Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Meet Rachel Quigley

Meet Rachel Quigley

Tell us about yourself.

        I am a pretty weird person. I know, not a great start, but a factual one. I grew up helping people learn about the love of God, and I intend to keep telling people about Christ. That’s not what makes me weird. What makes me weird is that my favorite snack was Triscuits with swiss cheese and a manzanilla olive, and I refuse to drink flavored sodas; it’s old fashion club soda with a sprits of lemon juice for this gal. I also randomly burst into song based on a sentence that someone said that reminds me of a song. Usually, my timing is terrible.

Sincerely, the Lord has given me many things throughout my life that have shaped me. I have two wonderful little girls, and my husband has just started a new job. Transitions are part of life, but sometimes they come one right after the other without relenting. I cook, clean (when I have to), write, attend church, now I home school, and I write.

I love to write! (Did I mention that?) I have written and published one book so far, but I have a menagerie of other books already outlined. 

My biggest, greatest goal isn’t simply to write a good story, it’s to help people through what I write. I want to tell people about Jesus. My ambition in this life is, and has been, to let people hear about the One I love. If I die knowing that my novels have caused someone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, then I will die happy.

What inspired you to start writing?

        I have always been a creative person; artistry, sculpting (not well, mind you), singing, imagination, and writing. I wrote my very first story book about a broken dish when I was eight. I wrote plots and outlines for numerous stories as I got older, and fine-tuned my drawing skills. As time passed, I set it all aside to “be an adult”, and my ambition became proving myself as a successful member of society, not understanding that you can be both successful and creative.  In 2021, I became very ill, and “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” never rang more true than when I was bed-ridden. Different ailments left my hands too achy to draw or crochet, but I could type, so I did. Thus was the first novel I have ever written Star Falcon Book One: Earth’s Attack.

How long have you been writing?

        Professionally? Since 2021. In my heart? Since I can remember.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

        First, for me, stay focused on the direction God wants me to take the story. I’ve been surprised by things and topics that get addressed as I write.

Second, be realistic. If you are writing a story for children, and it’s fantastical, enjoy, but if it’s for adults, keep it grounded and relatable. Third, research what you are writing about. Ignorance is not an excuse to pilfer more ignorance. If you don’t know, study it out and make sure you are now an expert on whatever you are writing about. If you cannot confidently say you are an expert, get help from someone who is. Fourth, don’t be afraid. Just because someone’s never done it before doesn’t mean you can’t write it. Fifth, don’t to tell someone what you think so they will think like you, but to tell a story that challenges someone to think so they will think for themselves. Sixth, remove personal bias and write. Seriously. Write the circumstances of the story without throwing in your two cents. As authors, we are tempted to shape the way people think, but that’s not our place. The story will tell itself if you let it.

Seventh, your work is not more important than your family. Time, when viewed as currency, is non-refundable. Yes, I do have times when I absolutely have to work, but my girls won’t care about my novel series if they never got to paint their nails, have a tea party, or be weird with mom.  It’s sincerely a very difficult struggle to pull myself away from my work, but I wrote something on my computer a long time ago:

“You must put this down to pick them up. When you pick them up, you will lift them up. Do something right: raise.”

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

        In Earth’s Attack, one of the alien allies, Dtarjeen, is seen as an emotionless void: he is absolutely not, and is one of the most tenderhearted characters in the entire series. He hides it by being pretentious. Amanda, the engineer, is not the main character for the novel series (and I’m not telling you who is). She is feisty, and a bit whiny, but you see her true character in Alliance.

How do you do research for your books?

        Google. How else? Just kidding. I have people that I talk to, and ask them to correct areas where I am weak. If I can’t find anyone to help me, I will turn to Google or YouTube. I have consultants, as it were, for areas in which I feel I am too shallow.  An example: I almost got put into “time out” on Facebook because I asked a few of my military friends what level of ordinance would be needed to blow a tree in half, and how one might go about doing that. It caused a bit of a stir.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?

        Well, to be honest, I am a very empathetic person. I would be considered a “dark empath” by many, meaning my empathy comes from experience. I tend to have a well of heartache on hand, and a cache of happy moods ready to draw from depending on the scene. I also have an odd sense of humor that comes in pretty handy.

If my natural melancholy, glee, or romantic side doesn’t kick in, I turn to music. I listen to a lot of Hymnals, but I tend to listen to more moving pieces depending on the mood needed.

Is there lots to do before you dive in and start writing the story?

        Oh, yeah. Yes. Absolutely. I write out brainstorms of each chapter, then fiddle with them. I have written stuff into the brainstorm for the sixth book, that has hints in the second book. I have written and rewritten scenes, and chopped out entire paragraphs. I have accidentally given away pivotal plot points, then had to go back through and delete them. I have also, quite frankly, looked at my work, winced, and deleted whole chapters. Not easy, but worth it.

Describe your perfect book hero or heroine.

        Jason Blaine Williams. I wrote him into the story not realizing he’s one of my favorite characters. He is relatable, has had a rough life, makes mistakes, but also apologizes and tries to make things right. He has fallen many times, but tends to get back up again without complaining. He learns. He’s funny, friendly, and not overly macho, but is one to 100% stand his ground regardless of the risk. He can be hurt physically and emotionally, but doesn’t allow his hurt to determine how he functions. He’s the kind of guy that sees the silver lining, but also understands the storm within the clouds.

If not him, Batman for sure. The dude can take down the Justice League without super powers, and stop crime too. He’s legit.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

        The enemy isn’t always who you think it is. Hurt is not a reason to hate. Never give up; there is always hope. Understanding one’s pain may help you forgive them. 

What would you like to say to your readers?
        A thought that becomes prevalent through my novels: forgive. And when the root of your pain springs up like a hellish dandelion determined to soil your day, forgive again and pray. When you are grating your teeth so hard you can’t think, pray and forgive. But, most of all, understand forgiveness is not always forgetting, but grace is essential to continuing to forgive. Ask yourself what I ask myself each and every time I feel justified in my anger, “If Christ forgave how I forgive, how forgiven would I be?”

Forgiveness is not an easy thought, 

But one that has helped me through a lot.

Pain comes in spades, and tears us apart,

But (if your Saviour is in your heart),

You won’t let the knives that others have thrown

Be the tools that turn you to stone.

A chisel held within your own hands

Will become as chains or evil bands.

Choose the One that will mold you well,

And in His grace and mercy dwell.

Let another one’s pain go free,

Then you will see all that you can be.

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