How did you come up with the plot of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century?
I’d just finished my first ever book (which is in submission now, fingers crossed), and was ready to start another novel. And, as it would happen, I’d just finished two Regency period books and I fell in love with the idea of writing my own historical. But I wanted it to be from the Renaissance because I’ve always loved that time in history. Once I knew the time, I also knew I wanted my character to be from modern day, and to let readers view the world through the eyes of someone from their own time, who knows what we know. So I had time travel, and I had the period in history. The title came pretty quickly after that. With that final piece in place, the rest came together and the idea was born.
What’s your favourite reading spot? Your favourite writing spot?
Favorite reading spot…really, I read anywhere I can (in the line at the grocery store, eating breakfast, before bed, walking on the treadmill) but I would probably say my favorite spot is the bathtub. No distractions, just me and the words, and yummy scented bubble bath.
My favorite writing spot is actually the hotel LOL. In my house I do have a desk set up with two monitors, my character sketches on the wall and books surrounding me for reference. But since I homeschool my kids it is very rare that I can write for more than twenty minutes without answering a question or stopping a fight over something ridiculous. My husband, (bless him) has sent me twice to a hotel during the drafting of the sequel to My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (A Tale of Two Centuries), and having an entire weekend of silence was just so so beautiful. Sigh….. (*grin*)
Describe your writing process.
Obsessive. LOL. Seriously, I get an idea and I flesh out as much as I can think right then—the setting, the main character’s external and internal conflict, the right love interest, and at least 3 turning points, the black moment, climax, and resolution. I start breaking down the characters more, interviewing them and figuring them out. Then I come up with a story soundtrack based on those character arcs and plot points. Often times the music then helps me flesh out the rest of the story, but if not, I then flesh that out a little more, too. Any research that has to be done comes in here. For Super Sweet, obviously, I had a ton and that’s where my obsession really took over as I lived and breathed the Renaissance for two weeks straight, filling notebooks and printing pages of info. Once all that is in place, I start “Chapter One.”
As for the actual drafting, I edit myself as I go, chapter by chapter, and then at the end of the day or if it takes two, I then send the latest words to my critique partners. They do the same. We try to turn pages around very quickly and I then put in any notes they had. By the time I move to the next chapter, I have fully edited the chapter before it, so I always feel confident I know where I’m going. For My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, I plotted the first two weeks of January 2011, researched the last two, and wrote the first draft February-March. I started querying in April.
If you could be any fictional character from any novel, who would it be and why?
Oh, this is tough because any good character has flaws along with strengths, so no one is perfect, and I love all my favorite protagonists for different reasons. But if I had to choose….oh so hard…..Either the obvious (but my favorite) Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice OR Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. Elizabeth because she is strong and isn’t afraid to buck the system and be herself, but she also admitted when she was wrong. She lived in a beautiful country in a beautiful time…and come on? Mr. Darcy. Reason enough. And Anna because she got to live in France, she fell in love with a beautiful boy, she had the opportunity for real life growth and seized it, and she’s an original.
And apparently, based on those answers, I want to live in Europe =)
If you could have any other creative skill what would it be?
Singing!!! I so wish I could sing. I mean I do it all the time anyway, but it would help if I didn’t sound so horribly. I grew up with the belief that this was the voice God gave me so it must be the key He wants to hear me sing in….but I think my neighbors tend to disagree with that.
What are some challenges you’ve had as an author?
Honestly, the biggest challenge I’ve had—and still have—Is believing in myself as an author. Like many women, I’ve battled self-esteem issues in various areas of my life and I’ve kicked many of them as I’ve gotten older, but when it comes to my writing, something so personal, it is hard to trust when my pages are really good and it’s not just me liking it because I wrote it. If that makes sense. And this is where my awesome critique partners and my amazing editor come in. Once I get their feedback and approval back, I can relax and breathe easier. Now that I’ve been writing for almost two years (Super Sweet was my second novel, and I’ve now completed three and working on another), that confidence is coming more and more…but it is still a struggle.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES will be published June 2013. This is a fun flip-flop on My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century because it is a sixteenth century girl (Alessandra, Cat’s cousin) time traveling to the twenty-first century. This was so much fun for me to write! And after that, REARVIEW MIRROR will be available December 2013. This is a YA Thriller set in New Orleans told via dual character POV (Aubrie and Ben) and I’m really excited about it. Both are up on Goodreads for more info (*grin*)
About the Author
As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.
As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.
When she’s not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.
MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel. She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn’t televised.