Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Rachael Brownell!
I’m from a small town in Michigan called Parchment. It’s close to Kalamazoo and Portage which is where I live now with my fiance and son. I am your average early thirties (29 is anyone asks) working mom. I use to be a full-time working mom but in the spring of 2015, I quit my 50 hour per week job to focus on writing and family. Now, I spend most of my days either writing or hanging out with my boys.
You might be able to find me on a local driving range since I have taken up golf. If you happen to see me you might want to stand back as I am NOT THAT GOOD. As with everything in life, I will get better over time. At least I hope I will.
So, how did I get into writing? Well, when my son started kindergarten I found that I had a ton of time on my hands during the day if I wasn’t at work. I am easily bored. I decided that I would try to finish a book that I wrote a long time ago (we’re talking high school) just to pass the time. Well, that didn’t go as well as I planned. I was young and inexperienced when I started that book. It was less than impressive so I started over.
Holding On was the product of me scraping that first book.
Without further ado, here’s Rachael’s interview…
I love reading the bios of authors. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? I think so. I’ve always been drawn to the written word whether it was reading or writing. I started my first manuscript in high school, junked it ten years later, and started over. It turned into Holding On.
Why did you choose to write young adult contemporary romance? The first draft of Holding On was very raw because it was written when I was a teenager. As I rewrote it I felt connected to my characters, like I could relate to what they were going through even though I was an adult. I think that’s why I’ve stuck with the YA genre. It makes me feel young again.
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written? I co-wrote a book called Dark Bishop with Casey L. Bond. It’s very different from anything either of us have written or published before. The male MC is basically a serial killer. Let just say, some of the things that happen scared the crap out of me. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I love the way it turned out. [This series is on my TBR!]
What motivated the plot of the novels you’re currently working on? I released the first in a series of standalones, the Kiss series, at the beginning of September. Since then I’ve been working on a number of things. I actually have 7 books on my “to write” list. Some are shorter novellas and some are full-length novels. [Sounds like my project board!] Now to find the time…
What was the hardest story for you to write? I’m still working on one called Saving Bliss. I started it in July 2014. My MC, Bliss, is kind of a pain in the arse. She doesn’t like the direction I keep trying to take her story so rewrites have been in abundance. I feel like I’ve been revamping and modifying the outline I’m trying to work from since I put the first few words on paper. Like I said, she’s a pain.
What process do you use to plan your novels? Planning has not worked out for me in the past. I’m a pantser all the way. [I knew it!] I did recently order some notebooks designed by Cassy Roop of Pink Ink Designs, Co. and I’m keeping all my thoughts together in them. They seem to be helping keep me focused. [I need to look into this!]
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? I think I have two. Jake Bishop (Dark Bishop serial series) was crazy and scary and sexy and intriguing. Casey did a fantastic job of writing his part. My other favorite would have to be Kat (A Secret Life). She’s that perfect California blonde, blue eyed beauty who’s trying to hide who she is behind fake glasses and pink hair. She’s feisty and tells it like it is. I think I created her to be a little bit like I always wanted to be – fierce.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? I think they all do a little. My mom seems to think that Becca (The Holding On series) is me. She was the first character that I created so there’s a little bit more of me in her than any of my other characters.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? I have and it was a LONG period of time before I was able to write again. I think I was experiencing some doubt about abilities. Thankfully, I have some of the most supportive friends in the world that are also in the industry so they helped push me through. 🙂
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? I would love to try my hand at dystopian. I admire the authors that come up with those amazing places and those amazing characters. It would be a challenge I think to be able to create something that isn’t based off of a real place or object. [Yes, it’s a challenge, but it’s so much fun.]
Which authors inspire you? When I first decided to try my hand at publishing my work, I was reading Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan. She’s amazing and so is that series if you haven’t read it. I felt connected to her characters. I wanted people to be able to connect with mine as well so I gave it a shot.
What novel would you read multiple times? There are so many that I already have read multiple times. The Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan (see above). Pretty much anything by Jascinda Wilder and Molly McAdams I’ve read multiple times over. Right now, I’m rereading Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire. [Jamie’s book is on my TBR. Looks like I’ve got some new ones to add.]
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? Marilyn Monroe [Yes! She has always been a favorite of mine.]. I’ve always been fascinated by her. In fact, I named one of my characters after her from Take A Gamble.
What is your favorite quote? “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? I feel like if I don’t say unicorns or mermaids that I might be cast out of the secret club. It seems like I see that answer a lot. They are both super cool but I have to admit, I’m partial to dogs. Ours passed away last Thanksgiving, and I’m patiently waiting for the hubby to be ready to let me have another one.
What is your favorite color? Gray or teal.
You can catch up with Rachael Brownell, a full-time author, online…
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This was so much fun! I’m honored to call Rachael my friend. Thanks for participating!
Join me next week as I feature Kat Nichols!