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Interview: Rachel Harris

Hey booknerds,

Today I am joined by one of my favorite authors and friend, Rachel Harris. She is so awesome and fun, and I can't wait to read her new books coming out in 2016
Ciara: What is your favorite book of 2015 so far?

Rachel: Oh, this is so hard! I read Sweet Gum Tree this year, which was published a while back, but still a favorite read for sure. Other than that, maybe Forever Red. It just hit me at the perfect time. Oh, and Bad Romeo. And The Mistake. See? I can't answer this question lol

C: Tell us about your new book coming out later this year.

R: Well I don't have a book coming out this year, but I have at least two, probably more like three, coming out in 2016. First off is book one in my adult series, a spin-off from Love & Games, called Country Blue. This trilogy stars the rest of Tyler Blue's band, the country music star we met in Accidentally Married on Purpose. I am having so much fun with this series! That will release in January. Then in March, we will have the companion novel to The Fine Art of Pretending, The Natural History of Us. I love this book so much!! It was probably the hardest thing I've ever written, as it not only goes into some deeper issues, but it is also a dual timeline narrative with two narrators. Whew! But so so worth it. Any Justin Carter fans in the house??

C: Did you always want to be a writer?

R: I always wrote stories, but I never thought being an author was something I could honestly do. I did consider writing for magazines and even majored in broadcast journalism to try and fufill that creative urge, but ultimately, this is where my heart lies. Well, that and homeschooling my girls :)

C: What inspires your writing?

R: Just about everything. Especially music. I get my basic story ideas from life, television shows or movies, sometimes a secondary character in a favorite book that captures my imagination and gets me thinking. But mostly I think of a certain situation and decide the perfect characters for that story, and take off from there. The music helps so much throughout, too. In the early stages of plotting, I put together a playlist of songs that either have similar themes or hit on a character's journey. Sometimes it just sets the mood. But as I listen to those songs over the course of the book, they end up inspiring certain moments that just breathe life into the chapters. So yes, music is essential.

C: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

R: GAH! Having it be dual POV and dual timeline and first person. I'm used to first person dual POV in my YAs, and although they tend to take me a little longer than my third person adult romances, I enjoy writing them and can keep the two voices pretty straight. But writing a dual timeline book meant that I had more like four voices in my head, as characters voices change a lot between freshman and senior years of high school. So, yeah, keeping the voices straight, along with the tense (freshman year is told in past tense, senior year told in present tense), and getting certain plot elements for both storylines to hit at the right times. This book was the hardest thing I've done by far....but I love it so much.

C: Do you have any writing habits like a go to snack you like to eat or song you listen to?

R: I can't listen to music while writing, because I'll start singing along, but I listen to my playlist just about any other time. Driving, getting ready in the morning, cooking, etc; I also sit horribly in my desk chair, pretzel style, which is killer on my knees. Yet, I do it anyway lol. Oh, and I always wear a bracelet on my wrist that a prayer partner gave me at a retreat. I've worn it since my very first book so now it's like my good luck charm. I feel naked without it ;)

C: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

R: READ! Read often, read widely, and pay attention as you do it. What speaks to you? What excites you? Why did you love that scene, or line, or moment? Why did you hate something else? All of these things together help you find your voice. I also studied my favorite books, breaking them down for different elements to teach myself how to write. I looked at how many chapters a favorite book had, how many scenes per chapter, how that author handled dialogue and narrative, found the central point for each scene. That taught me so much.


*bonus questions*

C: Do you know the Muffin Man?

R: The muffin man? ;) No, but I wish I did. I love me some muffins. Carbs are lovely things

C: Do you want to build a snowman?

R:  LOL I have TWO daughters, whom I homeschool, which means this song pretty much played nonstop for a year--it's been a few months without it, though, which means I've just stopped singing it in my sleep, and now you've got it playing in my head again ;) So, no, I do not want to build a snowman lol. Anyway, they would melt here in Texas. Snow? I once scraped the grass and put together a small snow mound with my girls--does that count? ;)

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