Rachel Karns, author of the recently reviewed “Gray” was kind enough to answer some questions for the Examiner. This is the second part of the interview. Read the first part here. If you’re interested in reading “Gray”, ask your local Upper Hudson Library to purchase a copy from Amazon or your local Albany bookstore to purchase copies from Create Space.
As a mom of 3 children how did you find time to write your story? I can barely find time to review books with my 3 kids, I can’t imagine sitting down and writing a whole book! How did being a mom affect the way you wrote your characters? As I was reading Gray the inner teen in me wanted her to be happy with Peter, but the Mom in me knew it wasn’t a good match. Did you have similar struggles while writing?
Having three kids is the reason I write. I really want to stay home with them, and I used to be a Junior High English teacher and can definitely fall back on that if I need to. As I have been home for 10 years now, I slowly found myself at a loss of identity. I wanted to pursue my degrees in English and in Film writing, and never saw a way. Finally, I just decided to do it, and write the stories that I always wanted to. When my two oldest kids were in school, I allowed my youngest to watch a movie a day, while I wrote nearby. Those were my two hours of writing a day. It took me longer than it should have, but it got done eventually. Being a mom definitely affects how I write. I consider greatly how a parent would feel if their child was reading my book. Is the message I am sending their child through the book appropriate and helpful? I omitted multiple curse words for that reason. I felt I could rewrite and get the same effect. I also omitted one scene which was too intense sexually between Peter and Maggie. It was crazy to write, but not totally necessary. I intended GRAY to be Young Adult (14-19), but I know darn well that one day a second grader will read it. That is just the reality. When writing GRAY, I definitely vacillated between the feelings of Maggie and the feelings of her mother. I knew the ending the entire time I wrote, so I guess I wasn’t torn between wanting my character to fall for her leading man, and choosing the path she was meant for. But I wanted to torture the reader through this experience, because I think love is often torturous.
Why did you decide to use Smashwords instead of finding a traditional publisher? What was that process like? Did they have any editorial control?
I published the e-book through Smashwords and through Kindle Direct Publishing, and the print is published through Create Space. I never attempted to sell GRAY to a Publisher, but may consider it in the future. I chose to independently publish for two reasons. First, I was literally polishing a query letter and printing out addresses for Publishers and Literary Agents when I decided to take a peek at Amazon.com and see what the top 10 Young Adult books were currently. Six of the ten were written by Amanda Hocking. I had never heard of her at the time. I googled her, and found out she was an “indie” writer. She sells her e-books extremely cheap, and has a huge fan base and multiple titles. I liked that she could offer teens a good value, and control her own pacing. The second reason was that very same week, I read in our local paper that author of NY Times Bestseller Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford was signing books in Coeur d’Alene, my hometown. He mentioned that he was at the point of the book tour where he wakes up and doesn’t know what town he’s in anymore. This sort of scared me. I wanted to write so that I could be here for my kids and fulfill my passions. I don’t want to be told that I have to leave my family to tour all around the country and sit in bookstores to sign copies for anyone who happens to show up that night.
Stay tuned for more from author Rachel Karns.