Where are you from
Northern California, though I’ve lived in Southern California (thus the OC –Orange County — in RachelintheOC), Manhattan, New Jersey, Florida, and various other places throughout California.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
I have a BA in Communications and Journalism from the California State University, Sacramento. I’ve been blogging since 2008, published since 2011 (three books). I started my business, BadRedhead Media, in 2011 (author marketing, social media training and management, and branding). I was a pharma rep and trainer for over 15 years so I’m able to pull together all those skills into a creative field which is wonderful.
I’ve been married over 20 years and we have two children: a girl, age 14 and a boy, almost 8. I’m a terrible cook
Fiona: Tell us your latest news
I’m in the final stages of signing with a small publishing company to produce a print version of Broken Pieces, my latest release (I released it on Amazon last December). Very excited about that.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I became fascinated with the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett when I was about nine or ten. I decided then and there to be a writer.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Well, I sold some articles in college but publishing my first book (A Walk In The Snark) really cemented it for me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had started blogging a few years earlier and found my voice in humor — writing about men and women, relationships, marriage, etc. My ‘Mancode’ posts became so popular that people were asking for a book! So I pulled together some of my blog posts combined with original material and created the first book. The second and third books are all original material, not blogged first.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I usually have a list of ideas I want to write about and mull one over for a few days while doing other things. Then when I sit down to write, I just go. I don’t edit as I write — it interrupts the flow. It may be awful, it may be great, but at least it’s down. Music helps also — I listen to a lot of singer/songwriters for mood.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I usually choose the title before I start the book, though much of the ideas are in my head already. In this case, Broken Pieces fit because I was writing about ‘pieces’ of my life. I struggled with the structure but ultimately, I didn’t put them in chronological order because I wanted the reader to feel that same sense of disconnect that I did as much of it happened in real life.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I discuss many serious topics: childhood sexual abuse, suicide of a former lover, abusive relationships, date rape. My biggest message is that women are strong and we are survivors.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It’s all based on my experiences, though I wrap poetry and prose around it.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My own life.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I’m an avid reader of Margaret Atwood and John Irving, Stephen King’s less gory stuff growing up, and really anything now that’s well-written.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Susan Orlean, Anne Rice, Isabel Allende, John Iriving, and Margaret Atwood. Even Hemingway has some wonderful advice. I’ve read it all (and continue to do so).
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
So many! Steena Holmes, Jasinda Wilder, Christine Nolfi, Gabe Berman, Justin Bog, Eden Baylee…too many to name!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve pulled together many of my articles from BadRedheadMedia.com and I’m organizing them into a social media for authors book. Mine is based on experience and results, as well as practical ‘how-to’ information for any author. I’m also writing Broken Places, the next in the series after Broken Pieces.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.My fans are AWESOME. So is the writing community.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I am a writer. No question!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. It was exactly what I wanted, needed, felt compelled to write at the time. Except I’m adding book club questions — lots of requests for those which is wonderful!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson
The right answer is to turn and walk away. But his arms are so strong and his words caress her soul. In his heat she abandons her resolve.
She’s unsure how it started, moving from found to lost. One day she watches birds fly on apathetic wings, the next he stands behind her—his hands inside her heart.
He damages her new home, where she now lays her head, the place where guilt and lust meet.
But she cannot leave. His eyes hold her captive.
“You are mine,” he tells her. “I own you now.” She doesn’t disagree.
Her breath quickens, her skin burns from the real and imagined hold he has on her. He whispers promises of life together, as long as all the pieces of her are his.
Pieces of her—
all he needs.
I felt the storm break my heart.
Maybe I knew he had taken his life before I got the call; perhaps even before he left, his words a warning I didn’t know to catch.
I can admit that now.
Before he died, when we spoke a storm brewed in his words. He had lost so many people—some he hated, some he loved. But still. So many deaths. Drinking ruined him; alcohol killed his marriage, twisted his relationship with his young son into sadness. He only told me bits and pieces. His language, sparse, as if he had created his own. I gleaned as much as I could from every conversation, trying to understand unspoken words, held breaths.
If only I had read between his lines.
If I closed my eyes, could I have touched his words??
“SEE WHO I AM NOW!” he angrily shouted, though his rage was couched between desire and love.
“I’m not that man anymore who would hurt you. You’re my china doll, baby.”
He carried me for twenty years, freezing me in time; taking me out, looking at me, before putting me back on his shelf. Who he thought I was. Not realizing I would grow and change, becoming a different person. A stronger person. A doll who didn’t break quite so easily.
The mind warps what time can’t forget. But I will never forget.
And I am not his doll. I am not fragile.
Then again, I’m not the one who broke.
Allow me to drape my limbs over you; my secret murmurs soothing fears that keep you awake as the rays of the day fade on borrowed rest.
Grasping your hand to keep you from losing your way back to me, you meet my eyes with a rush of desire that slams me in a hard, brilliant flash.
Do you hear me? I whisper along your skin, cooled by the night air. Crossing this wide river to you, I pray you’ll reach for me as I pass by, drowning in your depths.
You, my only salvation.
Will you save me?
Waiting for the sun, I barely breathe so as not to wake you, unable to turn away from the glare of what we’ve wrought.
I bathe in our entangled gleam, where love lives inside the knowledge that tomorrow fades again.
Illumination only lasts until darkness decides to fall.
He found me, waiting and bruised, pushing his way so deeply inside me; I never thought he’d find his way out.
But he surprised us both, shoving me aside as quickly as he’d come. Using, abusing, he feared his inner darkness would disrupt our carefully structured nest.
Scared our pleasure would eat at his soul.
Too afraid to give room, or care, or thought, he left me as he found me, waiting and bruised, but now also willing and broken.
I shakily tend my wounds, mystified if I had flown, or fallen.
And Then I Let Him Go
It hits me at the strangest times.
The fact that someone who was a part of my life is gone. Here today, gone tomorrow. A concept so hard to grasp when it happens to —
To whom? He’s the one who took his own life. Nothing happened to me, his ex-love from many years ago.
We spoke earlier that day. The day he decided would be his last.
We never will again. Impossible.
But he visits me, in my dreams, conjured by my disbelieving subconscious.
Or is he conjured by my heart?
I wake up from the dreams confused and—somehow—relieved. In some, he tells me he’s OK. In others he doesn’t speak, but he shows me he’s fine.
But there’s still too much I don’t know or understand about the man he became—this man I once shared my heart and body with. So I go about my days now, my full life bursting with my own family, and when he visits me in my dreams, I let him in.
And then I let him go.
Women have rooms inside of us men cannot fathom.
It’s where we store the depths of the hurt we’ve been dealt.
Where we store the deep love we never want to lose.
Where we’ve tucked away all those cutting comments through the years, when we couldn’t react because we had company. The place where we shoved the painful words down, swallowed the reactions and put them in the corner; pushing it all back down when it threatened to rise up; afraid the tentative piece of string might snap and all the hurtful words he sent your way will tumble back out and hit him so hard he won’t comprehend the language you’re speaking is his own.
We fold our stories inside ourselves.
We unwrap them when nobody is looking.
We carry former lovers, long lost, inside our limbs. We feel their caresses, remember exactly how their tongues entwined with ours as our bodies melted, their eyes on ours as they entered us; even our cells remember the exquisite burn.
A woman never forgets, though she may learn to love another. We wrap those memories away for safekeeping, even when those lovers hurt and brutalize, our hearts break and we cry forever tears. We have a room for that pain, a special key we hide to lock it away.
Women grow, our hearts accommodating all the players in our lives.
We explore our rooms often, sometimes inadvertently. Our hearts won’t allow us to ignore our secret places for long. Try as we might to suppress our desires, our unknown thoughts and fears will rise to guide us to different places, new rooms we never knew existed but were within us the whole time.
Embrace. Hold tight while you dance. Jump.
Our rooms are buried so deeply, many times we don’t listen or can’t hear. We fall, search, drift, let go. We hold our breath, worry what others will think, lose ourselves.
Women have rooms inside us.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time! I have a full-time business and I’m a full-time mom as well as a writer. I miss sleep.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’ve been a fan of both John Irving and Margaret Atwood for a very long time. Irving: his characters are so in-depth, you remember them long after. Atwood: her use of language is so beautiful and now flowery at all.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I attended three conferences last year and that was too much. I’m far too busy writing and with my author business to take time off at this point. That said, I’m planning to go to Dallas in October for a signing.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My first two are designed by Jolene Coleman, a wonderful So Cal graphic designer. Broken Pieces was designed by Natasha Brown, a talented author in her own right.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Giving myself permission to write the difficult stuff. I had to not think about or worry what people would say. Once I got over that, it was smooth sailing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That sharing our most personal, difficult moments bonds us to others in a way we’ll probably never fully comprehend.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
You have to write AND market. It’s not either/or. And hire a professional editor. We’re too close to our own work to see the mistakes or problems.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?I appreciate each and every tweet, post, share, comment, and review (even the negative ones LOL). I’m honored people are even bothering to read my work. It’s overwhelming.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
It took me many years to get here. I spent over 20 years in the corporate world and I hated it. Pursuing a create life has always been my dream so if I weren’t a writer, I would probably have pursued music (I took classical piano for eight years). But writing is my dream job.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
My author site is http://RachelintheOC.com and my business site is http://BadRedheadMedia.com. Twitter is @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia. I’m also on Google+ and Facebook (same names).
All the covers, pix, and links are located here: http://rachelintheoc.com/all-the-deets/
Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) said:
Thank you SO much for featuring me today, Fiona! You asked great questions and I had a good time answering them. Love that you’re featuring authors.
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