Book Nerd Interview
When I was in sixth grade, I wrote my first fiction short story for a school assignment and things pretty much rocketed from there. My mom signed me up for writing lessons for about a year, and I completed my first full length YA novel when I was fourteen. It is scheduled to come out with Zondervan in 2012.
Every book I’ve read has influenced my writing in some way, I’m sure. Especially the ones I read over and over as a child. I loved Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob, Have I Loved, both by Katherine Paterson. Anything beautiful and simple, but touching. Poetry has also had a profound influence on my writing. It has helped me be able to see the beauty in just a small amount of words. And also music. Sometimes the mood to a scene I’m writing can be completely altered by whatever I’m listening to at that moment, whether it’s a swingy jazz song or a Debussy piano piece.
Other than playing the Piano, what else do you love to do?
I love photography. I have a nice camera and I do portrait photography on the side for local families and seniors. I’m also trying to get into wedding photography this year, so we’ll see if I like that. :) I also love watching old black and white movies and reading enormous piles of books.
Tell us your latest news.
Well, I finally got a contract for my second book! It’s due to come out with Zondervan in March 2013, and I am over the moon excited. This whole journey has been amazing so far, and I can’t wait to go through the process of cover selection, trailers, interviews, etc. with the second book.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Quirky, sarcastic, opinionated.
For those who are unfamiliar with your Novel; Interrupted: Life Beyond Words, how would you introduce it?
It’s not your typical sappy romance novel. It’s the story of a girl who has been through so much pain and sorrow in her short life, with the death of her mother, and she doesn’t know how to deal with her bitterness and sorrow. Instead of practicing forgiveness and love, she holds her anger up inside herself and blames everyone else for her pain. She fights the love she really feels for those around her until it’s almost too late. But, in the end, it’s a story of how God can melt a heart of stone and give anyone a second chance at happiness.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Allie?
I think I learned a lot about myself through the situations I created for Allie. Her character’s personality is very similar to mine, so a lot of her reactions to things were copies of how I know I would react. The transformation of Allie from someone who is very reclusive to someone who is able to show love and affection gave me the ability to express my own feelings better.
Where did you get your idea for Sam?
Sam is the kind of guy that everyone knows. He’s crazy about a girl who we may not all like very much, but he sees her for what she really is. He knows that underneath her prickly exterior, she is a gem of a woman. I wanted there to be at least one character in the book who loves Allie because he knows she is capable of so much more love and kindness than she is showing at the moment. Sam understands Allie’s past because he was there, but he wants to be a part of her future because he loves her.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Oh, great question! Hmm… I think that Allie would really like Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Anne has such a spunky, optimistic personality even though she had a difficult childhood. If Anne had been around after Allie’s mother died, I think Allie would have had someone to talk to and she would have recovered from her grief a lot earlier. Plus, I just think it would be fun to see some of the lively conversations they would have held about writing and poetry!
What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I hate to admit it, but probably my age. It’s hard to find time to write when you’re constantly worrying about schoolwork, tests, and extracurricular activities. I am homeschooled, but it’s still difficult to set aside enough time to write. As long as I work at it a little at a time, though, the books come along pretty well.
If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
Probably my shoe collection. A lot of people who don’t know me personally would be really surprised to know how many clothes/shoes I own. It drives my dad crazy. I’m a teenage girl, though, so obviously I love dressing up and having a lot of clothes to choose from.
Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Tough choice! I still can’t imagine that anyone would want to want to write a book with me! I guess some dream authors to collaborate with would be Katherine Paterson, Gail Carson Levine, Cynthia Kadohata, Shannon Hale, or Natalie Babbitt.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’ve started work on my third book, but it’s not developed enough to really share yet. I can tell you a little about my second book, which is coming out next spring! It’s set in the 1960’s, and it’s the story of a girl named Scarlett growing up in Georgia with her eclectic little brother Cliff. Because little was known at that time about autism or other mental disabilities, Cliff is regarded as crazy and strange. Scarlett must learn to be strong and try to hold her family together, as difficult circumstances begin to tear them apart.
Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?
I love giving encouragement and advice on my blog to young people and adults interested in writing! I know that my story is a unique one and that many people have so many questions and comments for me, so I run a semi-regular feature on my blog answering questions that have been emailed to me. If you have any questions or comments for me, don’t hesitate to send me a message and I’ll try to respond on my blog as soon as possible!
What is your favorite Quote?
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl
What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen?
I was lying in bed one night in the middle of summer, and the moon was shining so brightly through my window. It was driving me crazy, because I couldn’t sleep! So I opened my window and sat on the edge of my bed. A warm breeze drifted through my room, and when I looked up at the moon it was so full and so bright. I’d never seen the moon so big before. It reminded me of those sci-fi movies where the earth tilts too close to the moon and it gets bigger and bigger until it swallows up half of the sky. That’s what it felt like, sitting there in the silence with my room bright as day, even though it was the middle of the night. It was one of the single most peaceful and lovely moments of my life. And to think only a few minutes earlier I had been cranky and mad that I couldn’t get to sleep!
Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Vanilla. Always vanilla.
Where can readers stalk you?
At my blog: www.rachelcoker.wordpress.com.
Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie's heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.
Rachel Coker’s debut novel, Interruped: A Life Beyond Words was a delightful read. Although the author is still in her teens, her writing is well beyond her years. It was maturely and beautifully written. It was unlike anything from the normal YA that I read.
The book follows Allie who witnessed her sick mother die. She moves in with an adopted family and quickly develops resentment for her adopted mother for trying to take her mother’s place. She keeps all of these emotions inside and distances herself from anything and anyone. Readers will find themselves feeling nothing but sympathy for young Allie. Coker fills every moment with emotions and you’ll begin to understand why her heart becomes bitter. Allie may come off as being unappreciative, but she has gone through so much pain that it’s hard for her to love. She knows in her heart that the pain will return if she loses someone again.
The story is very realistic in regards to struggles and pain of losing someone very close to you. Coker’s characters were just as authentic and inspirational. Even the insinuation of romance between Allie and Sam felt real and not overly sappy. It is a refreshing story about growing, learning, and loving. Rachel Coker has a development that will effortlessly transform into future classics that you will not want to miss.
You can purchase Interrupted at these following Retailers:
And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Rachel for making this giveaway possible.
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