Thursday, October 29, 2009

Author Interview - Rachel Rager

I finally got around to asking Rachel for an interview, and lo, in less than a quarter hour I heard back from her.  Now, that's what I'd call expeditious.  I could take lessons from her.  Here's what she answered:


Thanks for asking me do this! I always learn more about myself every time I do an interview.


What age range are you in?  twenties, thirties, forties, (which I doubt).

~I’m 28 and will be 29 in December.


You have three children.  All three daughters?  Would you like to tell me more about them?

~Yes, I have three beautiful handfuls! If I’d had the last one first I may have stopped! They are angels on occasion and I love them. Lylli is 7 and in the 2nd grade. She’s quiet and positively brilliant (and I’m not just saying that.) She tested into the GT program in Casper, but they didn’t have room for her. She loves school in Provo, though. Layla is 4 and the source of happiness at our house. She loves people and making friends and seeing everyone around her smile. Seryn is 2 and a Mama’s girl. She is energetic, always getting into things, loves her sisters and a whirl of excitement. One fun tidbit about my girls is that they are all born within 5 days of each other!


Where did you grow up? And how long have you lived in Casper?

Did I hear you are in Provo now?

~I was born in Provo, UT but moved to Casper, WY when I was 2. I lived there until I was 18 when I moved to Sacramento after I graduated. I was a nanny for a few months and then returned to Casper, where I met my husband, who also grew up in Casper. We were married in San Diego and returned to Casper where we lived for 8 ½ years while my husband went to school and got his Master’s. We just moved to Provo, UT about a month ago. My husband woke up one night and decided he wanted to get his PhD. At BYU. So, here we are. And we are enjoying it. It is much less windy here and, believe it or not, lots warmer.


What setting did you envision for “By Love Or By Sea”?  Which century?  Place?

~This is a question I’ve encountered before. The setting is obviously by the sea. It is completely imaginative, but if If I had to actually state a location on a map, I’d say it was somewhere between the Netherlands and Belgium. Originally Belgium was a part of the Netherlands but they rebelled and in 1830 or so, gaining their independence. In my mind, this kingdom is simply a small section of the land in between. Neither here nor there. Obviously I took some liberties. Since this kingdom exists in my mind, the weather obeys my every desire! (evil chuckle)


What did you experience in getting it published?  Did they require any editing or re-writing?

~I have never liked English and have never been able to spell worth a hoot. (Thank goodness for spell-check!) I didn’t even enjoy reading! When I woke up one morning and decided to write, my husband thought I had fallen off the wagon but supported me. When I actually finished, I was ecstatic and read through it and submitted it. Obviously it was rejected, and I was devastated. So I wrote another one – did research, had a few people look over it and submitted it. Same outcome. Of course, during this time, I was doing lots of reading and learning how to go about certain things. And with each thing I wrote, I progressively improved. I finally began writing By Love or By Sea, which had begun to form in my mind shortly after I started the second story. When I finished, I spent many long grueling hours trying to figure out how to go about submitting it properly and getting someone to actually read it! I had my cousin, my mom and my sister read through it and did some editing, but no major rewrites. Finally, I submitted it. I decided I’d keep submitting it until someone took it. And yes, I got several rejections before I received a contract. But finally, success!!! Oh, sweet success! From the day I started writing until I actually held my first novel, it was just over 6 years.


How did you find out about ANWA?  Do you belong to any other writing groups?

~This is where you are going to learn how dense I am. I accidently ran into ANWA years ago while writing my second book. But, not knowing how beneficial it would be, I saw that it was $10 a year and ran away with my tail between my legs. However, I did mark the ANWA homepage as a favorite and visited it from time to time. I finally decided to join about the time I decided to start submitting By Love or By Sea. I quickly realized how silly I’d been. I could have saved myself so many headaches if I’d signed up with them earlier! They are wonderful ladies and such an enormous help!! I also belong to LDSstorymakers and participate in several other groups on Goodreads and a few others. I cannot believe the support! I really should have done this years ago!


Did you sing in any operas after college?

~Unfortunately, no. I didn’t even sing in operas in college. I just trained in operatic singing. I attended Casper Community College and they didn’t offer that kind of an opportunity. However, I enjoyed it anyway! I was offered the opportunity once in school but turned it down because I was engaged to my husband. I’ve always wanted to be a mom first!


When and where did you meet your husband?

~I met my husband at an LDS single’s fireside in Casper. He had just (and I do mean just) gotten home from his mission. His best friend was dating my cousin, so naturally we were introduced. I had a boyfriend, and while I thought Shane was handsome, I felt more inclined to be a nuisance. (Possibly because he could only talk about a girl he was planning to go see that week.)

We had the fireside at our branch president’s home and I was sitting in one of those big arm chair. Well, partway through, I discovered that the chair squeaked when I turned it just right. So I did. Repeatedly! He was sitting behind me and a couple times I turned and just smiled sweetly. It drove him absolutely crazy!

After the fireside, he was showing off his hot rod car that he built in high school (a ’73 Plymouth Duster) and I thought it was pretty neat, but hurried off to my boyfriend’s house. Shane was more inclined to pay attention to another girl anyway.

So, that is the story of how we met. Later that week, he called and asked me on a date because his friend talked him into it. Instead of the hot rod I was hoping for, he showed up in an old Willy’s Jeep, complete with roll bar and no doors. I was terrified the entire way up the mountain. And yes, he took me 4-wheeling. Do you think he did that to get back at me? The rest is history! We still drive each other crazy, are completely different, and love each other more every day!


Anything else you want to tell me?

~Thank you so much for doing this, Anna. I had a great time!

Had I known it would be this easy, I'd have done this weeks ago.  Thanks, Rachel, for the interview.  I enjoyed knowing more about you, especially your romance.  I'd even like to know more.  

That's what I'm writing about -- my memories of life, romance, marriage, family, and even growing old.  I'm getting close to publication, which is both exciting and scary.  Do I want the whole world (figuratively speaking) to know all my faults?  Yet, how can I leave them out when they're so much a part of me?  Ah well.  What it takes is looking at myself as not really me, but somebody I have been. Does that make sense?  

Sorry to digress.  This blog is about you, Rachel.  Thanks.



  1. Thanks, Anna! You did a great job and I had fun. And just a small aside, I was on-line and just happened to get your e-mail right away. I'm not usually quite that punctual! LOL!

  2. Great interview Rachel. I enjoyed learning more about you and your writing.

  3. Wonderful interview, Anna. It was interesting how you brought up the book By Land or by Sea after asking personal questions and it all blended in. Rachel, you have an interesting background and sounds like a great husband. Plus being the author or a great book!
    Barbara B

  4. This was so cute. I had to chuckle about your hubby asking you for a date because his friend talked him into it. LOL Sounds like a romance you can include in a story! :)

  5. That is a great story. It is awesome to know more of you Rachel and Anna. Thanks for the invitation.

  6. What a great interview. I love going to ANWA!

  7. This was fun. I'm glad everyone is enjoying it. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Loved this! Thanks for interviewing Rachel and helping us to get to know her better, Anna! I miss you, by the way.

  9. Anna, I miss your posts! Please continue.