Meet Rachael Wright. She’s a writer, mother, and tea-obsessed devotee who believes in the power of the written word and the healing that can come from reading a good book.
I asked Rachael how old she was when she started writing, and if she always wanted to be a writer. She explained that she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing stating, "It seems like the desire to create stories was always there. I took a detour during college, getting degrees in History and Political Science. In 2014 I wrote my first novel, at the age of 26. Somewhere I have at least twenty unfinished drafts of stories. It was difficult to find a story that I enjoyed enough to finish."
I asked Rachael if she planned to make writing her full-time career and she said, "I would love to make writing my full-time career. Writing is central to who I am as a person. My husband jokes that when I get stressed it’s because I haven’t written in a few days and he makes sure I have a few hours in front of my computer. JK Rowling was asked once what she would be if she wasn’t a writer, and she said depressed. Depressed is exactly what I would be. Making writing a full-time career isn’t about the money for me, it’s really about having the ability to always write."
The next novel Rachael is releasing will be her fourth novel. When asked to give a brief synopsis of her upcoming novel she said, "My most recent novel, A Solitary Reaper, is the sequel to Mrs. Fitzroy. I didn’t plan on writing a mystery series and definitely not one set in Lesvos, Greece where the protagonist is a fifty-year-old man. It just happened, as these things do. In Mrs. Fitzroy the reader is introduced to Captain Alexandros Savva of the Hellenic Police. He’s investigating the death of John Fitzroy whose 1936 Morgan 4 catapulted off a cliff. Here’s a synopsis of A Solitary Reaper - Secrets, lies, and pain lie under the beautiful and serene mask of the Isle of Lesvos, Greece. Captain Alexandros Savva of the Hellenic Police knows all three first hand. The decade-old murder of his only child haunts him and pushes him to solve every case regardless of how undeserving its victim. Savva and his team are called to Mount Lepetimnos by an American tourist who finds a man murdered on the summit. After fingerprints identify the victim as Matthias Papatonis, a former Greek mafía enforcer, locals and police brass alike label the murder a revenge killing and declare the case closed. Amid the arrival of a trafficked woman in his home, rescued by the efforts of Syrian refugees, Savva and his newly-minted Lieutenant, Stelios Booras, question what really happened to Matthias. Twenty years ago Matthias ruined countless lives during his tenure in Athens. As Savva investigates to see if there’s more to the brutal murder than the mafía tying up loose ends, long-buried secrets resurface, as do the people who are haunted by them. For not on the small island of Lesvos, nor on the quiet streets of Mitilini, can secrets be kept forever. A gritty, emotionally-charged, mystery, A Solitary Reaper, is a profound exploration of the love which binds us, and the secrets which tear us apart."
Wow, I can't wait to read this!
When asked about her favorite character in this new novel, Rachael went on to explain, "My favorite character in the Savva series has to be Savva himself. He loves his wife, he’s grumpy, and he’s got this spark about him. He feels real to me; this man who has a code of ethics, who isn’t political at all but just wants to serve his community the best way he can. Savva isn’t perfect but he’s a good man and in the end, I think that’s what most of us want to be."
I asked Rachael if she'd always written this genre and she said, "No, I haven’t always written mystery. My first book is women’s fiction (with a small element of mystery) and my second book is historical fiction set in 1960s Paris. Like I said, I fell into it. When I wrote Mrs. Fitzroy I wanted to write a book that explored the effects of an abusive marriage. I knew that John Fitzroy would die, and I’d introduce this police captain, but I had no idea he’d become the central character to an entire series. I had planned to write a novel featuring Mrs. Fitzroy’s niece, set in London. I might still write that one, who knows."
When asked what her favorite part of the writing process was Rachael said, "My favorite part of the writing process is always in flux. When I’m writing the first draft I can’t wait to start editing and really see the novel begin to take form and come together into something resembling a story, but when I’m two months into editing, I can’t wait to start a new book because I get so tired of re-reading the same passage over and over. Right now I’m writing the first draft of my fifth book and it’s going slower than I would wish, but I’m trying to just enjoy where I am on a day-to-day basis." When asked what she considered the hardest part of the writing process she replied, "The hardest part of writing for me has to be the 3/4 point of the final edit. It takes a lot of mental focus to push through the final edit because all I want to do is be done with the book and to start the next one. But the final edit is my last chance to catch anything so it’s vital to the success of the book."
I asked Rachael if she had any writing quirks and she said, "I can’t listen to music with words while I write. It’s hugely distracting for me. So I listen to Ludovico Einualdi, Harry Potter theme music, or Plainchant. Plainchant is gorgeous; I love the sonorous melodies, and while yes it does contain words, they are in Latin and my Latin isn’t good enough to actually understand what they’re saying. Also, I’m not a coffee shop writer. I have to be alone. I get too distracted if there are a bunch of people around. Although, I do go to coffee shops when I’m getting ready to start a new novel. It’s a great place to get ideas for typical human interactions." As far as her favorite writing tools and programs she said, "I switched to Scrivener after I wrote my first novel and it’s been a complete game changer. I absolutely love it. I can't say enough about it. It’s the main reason why I can write novels so quickly."
Yay! A fellow Scrivener fan!
When asked if any other authors had inspired her she said, "I don’t think I could pick just one author who inspired me. To be honest, all of them do, because they all have that drive within them to create stories; to paint pictures with words. There is something inspiring, something I can learn, from all of them." Rachael also has advice for writers just starting out on their writing journey stating, "I would say the first book is the hardest, the longest, and the one you care the most about. It’s also not going to be your best book. You are learning everything all at once about what it takes to write a book, and it’s a steep learning curve. Stay with it. Your writing will improve. It won’t take as long to write the successive books. But enjoy it. Your first novel is a lot like your first kiss: it may be good, it may be bad, but you won’t forget it."
I asked Rachael about her plans for future books. She said, "A Solitary Reaper will be out in the fall, probably November, and the book I’m writing now, tentatively titled, Unknown Men, will release in the Spring of 2019. Savva is dealing with a lot in these books, including a human trafficking ring and a man who got away with murder." Wow! I asked Rachael how long it usually takes her to write a book and she replied, "It takes me about five months to write a book. This includes about a month for the first draft, two-three weeks off to clear my head, three months of editing, and then another month while my editor goes through it with a fine-toothed comb. I spent an entire year on my first novel, about nine months on the second, and then with the last two, I’ve condensed myself down to five. Most of this is because I am writing full-time and I set aside the majority of my day to write while my daughter is in school. I approach writing like it is a job. Some days my job is amazing and I get twice the amount of work done, and other days I struggle to get what I need to do done."
To wrap up our interview, I asked Rachael what she was currently reading. She replied, "I’m currently reading Elizabeth George’s 18th novel in the Inspector Lynley Series and I just started The Paris Effect by another indie author, Karen Burns."
If you're interested in reading Rachael's books or would like to find out more information about her, you can do so at the links below:
The Clouds Aren't White: https://www.amazon.com/Clouds-Arent-White-Rachael-Wright-ebook/dp/B01ABDLIFQ