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Saturday, March 13, 2010

An Interview with Rachelle Christensen

Rachelle Christensen is one of our newest LDS authors, and as such, it's my pleasure to introduce her, her new novel, WRONG NUMBER, and a bit about how she writes. Thank you for joining us, Rachelle. It's so good to see you again. First off, why don't you tell us a little about yourself, including something you haven’t shared with any other blogger.

Rachelle:  I was born and raised in the small farming town of Rupert, Idaho and I’m a dirt between the toes, irrigation boot-wearing, ponytail flipping in the wind as I drive the 4-wheeler FARM girl all the way!

I currently live in Utah County and I miss those farm days, but I’ve been in Utah now for about 13 years. I’m married to my incredible husband, Steve, and we have three wonderful kids–2 girls and one boy.

Wrong Number is my first published novel, but my second is close on its heels. My nonfiction book, Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage for Latter-day Saints will be released in May 2010.

Hmm, something I haven’t shared with any other blogger. I’ve written 22,590 words on my current novel, Caller ID, which is a spinoff from Wrong Number and I’m pretty excited about the plot twists happening.

Ronda:  Sounds like you're writing up a storm! What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Rachelle:  When I have a new story idea and it just keeps bugging me until I stop and write down a bunch of notes. I love to see how the story unfolds as the idea ferments in my mind.

Ronda: Your least favorite?

Rachelle:  Revising

Ronda:  I think a lot of writers would agree with you on that one. Not me, though. I love to revise--JK, sort of. Actually, for me, revising is like I assume it must be for an artist when he adds that final, finishing hue to his well-crafted sunset; it's when the beauty or power really comes out.

Ideas, on the other hand, seem to be everywhere and yet only certain ones "make it." The premise for WRONG NUMBER, by the way, was an excellent idea. I remember as I read the book, I thought, "I wish I'd come up with this idea!" So, how do you come up with ideas for your novels?

Rachelle:  Lots of ways. News stories sometimes tickle my brain and I think…Hmm, that would make an interesting story if… I’ve also been inspired by dreams. Some of my working scenes are from actual dreams I’ve had where I feel like I’m the onlooker taking notes as to what these people in my dream are doing and why. The novel that I just finished writing began from a single sentence that popped into my mind just before I fell asleep. So the ideas seem to come from all over at any time of day or night, so I try to make sure I jot them down before I forget them!

Ronda: What inspired you to write WRONG NUMBER?

Rachelle:  I wanted to enter a chapter into the first chapter contest at LDStorymakers in 2007. I came up with the first chapter of Wrong Number, it won second place, and then I went on to write the rest of the novel.

Ronda: Good for you!  Along those same lines, you have a number of twists and turns in WRONG NUMBER. How did you come up with them? Do you keep a list or do they, like your other ideas, just come?

Rachelle:  It was interesting how the story evolved. I had this idea of what I wanted to happen, but I knew I needed a great conspiracy “theory” to pull it off. I wrote in layers. I kept going back and adding more foreshadowing, red herrings, and all that good mystery type stuff.

Ronda:  I'm an outliner. Some of my other author friends write by the seat of their pants. What do you do?

Rachelle:  I did have a very rough outline that I worked from and I talked through a lot of ideas with my brother and his wife. They helped me to come up with a believable motive for murdering more than one person. I’m actually trying to do better with outlining and I think it helps. My outlines aren’t set in stone, more jumping off points for how I want the story to flow. I like to have a general idea of the beginning, middle, and end, but my characters usually end up writing scenes in interesting directions.

Ronda:  What is your favorite genre? Romantic Suspense?

Rachelle:  That’s a toughie! I love pretty much everything except horror. I like to read a wide variety of books from children to YA to adult. I really like a good romance, but nothing too detailed. And yes, I love romantic suspense. A favorite of mine is Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart.

Ronda:  I noticed you seem to have a particular penchant for motherhood and babies, and it shows in your book. Is there a reason for that?

Rachelle:  Yes, that’s pretty much the stage I’m in right now with three kids ages 6, 4, and 1 yr. so it makes sense that it overflows a bit into my writing. I also think a lot of people can relate also and sympathize with Aubree’s character.

Ronda:  Unrelated to writing, what skill do you or others consider you to be best at?

Rachelle:  I love music and singing. I’ve played the piano for 26 years and I still enjoy it, although I don’t get to play/practice as much as I used to.

Ronda:  Hey, we have music in common. So nice to find a "kindred spirit." If you don't mind me asking, what’s coming up? Something more with music?

Rachelle:  I’ve got a few things I’m working on. I’ve finished an inspirational romance that I love, called Wind Song and I’m enjoying writing my WIP-working title Caller ID, so I guess we’ll see what comes up first on the docket.

Ronda:  We'll watch for them! What advice do you give other writers who are trying to become published authors?

Rachelle:  If you’re serious about writing, attend writers conferences and classes, join a great critique group, read novels in your genre of interest, and write, write, write! Also, learn how to take criticism and know when to apply it to your writing and when to chuck it out the window.

Ronda:  Thanks Rachelle. And to my readers, if you’d like to get a sneak peek at Wrong Number, check out her book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg5X0T59a9E.
Rachelle: Thanks so much, Ronda, this was fun!

1 comment:

Rachelle said...

Thanks again for this interview, Ronda! Looking forward to seeing you again at the conf.