like to write during the day, but during the summer months almost all my writing takes place at night. The only time I don’t write is early in the morning, unless you count 2:00 AM as morning, but that’s still my night.
Kev: What is your editing process?
I edit as a go. I regularly go back and reread my manuscript as I’m writing it and tweak it along the way. Once I finish writing it I do another overall quick edit then try to let it sit for a few weeks before I edit again. During that time I have a few people who read through the draft and critique it to their heart’s content. They are also invaluable at spotting spelling and grammatical errors early on. After I get it back from these partners I implement as many of their corrections and changes as possible. Depending on when the manuscript is scheduled to go to my editor, it will either get another resting period of five to six weeks or if I have no time left, it will sit for just one week and I’ll then read through it again. I want it to be as clean as possible before my editor sees it so she can really focus on story structure and perfecting sentences instead of grammar, typos, or heaven forbid, plot.
Kev: Who creates your book covers?
So far I’ve created my own, but I’m not opposed to someone else doing it. I just happen to enjoy the whole process.
Kev: How do you promote your work?
I promote my work by talking about it and just being present. The places I promote are in person, at book signings, on my blog, through various social media (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, etc), email, and word of mouth. I don’t have a lot of money and have nothing to throw at any paid advertising!
Kev: What advice would you offer to new authors?
The best advice I can give you is to be a real person; be yourself. Start making authentic connections with as many people as possible even before you’ve finished your book. The friends you make will be super supportive and help you in your endeavour to make your book recognized by a wider audience.
Kev: Which two social media platforms do you use the most and why?
I use these the most because they have the most social interaction of everything I’ve used thus far.
Kev: Do you have a website?
Yes, sir! My website is http://www.rachaelritchey.com. I would love to have you stop on by any time.
Kev: Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to say thank you, Kevin, for having me here for this interview. It was a pleasure! If anyone has any questions, I’m more than happy to take them here, by email, or any time on my blog, too.