|Rachel Scott McDaniel|
Rachel: Super thrilled to be here! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to chat with you.
Nicole: The Roaring 20s is such a captivating time period in our country’s history. With a breathtaking romance, an intriguing mystery, and one very determined heroine, Above the Fold is sure to be a hit with readers. What message or inspiration do you hope that people will get from reading Above the Fold?
Rachel: Thank you for those kind words! I am a huge fan of this era. Can you believe that when the ball drops in Times Square it officially marks 100 years since the Roaring 20s? Our country has grown so much since then, but some things remain timeless. Such as our need for God to be our everything. Elissa, my heroine, struggles with being enough. She desires to prove herself a capable journalist in the male-dominant profession, but along the way she confuses her dreams with who she is. Meaning, she was allowing her triumphs and failures to define her. The only way we can discover who we are is through God’s word. We find our identity in Christ.
Nicole: I know there are many aspiring authors who wish to become published authors someday. Could you share with us a little about your writing journey and any advice you have for aspiring authors?
Rachel: I love this question! First off, let me confess that when I started writing I did everything WRONG! I didn’t take the time to learn the craft and broke every writing rule. My first manuscript was awful. Sad thing is, I had NO clue it was terrible and sent it to everyone, including my boss. I still cringe when I think about it. Thankfully, I also submitted that story to a national contest who were not shy with their feedback. Their critique helped me see all I had been failing at. So, I spent the following days learning the craft of writing. I bought books, subscribed to blogs, went to writing conferences, and found an awesome writing partner.
Subsequently, I finished one manuscript and then another. I reached out to an agent who ended up signing me, and she presented my stories to publishers. Lighthouse of the Carolinas liked my story and offered me a contract.
If you’re serious about writing, then my advice would be to learn everything you can. It’s also crucial to be humble enough to accept criticism and grow from it. And most importantly, value the gift God placed within you.
Nicole: As a busy wife and mother, how do you plan time in your schedule for writing with all of your family commitments and other activities?
Rachel: This one has been tricky for me, and I confess I haven’t mastered it yet. My situation is a bit different than most because my youngest is on the autistic spectrum, and therefore I’m her primary caregiver. I also homeschool her in cooperation with the public school (basically they give me the curriculum and I teach it to her). So that takes up a lot of my time. Though I can’t complain because I’ve seen so much developmental growth since I’ve taken over her schooling. It’s been rewarding to watch her capture concepts and overcome areas that had previously been stumbling blocks.
I do have to say, that my family has been super supportive in giving me “Mommy writing time” during deadlines. I also try to get some writing in when everyone’s asleep—when the house is quiet and my imagination can run free without interruptions.
Nicole: I am eager to read more of your novels in the future. Could you share with us any information about your future releases and/or your current work in progress?
Rachel: I’m currently working on another novel set in Pittsburgh during the Prohibition. It features an immigrant heroine in search of her father—who’d sailed to America fifteen years prior. Her hopes to reunite with him are grounded when she discovers not only that he’s the leading crime boss in the area but he’s also a fugitive from justice, wanted for the murder of the police commissioner and two others. When the heroine’s life is anonymously threatened, she’s placed under the protection of a private detective who happens to be the son of the late police commissioner.
What I love about this story is that radio is a huge part of the plot. Not many people know this, but the very first radio station in the entire world was KDKA in Pittsburgh. So it was a lot of fun incorporating some of that pivotal history into the book.
Nicole: I love how you support other authors and introduce readers to incredible Christian fiction novels through entertaining posts and giveaways on your social media sites. That was the main reason I was initially so excited to read Above the Fold! That, and because the storyline sounded very intriguing! You and Janine Rosche are two of my favorite debut authors to follow on social media because of the fun ways that both of you interact with your followers. Through participation on some of the same authors’ launch teams as you and seeing your social media posts, I’ve noticed that we enjoy many of the same books. Who are some of your favorite Christian fiction authors that you would love to recommend to our readers?
Rachel: I love Christian fiction! The author community has been such a blessing to me as I trekked this writing journey. Not only are their stories top-notch, but they are just beautiful souls. For historical romance, my go-to authors are Sarah Sundin, Regina Jennings, Joanna Politano, Jocelyn Green, Joanne Bischof, Kate Breslin. For contemporary romance, my always-buy-their-books list consists of Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Pepper Basham, and Courtney Walsh.
Nicole: My list of favorite contemporary romance authors is almost identical to yours! Rachel, thank you again for joining us today. This has been a pleasure to chat with you!
Rachel: I am grateful for this opportunity to talk! Thank you so much!
Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.