Q & A With Rae
ABOUT HER PROCESS…
Q: What’s a typical workday like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
RAE: Let’s see, my typical workday…anything goes. I work full-time and I also do contract work on the side, so I just try to get my writing in whenever and wherever I can. As far as setting goals and my overall process, I am shamefully undisciplined. I’m also very moody and have been known to take a hiatus whenever it suits me or to flow nonstop with little sleep for many days and nights when I’m feeling it. I really would like to be more structured because that would be a bit easier to manage than my random spurts. But the truth is, I’m not too pressed about it because I guess I do like the surprise of it all. When writing happens, it happens…and for the most part, I’m okay with that.
Q: Which typically comes first – the story, the characters or the setting?
RAE: For UNLIKE ME, Sabrena came first. For OPEN, Ailana was first but the story was a very close second. SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN is a sequel, so I just had to re-imagine the story for the characters. And for 22, the story and Nina sort of came to me all at once but then halfway through the manuscript, Nina pushed me in a totally different direction from what I originally plotted…so since the story shifted, I guess technically Nina was first? *shrug* Yeah, Nina was first.
Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
RAE: I have a tendency to edit as I write, and it’s so frustrating because it stifles my flow. I may have a whole scene in my head, but I’m often unsuccessful in getting it out in one sitting because of some “perfect” word or phrase I’m searching for…it’s maddening.
ABOUT HER BOOKS…
Q: What was your biggest fear about the release of your first novel, UNLIKE ME?
RAE: Having people actually read it! I was pretty insecure, not wanting other people to call my baby “ugly.” Even now, I still get nervous about the critiques of my work because I really do want people to “get it” and to get me…but I’ve learned to accept that not everyone will. Sometimes, I also stress about how people will react to my voice and my style, but I’m learning to get over that too. People are going to have their opinions and the exposure can be overwhelming at times, but all in all…I’m really freaking happy to be where I am and to be doing what I’m doing! Not to mention how sincerely grateful and humbled I am by all the positive feedback for my work. Thanks SO much to all the readers…I appreciate you! 🙂
Q: Given the cliffhanger in UNLIKE ME, what can readers expect in the sequel, SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN?
RAE: Without revealing spoilers, I’ll just say they can expect the best of the old and everything new! The start of SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN is actually a few months after the dust settles and the characters are living with the choices they’ve made. There are quite a few twists and surprises along the way…the five main characters—Bree, Rowe, Monica, Tashi and Chazz—are all in rare form. Dez and Quincy come into the forefront to stir things up and readers will get reintroduced to a mysterious character from UNLIKE ME who they just may have forgotten about. Overall, each character is literally on the fence and by the end (no more cliffhangers, I promise! lol), all of them will have evolved in monumental and, in some instances, life-changing ways. It’s a really fun ride!
Q: So you say no more cliffhangers…but is it possible that there will be a third book in the series?
RAE: Err uhh…we’ll see. lol
Q: Where did you come up with the idea for OPEN?
RAE: That’s a long story, but I’ll go with the short version — two people very close to me opened my eyes to something and my curiosity about it got the best of me. I wanted to explore their world without actually becoming involved (I’m sooo not that grown yet…ha!) and what better way to do that than through writing? Add to that my fascination with soul connections and karmic relationships and boom…you’ve got a pretty provocative tale!
Q: Who do you think will enjoy OPEN?
RAE: Anyone of any age or gender who’s willing to read with an open mind. I will say that, as I was writing it, I initially felt like OPEN would be very polarizing…the kind of book that would either make a person eagerly drill me with a thousand questions to learn more or give me the shady side eye with a few tsks…basically, you’d either “get it” or you’d be like wtf? So far, the feedback I’ve received has been extremely positive…from both women and men, young and old. People are really enjoying Ailana’s story, and I’m so excited about that.
Q: Where did you get the idea for 22?
RAE: I actually got the idea from a random thought I had one day about relationships. It seems like more and more people are going from hookups to breakups in record time…everyday people who get together and a few weeks later they’re all boo’d up and getting keys made and then suddenly their social media status dips into “complicated” territory before crashing right back to “single.” So I started wondering if love – solid love…not just infatuation – could actually happen in say, three weeks AND last? I’ll admit, I’m a skeptic. Especially in this age of convenience, superficiality and instant gratification. Lust yes, but love? In 21 days? I don’t know. That’s when the main character, Nina, showed up and was like, “Yeah, but what if it did happen? And if not in 21 days, maybe in 22…” And then the story took off from there.
ABOUT HER CHARACTERS…
Q: Who’s your favorite character from your books?
RAE: I love them all, but I have to go with Tashi (from UNLIKE ME and SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN). She’s bold. Erotic. Fun. Insatiable. Unapologetically unattached. Refreshingly true to herself. Tashi’s problem is she’s used to having her way, especially with men, so it was quite entertaining to see her reaction when I introduced her to Quincy and how he takes her over. So yep, Tashi’s my girl…and she was definitely the most fun character to write.
Q: You have a rather diverse lineup of male characters. So…which of the men is your favorite – Austin, Brian, Dean, Dez, Ethan, Kyle, Luke, Quincy or Rowe? By the way…you can only choose one.
RAE: Ugh, that’s tough! They have all endeared themselves to me in one way or another but if I had to choose one right now…I’d probably go for Dean. He has ways. lol Besides that, he’s solid and genuine. Passionate. And even though his past is questionable, he’s a total good guy at heart. Plus, there’s never any pressure with Dean…he just lets you be you. I love that about his character, and I think others will too.
Q: Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?
RAE: It’s a delicate dance, but they usually control me. I’m okay with that…now. 😉
ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE…
Q: Who would we find on your bookshelves?
RAE: There are dozens of authors on my bookshelves…my home is full of books and I probably have about fifty books in cue to read on my Kindle right now! So I guess the real question is who is most repetitive on my bookshelves? Let’s see…Eric Jerome Dickey, Tracy Brown, T. P. Carter, Darnella Ford, Grace Octavia, R.M. Johnson, Carl Weber, Sandra Brown and Dean Koontz are some of my favorites.
Q: Why did you self-publish?
RAE: My main goal has always been to become the best writer I can be and being independent gives me the freedom to do that. Besides, I’d be a fool to step to a traditional house at this time because I know deep down I am not ready for all that comes with it. At this point in my life, all I care to commit to is the craft and process of writing; my growth and development are most important to me right now. Once I feel like I’m really ready to do more than that…who knows? Never say never.
Q: What advice would you give other newbies on their indie journey?
RAE: Trust yourself. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing and how they are making it happen. It’ll only serve as a distraction. Just do you.