Interview with Rachel de la Fuente, Author of the Exalted Bloodlines series

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

I use a combination of fountain pen and computers. I usually start writing with fountain pen, then transcribe it on my computer and continue wherever I left off. Writing longhand with fountain pens lets me make better sense of my thoughts than going straight to my computer.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?

I have a set schedule for writing for my blog, as I have deadlines to meet, but writing for novels and stories only happens when I feel inspired. If I try to force myself to write fiction when I’m not inspired, I feel drained.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I do a bit of both. When inspiration hits hard, I just follow it wherever it goes. But for novels, I typically have some sort of outline of major plot points and fill in the blanks.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

Getting past writer’s block. I still haven’t figured out a fool-proof way of doing so.

What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

I want to finish my travel bucket list. I have so many places I want to visit, and I’d love to be able to see them all. I don’t know if I have enough time (or money) to accomplish it though. Fingers crossed!

Do you read much?

I don’t think I read much, especially compared to how much I read as a child, but my would friends say I read a lot. I suppose it’s all based on perspective. My goal for this year is 52 books, so far I’ve finished 34, and I’m reading the 35th.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

Both. I’ll read and edit my work several times while writing, and I’ll send it to beta readers for their input. Then it goes to an editor (when deadlines allow) for another review. You can never have too many eyes on a manuscript.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

I’d say it’s at least 50% of a person’s decision to buy your book. A good cover or title can attract someone who might have otherwise overlooked your work, whereas bad ones could deter someone who may have very much enjoyed your story. Title and cover aren’t everything, but without them, your job is at least twice as hard.

Have you ever designed your own book cover?

Yes, I designed the cover for my first book, The Most Special Chosen, when I first self-published it. I also designed the cover for my contribution to the Summer Heat charity anthology, Fate’s Kiss. I will say, however, that graphic design is part of my day job.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

My first book certainly had more of me than my subsequent stories. Ultimately, though, everything I write will have a bit of me, as we all write from our own experiences. No one else can write my stories, just like I can’t write anyone else’s.

Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Yes, to a degree. I’ve based characters on people in my own life, sometimes heavily. I have not, however, directly incorporated a person or event from my life into a story.

Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?

No one is unsupportive, but I’d say my husband, who is also an author, is the most supportive. But, to be fair to the rest of my family, it may simply be because I’m around him the most.

If given the opportunity to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?

I would. I’d give my first book another edit to help with pacing. I’m considering doing that anyway, as it’s the number one criticism I receive for it.

Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?

Yes. There are times that my day job absolutely exhausts me and leaves no energy for writing.

There is a misconception that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?

I wish. I personally know far too many writers who can barely make ends meet. I have no clue how this idea took hold.

Is it true that anyone can be a writer?

To loosely paraphrase Ratatouille, I think a writer can come from anywhere, and can be anyone. And I think, with enough effort and practice, just about anyone could become a writer. The problems arise when the “effort and practice” are skipped.

Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?

Yes. Most indie and self-published authors market their own books. It can be an exhausting process, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about social media in doing so.

Do you make your own vocabulary words in your book or resort to the existing ones?

I’m currently working on a developing my own language for my series, but I’m not sure if that counts as “making my own vocabulary words”.

Have you ever written fan-fiction?

Yes. I’ve written several stories, and was working on a complete re-imagining of the Harry Potter series when The Most Special Chosen was picked up by my publisher and I had to focus on that. I hope, someday, to have enough time to revisit fan-fiction.

Do you blog?

Yes. I post at least once a week on a variety of topics including fountain pens, book reviews, personal stories, and book updates. You can find my blog on my website.

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