Monday, June 1, 2015

Rachelle Rea: Her Journey from Teen Writer to Debut Author

Stephanie here. I'm so excited to feature author Rachelle Rea on the blog today.

Rachelle was one of the first readers of the Go Teen Writers blog, has taken her craft very seriously these last few years despite the heavy commitments of college students, and her debut novel releases this month with WhiteFire Press.

I wanted to know how Rachelle went from aspiring teen writer to published author, and she agreed to be interviewed. To celebrate her achievement, we're giving away an ebook of her novel The Sound of Diamonds. 

Rachelle, would you please share a thing or two that made a big difference in improving your writing craft?

The thing that has made the biggest difference? Reading books in my chosen genre.

I absorbed so much just by reading my favorite authors (Roseanna White, Julie Klassen, Siri Mitchell, Joanne Bischof) and studying how they went about crafting their excellent stories. I particularly remember reading Siri Mitchell's The Messenger and being super excited when I realized she wrote in first-person POV, alternating between the hero and the heroine. I had just begun writing Diamonds and was playing around with that format. Reading The Messenger and seeing that someone else had employed (and published) with that technique was inspiring to me.

I've learned, too, the importance of reading about writing. I'm so thankful for all the writer blogs I've followed--especially Go Teen Writers. I genuinely don't think I would have been published this soon if I hadn't started reading this blog and learning about speaker tags versus action beats, the three-act structure, and voice.

You've been working on The Sound Of Diamonds for a long time now. What was it about this story that made you so determined to not just finish it, but to go through the hard work of editing and submitting it to publishers? 

It's hard to believe that Diamonds turns 3 this summer! I started writing this story the summer after my sophomore year of college, when the title popped into my head and wouldn't leave. I finished the skeleton of the story that summer, even though it was in a very different form than what will hit shelves this month. I think that I finished it so quickly played a huge part in my dedication to it. I had this finished hunk of a novelin poor shapebut it was complete. I felt like I owed it to my investment to see if I could do something with it.

Powering through the first draft, though, also meant there was a lot of work yet to be done on the editing side. I recruited an editor friend to help me polish, entered Diamonds into ACFW's Genesis contest, and submitted it to WhiteFire not quite a year after I'd begun writing it.

In the Go Teen Writers book, there's that section where you and Jill invited us to submit questions, and the one I submitted was something along the lines of, "How do you know when a book is the one?" I asked that question wondering if how I felt about Diamonds could possibly be true. Looking back now, it's fun to see that how I felt about it from the beginningthat this would be my first published bookis coming true in just two weeks.

It's SO exciting, Rachelle. What are some things you've learned as you've worked on this series that you'll carry with you as you work on future projects?

The biggest thing I learned from this series is that no book is born the same way.

I wrote Diamonds in a whirlwind of a summer. Incredibly quickly. I wrote Silver over the course of six months, with a bit more of a plan, knowing a little better where I was going with it. I wrote Emeralds so differently. That one took a lot out of me and it took a year. There were so many moments as I wrote the last two books when I doubted that I was doing it right. I wasn't writing as quickly, freely, comfortably. Each book seemed to stretch me more, in heart and in technique, and that confused me. Until I realized that it was happening that way because it had to. I was writing different books, and so I was writing books differently.

Thank you so much for having me on Go Teen Writers today, Stephanie! And all you've taught me over the years through this blog!

I always love having debut authors on the blog, but I especially love it when they're writers who are part of the Go Teen Writers community! You can enter to win an e-copy of Rachelle's debut novel, and read up on her below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she's lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote The Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.

Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.

With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle’s castle. She doesn’t dare to trust him…and yet doesn’t dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.

Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her—but what is he to do when those goals clash?

The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.

Learn more about Rachelle and her books on her website!


  1. A story about a medieval person with poor eyesight! I love the idea!

  2. Love the interview! My current story has been ' the one' ever since I started writing it a year and a half ago, and while I know it'll take at least a year or two more to get a draft I'm satisfied with, I still hope I'll be able to publish it someday. It's really inspiring to see a teen writer (and GTW reader) like us going on to publish a novel!


  3. That's so thrilling, Rachelle!! Congratulations! I remember seeing the cover reveal a couple months ago--it's beautiful. :)

  4. I'm really excited for this book, and can't wait to read it! Congratulations Rachelle!

  5. Congrats on the book!!!!! The cover is really beautiful and I hope to one day get a chance to pick it up and read it!

  6. Big huzzahs for Rachelle!! So excited to get to help bring your dream to reality. =D Now I'd better get back to work making sure all those last minute details are in line, LOL.

  7. Congrats, Rachelle! I can't wait to read your new release! Thanks for you insight on how writing each book feels different because it is a different book. I experienced that with writing my current series last year. This year, I'm struggling to find start a new series, and it just hit me that I'm trying to find the same whirlwind, grabbing feeling I had with the last series. But this is a new series and it will feel different and new and that's okay.

  8. "I was writing different books, and so I was writing books differently." <--- THIS. Thank you for that! So, so much. I needed that encouraging bit of insight.

    And congrats again!!!

  9. Congrats!! I'm so excited for you Rachelle!

  10. Great post! Very inspiring :) I will certainly be keeping an eye out for The Sound Of Diamonds! :D

  11. Congrats on your book!!!!!

  12. As said above, very inspiring! Congratulations, Rachelle! Adding this to the TBR pile =)

  13. Congratulations! You are very inspiring to the rest of us, and I will definitely read The Sound of Diamonds when it comes out :)

  14. Rachelle I'm so excited for you! I know I already mentioned to you that I was starting to write and I agree that writing blogs have made a HUGE impact on my writing! Can't wait to read THE SOUND OF DIAMONDS! :)

  15. Can I just say that I really like the title of this book! I would so pick it up just for that!

  16. Your book sounds really interesting! Congrats on getting it published!

  17. Great interview - thank you for posting it! Looking forward to reading this one. :)

  18. Great tips, especially the one about reading books in your genre. I read mostly fantasy, but I've been working on a contemporary, so I should probably check out some more in that genre soon. Thanks for the advice!
    Also, congratz! Your book sounds cool and that cover is gorgeous! :D


  19. Love it that you are a part of GTW and homeschooled!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Wow, congratulations on getting your book published, that's amazing!

    P.S. I just love the cover.

  21. Congratulations, Rachelle! Not many people can say they've achieved this, well done for sticking with it. :)

  22. Super big congrats, Rachelle!
    Quick question: how did you know that Sound of Diamonds was the ONE?
    (Hope to join you in the ranks of debut authors soon... *crosses fingers, toes, and anything else that will cross*)

  23. T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U, everyone! There's a big smile on my face right now. :) So glad each of you read and enjoyed this interview. :)

    DeVall Girls, GREAT question! I wish I had a better answer than I just felt like it was my best book yet and had potential to be publishable. It helped that the first few books I wrote were just bad and not in the right genre for me. Diamonds felt like IT. :)

  24. Super excited for it to come out!
    Is it just coming out on Amazon, or where else will it be sold?

  25. Congratulations, Rachelle!! :D This is so exciting, and I can't wait to read your book, and eventually the whole series! :) I also remember the cover reveal from a couple months or so ago - and I just love that cover. :D It is so beautiful! Your journey is very inspiring to me, and praise the Lord for helping you and bringing you to this wonderful moment!

  26. Awesome interview! I'm so excited for Rachelle and her books.
    Readers are just going to LOVE The Sound of Diamonds -- I know because I got a sneak-peek read (heehee!). It's FANTASTIC.


  27. As a young writer and aspiring author myself, it is so encouraging to read about one who has actually gone the distance from story idea to published book! I really enjoyed reading this interview; thanks also for the give-away! I'd love to read the book!

    Soli Deo Gloria!


  28. I also have a question for Rachelle - where did you find dependable sources for the history and details of your story, and how much 'creative license' did you allow yourself? Research is probably the most difficult aspect for me - I struggle to find sources that I can be confident are accurate.


  29. Hi, Rachelle! I'm so glad you could share with us today on GTW. Yours is a name I have been hearing more and more over the past couple of years, and I look forward to seeing where you go next. Congratulations on your book!!!

  30. This is so cool!! Great way to kick off Summer writing!

  31. Congrats, Rachelle! Also thanks for the interview--loved it. ^_^ A Sound of Diamonds has such a GORGEOUS title and cover! :D

  32. Congratulations! I can't wait for your book to become available to read.

  33. Way to go, Rachelle! It's so much fun when fellow writers from the GTWs group get published! :)