Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on YA author Rachel Hawthorne. She will tell you what other names she writes under, and what types of YA books she actually writes in the paragraph below. I had asked her to tell us briefly a little about herself and her writing, and how she would like us to introduce her, and this was her response:
Under the name Rachel Hawthorne, I write contemporary and paranormal romance for young adult readers. I’ve also written historical romance for teens under the name Lorraine Heath and Jade Parker. I’ve written a vampire series with my son under the name J. A. London. I enjoy writing books for teens, bringing them stories that are fun to read.
Most of my work for teens, however, has been done under the name Rachel Hawthorne so that is how you may introduce me.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Check out my website: rachelhawthorne.net
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Trouble From the Start?
I write stories with emotion, teens usually dealing with an issue and through love finding a way to overcome challenges. In Trouble from the Start, the hero is known as a troublemaker at school, always getting into fights, not making the grades needed to graduate. The heroine graduates in the top of her class is the perfect student. He and the heroine are at odds—then her cop father brings him home to live with them for the summer. And she sees a very different guy from the one she knew at school, a guy she finds herself falling for.
What was the inspiration for [newest release/series release is part of/spotlighted release]? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
I like wounded or tormented heroes, and I wanted to write a story about a guy who never seemed to get a break. The hero isn’t the troublemaker everyone thinks he is but pretends to be in order to keep a secret. It’s a story that had been with me for a while. I like stories where opposites attract. Good girl/bad guy. The steps to bring it from inspiration to the finished book mostly involved just writing the story. I don’t outline so I usually have to do several revisions to get it polished and smooth enough for publication.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
I love weaving stories, creating characters with whom I’d like to be friends, and ensuring everyone gets their happy ever after. The actual writing is my favorite part, falling into the story and seeing where it takes me. I do enjoy the other aspects—polishing it further with the copy editors, seeing it typeset into galleys, getting a peek at the cover. It’s all exciting, but it’s the writing that matters the most to me.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that I shouldn’t try to second guess what the reader wants in the story. I need to write it as I initially see it. Sometimes an editor will ask for some changes, but the first draft needs to be as I envisioned the story. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Publishing is a team effort. Everyone at the publishing house wants it to be the best story it can be, so I have to be willing to listen to their ideas or suggestions. I don’t have to always take them, but I can’t be offended by them.
What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?
Last summer I went to London and Rome for two reader events. It was wonderful to meet so many readers from other countries. It was also fun to research the areas. Visiting different places tends to open up the well of creativity and start story ideas flowing.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
When I’m writing I listen to a thunderstorm CD. I’ve been doing this ever since I started writing more than 25 years ago. It now serves as a trigger that it’s time to start writing.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
The most challenging part of the writing process is to actually sit down and write the story. As much as I love writing, it always seems a bit intimidating to look at the blank page and to know I have to fill it with words. With 80,000-100,000 words. I tend to think of my stories in terms of scenes. A scene is more manageable than 400 blank pages. So I just have to sit down and write a scene. And then the next scene and the next scene.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Rachel!