Romance Author Feature: Rachel Kenley
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE!!
I can't think of a better way to celebrate today than feature an author who LOVES LOVE as much as I do! I had the honor of chatting with Romance Author, Rachel Kenley. Check out our fun Q&A below and pick up her Romance Series, Melusine's Daughter!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Kenley writes contemporary and fantasy romance, including several retold fairy tales. She started reading romances at fourteen and credits them (and The Wizard of Oz) with her lifelong fascination in learning and living your heart’s desire. When she is not writing she is spending time with her husband and teenage sons, trying unsuccessfully to keep up with housework, and laughing as much as possible. She desperately needs her morning coffee, thinks reservations are the best thing to make for dinner, and believes in the emotional and economic importance of retail therapy. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well!
Q&A WITH RACHEL KENLEY
Q: We know you write romance but if you could write in another genre what would it be?
A: I think it would probably be Urban Fantasy. I love the works of Kelley Armstrong, Illona Andrews and Anne Bishop. The action combined with character development, along with the fantasy elements would be fun.
Q: Why did you decide to publish under the pen name Rachel Kenley?
A: My childhood dream was to be on the stage and I wanted a stage name. When I decided to be a writer, I knew I’d have a pen name.
Q: I love your slogan “Follow Your Yellow Brick Road”. How did you come up with it?
A: The Wizard of Oz is my favorite film and I think there are so many important lessons in there. When I was working on my author platform I was thinking about what mattered most to me, what was at the core of my work. I discovered that what I wanted most for my characters – and myself – was for them to learn and reach their heart’s desires (recognize the phrase?). And if you’re going to have your heart’s desire – you’ll have to travel your yellow brick road.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book series Melusine’s Daughters?
A: My editor said she wanted a mermaid story since they were growing in popularity. I’d done a retelling of The Little Mermaid, called “Legs” (you can now get it free on my website) and she thought I’d enjoy doing a full length book. I thought about the adage, “Write what you know.” I grew up in New Jersey and said, “What about a mermaid who needs to come on land and chooses the Jersey Shore?” She loved the idea. As I did research, I discovered that betrayal is a huge part of the lore on mermaids so I knew that had to be a part of the book. That’s when the thought of creating my own legend came to me and from the legend there was a need for three mermaids to complete the prophecy and break the chain of pain.
Q: What is the most challenging part of being an author?
A: The days when the writing is just not flowing. The doubt that the current work in progress is going to be good enough. And the things you can’t control – reader response, publisher acceptances.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being an author?
A: Telling a story I love about characters whose journey is from the heart. Meeting other authors and readers. Hearing from readers that a book touched them.
Q: How many hours a day do you write?
A: That varies since my children are still at home and I have a few “side hustles”, but my goal is 3 or more a day. Depending on where I am in a manuscript I’ll set either time goals or word-count goal. With word-count my goal is usually 2-3,000 words a day.
Q: What age were you when you first started writing?
A: That’s a hard one. I started “playing” at it in college. I remember friends saying “This conversation won’t end up in your book, will it?” But it was years before I got focused and stayed committed. I submitted my first book a few months after my 40th birthday.
Q: How many unpublished and half finished manuscripts do you have?
A: When it comes to manuscripts that have significant starts but aren’t finished there are probably 6 or 7. There are none that are finished which are also unpublished. I have a few novels that had the rights return to me after the publishers closed which I haven’t republished. Then, of course, there are countless starts, titles, scenes, character notes that have never turned into a manuscript. They might someday.
Q: Do you work with an outline or just let the creative mind go with it?
A: I’m what is sometimes calls a pantser – someone who does mostly pantsing (working by the seat of my pants) with a little bit of plotter mixed in. What I usually start with is a clear idea of my heroine’s and hero’s goal/motivation/conflict (also called GMC) as well as knowing their deep wounds, the lie they tell themselves, their biggest fear and, of course, their hearts desire. From those I can start to craft the story and create the scenes that will challenge my characters, help them grow and have both their happy ending and their heart’s desire.
Q: As an author what would you choose as your mascot?
A: I would probably choose the hummingbird. There is so much going on, so much work that’s always happening, yet most of it people don’t see. I might also choose a mermaid because as Anais Nin said “I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
Q: Do you karaoke? If so, what is your go to song to sing?
A: I do! I love it! Must be my theater kid background. I love 80’s music and I do a great “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Mad About You.” And if there are Broadway song possibilities… well, then you can’t stop me.
Q: Do you feel like if you wore sparkly socks/hat you would write better?
A: No, but I think my fun coffee mugs help me out.
Q: Will you be releasing a new novel in 2020? If so, can you give us a hint as to what it will be about?
A: I don’t think they’ll be a novel this year, but I will be editing and contributing to two anthologies. The first is due to release with Wonder Woman 1984 and has a theme of sexy superheroes and the second will be Holiday Hanukah stories coming in December.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
A: Keep going – finish the manuscript. Don’t let the shiny new idea distract you or you will have a lot of starts and nothing to submit. Also, find other authors for support. Writers need writers. And if you write in a genre, writers in your genre are especially important.