- Hi Rachele, welcome to OAAA. since you are new to this event would you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks for featuring me! I like to say that I’m a high school English teacher by day, mom and wife by night, and I write during any time I can find in between! I grew up in and live in Cleveland, Ohio and keep busy rooting on our sports’ teams, spending time outdoors, going to concerts, and traveling.
- What made you want to start writing?
I grew up surrounding by books and had always loved reading. I was fortunate to live in a house where reading was a top priority and both my mom and grandma read to me constantly. As I got older, if was found that I had a pretty severe speech impediment. Most people didn’t understand a word I was saying, and I had to go to a speech therapist. I loved to talk and tell stories, though, so my mom encouraged me to begin to write down what I wanted to say. She got me notebooks and fun pens, and I began to write. It was freeing to me, because I was able to put down the words I wanted so desperately to say that people had trouble understanding. She sparked that love of writing, and I’m still filling notebooks thirty-plus years later!
- Can you tell us a bit about your first novel?
Sure! CANARY is about a girl whose dad gets a job coaching basketball at an elite private high school. She transfer there and is instantly enfolded into the popular crowd. She begins to date a player on the team and slowly begins to see the way the town idolizes the players and how they can get away with things because they are athletes. When she is assaulted by another player, her dad wants her to stay quiet to protect the team. She then needs to decide whether she should stay quiet or speak up about what happened.
- You have several new releases in 2017 and another in 2018, what is it like to have so many books releasing so close together?
It’s pretty surreal to tell you the truth! I’ve been writing for so long and the dream has always been to see my book on shelves, so the fact that I have multiple books coming out just blows my mind. It’s pretty exciting to be able to do what I love, and I consider myself very very lucky.
- If you were a piece of book swag what would you be and why?
Ha! This question is great! I think I’d be a top-secret extra chapter of a book that readers could get. I feel like when I finish a book, the characters still exist in my I’m always creating more chapters, stories, and adventures for my characters that don’t always make it into the book. So I’d be the chapters that exist beyond the final pages of my books!
- What is your favorite place to write? Do you write with music or have specific drinks or snacks nearby.
It depends on if I can get out of the house or not. If I can leave the house, I love writing at either the local Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, or Panera. I have specific tables at each that I like to work at, and I’ve been known to drive to a different place if the table at one is taken. Crazy, right!?! I have a few writer superstitions like that!
If I’m writing at home, my favorite spot is on my front porch. I have a big cushioned outdoor chair, there’s a pillar that’s perfect to put my feet on, and a little table that I can keep me coffee on top of. Inside I’ll either write in the office that’s off our living room (which I only do if my son is sleeping, since it’s glass and he’s always peeking in otherwise!) or in my bed. I love piling up pillows and sitting with my laptop in bed.
My magical writing fuel is coffee, so I always have that with me and if I’m lucky, some kind of gummy candy too. Music is always a must when writing, and I have a playlist for each novel and noise canceling headphones, so I tune out the rest of the world.
- What do you most look forward to in the next year?
I have a ton of author visits, writing workshops, and Skype chats lined up. I love connecting with my readers and talking to them, so I can’t wait to do this. There’s nothing better than meeting the kids who are reading my book!
- Who were some people that inspired you when you started writing?
My mom and my grandma were my earliest inspirations. My mom was a pre-school teacher and my grandma loved to read, so I grew up surrounded by books. We were always reading or going to the library.
My fifth-grade teacher, Miss Radkowski, was the one who really encouraged me to start writing. We did journals every day and she let us write whatever we wanted. I had so much fun filling up those journals and looked forward to the motivating words she’d write next to my stories. I actually still have those journals, and once in awhile will go back and revisit them! It was so important to have someone who believed in my writing from an early age.
- What is the first think you do when you finish a book?
Sleep! Ha! No, really, I do! I still teach full-time and have a two-year-old son, so writing is something that I squeeze in between the moments when I can find time, so I’m often running on empty when I have a book deadline.
But after I catch up on sleep, I like to put my book away for a week or two and spend time with my family, read some books I love, and binge of some reality TV. I think it’s important to recharge and take a break when I finish a draft of a project.
- Is there anything else you want to talk about? (This is where you can plug your events, anything else you’re working on, etc!)
I love connecting to readers and have a Pen-Pal club where anyone who reads one of my books can then write me (snail mail is my favorite!), and I’ll write back, send a signed bookmark, and personalized bookplate to put in the book if they purchased it. The letters can have questions about my book(s), questions about writing and publishing, or anything else that a reader is curious about. I love hearing from readers and always write back! This is also a great project for teachers or Girl Scout Troops (I even have a patch, YOU THROW LIKE A GIRL, for interested Girl Scouts!). You can reach me at Rachele Alpine, P.O. Box 1563, Mentor, OH 44061 or visit me on my webpage at www.rachelealpine.com