Monday, March 04, 2013

Author Interview and Giveaway!

Today I have something different for you readers. I have long since admired this girl. She is super funny and so very inspiring. I have read both her books which she's written and published before the age of 17! Here is a glimpse of Rachel and her personality in this different and unique interview.

Hello, Rachel and welcome to Surrendering All of Me. I am so honored and excited to have you grace the blog today. Can you give us a little information about yourself? Sure! Hello, there, my name is Rachel and I’m seventeen years old. I’ve been homeschooled all my life, and I wrote my first short story when I was about eleven or twelve. When I was fourteen, I wrote my first full-length novel, “Interrupted: Life Beyond Words”, which was published with Zondervan two short years later! Since then, I have written a second book, “Chasing Jupiter”, and gotten to experience so many amazing opportunities because of my writing career! I have two younger sisters and I live in the middle of nowhere. I own my own portrait photography business and teach piano in my downtime! And of course I read lots of books and hang out with friends just like any other teenage girl.

Which do you prefer to read books or write them? Oh how am I supposed to choose? I want to cheat and say “both!” But truthfully, I do think there’s a time and place for both in my life. I love writing books because of the freedom and creativity it inspires in me. To create characters of my own and take them on their own adventures… But I also will always be in love with reading the written word! Nothing relaxes me more than sitting down with a good book and reading by lamplight in the evenings.

Can you tell us two or three things that most readers don't know about you?
1) I own over twenty pairs of shoes (!)
2) When I was little, my only goal in life was to grow up to win the national spelling bee (something I failed horribly at)
3) I have an autographed photo of Julie Andrews in my room from when I wrote a fan letter to her when I was eight or nine

Name one of your favorite things about someone in your family. I love my dad’s dry sense of humor.

What main character is more like you Allie from Interrupted or Scarlett from Chasing Jupiter? I think that they’re both very much like me at different points in my life. When I was younger, I was very much like Allie from my first book. I was going through a bit of a rough point in life after my uncle passed away from a brain tumor, and I was very confused as to why God allows suffering in our lives, and writing that book really helped me to heal and come to terms with all that. But I tended to be a bit moody, bookish, and I would practice the piano for hours a day and let out all my emotions into music and words. Then, as I grew a bit older and all this insane stuff started happening to me with my book being published and appearing on TV and in magazines and getting flown across the country for book signings, I started really feeling the pressure of being who everyone else wants me to be. Where would I go to college? What kind of book would I write next? How would I make my mark on the world? I think all those frustrations really came out in my development of Scarlett’s character. She’s searching for herself in a crazy, mixed-up world and she’s not quite sure who she’s supposed to be. It was very much like my life at the time.

How do you come up with your characters name (especially unique ones like Alcyone?) Usually I just randomly pick cool names that appeal to me, sadly enough. But the story of Alcyone’s name was a bit more interesting. I had always had her as “Allie”, and she had always enjoyed looking up at the stars and sort of sharing that love of the heavenly sky with her mother. And so one day I was looking up different constellations and stars and came across the star “Alcyone”, which was named after a Greek nymph. And then it just sort of hit me. Of course Allie’s mother was a dreamer and a lover of history and astronomy and a bit out-of-touch with reality. So why wouldn’t she name her daughter after a Greek nymph and beautiful bright star? It just fit.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why? Besides Jesus? Haha… Mmmm, I know I should come up with someone incredibly smart and talented and who I could learn from the feet of, but I think I still have to go with James Dean. Why? Because I have a huge crush, and I just want to eat ice cream with him and ride in his car (preferably at a semi-safe speed) and wear cute little circle skirts and cat-eye sunglasses. It would be dreamy. ;)

What's your favorite line from any movie? You know in the new version of Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Collins is sitting at the table picking at his food and he makes a strangely solemn face and says, “What excellent boiled potatoes”? That line gets me every time. I die laughing. Not sure why… More seriously, I suppose, I absolutely adore the dialog between Bryce and his grandfather in the movie version of “Flipped” (which was an excellent book by Wendelin van Draanen). There’s one line the grandfather says that just melts my heart every time I hear it: “Some of us get dipped in flat, some in gloss, some in satin. But every once in a while, you find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.”

If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction? A comedy! As long as you’re viewing life in the right light, how could it be anything different?

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version? “Les Miserables.” Some people are going to hate me for saying that, but I did not care for the book at all. But then the movie made me cry! I think it was the music…

Do you buy a book by the cover? Um, yes. Sometimes. With old books, I don’t usually care as much, but I’m not going to go into Barnes and Noble and pick a book off the shelf with some kind of creepy eye or underaged couple making out on the front! No, I’m going to go for something with a cool vintage look or a pretty dress on the cover. Sounds shallow, but more people should just admit that they do that. ;) Although, I do always read the back before I buy!

Do you have plans for a new book, or is that top secret confidential information? Oh, I have plans alright. ;) I’m not revealing what it’s about just yet, but hopefully I will soon!

All good things must come to an end:( Can you share some words of encouragement for fellow writers and teenage girls? Sure! I would encourage other young people, writers or not, to just keep doing what they love and not working too hard to please anyone else. As long as you’re passionate about whatever you’re being called to do in life, other people will come up behind you and support you! Don’t let others look down on you because you’re young, but use your youth as an opportunity to attack life with a passion and energy that not too many middle-aged adults still have. Remember to give God the glory for all your successes, and to still take the time to sit back and enjoy life. (:

Here's the book blurb: Scarlett Blaine's life in 1960s Georgia isn't always easy, especially given her parents' financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli's hippie lifestyle. Then there's her brother, Cliff. While Scarlett loves him more than anything, there's no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be. Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer's son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett's view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she's lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother's dream.

One winner gets the chance to win Rachel's second novel Chasing Jupiter! Just leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. The winner must contact me by  sending me an email

For extra entries: 

-Be a follower +1
-Follow Rachel +1 
-Add my button to your blog +1
-Post about this giveaway +2

(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Monday, March 11, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through

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  1. 2 whole books before the age of 17?! I am impressed!

  2. I posted this giveaway on my blog. =)

  3. Hey Ali! I am entering the contest! Talk to you on email!


  4. Thank you for the interview and giveaway. Loved it! Please enter me in the contest.


"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."
(Psalm 19:14)