Rachel Reynolds is a special educator and freelance writer living in Ashland, VA. Her writing has appeared at Richmond Mom, Insert Eyeroll, Richmond Magazine, and Hello Grief. Four Seasons for Charlotte is her first book.
Thank you for this interview, Rachel. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I have only been writing professionally for about three years but I think I have been a writer for a long time. I have always enjoyed reading and writing. The experience with my daughter ignited the writing bug and gave me an opportunity to share my voice in a new way.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Four Seasons for Charlotte is the story of our family during 2009. My 3-year old daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of that year. The book tells our family’s journey from diagnosis to treatment to her eventual death.
Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?
Anyone who has a friend or family member experiencing loss or dealing with a crisis will get something out of this book. I share many things that were helpful and not so helpful during our time of need. I hope that this book will shed some new light on managing a crisis and dealing with grief.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
When our daughter was sick, we started a blog to document her treatment and care. It started as a way to let our family and friends know what was going on but it turned into so much more. The blog became a way to share my inner thoughts on the emotional roller coaster that had become our life. I felt that sharing this story with a larger audience could help others as well.
Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?
All the time! I edit and re-edit every piece that I write. I am always asking for second opinions. However, I love getting positive feedback from others when I write something that people say gives them a new perspective on the life experience.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I write at home but I also write a lot at coffee shops. If I’m at home, I start to think about all the chores I need to do so getting out of the house helps me focus just on my writing.
What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?
Since this book was about my own experience, the research was really just taken from reviewing the events I recounted in the book. I reviewed the blog that we started and also went through other documents from that year to help me remember.
Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?
The book is published by Palari, a small publishing house based in Richmond, VA. I pitched the book to them myself by sending them a copy of the manuscript.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
My book promotion has ranged from signings at area bookstores to talks at parent groups. I have also been a guest blogger on a few websites.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
You have to be ready to do a lot of the groundwork yourself. Even with a publishing house behind you, much of the book promotion falls to you. Never underestimate the power of social media connections and networking.
What’s next for you?
I continue to work at my “day jobs” as principal of a private day school for kids with autism and as executive director of CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation. My writing continues on my blog and I would love to write another book. I just need to find time to pick a topic and GO!
Thank you for this interview, Rachel. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?