I'm very happy to welcome Rachel Hamm, author of Twenty-Five, on Dreaming With Open Eyes today. She was so kind and anwered a bunch of my questions. Thank you very much for taking your time. It's a pleasure to have you on my blog.
About the Author
Rachel was born in Buffalo, NY but grew up in Burlington, NC. Raised by northern parents in the south, she likes to say she got the best of both worlds. Her writing is inspired by classic authors like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as contemporary ones like JK Rowling and Claire LaZebnik. She loves to read and has been known to spend an entire weekend engrossed in the adventures of her favorite characters.
Hello Rachel! Welcome to my blog, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me! I'm a hopeless romantic, lover of Disney and Harry Potter, bookworm, and all-around awesome person. I've read Pride & Prejudice about a million times (or 15, somewhere between the two) and Leslie Knope is my spirit animal. I'm addicted to Sunkist and great pens.
Can you tell us something about your books?
I write clean romance, which means the hanky panky is implied, but not spelled out. I like to leave some things to the imagination! I also really like good guys, so my heroes are men I'd actually date in real life - in fact, if you know any guys like Ben or Sedric, can you let me know?
How did you react when you found out your book was being published? What was your road to publication?
I self-published. I did a lot of research on the pros and cons and really felt self-publishing was the best option for me. Traditional publishing is great if you've already got an audience, but new authors don't stand much of a chance. I didn't want to become rich, I just wanted people to be able to read the book I worked so hard on.
Do you base your characters on real people, or are they entirely fictional?
The main character of Twenty-Five is partially based on myself. Abby has three siblings (two sisters and a brother), just like me. I gave her the love story I've always wanted for myself.
I took a few liberties in my upcoming release, Honor's Lark. There's a character, a four year-old girl, who is based on the daughter of my best friend. The 25 year long relationship between Honor and Bonnie is based on my long-term friendship with my best friend, though the characters themselves are not based on us.
I've always tried to be honest in my work. Sometimes that means going to situations or characters I know, and sometimes it means coming up with the most random thing possible! Even though Honor's Lark has fantasy element central to the plot, I try and ground my characters in reality. It's important to me that the characters are relatable and believable.
Where does the inspiration for your novels come from?
I touched on this a little already, but I write love stories because I want a love story. I think about what would make me happy and then I run with it. Sometimes I have too much inspiration! I think that's what they call an occupational hazard (or job security, depending on how you look at it). Inspiration can come from anywhere - another book, a movie or television show, social media. The inspiration for Honor's Lark came from a pin on Pinterest!
What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?
Can I give two answers? The absolute best moment of my life was receiving the paperback of my book for the first time - seeing my name on the cover, flipping through it and seeing my words. So yeah, there's that! But on an every day basis, it's the community of writers I've developed over the years. Between online friends and the awesome folks in my local NaNo chapter, I know I can go to any of them for advice. And they feel comfortable coming to me, too. It's amazing to be able to share this passion with others who feel the same way.
If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be doing?
Funny, being a writer is the other thing I'm doing now! I still have a day job that's not exciting to talk about in the least (though I like it and the people I work with). I think one of the things most people don't realize about writers is that many of us have to maintain other means of employment during the formative years of our writing careers. For those who traditionally publish, initial advances are small and royalties are only paid after the the advance is earned. For self-publishers, it takes several books to build an audience. I'm hoping to one day write full-time but I'm not in a rush. I'd rather take the time now to build my brand and develop strong books.
Can you tell us about your writing day?
I usually write in the evenings. I am not a morning person at all! During the day, I'll catch up on emails and twitter during down time, and I pull out my notebook and a fun-colored pen after dinner. Right now I'm using the Magic Spreadsheet to track my word counts and maintain motivation.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Jane Austen is my absolute favorite author of all time. She was a genius. If I could go back in time and meet her, I have a feeling we'd be best friends (don't shatter my dream!). In real life, though, there are several indie authors I really admire and follow to learn more about the publishing business. Apryl Baker and DelSherree Gladden write YA, which isn't my genre, but they are great at marketing themselves and their work (and awesome writers, to boot).
Are you working on something new, can you tell us anything about it?
My next book, Honor's Lark, will be released in May and I'm currently writing the sequel to it. I have a couple of other ideas I'm excited to work on, but I never know which ideas are going to go in the right direction until I'm in the middle of them.
Honor's Lark: In a world where everyone is assigned a lifemate at birth by the Gods, thirty year-old Honor is still looking for hers. When her new boss, Sedric, points out that her mate probably died before they met, Honor embarks on a quest for closure. She needs to know who her mate was and what he was like so she can move on with her life. Sedric is determined to help Honor, because he understands the emptiness she's feeling. As they search for Honor's lifemate and get to know each other, they start to wonder if the only kind of love is that which is fated and if there really is only one person for everyone.
Debut Novel: Twenty-Five
Abigail Bronsen is sure her life is going nowhere when she turns twenty-five and realizes she hasn't done anything on a list of goals she made for herself as a teenager. Ben Harris is looking to find "the one" after his last girlfriend cheated on him. When they crash into each other, it appears they've both found exactly what they wanted. A year of firsts follows: first date, first kiss, first “I love you’s.” The first fight is inevitable, but neither of them saw a breakup coming. When Abigail is offered a job overseas, they’ll discover that no relationship is perfect and even true love sometimes finds itself separated by time and distance.
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