Thursday, March 8, 2012

Interview with Rachel Coker, author of Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words

Rachel Coker's first novel, Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words, which is a historical novel for young adults set during World War II, was recently published. What makes this remarkable is that Rachel is fifteen years old. I was very impressed to see such a young writer publishing a book, and I am excited to post this interview with Rachel.

How did you get started writing at such a young age? Have you always loved to write?

It all started as a school assignment, actually. When I was in sixth grade, my mom had me write a short story about a girl living during the Reformation. It turned out pretty well and I’ve been writing ever since! I don’t remember writing much before that, unless you count a few short poems and lame stories I made up in second grade as writing.

What was the hardest part of publishing a novel at your age?

Probably getting people to take me seriously. It was really hard to convince people that I really did have a contract and that my book really was coming out and would be available at places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I think a lot of people thought at first that I was self-publishing or that it was something minor.

Why did you decide to write historical fiction?

Because I love it! History is seriously my favorite thing to study. It’s so much fun to learn about what life would have been like for someone growing up in the 40’s, or 60’s, or even 1800’s, and then try to interpret that into a book. If you can write a story about someone who grew up a hundred years ago and it still speaks to the person reading it today, then you have accomplished something. I believe that, in the end, people are still the same today as they were then, despite the changes in culture.

What are some of your own favorite books and authors?

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is my absolute favorite book. It is one of the few works I have read that has completely captivated me and connected me to that time period. I had a whole new respect and understanding of the people who lived through the Civil War after reading that book. I also really love Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, because it was the first book I read that inspired me to use my imagination.

When you aren't writing, how do you enjoy spending your time?

I run a blog that takes up a lot of my time, talking about my life and offering encouragement other teens. I also teach piano and spend a lot of time doing portrait photography for families in our area. But I am a junior in high school, so school is definitely my first priority!

I definitely agree with Rachel about historical fiction, which is my favorite too! I plan to review Interrupted soon, but in the meantime, here is the cover and summary:

Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn't shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. 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.

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