Alice has been playing the perfect Southern wife for over twenty-five years. So when Bob dumps her for some blonde bimbo twenty years her junior, Alice figures she’s entitled to every dollar she can bleed from him. And, once she’s got the money, she’s entitled to use it on a much-needed vacation to Nanm Paradi, a Caribbean resort that sells itself as her “soul’s paradise”. She’s never experienced anything as luxurious as Nanm Paradi. The staff know her every desire and cater to her every need before she even knows she needs it. She figures this is how the really rich live and she’s ready to take advantage of all of it–the fabulous drinks, the beautiful views, and the handsome men. And when she discovers that voodoo magic is also on offer… well, Bob hurt her bad. She can take some time away from paradise to exact a little pain. Alice would have been happy to leave things at that. But when she gets hit where it hurts–her bank account–Alice’s game changes. It’s no longer about post-divorce romance. Now it’s about revenge. What Goes Around is a little bit thriller, a little bit witchy, a little bit romance, and a whole lot of sass.
First of all, can you please tell us about your latest book:
What Goes Around is a story about a recent divorcee who “happens upon” voodoo. I say happens upon because maybe it was happenstance that she found the resort’s ad on Facebook. Or maybe there was something darker, more sinister happening.
Alice, our heroine, the poor loyal housewife tossed out like yesterday’s leftovers by her successful lawyer hubby. Hey, he hit that midlife crisis phase and traded up not only in his cars but in his women as well. So she decides to spoil herself, especially now she’s out from under a budget crazy marriage and has a checkbook with money of her own. Tropical vacation here she comes. But moving on from the hurt and the humiliation isn’t as easy as buying designer clothes…and this is where she falls down the rabbit hole, so to speak.
Where do you find inspiration for your novels?
Real life, LOL. Like the Mark Twain quote goes: “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The funny thing is most people don’t know his full statement is, ” Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Boy is that true when contemporary “chick-lit.”
I find my inspiration visually. So, I love to stalk Pinterest and Instagram for art. When I’m in the mood to write children’s books I look at cat drawings—seriously. When I’m looking for a heroine, I search for fashion photography. Anything from quirky to classic can get my mind thinking of character traits. How would she look? How would she act? Why does she dress that way? How does she treat people? Where did she go to school? Images let me start to see the story in my mind; then I write the words.
Who is your writing hero?
Anne Frank, the little girl who wrote to pass the time in hiding, a little girl who wrote to escape the injustice of her world. A little girl with big dreams, who never got to see the effect her writing would have on the world. She wrote, in my opinion, one of the most important historical documents of the 20th Century.
Which book do you wish you had written?
There are two for me.
In children’s literature I wish I had written Winnie-the-Pooh, well, the whole series in fact. For me, it was my gateway drug into the world of reading. My mother would read these books out loud to my sister and I as my father drove us across country on our summer vacation. I could see Winnie, Piglet, and the whole crew in my mind. And I don’t think I’m alone in thinking Winnie, et al., are in a class by themselves in literary history and children’s hearts.
In adult fiction I wish I had written Gone With the Wind. Again, for much the same reasons as Winnie-the-Pooh. Who hasn’t heard of Gone With the Wind? You might not have read the book, but dollars to donuts you’ve watched the movie. Margaret Mitchell wrote amazing characters we can all relate to and everyone has their favorite. Every one of us knows a Scarlett or a Rhett or an Ashley or a Melanie in real life. I’m willing to bet each one of us, at some point in our lives wished we were one of the those characters. And let’s not get me started on the quotable lines that book has spurred.
What advice would you give to someone considering taking the plunge and attempting to write their first novel?
Don’t write a novel first. Write flash fiction and short stories. Learn the art of telling a story succinctly. Learn story arcs and character development without writing 200,000 words of crap that you’ll labour over from months or years only to realize you missed the mark. Short stories let you learn quickly without having your heart ripped out.
Also, join a critique group and learn from their feedback. Learning to listen to a critical review without feeling attacked and crying is a big life lesson. It’s one I finally learned at the age of 49. And it’s one I wish I had learned so much earlier in my life. Now there’s always going to be some feedback that just misses the mark, maybe because of ill will or jealousy, but for the most part the writing community is very supportive. And understanding people will always write your story their way, and that you as the author can say, “Thank you. I appreciate your suggestions” and then throwing the suggestions in the trash and it’s absolutely okay is invaluable.
If you could have a dinner party and invite three other writers (living or dead), who would you invite?
There are so many writers I would love to sit down and chat with, but I’ll go with Agatha Christie, Erica Jong, Dorothy Parker for my first Famous Writer Dinner Party.
What’s the one question you wish I had asked and what’s the answer?
How many books do you read a year?
I take Stephen King’s quote to heart. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” To write better you have to read. Period. And you have to read in various genres. I participate in the Goodreads challenge every year and every little competitive atom in me pushes me to read more than last year. In 2018 I read 108 books, not including pre-published works of fellow authors.
Thank you, Rachel Ellyn and Damp Pebbles.
About the author
Life and loves after the career.
With degrees in Finance and Economics, Rachel found wonderful success in the business world, which took her I.T. and financial process consulting international. However, with her mind focused on business, and with the lack of training and mentoring in her personal life, marriage success eluded her.
After foraging on a path of self-awareness and exploration with a determination to avoid repeating patterns again, she found the key to relationship bliss. Now, combining her passion for writing and storytelling with her skills, knowledge, and drive that led to her business acclaim, Rachel shares her off beat take on the world, and her findings where life, love, divorce, and children are concerned.
Rachel is determined to be a publicist’s nightmare by writing in multiple genres including children’s fiction, flash fiction, romance, and suspense/thriller.
After multiple divorces, she is now happily married and lives in the Kansas City Metropolitan area enjoying the household noise of her soon-to-be empty nest.