See the interview with Page Turner winner Debbie Roome here, and other runner up Harriet Ford here.

Rachel Malcolm has been at FaithWriters for three years now – and now her novel has been named as a runner-up in the Page Turner contest! Read on to learn more about her writing, her family, and her other passions – plus some tips for  those of us who want to get serious about writing. 🙂

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on placing in the Page Turner! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

RACHEL MALCOLM: The night before I was expecting to see the results for the Page Turner, I was watching a movie with my family, and I noticed that I’d received a friend request from Deb Porter on Facebook. “This is a good sign!” I told my husband. I accepted the friend request and checked out the Faithwriters forum. I felt a rush of excitement jolt through me when I saw my name listed as one of the winners!

JOANNE: When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?Rachel Malcolm

 RACHEL: When I was six, only months after learning to read. I remember the thrill of seeing words everywhere around me. I’d try to sound out the words on every sign we drove past. Soon books were taking me to new worlds, and I wanted to transport people through my own writing.

JOANNE: So cool. 🙂 Is writing a hobby or potential career for you? Or something else?

RACHEL: A career. Three years ago I made the commitment to pour myself into writing. I know it’s a tough industry to succeed in, but I intend to stick it out for the whole journey. It doesn’t matter if it takes a year or a decade. I want to write books that make people laugh, cry, and think deeply. I want to create characters that will stay with readers long after the last page is finished.

JOANNE: I adore your passion – and with that attitude, I m sure you will succeed! Share a bit about One Act of Defiance. I see that is a title of one of your previous challenge entries – is that where it came from? Where did you get the idea for it? What’s it about? How far along in it are you?

RACHEL: One Act of Defiance is the first book in a young-adult series about a young midwife who risks her life on a quest for freedom. Set in a future of slavery and oppression, this tale of courage takes an unblushing view of birth in all its rawness and beauty.

This is my third novel. The first two were practice books. I was taking courses and reading books on the craft of writing and applying the techniques to those first two novels, but they’re very rough.

I first met the main character of my current book in a Faithwriters challenge. That story ended up winning first place. I loved the character enough that I wanted to see what she’d do next. That winning story ended up as a scene in my novel almost completely unchanged.

My book is pretty much finished. I’m just adding a few more scenes now to fill out some of the secondary plotlines.

JOANNE:  The book sounds fascinating. How did you find FaithWriters and what made you stick around?

RACHEL: I found FaithWriters during an online search when I decided to get serious about my writing—about three years ago. I found the community very warm, and there were others on a similar journey as me. Several people were very helpful and offered editing and critique. I’d finally found a community that was helping me to grow as a writer.

 JOANNE: What kinds of books or genres to you prefer to read and/or write?

RACHEL: I love reading YA science fiction. Some of my favourites are: Enders Game, The Giver Quartet, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. Firebird by Kathy Tyers is another favourite book.

JOANNE: Tell us about your family.

RACHEL: I live in the middle of 85 acres with my husband and six kids. I love being a mom! My youngest child is three and my oldest is fifteen, and all but the youngest is homeschooled. So my life is pretty busy, but I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s.

One thing that I really love about being a mom is seeing my children develop their passions. My oldest daughter loves birds. She finds and watches nests throughout the spring and summer and has tamed a number of the wild birds in our area so they eat out of her hand. My second daughter is passionate about pregnancy, birth, and babies and is interested in midwifery. One of my sons is brilliant with computers and robots and another is a great people person and devours books.

JOANNE: I can tell you love what you do – both in writing and your family. What are your other passions besides writing?

RACHEL: If having six kids and writing books didn’t keep me busy enough, I’m also a birth doula. Birth has been a passion of mine since my first pregnancy. I love it that my work as a mom, writer, and doula complement each other so well. I know I’m very blessed to be doing work that I love!

JOANNE: Do you make New Year’s resolutions or goals? If so, what do you hope to accomplish in 2016?

RACHEL: I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do have a number of goals for the coming year. In January I’ll start looking for an agent for my book. I’d love to see my book sold to a publisher, and I want to write the second novel in my series before we see the end of 2016.

JOANNE: Those sound like great goals. Where can people find you online?

RACHEL: I write a blog at cherishingthemoment.net.

JOANNE: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

RACHEL: A little advice for those who are embarking on their writing journey:

  1. If you really want to write a book—then make the time for it. Don’t wait to find the time, because it’ll never happen.
  2. The middle of a book is the hardest to write. That’s when I really lose my energy, but do whatever it takes to push through that slump: join Nanowrimo, take a writing course through Writer’s Digest, find a writing partner. Just don’t give up when you’re halfway there!
  3. And finally, embrace critique. I mean—actively look for it, pay hard cash for it, be grateful to everyone who offers it, be intentional about wrapping your arms around it. And especially look for critique from experienced writers.

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

JOANNE: Great stuff, Rachel! Thanks so much for the interview – and best wishes on your publishing and writing dreams. And, of course, congratulations AGAIN!

The 2016 Page Turner will begin in January.

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