Author Interview (May 2014)
1) How did you develop an interest in writing? My high school English teacher, Mrs. Jones, sparked my creative thinking with her teaching methods and validated my writing by giving detailed comments on my assignments. Most of my classmates thought she was weird; I thought she was exotic. She’d traveled abroad and her teaching opened a door in my curiosity. Suddenly, there was a world beyond my small town, and I could explore it in my imagination. My thoughts were ok—even if they were unusual when they tumbled from my head onto my paper. I still remember part of a poem we had to write. It couldn’t rhyme, and it had to express an emotion without naming the emotion. “Dirty, seething, slimy, vile Like olive green vomit on the kitchen floor…” The poem was meant to provoke strong feelings, and in my mind there was nothing yuckier than vomit in the kitchen—or the anger I was trying to describe. Obviously, the assignment connected with my own emotions-just as surely as Mrs. Jones’ influence connected with my future-for I would later become a teacher, much less traveled, but no less quirky, than she.
2) Tell me a little about your blog – address, how long you’ve been blogging etc. Anything to do with social media or technology is something I have fallen into at best or otherwise entered into kicking and screaming. I prefer the simple, uncluttered, writing life to computers and I-phones. Out of necessity, I did design a website with an attached blog, rachelwindham.com. My site has a listing of my current works and a sneak preview of things in the works. The blog is something I try to do monthly. It began as a peak into my interests and family life, but it has evolved into mostly devotional material, which is in keeping with the spiritual theme most of my works tend to have.
3) I see you are working on a MS – please tell me a little about it – Title, genre, how you got the idea etc. Currently, I have a children’s comic book nearing completion, and I have a young adult chapter book in the editing process. My adult novel remains in the “I don’t think I will ever get this right” phase. The children’s book idea came about during a conversation with Erin Casteel, an illustrator for a previous children’s book, I Pray. Erin’s hobby is cartooning, so I wanted to collaborate with her on something she was passionate about since she’d done such an amazing job on the other children’s book and coloring book she had illustrated for me. The manuscript was one I had already written with a different style illustration in mind. When I re-read it and envisioned the story told as a cartoon, it seemed to shout, “That’s me! That’s me!”
4) What other styles do you write – genre novels, poetry, articles, memoirs etc. Everything. I’m a dabbler. Other than books, I’ve written curriculum, dramas, poetry, and greeting cards. Most of that was to meet a need of some kind. The greeting cards were a collaboration with a friend, Lisa Hebert, who does amazing photography. Those cards, Halo Greetings®, are also on my website.
5) What authors do you admire? Francine Rivers. She’s not afraid to address topics others avoid. In addition, she made me mad with the ending of the first book in the M of the Lion trilogy. I require happy endings, and she didn’t give me one; therefore, I had to read the next book to absolve her of this misdeed!
6) What do you do when you have writer’s block? Eat ice. It’s a vice.
7) Have you submitted anything yet? (Even a letter to an editor, written for high school publications, other blogs etc?) Yes, although I’m terrible about reading without commenting. I like what other folks have to say.
8) Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? I love conferences! I always meet new people, and this is just as valuable to me as learning new information. A conference with both is ideal, and the BWG conference is one that offers the best of both worlds.
9) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing? This is a horrible confession: I don’t follow the rules. (Gasp!) Even though I’m not a person who enjoys a lot of change, when it comes to writing, I’m versatile. Sometimes, I’m structured. At other times, I am what some would call harum-scarum.
10) What is your writing process like? Certain hours that you find more productive, a routine, a set amount of time or a number of pages you make yourself write every day etc. I try to do something connected to writing every day. It may be watching a webinar, googling a rule I’ve forgotten, or organizing my endless writing to-do list, but I try to learn or craft or plan or promote every day.
11) Most anticipated upcoming release? Why, my own, of course!