Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on author Rachel Kenley, who will be moderating our panel of Romance Authors “Let Your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm” THIS SUNDAY, January 29, from 3:00-5:00 PM at our “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street.
Thank you so much for joining us, Rachel! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I’m Rachel Kenley and I’ve been published since August of 2007. I’m a romance writer, and I’ve had five novels and nine short stories published. Several of my books are now out of print, but I’m planning on releasing them again – along with new books in the series. I’m a Jersey girl now trapped in New England where I miss all night diners and boardwalks. I’m married for just over 20 years, and I homeschool my two teenage sons.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your writing?
Well, I love a happy ending, so they will always get that from me. I write contemporary and fantasy romance along with women’s fiction. I love looking at relationships, how they change us, influence us – even hurt us. And all relationships fascinate me – parental, siblings, romantic, and especially and most importantly the one we have with ourselves. It’s also important to me that my characters have or learn their central core desire and commit to having that in their lives. This is true whether I’m retelling a fairytale like in The Glass Stiletto or something completely new like the Melusine’s Daughters series, which is coming out later this year. I think this inner journey is one of the things that draws readers into my books and keeps them coming back.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out The Glass Stiletto? How did you overcome that challenge?
The biggest challenge was making my Cinderella, named Mariella in The Glass Stiletto, a very strong person and showing this aspect of her but at the same time not making Teodor, the prince, a weak character. There’s nothing worse than a wimpy hero (okay, there probably is, but not that I can think of at the moment). To overcome it, I had to show him being just as strong as she is – both when he’s with her and when he interacts with other characters. I also had to remember that two strong people can make for a very strong love story – and great passion.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Spend time on your business as well as your writing. It’s called “best-selling” not “best writing”. Always be working to improve your craft and write the best book you can, but learn the business skills that will help you to get these awesome books and stories to the readers who will love them. For every four hours of writing, I do one hour of business.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I have three novels coming out this summer, June, July and August. It’s the Melusine’s Daughters series which means it’s about mermaids. And if you like mermaids and don’t want to wait I have a free download of a retold version of The Little Mermaid which is called Legs. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it to you!
What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?
I am very fortunate. I have a home office space that my husband and sons created by converting the garage for me. There’s space to write, space to relax, and lots of book cases. I also have a 300 square foot studio in the Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, MA. It’s an amazing place with over 250 studios and over 300 artists of all different kinds. The energy and inspiration there is fantastic.
What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?
I’m an introvert! Yes, I’m social and good at talking in front of a group and talking about my work or my passions, but when it comes to getting re-energized and focused? Like Greta Garbo, I want to be alone. I treasure my unscheduled alone time whether I use it to read, nap, or watch a movie, it’s precious to me and I’m grateful when I have it.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
I’m a music person. But it has to be music without words. The only words can be the ones in my head and that my characters are thinking or saying. I use a lot of movie soundtracks. They are intended to create emotions and carry you along so they are perfect for me. My favorites are Rachel Portman, Andre Desplat, and James Horner. Danny Elfman is great when I’m creating fantasy realms.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
500 words a day is better than none. You can’t edit a blank page. I know it sounds basic, but I’ve learned the incredible importance of showing up on the page. 500 words a day for 5 days is 2,500 words. In 10 weeks, that’s 25,000 and in 30 weeks you’ve got 75,000. Yes, there are burst days where you write almost manically and the words just keep flowing, but more often it happens in increments and steps and that’s just fine.
Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?
Having a local group for support and encouragement is especially wonderful. I have gotten a lot from my participation in Broad Universe, which I highly recommend. Recently I became part of the Independent Publishers of New England and I am learning a great deal about the publishing business and how it relates to a writer’s success.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Online and through my publishers Riverdale Avenue Books and Ellora’s Cave
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
My website is www.rachelkenley.net and my blog is there too. I’m also on Facebook… lots.
Thank you again for joining us, Rachel! We look forward to you joining us as moderator for “Let Your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm” this Sunday, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester!