Hello folks, today I’m very pleased to be welcoming Rachael Ritchey onto this blog as part of the blog tour for the second volume in her captivating The Chronicles of the Twelve Realms series.
Rachael has her entertaining and very informative blog right here on http://rachaelritchey.com/ which is well worth a visit. Somehow she also manages to find the time to run a weekly BlogBattle and exude so much infectious enthusiasm that folks like me do things like this with computer like mine.
Rachael’s novels are set in a Fantasy Realm; and as with all good YA are nothing that adults should be sniffy about; characters battle with fears and doubts as well as evil. Dialogue balances with action, plot and sub-plots meld together, and there are hints and clues left to have the reader wondering just what is over the horizon in future works.
Just to give you a flavour of The Captive Hope here’s Rachael’s very own mesmerising YouTube video:
Now we’ve got the right atmosphere, let Rachael explain some more in her own words, when she kindly replied to a few questions I put to her by e-mail:
First off, I just want to say thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! This will be a fun interview.
1.Two volumes published and a third in progress. So I must ask this question. How big are your plans for the Chronicles of the Twelve Realms?
How big? Twelve books big! It’s totally doable, too, because each story will stand alone but be linked by land, previous characters, an overarching subplot (oxymoron? 🙂 ), and a continuity of magical realism spread throughout. I’m all about adventure, romance, and action so these themes will be all throughout the series.
2.Getting the balance in YA must be quite challenging. How difficult have you found that?
The struggle is real! Haha The most difficult part I find with writing YA is keeping the characters in their mid to late teens. In fact, I have kinda sucked at it. The characters range in age from fifteen to twenty-five. Most fall right in the middle. It helps that even though I keep getting older I know I’m still that insecure teenager deep down inside.
I prefer YA, though, because I want to keep my writing clean and accessible to people from all walks of life. There is action, violence, and some death in the stories, so I don’t recommend these for very young readers (under about ten to twelve), but you’ll find no sex and very little swearing amounting to things like a rare ‘damn’ or ‘hell’ here or there. I seriously want to make my kids proud and be able to write books their friends can read, too.
- When writing Captive Hope did you find any different experiences when from writing The Beauty Thief?
The biggest difference between writing the two books was the fact that when I wrote The Beauty Thief I had no other serious writing distractions, but during Captive Hope I was working on editing for The Beauty Thief, book cover design, formatting, then a ton of marketing, and learning the trade of marketing. This was a new experience because I had to learn how to balance the two. Both writing the next book and publicizing the first are necessary and worthy tasks. Kudos to those who do it with style!
- Given that The Beauty Thief and Captive Hope have many of the same characters do you find you now have favourites (names aren’t necessary-characters’ egos can be fragile) or ones which are easier to write?
Ah, fragile character egos. So true! 🙂 Is it bad that I like the new minor villian? She just slips off the tongue (fingers, since we’re writing) and lets me use my evil grin. I do have some favorites, but the plot doesn’t always let me keep writing them. It’s a sad business when that happens!
- Although sequential to The Beauty Thief, Captive Hope is its own book. What methods did you use to ensure continuity?
It may be mostly a subconscious effort on my part, but there is the overarching subplot driving the flow that keeps a mild connection. It’s really the characters’ lives, interactions, choices, and consequences which ensure the continuity between books. As I’m writing the current book I’m always looking forward to the next book. The choices of a character must align not only with their personality and history, which affect motivation and choice, but it must also make a connection to upcoming plots. I guess if I had to say it in one sentence I’d put it this way: Always stay one step ahead of the characters!
- Did you ever find characters starting to take over from you, the writer?
Sure, plenty of times! But there’s a reason for this, so I’ll explain. Characters have a history, and maybe we don’t flesh them out in as much detail as we should. Some characters were just never originally planned to play a large role in the story, but somehow they end up way more important than at first we realized. I find that when characters start taking over a story from me it’s more because I’ve subconsciously developed a backstory for them as I’ve written the rest of the book. As I see more of a character develop like this, seemingly outside my author-will, I realize it’s because from the black void in my head this guy has a whole life, and the decisions he makes are based off of the part of his life that I didn’t consider before writing him in the present moment of the novel. Does that make any sense? Sorry, I got excited by the question and rambled a bit.
One thing I will say as I think about it here is that while we write, drive, eat, clean, watch, and even space out our subconscious mind is always working. Don’t neglect to let that part of your brain do its thing. Don’t stress about getting stuck in your writing, either. Do something else away from the writing and let the story ruminate for at least a short while, even if only a few hours. So that way your mind can mull over the problem while you’re busy doing something else. 🙂
7.About the cover of Captive Hope. How did that evolve as a concept, and how difficult was it to turn from idea into cover?
The cover for Captive Hope was a little easier to conceptualize and execute because I wanted to give it a similar feel and vibe to The Beauty Thief. This gave me certain parameters to work within. I started with a photo I’d taken on the Washington coast: the beach at sunset. I wanted more for the picture and at certain points I attempted to add in other features like silhouettes on the beach or pirate ships far out to sea, but most things didn’t work. And there’s this girl I know, Rachel, who looks exactly like I pictured Lady Idra. It was totally by accident and not intended to happen that way at all, but once I realized the connection I jumped out on a limb and asked her to be a cover model for the book. I had this idea of adding in that human element this time, which makes it a little different from the first book. Rachel agreed and was actually excited to do it, which in turn made me totally excited to have her on my cover. It turned out great. Captive Hope has a similar feel and style to The Beauty Thief, but is also stands out on its own.
Wow! That was fun, Roger. Thanks for having me on your blog today!
Thank you Rachael for taking the time to reply.
Well Rachael has not only written very thought provoking and entertaining books but as you can see has gifted us here with a great deal of insight and I would say encouragement for us all.
I would like to add more but am nursing this laptop into a landing. So just to say you can find the books on Amazon in paper & kindle format, at Barnes & Noble amongst others. Check Rachael’s website too!…………………Best wishes to all and all the best Rachael