You know how we all have our favorite authors and then all the sudden we read someone else's writing and we're like "wow, she/he is so talented. I need to read their other books!" That was me after reading Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham. She is definitely on my favorite authors list now and I can't wait to catch up on reading the books that she has already written as well as her future works.
I reached out to her last week about an interview, she kindly agreed and well, here we are!
Mercy: Can you share a little bit about yourself?
Mercy: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
Rachel: I’ve always loved reading and storytelling but I didn’t dare hope I could write a book until I was thirty-one. Prior to that I thought I was too “ordinary” to ever write a book. I thought writing was something that other people did. After having my fifth baby I was feeling overwhelmed and in need of a creative outlet. My husband said, “You read so much why don’t you write a book?” I decided to take that challenge believing writing would just be a way to fill my spare time. I honestly had no dreams of publication when I started but once I started writing this whole new portion of myself came alive and it hasn’t turned off since.
Mercy: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Rachel: Spend time with my family! Read, travel, advocate for foster kids and for my son’s disease. Like I mentioned earlier this season of my life doesn’t leave me room for a lot of hobbies but someday I think I’d like to reawaken my love for sports, hiking and cooking (I do cook now but it’s not very gourmet!)
Mercy: How many books have you written? which one is your favorite?
Rachel: I’ve written six but only have two published so far. Of my published books my favorite is The Hope of Azure Springs but love them both. Of my non published books I adore my very first manuscript because writing it was so exciting for me.
Mercy: Does writing energize or exhaust?
Rachel: That depends on which phase of writing I am in. The first draft is usually exciting and keeps me up at night as I eagerly work on it. Editing can be a drag!
Mercy: What is your favorite, under-appreciated novel?
Rachel: That’s a tough one. I’ve read so many fantastic books over the years. One that I love that’s rarely talked about anymore is The Girl of the Limberlost. It’s such a sweet classic.
Mercy: What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Rachel: Here’s a couple things I’ve learned- Rejection isn’t all bad. Remember how dramatic high schoolers were when they were dumped by their boyfriend or girlfriend. It was like the world ended. But now that we're older we're glad that we didn’t have to be forever tied to someone that didn’t want us and wasn’t really a great fit. Writing is kind of the same way. Someone may not want your book, that’s okay. Ask yourself why, learn from it and go find an agent or publisher that does want you and is excited about the story you’ve written. Ordinary people can write extraordinary books. I didn’t even attempt writing because I didn’t think I was the type of person that could do that. In the end that held me back. If you feel compelled to write, write! Don’t worry about editing in your first draft. It’s supposed to be ugly!
Mercy: Describe your ideal writing space.
Rachel: Ideally, I’d have an office that was set up for just writing. I’d have books and décor that inspire me. A white board for notes and multiple computer screens. In reality I write on my couch (I think it’s messing with my back so I might have to change this soon).
Mercy: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book Yours Truly, Thomas?
Rachel: Yours Truly, Thomas is about pain and how it’s not always the enemy, sometimes it’s the teacher. Penny our main character has been working at the Dead Letter Office for three years and yearns for something more. Thomas has run from his past. His lost letters end up in her hands and she makes it her mission to deliver them to their intended. Ultimately their paths will cross and with a cast of eccentric and kindhearted characters they’ll learn and grow and end the story in an entirely different position than they began in. I loved learning about the Dead Letter Office and pondering the idea that someone’s life could be altered because their mail was lost. I also loved exploring the painful pasts of these characters and watching them grow. It’s satisfying to travel with beloved characters through their hardships! One things I didn’t expect to love like I did was Penny’s dog Honey. She’s so much trouble!!!
Mercy: Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.
Rachel: My favorite character is Margaret Anders. She appears in both The Hope of Azure Springs and Yours Truly, Thomas. She was originally just a plot device but she had so much to say that she kept just pushing her way back on the page and in the end I adored her. She’s full of wisdom and doesn’t mind speaking her mind. Writing her was fun because I didn’t have to hold back and I got to pretend I knew way more about life than I actually do. She’s just a fun character! I’d love to be neighbors and friends with her.
Mercy: Lastly, where can we find you on social media?
Rachel: My website is rachelfordham.com Facebook.com/rachelfordhamfans Instagram- @rachel_fordham