So today I am super pleased to announce that An Interview With is back and with a new look! Today I have my wonderful friend Rachael joining me and giving a little bit of insight into her writerly life. I won't go too much into detail as everything I want to say is a question!
Hi Rachael, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi, Rhianne! Thank you so much for inviting me here. As you know, my name is Rachael Tulipano. I am a fiction and content writer living in southern Maine. I graduated from the University of Southern Maine in May 2014 with a B.A. in Communications and minor in Sociology. I’ve always excelled at and loved writing, but it wasn’t until college that I decided to try my hand at writing novels. Ever since, writing fiction has become my passion!
2. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Ideally, it is a dream of mine to someday write full-time. I have so many novel ideas in mind and I know it will take me years and years to share them all with my readers. If writing was my career—as opposed to my side hustle—I really believe I would be happiest. For now, I work full-time and write around my schedule the best I can. It works, but I hope this is a temporary division of time and labor. For me, writing is where I flourish.
3. So, what have you written?
I’m happy you asked, Rhianne! So far, my complete and published works include Torn and Mated. This duology is a paranormal romance series set in New York City. My main character Landon Pratt is a successful financial analyst working on Wall Street where he finds himself torn in love and lust between two dangerous women: Bria Lawrence, a vampire and Natalie Taylor, a cat burglar. Their lives cross and tangle through a series of events in both books, leaving the reader torn, too!
4. Where can we buy or see them?
Presently, Torn and Mated are available in paperback and e-reader formats on Amazon Books. Interested readers can visit www.amazon.com/author/rachaeltulipano to directly link to these books. I’m also featured on Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/rachaeltulipano) and I have my own website, too (www.rachaeltulipano.com).
Additionally, I sell paperback copies to readers directly. If anyone wants to purchase signed copies from me, all they need to do is send me an email with their address and I can make that happen!
5. What are you working on at the minute?
In addition to my paranormal romance duology Torn, I am in the midst of writing a New Adult dystopian series titled The Unwanted Trilogy. I recently finished writing the first book, Unwanted, and am now writing the sequel Untouchable. I aim to write the final installment Underlying in 2017!
What I’m doing differently with The Unwanted Trilogy is I’m making quotes and graphics tied to the books to generate buzz. In fact, I have an Instagram account dedicated to The Unwanted Trilogy. Link to www.instagram.com/the_unwanted_trilogy or search the handle @the_unwanted_trilogy to view snapshots of my writing from these books!
6. Give us an insight into your main character. What does s/he do that is so special?
Quinn Mayer is my main character in Unwanted. What makes Quinn special is that she is the second child of the Mayer family, born into a society where families are only allowed to have one child each. Since Quinn is a second born, her existence is illegal. The first eighteen years of Quinn’s life are spent in hiding, for if found Quinn could be legally executed by the military. It is during her childhood and adolescence that Quinn is known as an Unwanted.
By her eighteenth birthday, however, Quinn becomes an Untouchable. This social status protects her from legal execution, but leaves her a societal outcast nonetheless. Quinn is challenged at every turn, struggling to make sense of her place in the world.
Quinn’s flair? She is fearless. Quinn is determined to challenge the status quo by breaking down social barriers to fight and speak for the hidden “extra” children who don’t have voices. Quinn aims to cultivate a global mindset, encouraging families to control their reproductive choices and begging the law to protect the values of choice, freedom, and life.
7. Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?
I would LOVE to share an excerpt from Unwanted with you. Here is a passage from the very beginning of Unwanted from Quinn’s perspective:
I was raised to hide behind the four walls of my secret shelter. My parents made me promise—swear, even— that I would never expose the safe haven of my hidden bedroom beyond the tricked bookcase in our study.
Now? Now that prison no longer confines me.
Chatter stirs me from my thoughts. I open my eyes, looking around in deep wonder. A few neighbors across the way peek in my direction. Distracted from planting flowers and mowing their lawns, they are now staring at me inquisitively.
Some whisper to one another. Others stare in silent curiosity. They’ve never seen me before; never laid eyes upon the Unwanted daughter of the Mayer family. They know nothing of my illegal existence as the second-child in our one-child policy of Stonewall. These neighbors my parents and brother have befriended over the years look very shocked, as to be expected. Everyone knows everyone in our neighborhood.
Everyone but me.
Glancing over my shoulder, I offer my parents and brother a worried look. I may be an Untouchable now, protected from the executions our society mandates occur to remove the nonessential children in our country, but I still do not belong.
The chatter and confused expressions across the street remind me that though my eighteenth birthday marks my status as an Untouchable, I remain an Unwanted in the eyes of others.
8. Where do your ideas come from?
Oftentimes, my ideas are inspired by the media. If I hear a song, watch a movie, or read a book sometimes there’s a trigger (e.g. a line, sound, image, etc.) that stands out to me as having depth. For example, I noticed love
triangles in the media typically feature one woman conflicted between two men. This organization had me wondering how a man torn between two women might fret. This concept then led to my debut novel Torn.
Unlike the Torn duology, my Unwanted series didn’t come to me as easily. Something about the craze of the dystopian genre influenced me, but it took awhile before I finally decided where I wanted to go with the one-child policy concept. I conducted ample research on China’s former one-child policy, paired with the notion of overpopulation and the consequences of a dying race. Somehow, this muddled together and generated the premise of my forthcoming novel Unwanted.
9. Do you work to outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
For me, outlining my plot is critical. Even if I only have a tentative plan, it helps organize my thoughts if I write them down on paper and map out the story. If I let the story guide me too much, it ends up having little purpose and/or structured storyline.
Now, that’s not suggest I’m a plotter without fail. Sometimes I do try to lighten up on the plan if there’s room to expand in unexpected ways. Now and then I write one thing, but end up taking the story in a whole new direction. Moments like that are fun for me because inspiration takes on a whole new meaning. I outline my stories, but leave room for changes.
10. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Oh, yes. Big time! There is absolutely no way I could possibly edit a novel as soon as I finish writing it. At that point, my mind would be too close to it. It’s best for me to take a nice, long break and come back to the manuscript to edit at a later time.
Typically, I invite beta readers to make their edits and comments during my mental hiatus before I begin editing myself. Having a fresh mind and unbiased edits from others helps me edit constructively and with purpose.
11. How much research do you do?
The amount of research I conduct depends a great deal on the type of story I’m writing. For me, Torn and Mated required endless research. I wanted to capture the job of a financial analyst accurately. I based my setting loosely off of true places and conditions, which meant I needed to describe New York City correctly. Similarly, the scenes where my cat burglar was out on a mission to steal, I had to research contraptions and create realistic ploys to portray her thieving nature as believable.
My new series The Unwanted Trilogy is a lot different. Since the setting of the country Stonewall is a fictitious place, I have far more room to structure the society as I want to, not as the real world is. There’s an expectation that a fictitious nation is going to have fake rules and dilemmas, as it’s completely made up. This doesn’t mean I haven’t had to conduct research, but there’s less of an emphasis on basing the story off of true places, events, etc. since the story is completely fictitious in every sense of the word.
12. How do you develop your plots and characters?
Developing my plot and characters varies project to project, but typically I begin with my premise. I map out the story I want to tell, marking milestone events on a piece of paper so I don’t lose them.
From there, I write short biographies for my characters. I select names, describe their physical features, and jot down character traits. I usually ask myself what each character’s goal/mission is, so that’s clear from the beginning. Similarly, I try to leave room for potential plot twists. For instance, maybe my character wants one thing but secretly longs for something else later on. It’s nice to tuck surprises in there for readers!
As aforementioned, sometimes my plot changes once the writing process begins. There have been times when I mapped out one direction, but took a completely different path during the actual writing phase. I think that’s more or less normal, and can even be better than what was originally planned out!
13. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
If my paranormal romance novels Torn and Mated were to make an appearance on the silver screen, I’d have to say actor Jesse MetCalfe would be the best fit to play my character Landon Pratt. He has the charming good looks and would make a fantastic businessman! Additionally, I’d love to have Victoria’s Secret models Adriana Lima and Candace Swanepoel play my characters Bria Lawrence and Natalie Taylor respectively. Physically, they fit the parts impeccably.
Hey, I can dream, right?
14. Advice to aspiring writers?
My parting advice to aspiring writers is very simple: never let a flooded market deter you from trying your hand at writing.
It’s easy to convince yourself every story under the sun has already been told, and written better by someone else. That’s simply false. Your story has not been written yet. If writing is your passion and storytelling is important to you, at least try. You don’t have to publish your writing, but at any rate see your projects through. Put your stories into words and watch them grow! It’s amazing to see a small idea bloom into a manuscript hundreds of pages thick.
Every writer begins with a seed of doubt. Push your hesitations aside and try. You’ll never know what could be if you’re afraid to write the words down.