Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rachele Alpine BOA Wow

My original intention for the series of interviews I do here was to focus on agents (BBCHAT) and successful authors (SAT). In the course of internet wanderings though, I’ve ran across a lot of really awesome people, and culled an enormous amount of information from blogs. As I raided my brain – yes, I picture myself on the prow of a Viking ship, approaching my own gray matter – for more people I’d like to interview, it repeatedly offered up names of bloggers. And so, the third series; Bloggers of Awesome. Yeah, it’s the BOA.

Even more special, today's guest is a fellow Ohioan - so it's a BOA-WoW! (We're Ohio Writers!) Rachele Alpine is a fellow Lucky 13'er, a high school English teacher by day (10th grader American Literature), and an MFA fiction student by night. Her contemporary YA, CANARY, will be coming from Medallion Press, Summer 2013. Here's a quick taste:

Kate Franklin’s family is a dysfunctional mess. Ever since her mom died, her dad has thrown himself into coaching basketball as a way to cope with his grief. Kate and her brother have been left alone to deal with the loss in silence.
Kate's life starts to change when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.
But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. She knows she should speak out, but her dad tries to silence her in order to protect the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

BBC: So you run an excellent blog over at Freckle Head. What made you decide to take the approach you do on your blog?

RA: I decided to make my blog an eclectic mix of things….the publishing process (I started the blog right when I signed with my first agent), reading reviews, pictures, every day life, and any other randomness I come across that grabs my interest. 

The reason I did this is because of my audience. I know a lot of bloggers have a targeted audience, but I don’t. I have found that all different types of people visit my blog. I have other authors who read it, book lovers, friends/family/old classmates, reviewers, bloggers, those interested in writing, co-workers and my students. 

I wanted to mix it up and put a little bit of everything for everyone up there, and that’s what you often get if you follow my blog. It makes it fun, because I never run out of ideas of what to write about.

BBC: I know a lot of aspiring writers who are intimidated by the idea of blogging.  They want to, but they are worried it will cut into their (already precious) writing time. You are a high school teacher by day, and an MFA student yourself. How do you make a balance?

RA: I think you have to look at blogging as something you do, because you enjoy doing it. If you start looking at it as something you feel you have to do, it because hard and tedious. I look forward to sharing my feelings, pictures, ideas and opinions with my readers. I also love getting comments and feedback from them, and that makes it easy for me to find time to blog. If you build up a good relationship with your readers, it’s kind of like writing e-mails. You look forward to corresponding and sharing with them.

I don’t have a set schedule (the first I was blogging five days a week….which was NUTS!). This allows me to think of ideas and post things at random. I try to post two or three times a week, which is pretty manageable. Your posts also don’t have to be long. I like to read blogs too, and I really enjoy shorter posts because it allows me to visit more blogs. 

BBC: You’ve been blogging for three years. Did your approach change once you were published?

I don’t know if it’s changed that much, but I do know that I don’t blog as often.  It is hard to find the time. 

I do try to be very honest with my publishing journey, because I think that’s what helps your readers build trust in you. The process isn’t always easy, and I share that. The process can be a lot of fun, and I tell them about little things that I find interesting. The process can be slow, and I share my frustrations.  I don’t try to act like once I got a publishing contract, it all got easy. I try to be myself and share my successes and also those times when things don’t go the way I wish they would.

BBC: Do you think blogging is a helpful self-marketing tool?

I’ve read blogs that have led me to some amazing books, so I think in that sense, yes. It’s one of the main ways I find books. I hope readers of my blog will do the same. Of course I want them to go out and buy my book. A blog is a great way to market yourself and your book. It allows readers to get to know an author on a more personal level, and it’s another way they can connect to the book.

BBC: What other websites / resources can you recommend for writers?

RA: I’m a huge fan (err…stalker) of John Green’s YouTube station, YA Highway, Nathan Bransford's blog, and Absolute Write.

BBC: What is your genre, and what led you to it? Does your genre influence the style of your blog?

RA: I write contemporary YA. It’s really all I’ve read my whole life. I was never into other genres like fantasy, science-fiction or mysteries. I liked reading about realistic things. I was led to it at a young age, but I think I continue to read/write it because of my job. I teach high school Language Arts, so I’m surrounded by teenagers every single day. I can never get away from that world, so why not write about it!

I guess you could say it influences my blog, because I write about life and comment on many issues that teenagers might experience.

BBC: Any words of inspiration for aspiring writers?

Yes!  I have three main pieces of advice….

1)  Love what you’re writing…you need to be passionate about your writing or you’ll never be able to maintain the motivation to write.

2)  If you do love writing, never give up. Writing can be tough, but you need to keep pushing yourself day after day.

3)  Coffee, gummy candy and a puppy at your feet can work wonders when you’re writing


  1. Thanks for interviewing me! Woo hoo, Ohio writers unite!

  2. Nice interview!

    This Rachele person sounds awesome!! (OK, ok, I know Rachele, and she IS awesome!). ;o)

    Like the down to earth tone of both the questions and the answers.

    Nice job, folks!

  3. YAY Rachele! *\o/* Can't wait for your wonderful book to be released into the wild (and lucky to have been one of it's first readers)--XOXO

  4. Great interview - I will definitely check out Rachele's blog. We Ohio writers need to stick together. :)

  5. You know the bad thing about these kind of interviews is you hear about books you want to read... but can't. So now I have to wait until summer 2013 to read this story.

    I really should start a new notebook writing down all not-yet-published books I want to read. Otherwise I'll never remember.

    And I'll even put Mindy's book up on that list along with Rachele's!

  6. Loved reading the interview. Rachele is as adorable and amazing as ever :)

  7. Rachele - thanks for coming on! I want to see that WoW word in my cloud nice a bolded :)

    N - Yes, this Rachele person is a decent gal, right?

    Christina - Great, now I'm jealous :)

    Marin - you bet. Especially when it snows, and shit.

    Suzi - Use Goodreads! I love it for keeping track, and it also tells me how many books I've read this year, which honestly, is kind of fascinating.

    SLD - thanks for dropping by!

    April - Damn straight.

    Bee - Isn't she though?

    Thanks everyone for dropping by and commenting!!

  8. Fab interview! Thanks, Mindy and Rachele.

  9. Fab interview! Thanks, Mindy and Rachele.

  10. Good questions for Rachele, Mindy. I appreciated her candor. Too often it is found among "established" or "blockbuster" authors that either appear milquetoast or somewhere in the stratosphere.

    Mark Beyer
    Author of "The Village Wit"
    and "What Beauty" (June 2012)
    blogs at


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