Thursday, December 22, 2011

Up Close with Rachel Thompson

I also write occasionally about serious stuff, like the death of someone I once loved or lost love--so don't be shocked if you come visit and don't see the funny.

Don't come here looking to find advice about how to be sweet or nice. I'm pretty much allergic to both of those words.

If you want to learn how to find humor in everyday life, well, I'm really not your girl either. Mostly I just laugh at stuff and make up words (See "Refrigeratoritis and Manesia.") Yet somehow it all seems to work.

And don't call me cute. (Hint: babies and puppies are cute. Grown women are not.)

Special note to men: I write frequently about "The Mancode" -- like how you guys do goofy stuff and we women try and often fail to understand. (Um, change the toilet paper roll much? Yea, that's what I thought.) If that offends your sensibilities, keep walking, er, typing.

So, welcome to RachelintheOC. Now go read a post or two and find something to laugh at, would ya?

I have to go help my husband find the butter. Again.

What inspires you as a writer? I’m a humor, non-fiction writer (primarily) who writes about men, women, sex, and relationships so pretty much my life is daily inspiration. I’ve been married for nineteen years, so it’s the interactions between the sexes that are constantly fascinating and sources for me.  

When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer? My fourth grade teacher read us THE SECRET GARDEN and I was hooked! The story, the words, the characters…I knew that someday I wanted to write something that people couldn’t wait to turn the page.

The second moment came when I first saw the movie Blade Runner – that “tears in rain” line was so beautiful – “all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” (Some say that line was unscripted and the actor Rutger Hauer improvised it on the spot; others contribute it to one of the screenwriters. Regardless, all agree it’s as famous as the movie.) 

Confession: I’m a total sci-fi geek girl. Not in the ‘shows up at Star Trek conventions dressed as a tribble’ nerd. More like I’ve seen and am a fan of most sci-fi movies, read Gibson, Bradbury, Clarke (look for the reference to Hal in MANCODE), Verne, Asimov, and Wells. Give me a time travel story, I’m GONE. Huge fan of THE TIME-TRAVELER’S WIFE by Niffenegger, though in my opinion the movie was a piece of total *&%^$#. 

What is your writing process? I write on a MacBook Air. But before I get to an essay I have some kind of kernel in my mind that I noodle over for a little while – it could be a minute or a day. I write for both my blog and I’m working on my next book CHICKSPEAK: UNCOVERED so I’m wearing really two hats. In addition, I’m working on an outline for a paranormal Valentine’s Day short fiction story. Kind of amazing how the brain can keep it all straight. 

Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them? Well, since I write non-fiction, I’ll go with my favorite topics, which are Mancode and Chickspeak. My original Mancode essay was titled “Men are from Seinfeld, Women are from Friends,” and is, to this day, THE most popular essay on my blog. I included it in my first book, A WALK IN THE SNARK, a humorous and at times, poignant collection of blog essays and original material I released this past January. It hit #1 on the Kindle Motherhood list for the first time in September and continues to hit that sweet spot – fifteen more #1 hits (so far) which has been incredible exciting for an indie author.

People really love the Mancode essays (with the exception of a few grumpy men) so I expanded them into a full book of all original material, THE MANCODE: EXPOSED and released just after Thanksgiving this year. Chickspeak started a kind of a counterpoint to Mancode – you know, what “I’m fine, dear,” really means. So that’s what I’m working on now. It’s all fun. 

What are you currently working on? The next book, CHICKSPEAK: UNCOVERED of course, as well as the promotion of THE MANCODE: EXPOSED which I just released on November 30. I’m also creating a paperback version of this book, so I’m working with my graphic artist and editor now to get that out in January. 

Any upcoming events? So much great stuff going on! This wonderful tour of course, which includes multiple stops, reviews, and interviews as well as a Kindle giveaway! I’m also a featured author for the Indie Book Collective’s Indie Book Blowout Twelve Days of Christmas event where over 140 authors have priced our books at only 99cents through Christmas. It’s a wonderful deal with terrific authors.
And the BIG news I’m happy to announce here is that THE MANCODE: EXPOSED is the next Bestseller For A Day featured book on January 6th. This is a wonderful program where one author/one book is priced at 99cents for that one day to drive it up the Amazon charts. It’s a chance for readers to grab a great deal, and support an indie AND there are four great Bonus Buy books free AND a free Kindle contest to all participants. It’s fun and a great opportunity for everyone involved! 

If you could be anyone you like, who would you be? I took classical piano for eight years so I would have pursued music as a career. Not so much as a pianist, but as a composer. I’m in awe of Thomas Newman, the prolific composer of Oscar-nominated soundscores like American Beauty, WALL-E, Lemony Snicket (gorgeous score BTW) and many more. I listen to his music a lot while I write, actually. 

Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn? I interact with both everyday as the cofounder of the Indie Book Collective aka @IndieBookIBC as well as a paid social media consultant. To quote my good friend (screenwriter of the movie KNOWING and MERCURY RISING) novelist Ryne Douglas Pearson, ‘What is the best way to promote your book?...Write another.' That first book is a huge accomplishment, so rejoice in it! Promote it – I spend a good two hours at least every day on marketing and promotion. BUT – you are a writer. So write! Making your name requires a backlist. I’m working hard on my own right now. Give and receive to other writers – don’t just spam your own stuff. 

Where can your followers find you? I’m RachelintheOC everywhere: my blog is, Twitter: @RacheintheOC, Facebook, even my email is I’m happy to connect and answer any questions I can. I also run the Indie Book Collective Twitter stream so hit me up there: @IndieBookIBC. (I’m even on Goodreads, Shelfari, and LinkedIn, but I rarely hang out there – one only has so much time, ya know? But if anyone wants to friend me, I’m also RachelintheOC on those platforms also.) 

Any last words? The process of writing is not hard for me. I’ve always got something going on in my brain and can’t wait to get it out. That, to me, is what writing should be. That said, it took until my forties to make it my career – life got in the way. I’m fortunate to have a supportive family and be in a position where I’m making money now at it. 

Do what you love. If writing is a struggle for you, maybe rethink if this is the right career for you. If you find yourself doing everything BUT writing – social media, procrastinating, outlining, researching, reading about writing – examine if it’s the right fit. 

I’d never discourage anyone from writing – that’s not at all what I’m saying. People ask me frequently if the process is a struggle or should be a struggle. It’s my belief that if you love what you do, it shouldn’t be. That’s not to say that my opinion matters at all! Gore Vidal is famous for saying that he hated everything he wrote and thought it all junk. He went into deep depressions over it. Many artists suffer for their art. If that’s your story and you want to stick to it, by all means, suffer. I’d love to hear what your readers have to say. 

Thank you so much for stopping by Rachel. 

1 comment:

  1. Very much enjoyed this chat. Love the way Rachel's brain works. Favorite part was her speaking about soundtracks. Thomas Newton is also a favorite of mine and I have over 400 soundtracks.