Rachel is joining us on a pit stop during her virtual book tour to promote her latest release The Mancode: Exposed. Before we get to the Q&A, here's a little bit about Rachel.
I'm a chick who writes stuff that makes you laugh. My blog has been nominated for funniest blog this year. I've been told I write in the style of that Dickens guy. Kidding.
I'm a mom, a wife, and a recovering pharmaceuticals rep. It's been a long process but I'm doing okay, thanks.
I usually write about men (The Mancode), marriage, kids, being a mom, living in the OC (ya know--being a pale redhead living in a sea of blondes) and vodka. Not necessarily in that order depending on the day.
I also write occasionally about serious stuff, like the death of someone I once loved or lost love--so don't be shocked if you come visit and don't see the funny.
Don't come here looking to find advice about how to be sweet or nice. I'm pretty much allergic to both of those words.
If you want to learn how to find humor in everyday life, well, I'm really not your girl either. Mostly I just laugh at stuff and make up words (See "Refrigeratoritis and Manesia.") Yet somehow it all seems to work.
And don't call me cute. (Hint: babies and puppies are cute. Grown women are not.)
Special note to men: I write frequently about "The Mancode" -- like how you guys do goofy stuff and we women try and often fail to understand. (Um, change the toilet paper roll much? Yea, that's what I thought.) If that offends your sensibilities, keep walking, er, typing.
So, welcome to RachelintheOC. Now go read a post or two and find something to laugh at, would ya?
I have to go help my husband find the butter. Again.
*laughing* Help us give a warm welcome to Rachel!
Brenda & Steve: Rachel, welcome to our blog! We’re so excited you could join us for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
Rachel: I first started thinking about publishing essays from my blog in 2010 and many authors I respected highly had great luck with self-publishing. I also have a good friend who, at the time was a senior editor at Simon and Schuster, and she could see the changes in publishing and strongly recommended I take a look at the benefits of self-pub.
From there I gathered my favorite essays, wrote about a third new material, hired an editor, graphic artist, and formatter, and A Walk In The Snark was a go! It became a #1 bestseller on the Kindle Motherhood list in September, 2011 as well as #1 on Parenting & Families and even Women’s Studies. It’s been amazing.
Brenda & Steve: Please tell us a little about your new release The Mancode: Exposed without giving too much of a spoiler away.
Rachel: This book carries the Mancode theme first introduced on my blog and in the first book to a whole new level – one where I deconstruct the interactions between men and women into four sections: Anatomy and Physiology, Chocolate Confessions, Coitus and Communications, and DNA and Stereotypes. There is humor. There is sex. There is chocolate.
So far, it seems to be a hit. I released the book just after Thanksgiving and it hit #1 on multiple lists (Marriage, Parenting and Families, Parenting and Relationships), outranked Go The F*ck To Sleep, and as I write this is ranked in the Kindle Top 100 Paid (#82)!
Brenda & Steve: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Rachel: I write about my husband and I, of course. But really anything – or anyone -- that happens in the course of a day is fair game. Sure, I’m writing humor but this is also nonfiction. I never know what interaction might light a fire in my head. My muse, #badredhead, has a naughty streak and loves to rile people up. *smiles* I’ve been accused of being a misandrist to never having left high school. It’s great.
Brenda & Steve: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
Rachel: Well, my BA is in Communications and I’m a certified Communications trainer in my previous corporate life. That said, I don’t claim to be an expert or “ologist” of any kind. I do read every book I can on men and women, particularly psych books, mostly because it fascinates me. But my essays are reality-based – everything you read really and truly happened--with perhaps a dash of hyperbole thrown in with the vodka.
Brenda & Steve: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?
Rachel: I’m kind of in-between. I don’t outline, but I do sort of pre-write in my head. I get an idea for an essay and toy around for a bit while I burn stuff in the kitchen. When I sit down to write it, though, I just go.
Brenda & Steve: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?
Rachel: I do write full-time, though that’s somewhat of a misnomer, because I also do social media consulting (BadRedhead Media), volunteer with the Indie Book Collective, help my husband with his business, and am also a full-time mom. So I frequently must write at night when everyone else is sleeping. I miss sleep.
In addition, I do a weekly Blog Talk Radio show for the IBC (with cofounder Amber Scott), as well as two monthly social media webinars to help authors learn about social media, branding, and Twitter tips and tricks.
Before I became a writer as a living, I was a pharma rep and trainer for about fifteen years. I quit in 2004. It’s been a long recovery, but I’m doing okay.
Brenda & Steve: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
Rachel: Get coffee, kids off to school, do not look at dishes in sink screaming to be cleaned up, go straight to desk, turn on music, write.
Brenda & Steve: Describe a typical writing day for you.
Rachel: I have a goal to write two essays every day. I’m part of a critique group that meets via phone each week and if your pages aren’t in, ‘you in trouble, girl.’ We’re all published authors at this point, so there are no excuses (well, there ARE – you should hear how creative we get. I mean, we ARE writers. But still…). We’re all very busy with other tasks (jobs, family, marketing and promo) but the writing must get done. I find having this group is incredible helpful in meeting my writing goals.
I schedule in much of my social media (tweets and Facebook messages), so that frees me up to write as well. Of course I interact live frequently, but only when my writing is done. Husband interruptions taken into account, I can usually finish and edit one essay daily. It’s good to have a goal though.
Brenda & Steve: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?
Rachel: My next book takes a concept first introduced in A Walk In The Snark and expanded on slightly in Mancode: Exposed. Titled Chickspeak: Uncovered, my goal with this book is to help out the guys. Kind of a manual, if you will, for what “I’m fine,” truly means. I’m aiming for a Spring, 2012 release date.
In a different direction, I touch on some very serious topics in A Walk In The Snark – remember, I write nonfiction, not strictly humor. My themes are men, women, love, and loss. I’ve written a number of essays regarding abuse, suicide, and other such topics. Many people have contacted me via Twitter, Facebook, my blog and email with their own stories and it’s been unexpected, heartbreaking, yet also touching and beautiful. I plan to expand on those and put them together into a novelette.
Brenda & Steve: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?
Rachel: I read a lot of paranormal and time-travel books, sci-fi (total geek girl), and literary fiction. I’ve read and reread The World According To Garp by John Irving multiple times. I also loved The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and read it yearly (the book is amazing – the movie though? #blech). As for nonfiction, huge David Sedaris fan. Love all his work.
Brenda & Steve: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
Rachel: I co-wrote a book on self-publishing called Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide To Self-Publishing (with Kindle bestselling authors Carolyn McCray and Amber Scott). If anyone needs a guide to market and sell their books, I suggest checking out this book. It’s on Amazon for a buck. We also have an anthology called Our Indie Experience, which gives readers a glimpse into what fifteen to twenty writers have experienced – the good, the bad, and the searingly honest when it comes to self-pub. Also on Amazon for 99 cents.
Brenda & Steve: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web? (Add the web links here)
Rachel: My books are eBook format only exclusively on Amazon but I like to remind readers that no Kindle is required – they can easily download the free Kindle app here for their smartphone, computer, tablet, or cloud. Even Nook owners can download the free apps!
You can follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC, Facebook, Goodreads, my blog RachelintheOC.com or email me RachelintheOC@gmail.com. I love to interact with readers and answer any questions!
Brenda & Steve: Thank you again for stopping by Rachel!
Reader's, Rachel is giving away a copy, eBook format, of The Mancode: Exposed to one lucky commenter. Comments are open and will close Jan 17 at 11 PM PST. Winner will drawn on Jan 18. Please leave your email address in the comment so we can contact the winner in a timely manner.