Hello Everyone! Today, I’d like to welcome my very first interviewee, Rachel Horwitz. She’s here talking to us a bit about herself as an author.  (Okay, okay! So it’s writing – or rather – typing. Still…)

ReGi: Welcome Rachel. In what part of the world are you joining us today?

Rachel: I’m from Massachusetts. New England is great, I’m proud of the area and its people, can’t imagine living anywhere else.

ReGi: I got a peek at some writing you did at the age of ten. Have you always wanted to be an author? Did you have any other childhood career goals?

Rachel: Yes, pretty much since I could speak I told stories. My family wonders when I’ll ever shut up! I just have a lot to say and I translated that into writing from a young age up through school and into university. I love animals and nature so I wanted to be a vet until I realized you had to cut animals open so then it was back to writing.

ReGi: Do you incorporate your love for animals into your books?

Rachel: Absolutely. The majority of the people in my books are human-like-animals, or what some people call anthros. That itself came from my connection to animals. Along with setting descriptions and background creatures, I try to incorporate nature as much as I can.

ReGi: I’ve seen your ramphibian. =0) Are there any other unique species in your books?

Rachel: Oh yes. I got a lot of the ideas for the animals from prehistoric animals here on Earth, others are just chimera combos. I tried to make animals we can relate to somewhat different. For example, dragons are very important in my series and while some are how our mythology has portrayed them, others are different (ie- no wings, fur, etc)

ReGi: Given your fanciful menagerie, I assume you write speculative fiction?

Rachel: Fantasy, scifi and spec mostly because they’re more fun than writing reality. I like getting lost in other worlds. That’s also why I write for young adults because you can engage their imagination while also addressing serious topics.

ReGi: What topics do you focus on most?

Rachel: Because I’m interested in how people interact with each other, I incorporate a lot of social problems (racism, sexism, etc) into my stories.

ReGi: What work would you say most influences yours?

Rachel: Without a doubt, Harry Potter. I am a child of the HP generation and beyond getting me into reading, HP showed me people actually wanted to read the type of stories I liked to write.

ReGi: How long have you been writing with the intent to publish?

Rachel: I would say when HP came into my life at eleven I had dreams of being published. I was and still am very ambitious.

ReGi: Is writing your primary occupation?

Rachel: Not yet. I’d love for it to be involved in my career. I have a few part-time jobs now that revolve around writing, nature and other such things I enjoy though.

ReGi: You’re currently going the traditional publishing route, correct? Tell us how you came to that decision.

Rachel: Yes. Basically, traditional publishing appealed to me because it was what was available when I started writing this series and the determination to accomplish that goal just stuck. So even though I knew it would be difficult, traditional publishing always felt right, sort of like it was meant to be. So until it is, I will keep trying.

ReGi: Have you published anything yet?

Rachel: I was published in a poetry book for children years ago, but currently I am querying my series for representation and ultimately publication.

ReGi: Do you keep up with sites like Query Shark or SlushPile Hell to help refine your querying techniques? If so, do you find them useful?

Rachel: I checked them regularly while writing my query. They’re excellent outlets to hear from people in the industry. There’s only so much you can do from the form letter, you have to see how those on the inside view it as well. In addition to that, reading other book’s backflaps really helps hone the query.

ReGi: What advice would you give to other authors interested in traditional publishing?

Rachel: Be prepared for the long haul. It’s a lot of work and there’s more steps involved than with self or indie pub. But you can’t give up. The way I look at it, 99 out of 100 agents or publishers could hate my project, but what matters is the 1 that likes it.

ReGi: Besides writing novels, you also keep a blog. Tell us something about that.

Rachel: The purpose of You Are What You Write is to create a community of writers and hopefully help aspiring authors and even current writers understand and improve on their writing. What you write becomes you, after all. I usually post on my blog 2-3 times a week, but I also guest post on my employers blogs as well as other writers blogs.

ReGi: Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, Rachel! Many blessings in your creative endeavors.

Rachel: Thanks for having me!

Be sure to check out Rachel’s blog athttp://www.rachelhorwitz.com/blog/ You can also connect with her on Twitter @rachelhwrites