Thank you for joining me for this very touching Author Spotlight!
First, a bit about Rachel.
(Fair warning – you may want to grab the tissues)
Growing up in a home where Christ stood in the center of our family didn’t protect me from the world I was about to step into as I entered my teenage years. Even among fellow believers I was still vulnerable to the back biting schemes of young school girls. I fell into that pit of comparing myself with others, not feeling pretty enough or good enough for anything. I quickly sank into depression and silently suffered with an eating disorder. It was my way of dealing with the pain. After all, doesn’t the world tell people today, “No pain, no gain?” It was all a lie.
My life was sinking fast and my hope was not in Jesus to pull me out. Sure, I’d grown up in a Christian home, and I knew who Jesus was, but I wasn’t fully living for Him. So life went on and I still stayed put in my own little world of wasting. I abused over-the-counter drugs to make my body thinner, I deprived my body of nutrients, went on eating binges, even tried vomiting what I did eat. To add to my troubles, I fell into the wrong crowd and found myself in one dangerous situation after another.
Then one day, God reached down and touched my heart through one small act of humility. It was then as I watched a cowboy kneel before God and breathe his prayer of thanks to Him for his safety and victorious bull ride, that I realized all that I was striving for in life was in vain. My self-righteous suffering was not justifying my actions, my issues, or my problems. I wasn’t looking to God for the answers I so desperately wanted to find. Instead, I was taking matters into my own hands and slipping down a dangerous incline that would have potentially led to my demise.
From that day forward, as I drove down the road in prayer with silent tears running down my face, I promised to place my life in God’s hands and let Him lead and guide me from then on. Within six months, I met the man who was to be my future husband, got married another 6 six months later, and welcomed our first child into our arms 13 months after that.
Through journaling my life’s accounts, it was revealed to me that I had a future in writing. I enjoyed reliving my worst moments, seeing how God changed the course of my life forever and saved me from a path of destruction.
My Writing Journey…
By March of 2012, I took the advice of Author Cara Putman and joined American Christian Fiction Writers – I’ve never regretted making that decision. The amazing outpouring of prayers, unsparing acts of kindness, open communication, and authors willing to lend an ear with care and concern for my career as a writer was humbling. I had entered a brand new family whose arms were spread open and welcoming.
October, 2012, rolled in with new milestones. I had published my first blog account and completed my first novel. By this time, I had taken careful consideration to get to know fellow authors within my region and those whom I looked up to with wonder and admiration. Their urging me to put my work out there for the world to see gave me hope and courage to finally enter my first contest.
In November, 2012, my book had advanced to 2nd round judging in Harlequin/Mills and Boon’s So You Think You Can Write Contest. It was an honor to be named in the top 4% of the contest entries, and a positive experience I will not soon forget.
Finally, God called my work to publication. It took 3 years for my rough draft to become a polished novel, but all the hard work was worth it. Now readers will be able to read about those fictional characters who have become almost as close as family to me. It is my life’s goal that these readers will find hope and encouragement through life-like stories of angst, hurt, and healing.
Matthew 5:16 ~ “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.”
My Writing Nook
I do, however, have an office–my own personal writing space set up the comfort of my home. When feeling cooped up in the house too long, the outdoors become my office and a source of inspiration.
Most days I write beneath the belly of a B-29 Super Fortress model (Yes, I built that with my own hands). Sitting beside me, looking over my shoulder, is “The Captain”–my styrofoam mannequin who sports my authentic WWII pilot’s cap. I don’t decide on a nail-biting scene without consulting him first. Just beyond my computer screen, the models for my characters stare back at me as I write. They seem just as eager to know what will happen to them as much as I.
Last but not least, my inspiration wouldn’t be as active as it is without the photos of my two late grandfathers. Their childhood era built the foundation on which my writings are created. Every day, as I enter my office, their smiling faces greet me, reminding me of a time and place I can visit only through their memory.
Rachel’s debut novel, Letters from Grace, released September 2014, and quickly became an Amazon Top 100 Best Seller.
Rachel Muller’s personal story is as inspirational as her writing. – Tweet this!
If you haven’t read Letters From Grace, you’re missing out on a great story. – Tweet this!
Who else do you know who writes with a B-29 Superfortress hanging over her head? – Tweet this!
And here is my interview with Rachel:
Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?
Although I wrote many, many stories during my childhood, it was for fun. I never once considered making a career out of writing. In fact, writing books never crossed my mind.
As for outlining, I’m mostly a pantser with a beginning and end in mind from the start. Everything else just fills in as I go and I always keep paper and pencil beside my computer at all time. I tend to fill out my outline as I’m writing the story. This makes it incredibly easy to keep track of all those “important” facts and notes I write into the story line.
How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?
Wow, how does it feel? Well, at first, it was certainly a dream come true. I would say the warmest sensation I had during the whole publishing trek was typing my name into Amazon and seeing my book cover pop up for the first time. I just stared at the computer screen in awe!
However, eventually the newness wore off and I was busy getting book 2 underway. Book 2, Maggie’s Mission, was just released and I’m feeling all those same sentiments over again.
The surprises I’ve encountered have been truly “surprises.” I was contacted by a long-time author who read Letters from Grace and LOVED it! She contacted me right away and hosted my book as her featured novel on all her websites and blogs. In addition to that, I’ve been contacted by the 700 Club after sending them a complimentary copy of the novel and was told by a reader that she heard about my book by a TV program. Certainly news to my ears!
Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor/agent/friends?
I do keep an idea journal where all the premises for my novels are kept safely. In fact, I am concocting a plot for a 4 book series after the Love & War Series comes to an end.
How do you find time for everything… writing, family, church, friends… and you’ve recently taken on home-schooling, too!
The only possible answer for that is through the grace of God and a very understanding and supportive husband! LOL. I do have to get up earlier every morning to make sure I answer emails, do a little marketing, and check my sales reports. My blog has suffered a little, but my faithful readers are amazing as they keep checking back for new posts. (Thank you for that!)
Everything else I take one moment at a time. Friday and Saturday nights are family nights. No Writing!
Now that the second book has been released, it’s back to the crazy circus of blog tours, marketing, and everything else that makes a household run smoothly.
Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they are necessary for your writing?
To this date, I have not attended any writer’s conferences. However, in our local ACFW group, we do make a point to meet twice a year for a writer’s lunch. We have discussed many essentials for the writing career which includes marketing tactics, publishing news, writing techniques, and overall Christian fellowship that emanates an aura of support.
As for conferences and retreats being necessary, that all depends on the writer. There are many advantages to attending these events. Many workshops are offered by established and seasoned authors. In fact, at this past ACFW conference, my friend and author, Ronie Kendig, held an amazing class on Mind Magic. I am looking forward to taking that class at an upcoming writer’s retreat we have planned for next year.
How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?
Traveling is something not easily done with a family of 6. But we try to get a good vacation in every other year or so. One of our favorite vacationing spots is the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg, Tennessee and its surrounding areas have become our second home. So much so that I become homesick after leaving those beautiful mountains.
What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing or are you perfectly content to stick with historical fiction?
Book 2 in the Love & War Series has just wrapped up. Maggie Johnson’s exciting story of front line battle nursing and lost romance has kept me pretty busy. It’s been an adventure to sit down and write out the rest of her story and continue with the Love & War Series. My readers seem pretty excited too.
While I’ve often toyed with the idea of writing outside my genre for more recognition as an Independent Author, I still come back to the same conclusion that I love writing WWII Historical Romance. Agents who have been in contact with me even notice the flavor of my writing for that era is my strong point. I’m praying for a nation-wide movement into WWII Fictional reads that will help launch my career in the next year.
Thanks so much for featuring me on Author Spotlight, Donna. This has been a wonderful interview and I enjoyed answering your fantastic questions! God bless!
Thank You Rachel and God bless you!
And THANK YOU for joining me for this very special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!
Don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews — this month I have three other special debut authors… and February will be dedicated to another of my favorite authors!
Have you read Rachel Muller’s Love & War series yet? – Tweet this!
Don’t miss book 2 in Rachel’s Love & War series – Maggie’s Mission! – Tweet this!
Today is the final day to enter Rachel’s GIVEAWAY contest!
As a bonus giveaway, in addition to the giveaway by the author, after reading this post, the first person to leave a comment requesting a digital copy of Maggie’s Mission will be sent a gift copy by this blogger!
God bless you!
© Donna J. Mynatt 2015