Ep 138 The daily writing habit you need; And meet young adult author Rachael Craw.

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit

podcast-artworkIn Episode 138 of So you want to be a writer: The daily writing habit you need and 8 steps to writing a profile story. Find great gifts for the other book lovers in your life. Discover your chance to win the epic 12 Days of Christmas book pack. Plus, meet young adult author Rachael Craw! We’ll also give you tips on how to transition from journalist to fiction writer, and much more!

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Review of the Week
From Kane:

I have been looking around for ages for a podcast that I can listen to help me with my creative writing and become more confident with my writing and myself, and then I found So You Want To Be A Writer. Every single week I wait in eager anticipation for the latest instalment of Valerie’s and Allison’s mayhem to hit my iPhone. I am currently in high school and am taking a creative writing class where we are studying a diverse array of different writing techniques, styles and genres. I always listen to all of your earlier podcasts that have been there since I found you guys while I am writing and always add your word of the week to my glossary book. Currently we are writing a magazine, where we have to design the cover and write the articles. Do you have any advice for how I should display things on my front cover? Thank you so much, and I so look forward to your future episodes.

Thanks, Kane!

Show Notes

A Daily Writing Habit Allows You to Become the Author of Your Life Story

8 Steps for Writing a Compelling Profile Story

Home Decor Gifts For Book Lovers

Writer in Residence

Rachel Craw

Rachel Craw’s debut novel Spark, the beginning of a Young Adult sci-fi/crossover trilogy was released by Walker Books Australia in 2014 receiving a 5-Star review by Australian literary journal Books + Publishing. It was short listed for the Silver Inky Awards and the Children’s Choice Awards for Young Adult Fiction in the New Zealand Book Awards. It received a Storylines Notable Book Award and was recently optioned for film by Miss Conception Films. Stray, the sequel, hit the bookshops in September 2015 and won the Children’s Choice Award for 2016.  Shield was released September 1st 2016.

Follow Rachel on Twitter

Working Writer’s Tip

How to transition from journalistic writing to fiction writing?

Answered in the podcast!

Competition

WIN with our 12 books of Christmas giveaway

Your hosts

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo / Australian Writers’ Centre

Connect with us on twitter

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Email us

podcast at writerscentre.com.au

Share the love!

Interview Transcript

Allison

Rachel Craw is a New Zealand-based author of young adult science fiction. Her debut novel Spark, the first in a trilogy, was published in 2014 by Walker Books Australia, and was shortlisted for the Silver Inky Awards and the Children’s Choice Awards for YA in the New Zealand Book Awards, and was optioned for film. The sequel Stray won the Children’s Choice Award for 2016, and the third book Shield was released in September 2016. So, welcome to the program Rachel.

Rachel

Hi. Thank you, Allison.

Allison

All right. So let’s talk about where all this started. Was Spark the first manuscript you ever wrote?

Rachel

Yeah. Before Spark I’d only ever written poetry or scripts for either amateur theatre or indie film. Diddling about. And so I’d never attempted long form writing. And I think primarily that’s because I always doubted that I had the inner fortitude to see it through. I just thought the idea was very intimidating. And because I’m such an impatient person, very, very impatient person, I like things that happen quickly. And so the idea of attempting to write a novel just seemed like something sort of pie in the sky, so far out of my reach. But when the idea got its hooks into me and I finally started, I guess I realised I had massively underestimated myself. And also probably massively underestimated my slightly obsessive compulsive personality. And so once it had hold of me there was no letting go and I had to see it through. I think it was perhaps the actual story itself that forced me into it.

Allison

All right. So where did the idea for the book come from? And why did you think, oh this is a novel, and not a script or a short story or a poem or whatever?

Rachel

I don’t know. I think there might have been a few things going on. One of them was probably hormones. I’d just had my baby and I think I was probably out of my mind.

Allison

That helps, yeah.

Rachel

My baby was only a couple of months old and I wasn’t probably getting a lot of sleep and so my hormones were probably all over the place. But I was also very… I guess the creative urge was very, very strong. And so I’ve always sort of had that, it’s almost like a physical itch or something that hits you and you just have to do something creative. And that was very intense and very strong at that period of time. And I knew that I wanted to write. And then I was just thinking, well, what about, maybe I could have a go, you know? Have a go at writing a story. But there were lots of things that I kind of instinctively knew within myself that if I was going to write, that I would probably want to write for young adults, that I would want to write something that had a slightly fantastical element to it, that I would want to write a female protagonist, that I would want it to kind of be a bit sort of kick-arse. But I didn’t have a premise. I didn’t have that big idea to sort of land all of it.

And so I can remember one night sitting on my bed and actually praying and saying, God, give me an idea. And I was sort of thinking, because you hear stories about people whose ideas just arrive almost fully formed. Like the Twilight lady, she had a dream about a girl and a vampire having a conversation in a field. And I think, I don’t know if I’ve got this wrong, but JK Rowling, I think she might have been riding the tube, and the idea just arrived in her head, this idea of this boy wizard. And I’d read so many of those kinds of articles and thinking, well, where’s my idea? I am right here! And I’m ready to go! Where’s my idea?

So that night, I prayed. And I was like, I need an idea, God, give me an idea. I went to sleep and I had a dream. And the dream, I just woke up and I knew that that was my idea. So the dream is actually the prologue of Spark, which is literally the dream that I had of running through the forest, being super fast, having these crazy reflexes and stamina and senses. And I knew that I was racing through the forest and that I was trying to get to somebody, that somebody was out there in the dark alone and in danger, that their life was in danger, and I just had this tremendous sense of urgency and instinct that I had to get to them first, before somebody else did. And if I didn’t that they would be killed, and it would be my responsibility. I would have let that happen. And that was just this tremendously unbearable feeling in the dream, racing and racing to get to the person. And then when I woke up, heart racing, you know, heart racing in this dream, I was like, wow, I think that’s my idea. And so I actually got up to feed my baby, in the dark, and I was sitting in the feeding chair and my brain was racing. And it was just this natural process of question and answer. The dream just brought up so many questions. And I was thinking, well, why was I so fast? What about all those crazy reflexes and strength and stamina? Where does that come from? And I knew in that moment that it was actually a decision I was making about the story. This is either magic, or it’s science. Either a wizard has tapped me on the head, or I don’t know, maybe I’m a vampire. Or maybe it’s something that’s been cooked up in a lab. And the feeling of the dream was very much comic book adventure story. And so I felt like, oh this is something that’s been cooked up in a lab by a mad scientist. And so then I just kept on asking more questions. Like, so who was in trouble? Why were they in trouble? Why was it my responsibility? Why the sense of urgency? All those kinds of things. And then the secret organisation starts coming to mind, and evil lab experiments.

And then when I woke up, heart racing, you know, heart racing in this dream, I was like, wow, I think that’s my idea. And so I actually got up to feed my baby, in the dark, and I was sitting in the feeding chair and my brain was racing. And it was just this natural process of question and answer. The dream just brought up so many questions. And I was thinking, well, why was I so fast? What about all those crazy reflexes and strength and stamina? Where does that come from? And I knew in that moment that it was actually a decision I was making about the story. This is either magic, or it’s science. Either a wizard has tapped me on the head, or I don’t know, maybe I’m a vampire. Or maybe it’s something that’s been cooked up in a lab. And the feeling of the dream was very much comic book adventure story. And so I felt like, oh this is something that’s been cooked up in a lab by a mad scientist. And so then I just kept on asking more questions. Like, so who was in trouble? Why were they in trouble? Why was it my responsibility? Why the sense of urgency? All those kinds of things. And then the secret organisation starts coming to mind, and evil lab experiments.

Allison

So when did you actually start writing the book? Did you get up the next day and start cranking out words?

Rachel

Yeah. Literally. I did. I got up and just got stuck into it. And it was very… Yeah, it was like a fever.

Allison

So how long did it take you to draft that? How long did it take you to write that first book?

Rachel

Probably… The first draft probably only took me about three or four months to write. But, I mean it was just a heaving hot mess.

Allison

As they do.

Rachel

As you can imagine. It was just the most horrific great lumbering beast of a thing. I didn’t even know its own shape. So that might have been the first draft, but it took five years to make it salvageable. And also I had to really learn how to write. I didn’t really, other than what I had done my whole life, I had no training, I had not applied craft to the work. And so that was a massive learning curve. Learning to write.

Allison

So what year did you actually start writing that manuscript? Was that your first baby that was a newborn?

Rachel

That was my, no, she was my third baby. So she is now eight years old. So that is how old Spark is now.

Allison

Wow. Okay. And was it always going to be a trilogy?

Rachel

Yes. Yeah. That was definitely… That was another thing that I knew before I started, was that I would want to write a series. Because I loved series as a child. Reading, I loved series. We have talked previously about Trixie Belden. So I love that, revisiting old friends, and revisiting old characters, and returning to a world that you know and love. And so I had already decided that whatever I wrote it would be a series, purely for the simple pleasure of returning to a world that I love and characters that I love. So, yeah, I was intending from the beginning.

Allison

All right. So did you write all three books before you tried to sell the first one? Or what did you do with that?

Rachel

In the process, so once I had my first draft for Spark cooking, I got to a point where I just realised I don’t know how to make this better. I don’t know how to be a better writer, I don’t know how to make this better. And so obviously realised that I needed some external help. So then I started looking up manuscript assessors and things like that. So once I got myself an assessor, and started going down that process of putting my work into the hands of someone else and receiving feedback, to preserve my sanity for the waiting in between – so it would go away and be away for several weeks, where it wasn’t in my hands – to keep myself sane, I just started writing the next book. Because it was just unbearable to not be doing anything. And so purely out of to save my sanity, I just started writing Stray. So Spark and Stray, the very first early drafts were essentially written in the same year. And then as I started getting feedback back and forth with my assessor for Spark, then I just started putting my energy into really developing Spark and making it palatable. And so then I went from my assessor to a mentor, and I worked with a mentor for probably about nine months. From about February to November. That was Chris Else. And Chris mentored me through that rewrite. And then by the end of that he and Barbara, his wife, who was my assessor, they offered to represent me and become my agents at the end of that period of time.

Allison

Oh, okay. Right.

Rachel

So when they began pitching it, I had a completed draft for Spark, and I had a first draft of Stray, and I had about fifty pages of Shield. But this was still a formless void waiting to happen.

Allison

So had you outlined the three books at any stage? Or were you sort of creating everything as you wrote?

Rachel

Yeah. So I’m probably fairly, I would say that I was a pantser. But I guess my plotting is sort of happening internally. Happening inside me. So as I was writing Spark, I knew where I wanted it to end, and I knew what I wanted, the main events of what I wanted to happen. But I was not certain about the route to get there. And it was just sort of feeling my way towards it. And the same with Stray. I had a main idea. I knew what I wanted to happen. I wasn’t sure how I would get there. And Shield was actually a complete mystery. And so I just pretended that I knew what I wanted to happen. But I didn’t know what I wanted to happen.

Allison

Oh. So you didn’t know how it was all going to end?

Rachel

Well, I had a main idea. So the titles of the books are actually roles of characters in the story. So there’s a Spark, there’s a Stray, and there’s a Shield. So, each story is a complete story in its own. But, yeah, with Shield, I knew what I wanted for my ultimate outcome, but that story was a mystery to me. And so I had to write that from scratch in one year. And that was quite fun, actually.

Allison

Did you find having, I was going to say, did you find having a deadline – because I’m assuming by then the series had sold, and so you’ve got a deadline and you have to write to a market and all of that sort of stuff – was that more difficult, do you think?

Rachel

Stray was my hardest book to write.

Allison

The middle. The middle is always the hardest.

Rachel

The middle book. But I also feel it’s probably my best book. It nearly killed me, it nearly destroyed me, but I think it’s probably my best work in terms of what I accomplished in the plot, and what I think I accomplished in my writing. But primarily that’s because, like, so Stray sat there for years untended because I was putting all of my energy into Spark, and getting Spark up to scratch. So when once Spark was out in the universe and now I had one year to get Stray ready to go to print, and it was very, I guess, intimidating in the sense that I had this pre-existing manuscript, but it had been years since I had looked at it. And so my writing had changed so much. I had changed so much. My writing had changed so much. The plot had changed so much. So it was a massive, massive job rewriting it. And I felt really bound to it. I didn’t feel… In some ways I wish that I had had the courage to just bin it and start from scratch. But it was like a safety blanket, but it was also a kind of millstone. You know?

Allison

Yeah, I do.

Rachel

It was this terrible millstone, as well. But, in saying that, magic of course happens. Like, in the rewrite, it was magical and horrific and all of those kinds of things. And so it was during the rewrite a whole new character came into the story and then just destroyed everything and took over. And it was great. And so it’s stuff that I could never have planned for. So that was very, very hard, but intensely satisfying by the completion. And whereas Shield, even that fifty pages that I had written way back, had to be ditched because of all the changes that had been made. So they were no longer relevant. Even the characters weren’t even in it any more that were in that first fifty pages. And so essentially I did write Shield from scratch, draft and bring it to completion in one year. But it was so much easier. It was so much easier than Stray. Because I wasn’t bound to anything. And so I just had wild freedom. And so it was actually a lot easier. It was just a lot easier to write, and fun. It was good. I really enjoyed Shield.

Allison

So do you have an elevator pitch for the series? Like, how do you, when people ask you what it’s about, do you want to hit us with your elevator pitch?

Rachel

Yeah. When I talk about Spark, I say, it’s a story about a 17 year old girl who discovers that she has been genetically engineered to save a life and fall in love, but the chances of surviving either are against her.

Allison

Ooh, nice.

Rachel

Yeah. That’s how I sum it up.

Allison

Excellent. All right. Excellent. And why do you write YA? Like you said that you knew before you even started writing your novel that it would be YA. Why is that the case? Is that what you like to read?

Rachel

Back then I would have said it’s because I’m an English teacher and I teach young adults. So that’s my, the people that I’m with, the people that I was with all the time. But I don’t know. In retrospect, I don’t actually, I think that’s partly true. I actually think, I think it probably, it fits me. Like I am interested in all of those YA things. And I’m very interested in story-telling from a YA perspective. And I think mainly, the biggest appeal for me in YA is that age being on the cusp of life, and that tremendous sense of possibility that anything could happen. And also all the firsts, all the falling in love for the first time, or heartbreak, or experiencing the world for the first time as an adult, and that shift in responsibility from childhood into adulthood. All of that kind of stuff I just love. And I think it is full of, it’s just ripe with story and ripe with drama, ripe with conflict. It’s a great platform for exploring character, for exploring the world.

Allison

So the books are written in first person, which I tend to think of as a very YA voice. Like a lot of the YA that I read is first person. Why do you think that’s the case?

Rachel

That’s a good question. I actually wrote the entire, all of my stuff in third person and past tense. Or was it first person past tense? I can’t remember. No, it might have been first person past tense. Anyway, it was in the very last six months before it went to print, and I had written a short story in first person present tense, and it’s so full of urgency and immediacy. I was like, oh my gosh! I need the whole book to be in first person present tense! I don’t actually, maybe it was just the thrill of writing in a different tense after so many years of writing in past tense and stuff. So I just said to my editor, look, I said, look, I did it without telling her. I just transcribed the first three chapters of Spark and sent it to her. Look, and said, I really feel like this is the voice that I want for the story. I reckon I could do this in a couple of weeks. And she was open to it. She read it and was like, yeah, I love it, let’s do that. And so then I just changed the whole thing.

Allison

Wow.

Rachel

So for me, I think, probably the best thing about that voice is urgency and immediacy. And I really like to be in the head, I like to be in the head of the person, and I like to write that visceral experience of being in the person’s head, so it suits me.

Allison

Okay. What do you think is the most difficult thing to get right when you’re writing YA?

Rachel

Ah, that’s a good question. I suppose voice is probably… You know, because originally-my writing was script-based and dialogue based before I started writing novels, authentic voice really meant a lot to me. And so the first thing that will put me off as a reader is wooden dialogue, or that lack of an authentic voice. And so that’s something that turns me off immediately, or that I won’t believe that that’s a teenager, or I won’t believe that that’s sincere or real. And so I do think voice is the key. And so I think if you’re going to write in first person, then voice is in the head as well. You know what I mean? It’s that internal processing voice as well as the spoken voice has to be authentic. But then I think a mistake that can often be made in the attempt at YA is to sound like a teenager. Which only ever comes across as condescending. Or just never sounds real. So I think you actually have to believe, well, you actually have to respect the people that you’re writing for. And so when you’re a young adult, what you think and what you say and what you do, you are fully in it. And you fully believe it. And you fully own it.

Allison

Yeah.

Rachel

So I think the attempt to kind of, I don’t know, to sound like a teenager, it just immediately doesn’t work. It’s not right.

Allison

Okay. So as a writer based in New Zealand, did you immediately go, when you went to publishers with Spark, did you go to Australian publishers? Did you start with the New Zealand industry? Did you go overseas? What did you do? How did it come about?

Rachel

Well, my agents, Chris and Barbara Else, they were the ones who advised me. And they said, look, this is what we could do. So they gave me three options. They said we could take it to a New Zealand publisher. And Chris had already spoken to a couple of people who were interested. And he said, I reckon we could take it here and I can pretty much guarantee you that we would have a publisher. Or, we could take a leap and pitch it to some Australian publishers, and they listed a few people that they thought might be interested in it. Or the third option was that we part company and I look for an American agent and attempt to publish overseas, attempt to find an American agent. Because they didn’t have the connections to be able to take it directly to an American market. And so I felt…

Allison

Because it’s actually set in the US, right?

Rachel

Yes. Yeah. And that’s very much based on the dream. It was very much that feeling of being in like a comic book. You know. And it felt very American to me. And so I felt very young and inexperienced and totally clueless.

Allison

Right.

Rachel

So I was like, I have no idea how to do any of those things! So the idea of me running off and finding an American agent at that time seemed so beyond the scope of my fathoming. Like, I just said no. Like, I just don’t even know how to do that. Which is, I was foolish. And maybe I should have done that, I don’t know. But I felt like I had a really great relationship with Barbara and Chris and so I really trusted them, and I do really trust them. So I said, well, I choose door number two. So that was what we went with. And so they pitched to Australia.

Allison

So you took it to, you went to Australian publishers with it?

Rachel

Yeah. Yeah.

Allison

Okay. All right. So you mention on your website that you really enjoy the public side of writing. Like, you like workshops and speaking at festivals and in schools and all that sort of thing.

Rachel

Yeah, definitely.

Allison

Have you always liked that? Or is that something that’s developed in the last couple of years as you’ve done more of it?

Rachel

Because I’m a teacher by profession, so it’s really sort of natural, it’s a very natural extension of my skill set to be able to be in a classroom, or to speak in public. And so, yeah, it was easy. Not easy, that’s maybe overkill. It was just natural. It was natural! It was natural. And I really enjoy it. And because when I started writing and I had my baby, I was at home for four years or whatever it was with my little girl. And I chose to write full time at that time, because I could. And at the end of that, so that’s a long time out of the classroom, and so I missed it. I really missed it. And so when being published afforded me the opportunity to go places and be in a classroom setting, or be in a public speaking setting, it was great! I just loved it. It was like, come out of my cave and look at people. It was great.

Allison

So are you working as a teacher still, now?

Rachel

Well, I actually, just this month, signed a contract for a teaching position at our local high school to teach part-time drama.

Allison

Oh, that’s fun.

Rachel

Just two classes. So it gives me time in the classroom, but it will also give me writing time. So that’s been an amazing, really timely, perfect moment for me to be able to do that. So it’s good.

Allison

Do you think, because a lot of, particularly YA authors, YA audiences can be quite intimidating if you’re not used to them. So do you have any tips for perhaps aspiring YA authors who might be developing workshops or might be new to speaking at schools and festivals and things, of the best way to approach it?

Rachel

Gosh, that’s a really good question. Um… I don’t find young people intimidating.

Allison

That’s because you’re used to them.

Rachel

Yes, that’s true. That is true. I just think, totally be yourself, be really well-prepared, relax. And you don’t have to be clever or funny or entertaining. You just need to be authentic and real and down to earth. I think you don’t have to go in and start telling jokes, or being, you don’t have to go and entertain them. You just need to go and be real and engage. And treat them with respect.

Allison

Yeah, okay.

Rachel

So, yeah, I think people respond to authenticity. If you put a on a fake show, kids will just see right through you, I think. But be organised.

Allison

Yeah. Be prepared. Be prepared for everything.

Rachel

Actually have something to say.

Allison

You’re also active on social media, which is of course where we connected. And in fact have your own #sparkarmy hashtag, which I really love. I’ve seen you on Instagram and Twitter probably most obviously. But what’s your favourite platform as a YA author?

Rachel

Twitter for sure. Twitter is so immediate. It’s so much fun. Before I was published, I mean, I’m on Facebook, but that was really it. But I am quite sort of wired for social media. And I have quite an addictive personality. So I was steering clear of too much social media, but of course now it’s my entire life. I’m constantly online.

Allison

And now you can call it your job, right?

Rachel

Now, I can justify it. So the marketing team at Walker were like, okay Rach, you should really get online, you should get on Twitter, you should have a website. And I’m like, oh guys, I just don’t know this is a good idea. Once I go down this path, it’s all over.

Allison

I may never come back.

Rachel

And of course it’s been true. I was right!

Allison

So, is having an active readership, because of course one of the bonuses I think of writing YA is that ability to reach your readership. Because your readership is there with you, as opposed to say writing middle grade or for younger children where you’re not reaching your actual readers.

Rachel

That’s a very good point. Yeah.

Allison

Do you see it as one of the bonuses of writing YA? Is that immediacy of touching readers, so to speak?

Rachel

I love it. I looove it. I totally love it. And because I think, a lot of people, and maybe it’s different if you’re writing for adults, it’s not the same way. Whereas when you’re writing for young adults, the reaction is so natural and so visceral. And it’s not filtered. People give you unfiltered reactions, and they engage with you really honestly. And so I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s very very fun. And because I am, I know a lot of authors who really struggle with social media and who see having to have a social media presence as just this great burden, and it’s just very very hard work – I have never felt like that. It is very, very natural for me. I don’t have much of a filter anyway. What’s in my head, it just comes out. I’m not too worried about being clever, or trying to be impressive. So social media is a very fun place for me, because it’s about having a bit of a laugh, finding a good meme, having a joke, sharing great things that I love. So it’s very light-hearted. Very easy. Requires zero energy from me. I don’t think, oh no, I better go online and say something meaningful. Or, oh no, I better go and post something so that people… You know, I don’t even think about it. It just happens. It works really, really well for me. It suits my personality and all of that kind of thing.

Allison

So as someone who has only recently, it’s only the last couple of years that you’ve really got into it, what do you think, have you got a tip for a new YA author who is starting out on social media?

Rachel

Oh, I think just have fun and be really engaging and don’t hesitate to connect with people. Especially with Twitter, people get on Twitter and then they’re like, oh I don’t know how to actually get followers, I don’t know how to say anything. Well, just keep posting and keep following and keep commenting and all of those kinds of things. But I think primarily, for me, is that I’m actually looking for engagement. I think the worst thing you can do is to get on there and be bashing people over the head with your book.

Allison

So true.

Rachel

And so people are just not interested. It’s like the worst, it’s just the worst. And we know what it’s like when people follow us and then they send you a direct message saying “you might like to look at my book” or… I’m like, no mate, I don’t.

Allison

Thanks, but no thanks.

Rachel

And now I really don’t. You know. Once you’ve done that. So I think looking for authentic engagement. It’s really as simple as finding people who are like-minded. These are the things that I’m into. What are you into? Chat about those things. And have fun with it. I think that’s a very simple way. And so because now I have so many readers who follow me, so when I’m sharing things, if I am doing any sort of blatant promotion or sharing things about my book, I’m doing it because I have people who are interested and who actually want to know.

Allison

Which is helpful.

Rachel

Yes. And so it’s my obligation. I’m like, well, my readers want to know what’s happening. And what’s going on. So it’s a great way to do that. But it can’t be the only reason that you’re doing it, because then it just becomes soulless and depressing, you know?

Allison

Yeah. So you have three daughters.

Rachel

I do.

Allison

Do you find fitting in, the youngest one of whom is eight, I think we discussed. Do you find fitting in the writing difficult at times? Are you juggling that sort of family, writing, work balance?

Rachel

Yeah. I mean it is tricky. But I’ve been very blessed, really, to be able to, especially with the first books, being able to write full time. And I’ve been supported by my husband. And we’ve just gotten by, you know what I mean? We just sort of make do. We’ve made do and we’ve gotten by. And I’ve had a very sympathetic and very, very supportive husband. But it hasn’t always been easy. Certainly not right in the midst of those three books in three years intense deadlines. So we missed two Christmases, where we just didn’t go away. I couldn’t go away. Had to just stay at home. We’ve stayed home a lot. Yeah. For sure. And there have been a lot of weekends where I’m stuck in the office and Ian has to be the solo parent. But we’ve gotten by. And the kids are very gracious, and my husband’s been very gracious about it. But it all kind of balances out in the wash. You know what I mean? Now, I come out of my cave. I make eye-contact.

Allison

You’re allowed out now.

Rachel

We have a conversation.

Allison

You’re allowed out now.

Rachel

But yeah, that’s a cost.

Allison

All right, well, let’s finish up for today? Sorry?

Rachel

I was just saying, you know, there is a cost to doing this. But we get by. But now, working part-time and teaching and writing, trying to make those two things work together, experimenting with that.

Allison

See how that goes.

Rachel

Yeah.

Allison

Okay, well let’s finish up for today with our world famous three top tips for aspiring authors. What have you got for us?

Rachel

Um, well, it won’t be anything new. This is the depressing thing about top tips is that they are top tips because they are all true.

Allison

Very true.

Rachel

So read. Read, read, read. Read, read, read. There’s just really no other way around it. You can’t be a writer without being a keen reader. And I always say read the best. So look for whatever genre, or whatever category that you’re writing in, look for who is killing it, look for who is doing amazing in that genre, look at who has done amazingly in that genre historically. Read their work. And set the benchmark high for yourself. I don’t know, that’s kind of one and two together. My third, probably the best thing that you can do is learn to receive criticism. And that is probably the lynchpin for actually developing your craft, is learning to receive criticism and letting it make you better, rather than destroying you and rolling up in a ball and running away. I think definitely that has been the best thing about. This is my probably thing that I always say in every interview that I’ve ever given, and this is the solid truth. I wanted to be good more than I wanted to be published. And I really wanted to be published. I wanted to be good more than I wanted to be published. And so I think having that dedication to your craft means that you have to be willing to take your medicine. You have to be willing to swallow the hard truth and do the work. So yeah. That’s probably not a very cheerful thing to say to finish on!

Allison

No. I think it’s, you know, if you’ve ever listened to me or whatever you would know that I am across that and I totally agree with you. I think it’s a really, really great piece of advice. All right, well thank you so much for your time today, Rachel. Best of luck with the trilogy. I hope it goes gangbusters.

Rachel

Thanks.

Allison

And I will look forward to seeing you online.

Rachel

Great, thanks Allison, it’s been wonderful.

 


Comments