I'm welcoming another self-published author to the blog today who's celebrating the release of their first book this week!
Here we go...
Rachel Hobbs lives in soggy South West Wales, where she hibernates with her bearded dragon and her husband. By day she is a dental nurse at a small local practice. By night, she writes.
For her, it’s her late grandma’s legacy. For him, the mother of all black arts spoils, granting one demon the power of a God. Immortality.
When occult-magnet Ruby falls victim to Demon Lord Drayvex’s viperous allure, she loses a sentient dark relic to his light fingers and appetite for power. Like calls to like. But when Drayvex himself loses the relic to a traitor to the throne, Ruby coerces him – the tyrant king with a soft spot for humanity – into helping her save her pokey old world village from becoming a ground zero of mass demonic carnage.
Both invested in reclaiming the relic, the one thing Ruby and Drayvex agree on is that it’s in the wrong hands. Co-existing in a precarious arrangement between predator and prey, to save the planet they both love for different reasons, they must become a formidable double-team in the face of an apocalyptic takeover. Now, the fate of both human and demon alike rests with a killer that walks between worlds, and a woman with a curse in her bloodline.
Who are you and what do you write?
Hello! My name’s Rachel, and I write dark fiction. I’m still discovering who I am as an author, so watch this space. But I like to write about monsters that aren’t quite as monstrous as they would have you first think, and heroes that when pushed, twist in delicious, dark ways. My debut dark fantasy, Shadow-Stained, is about a young woman with a complicated past, and the Demon Lord who is so used to getting his own way that when she openly opposes him, it turns his world upside-down.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I first started writing fourteen years ago as a troubled teen. I didn’t know then what I know now, that I have two neurological conditions called narcolepsy and parasomnia, and I felt like I was losing my mind. At my lowest point, I found escape in what would one day become Shadow-Stained. This book is very personal to me, because throwing myself into writing it changed my life. Enter Drayvex, a presence so vivid and real in my mind that I almost mistook him for a delusion. His character haunted me, whispered in my ear when I least expected it, pervade my every thought. When I first committed myself to uncovering his story, it was to make him go away. But the more I wrote, the more his story sucked me in. Before I knew it, I was writing my first novel. I guess we know who won that one!
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
Shadow-Stained started life as a collection of scenes and disjointed conversations. These were the things that gripped me and refused to let me go. When I first committed to turning them into a novel, I had no idea what I was doing. Since then, I’ve spent the past few years rewriting the same book over and over, using the time between each draft to work on something new and exciting or better my craft. It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I’m finally at a place where putting my work out there doesn’t feel like a huge mistake.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
Writing that first draft was a steep learning curve. I wanted to give up more times than I can count. I agonised over difficult scenes, words that didn’t reflect the vision in my head. The story felt so much bigger than me, and so far beyond my capabilities as a new writer. By the time I’d made it to the end of that draft, I was a different person. Writing my first book was the most challenging and rewarding thing. Little did I know that the hard work had only just begun! I think the most enjoyable part of the process for me is when I’m nearing the end, and I’m looking back on everything I have and thinking, ‘phew. It is good after all.’ Because I have no true perspective on the worth of my words until I can step back and see them from a distance.
Would you go back and change anything?
Everything that I have been through to get here has made me a better writer. The good has inspired me to keep pushing forward and through the bad or unpleasant, I’ve learned valuable lessons that I wouldn’t otherwise have learnt. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
I’d like to establish a reader base who look forward to each new book I release. You see, I wrote Shadow-Stained for myself. The next book I write will be for me, too, obviously. But I’m ready to share my stories with the world and hopefully, give something back. There are so many authors growing up that changed my life. Books continue to change me as a person, and those special few will be with me always. What greater honour could there be than to know that your books have done the same for someone else?
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Writing is hard. You will fail, a lot. You will learn from your mistakes and you will grow, both as a writer and a person, because nothing ever grows within the confines of your comfort zone. I, myself, have learned to associate that uncomfortable, vulnerable feeling with personal growth. Also, I see the words ‘aspiring writer’ floating around quite a bit. In my opinion, if you write on a regular basis, you’re a writer. That’s it. Don’t aspire, be a writer! The world needs your words.
And MOST importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Ketchup, every time.
Night or Day? - Day. I’d miss the sun too much.
Inside or Outside? - Inside.
Dogs or Cats? - Cats. Although I actually prefer reptiles.
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter. I lurk daily.
Ebook or Paperback? - Ebooks, if only for convenience.
Sun or Rain? - Definitely sun.
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - I’d be lost without my keyboard!
Comedy or Drama? - Comedy.
Chips or Chocolate? - Major chip lover here.
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!