We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Rachel Searles, author of THE LOST PLANET, coming to you January 2014 from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. One author, four questions. Here we go!
Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?
I’ve known I wanted to be an author since I was six years old. During my childhood I filled countless notebooks with my stories, but as I grew older, exposure to the “real world” convinced me I needed to pursue a “real job” and get “real life experience.” I studied political science and journalism, lived abroad for a few years, got a corporate job, and I didn’t do much (any) creative writing for a solid decade or so, even though publishing a book was still a goal somewhere in the back of my mind.
Eventually I started writing again, and after several false starts on some especially awful manuscripts, it took a New Year’s resolution (and a little bit of panic when I realized how easy it would be for me to let that goal slide forever) for me to finish writing what would become THE LOST PLANET. That first draft had a lot of issues, but it also had potential, so I spent a year and a half getting critiqued and revising it into the story I wanted to tell. Then Lady Luck paid a visit: After querying in small batches for half a year, I won a random drawing for a full manuscript critique by brilliant agent Joanna Volpe, who’d been closed to queries for an eternity and (though I didn’t know it then) was on the cusp of opening her own agency. I had big hopes, but no expectations, so I was pretty shocked when she called and told me she wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if she didn’t offer representation. We did a couple rounds of light revisions together, and got the first offer two weeks after it went out on sub.
What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?
THE LOST PLANET is an upper middle grade space adventure about a 13-year-old boy named Chase who wakes up on a colony planet with a terrible wound to the head and no memory of who he is. After disaster strikes the planet, Chase is hunted through the galaxy with two unlikely allies while trying to discover the truth about his past. Cool details? Well, the book was pitched as a young Star Wars and includes double-crossing mercenaries, a sentient jungle, and a vengeful alien crime boss named Rezer Bennin.
What are you most excited about in the debut process?
I still kind of can’t believe I’m going to have a book published next year, and so far most of my reactions to good news have been a sort of amused disbelief. I think the most exciting thing will be to actually hold that hardcover in my hands, stare at its beautiful cover (which I’ve seen, and I LOVE it), and inhale that wonderful smell of ink and paper!
What cool facts might readers not know about you?
I grew up in the peaceful small town/wilderness splendor of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but I’m more of a city person and have lived only in metropolitan areas ever since, including Munich, Istanbul, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I’ve spent the last nine years working at a company whose name is now a commonly used verb. I enjoy travel and studying languages, and I speak fluent German, decent French and a respectable amount of Turkish. Other character details: Coffee drinker. Cat person. Challenge accepter. Stubborn Taurus. If you ask me whether I prefer Star Wars or Star Trek, I’ll say both please with a swirl of Battlestar Galactica and a Firefly on top.
|Rachel Searles once thought she’d be a journalist but found she vastly prefers writing about made-up things. A Midwesterner at heart, she lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband and their two feline overlords. Her debut novel, THE LOST PLANET, is a rip-roaring space adventure coming from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan in January 2014.|