I haven’t had a fresh author for you to meet in a few weeks, but I have a very special author for you today – author Rachel V. Bull. She just also happens to be my very talented sister. Yes, she has been bitten by the writing bug and has put out her first in a series of children’s books. And I, of course, couldn’t be prouder.
So, please help me welcome this very special author today! Her work is geared toward a 2nd-4th grade level, but children as young a 4 years old (tested on my own 4 year old) will enjoy this story!
Welcome to my blog, Rachel! First, can you tell us a little about your book?
My story is about a young girl who is going to an overnight camp for the first time. We see her excitement as she prepares for her adventure and then we follow her through her first day there. The story shows her interactions with the other girls at camp and how she sees opportunities to be kind to others.
I like it. What was the inspiration for Jojo Goes to Camp?
My inspiration began with memories of church camp, but I also wanted it to have more of a moral to it than just a girl at camp. I also always tell my kids to be kind and took this as an opportunity to show how being kind helps both the person receiving the act of kindness as well as the person being kind. I really think if we could instill that one trait in people the world would be a different place. There are so many small opportunities in life where you can choose to ignore a situation, to be mean, or take a minute and be kind.
Interesting thought. I think I can get behind that. Acts of kindness really do make a difference for people. And a general attitude of being kind instilled in people would make for a different world.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?
It never crossed my mind once to be a writer. I am analytical, big time. I see things in black and white and have never had much of an imagination. I have always been creative to a degree for things like problem solving difficult or complicated situations, but I’ve never applied myself to creative activities.
I never had a dream job and definitely never thought I’d work in a bank, but I somehow landed in the perfect job for me and I love it! I work for an amazing company that values my skill set and everyone works as a team, from the top down. Having such a great work environment relieves stress and allows my time away from work to be enjoyable. I have taken up photography as a hobby and now writing, both of which I enjoy very much.
They always say “find something you love, then find someone who will pay you to do that”.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
After the conversation with my sister. She really planted the seed in my head and one day after work I started typing out a story and didn’t stop until it was complete. I quickly began thinking of more adventures my main character could go on, which turned into personal stories from my childhood.
Even as new as you are to the process, I’m sure you have discovered that there are things writers love about it and things they don’t like so much. What part of the writing process do you dread?
It is hard to have someone criticize what you have done, but I always try to keep in mind that the editing process is to make my book better, not to point out my shortcomings as a writer.
I think it’s important to remember that we can always learn from each other. On that note, do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
In my limited experience, the only thing I think I would say is write about something you either know really well or are passionate about. Also, don’t get discouraged by edits, they really do make your book better.
Great advice! For most authors, we are big readers… What about you? What are you currently reading?
I hate to admit this when I am talking about writing, but I’m not a big reader. Having four kids, I have read a lot of kid’s books. I recently read a book by a Christian radio deejay called Spiritual Misfits. The author, Brant Hansen, has Asperger’s and a neurological condition. Like myself, he is analytical and I can relate to the way he sees and interprets things.
I usually have to get in the “mood” to write. (Not always…I can sit down as well as the next writer and make it happen when I have to.) But music is a big part of that for me. What about you? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
I don’t listen to anything. I get distracted really easily, so I prefer for everything to be quiet, if possible, when I’m trying to concentrate. If it isn’t quiet, I’ll put on a podcast to drown out the noise. I normally listen to the Bobby Bones Show podcast which is a replay of the radio show without the music. I also enjoy listing to Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It, which is similar to the old radio program The Rest of the Story with Paul Harvey.
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
Since I like it quiet, I usually do my writing in the evening and wherever I can set up my laptop and have a few minutes to myself.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My books have all been short stories for children, so they really don’t take too much time to write. I’d say between an hour to an hour and half. I think it over in my mind for days before I sit down and put it on paper.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
My newest and first release is Jojo Goes to Camp. A fun fact that makes this story different than my others is that it is not a story from my childhood. It is loosely based on my camp, but all the interactions are fictional. The two I’ve written since are actual experiences I’ve had.
Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
I have a list of titles for books to follow the three I’ve written. I want to go ahead and get my second two through the illustration process and final edits before I actually write anymore though.
Thanks again, Rachel, for being on the blog and sharing about your book and your process. So, we’ll take a few minutes here and check out Jojo’s debut!
Jojo Goes to Camp
Join Jojo as she sets off to enjoy her first ever summer camp! What will she see? Who will she meet? What adventures await her? Share in her experiences and see how Jojo puts into action the lessons she has learned.
Enjoy an Excerpt
The girls rush to the door, practically running over each other.
Jojo does not run to the door. Mama always told her to use good manners, and part of that was not running over our friends.
In the rush, Rachel gets knocked off her feet and her glasses fall under one of the beds. She is searching for her glasses, but having a lot of trouble.
The other girls don’t seem to notice.
But Jojo does. She stops and squats down. She spots the glasses right away. She looks at Rachel. She sees a sadness in her face. It almost seems as if this is normal but it still makes her sad.
Jojo quickly grabs the glasses and says, “Here, Rachel, I found them.”
Rachel seems relieved her glasses are found and a smile returns to her face. Through Jojo’s small act of kindness, she knows she’s made her first friend.
More About the Author
I am a banker by day and supermom by night. I have been blessed with four wonderful boys who fill my heart with joy. Faith and family are the most important things in my life. In the past couple of years, I have become active in the children’s ministry at my church and this helped me realize how much of child I still am at heart.
My sister, a published author who has written several novels, one day suggested I try my hand at a kid’s book, which I did. I was surprised at how quickly the ideas flowed and how much I enjoyed putting to paper my stories. I have written three short stories and published one, so far. I am in the process of putting together illustrations for the second which I hope to have complete before Christmas.
Rachel is offering a $10 Amazon gift card to one winner as her thanks for stopping by and checking out her new release! To enter, check out the instructions on the Rafflecopter below: