Today I’d like to introduce you to Rachel Fordham, author of The Hope of Azure Springs and soon-to-be released, Yours Truly Thomas. You can read the review of her first book by clicking the link above. I had the blessing of meeting Rachel at the national ACFW conference last September, and I just love her heart.
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs. She started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. Finally, she paired her love of good stories with her love of writing and hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
Crystal: Thank you so much for joining me today, Rachel. First up are my Fast Five!
Sweet or Unsweet Tea?
Rachel: I’m a water girl. My husband doesn’t get it because he likes flavor but for me water is the most satisfying drink.
Crystal: I getcha! Water is my go-to drink. That and hot tea. 🙂
Beach Vacation or Mountain Getaway?
Rachel: That’s a tough one. I live near water and mountains. I think I’d go to a tropical beach since our beaches are usually cold.
Crystal: Sounds like you have the best of both worlds. Although a tropical beach getaway sounds nice.
Homebody or Love to Travel?
Rachel: Can I say half and half? I need a good vacation or two each year but usually I’m so content being at home having as free a calendar as possible.
Crystal: I think that is a perfect balance. Family vacations are their own version of stressful. 😉
Morning Person or Night Owl?
Rachel: I do most of my writing at night but somehow still am up by 6:30 every morning. I have a houseful of kids so I don’t get the luxury of running on my own schedule.
Crystal: Bless you! To do both all the time wears me out.
Bookmark or Dog-ear Pages?
Rachel: No Dog-ears but I’m guilty of using non bookmarks as bookmarks. Whatever is round gets stuck in the book.
Crystal: Yep! Anything from receipts, to pens, to whatever the last thing a child handed me.
Writing & Life
What do you like to do when you aren’t reading or writing?
Rachel: I have six kids and we foster so sometimes we have seven. I spend a lot of time at sporting events and church activities for my kids. As a family we love playing board games, going to the beach or working on our yard. We also love taking road trips together.
Crystal: I love that! Family is so important. It sounds like you have the right balance to life.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Rachel: I always loved reading and I like to say I went to school for reading, but I didn’t think someone as ordinary as me could be a writer. It wasn’t until my fifth baby was six months old that I started writing. I was telling my husband I needed a creative outlet and he said, “You read so much why not write a book.” I wrote a draft of my first manuscript (still unpublished), then wrote another that became The Hope of Azure Springs. A friend suggested I try getting an agent…what could it hurt. So quietly without anyone knowing I wrote a query letter and sent it off the next day. My publishing story just kind of took off after that.
Crystal: I love the quiet stories where God works. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. After five babies a creative outlet besides kids games is definitely a necessity.
What is your favorite Bible Verse?
Rachel: That’s so hard to choose. It seems to depend on what’s happening in my life. I fell in love with Joshua 1:9 a couple years ago when we were going through some medical issues with one of my sons. “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.”
Crystal: What a great verse to cling to during those very difficult times!
I am so excited about this newest story from you. For our readers, here is the blurb for Yours Truly, Thomas.
For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.
Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn’t expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.
When Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.
Questions about Yours Truly, Thomas
Who was the most challenging character to write? What made them so challenging?
Rachel: Eliza Howell is a secondary character in Yours Truly, Thomas. She has a lot going on in her life but doesn’t get a ton of page time so trying to give readers a real sense of her was a struggle. I wanted them to sympathize with her and root for her without having her storyline take over. It was tricky but in the end I think it came together.
Crystal: Personally, I’m hoping to learn more about her possibly in another book. 😉 I’m intrigued and I haven’t even read Yours Truly, Thomas, yet.
Which character was the most fun to create? What make them fun?
Rachel: Margaret Anders runs a boarding house in Azure Springs and is a dominant secondary character. I LOVE writing her because she’s full of wisdom but delivers her speeches in quirky ways. It’s fun pretending like I have a lot of answers!
Crystal: Quirky characters are the best!
What was your favorite research you came across while preparing for Yours Truly, Thomas?
Rachel: Researching the dead letter office was so much fun! I had a really hard time not including more details and trivia about the office. I loved reading about the random things that came through the mail, the skills the employees possessed to be able to redirect so much mail (can you imagine all that research with no internet) and I loved reading tidbits about the real life employees.
Crystal: I’m intrigued about this section of the post office. I didn’t really know it existed until Hallmark channel put out Signed, Sealed, and Delivered. I can’t wait to learn more through your story
Does writing exhaust you or energize you?
Rachel: Depends on the stage I’m in. Writing rough drafts gives me an adrenaline rush. I get totally immersed in in it and want to get to the finish line. The first rounds of edits are usually really fun. I love polishing up the rough draft. After that it wears me out and I have to force myself to go back to it. My mind starts to wander because it’s so familiar with the story and I get anxious to just be done with it. I’m not a perfectionist by nature so that final push can be hard!
Crystal: I’m just now learning how exhausting editing a manuscript you have read so many times can be. I feel you!
Fun, Zaney Question of the Day
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot? Why?
Rachel: Hmmmm…. My high school mascot was a high climber (the logger that tops the tree). Some people thought it was real, but I loved that it captured a piece of the community’s story. I think if I were to pick a mascot it would have to be relevant too, rather than just fun. So, I’m going to go with…a night owl.
Crystal: LOL! I love that. We have several owls around our house and they are a “hoot!” Yeah, I just did that. Forgive my corny puns. LOL
Readers, if you want to check out Rachel’s book, visit one of these retailers. (Personally, Christianbook is my favorite, but the OCD in me won’t let me put the retailers out of alphabetical order. But check them out! And no, I’m not paid or encouraged to suggest them. I just really to love the site.)