Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Interview with Author Rachael Brownell and review!

Interview with Author Rachael Brownell

AND review of Holding On, Holding On Book One

Recently I had the utter pleasure of 'sitting' down on facebook (aka sitting in our pajama's miles away from each other with only the interwebs to connect us) with Rachael for an interactive interview discussing how her life effected her books, and vice versa along with what she has in store for us next!

About The Author
Rachael Brownell is the author of both YA and NA Romance.

She is from Kalamazoo, Michigan where she still lives with her husband and son. She has a Bachelor's degree in Advertising but currently works in the hospitality industry. When Rachael is not working on her next manuscript, you might find her on the golf course. (It's a family thing) If you see her, step back. She is still learning. 

To keep up with what Rachael is doing at the moment, visit her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or sign up for her newsletter.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachaelBrownell
Twitter: @HoldingOn2013
Blog: www.authorrachaelbrownell.com

Newsletter sign up: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fQ4QIQvk0WQSJEcKqr0AskSt-F-wseI1cAxuQguEhdU/viewform

Now that we have the 'official' bio of the author out of the way, are you ready for the interview?
Because here we go!
Blue: Rachael
Pink: Your Confetti Queen

Creatives generally use their past experiences and the emotions from them in their writing. What is one emotion/past experience that you use in your work?

The basis of Holding On is off a past experience. I wrote the original draft when I was a pissed off teenager. My mom moved us to Arizona when I was in 10th grade.
Hence why Becca (the MC in Holding On) is a little bit of me...

Where did you move from?


That's a rather big transition. How did you deal with moving to such a different environment? I've moved from California to Indiana, and it was like a whole different world.

It was different. I was so angry when we first moved that I kept to myself and then once I made a few amazing new friends, I settled down and adapted. We ended up moving back to Michigan less than a year later. There are some big differences in the culture and lifestyle, though. For instance, you can't say pop when referring to Pepsi or Coke. You have to say soda or they look at you funny.

I didn't hear the term 'soda' until I moved to Indiana, and then the whole pop or soda debacle ensued. It's good that you made friends in Arizona. Were you there long enough to make some enemies?

I'm sure I made a few but it was so long ago that I really don't remember. I haven't lived there in almost 20 years.
I'm old...

You're not THAT old.

I feel like it some days.

I definitely hear you there!
Looking back on it all, what would you tell your past self as she was going through it that you wished you would have known then?

Embrace the change. Everything happens for a reason and even though you may not recognize it right away, something amazing will come from it.

What was the 'something amazing' for you?

A number of things. I made a few lasting relationships, friends that I never would have met that have made a positive impact on my life. It was also my inspiration for the entire Holding On series, all four books, in so many ways.

Writing can be very theraputic in that way. While writing the Holding On series, did you self-discover things about yourself or your past that you never noticed before?

It was interesting to read the original draft and relive the emotions and situations that I had gone through. The original draft was more of a life story. The final draft wasn't. My life, as dramatic as I made it on paper, was not that interesting. But, to remember that time in my life, when the littlest things seemed so devastating... it made me laugh and inspired me to want to try my hand at writing again.

I love that!
Where did the majority of the anger you felt stem from? The fact of the move itself where you'd have to say goodbye to everything you knew, the sense of helplessness where you couldn't direct your own fate and had to rely on your parents, or something else?

It was mostly the fact that I was scared. We moved a ton when I was growing up until sixth grade and then it seemed like we finally settled into one place, no more switching schools. I didn't want to have to make new friends again. I didn't want to leave the friends I had.

A lot of kids these days go through the same thing, and share the same feelings as you. What is something you'd want to tell them to give them hope for their future?

I guess I would tell them not to lose hope. Your future is what you make it. Keep pushing forward because hard work is what will get them where they want to be.

(agree with that completely!)
Based on your experience with writing your story into a series, what advice would you give other authors about writing from personal experiences?

It was interesting, taking one tiny experience and turning it into a series. I created a new world, one that I could relate to but was exaggerated on. What I enjoyed most about it is the fact that the emotions behind the main character, Becca, were so real. I think it made her more relate able to readers because of that.

I'm a firm believer in giving humanity to characters. It makes them so much more relate-able. What did you discover about yourself while you were writing the series?

How much I've grown as a person. I started writing Holding On right after my son started kindergarten. To remember the person I used to be and see the person I had become was really neat. It had only been ten years or so at that point but there was a noticeable difference.

It's amazing how people change over time, and almost always for the better.
I'm a perpetual perfectionist and have to force myself to let go of my books. Are you tempted to change or improve things with the Holding On series? Or are you satisfied with it?

There are a few things that I would change but I won't let myself. I'm happy with the way it ended. It felt incomplete for so long. I published book 3 last June and I thought it was the last book in the series. It kept nagging at me and nagging at me and finally I realized why. I hadn't given closure to one of the main characters. I HAD to write his book. It came out this June, exactly one year later to the day, and now it feels complete.

That's great! And I'm glad you kept your mind open to the series until you were satisfied with it.
What's one thing you want readers to know about the Holding On series, or want them to keep in mind and be open to as they read it?

The series is progressive. It begins with the characters in high school, book 2 they're in college, book 3 is from Ethan's perspective and wraps up his relationship with Becca and book 4 is from Brad's perspective and wraps up his relationship with Becca and the series. The characters grow up through the series. Becca is young, immature and indecisive in the first book. She's your average teenage girl. You get to watch as the characters find their footing in the world and with each other.

Character growth is a must in all books.
What can we expect from you in the future and can I sweet talk you into sharing a bit of it?

The number one negative I get on reviews is that Becca is whiny. Well... she's a teenage girl. It always makes me laugh a little.

LOL I've heard the same things about one of my main characters as well.

Ah! I have a new book coming out in a few months. I haven't announced the release date yet but... Next will be released (tentatively) September 1st! I'd love to share a little bit with you.

Woot! That's awesome! I can't wait to see what you have in store!

What if one kiss could change everything? 
It did, for Reagan Brooks. Her fascination with Luke Evans went from a school-girl crush to heart-wrenching love in an instant. Then he left town, leaving a starry-eyed Reagan in his wake. No one will ever be good enough. No kiss will ever compare to his. Reagan’s standards are high. When someone doesn’t meet them, she moves on. 
“Next in line, please.” 
Moving through life with unrealistic expectations can be damaging. Letting those expectations go… It’s in that moment we find out who we are and what we really want.

I can't wait to get to read that, and thank you so much for sharing with me!
Okay love, I think that's about it for the interview. Thank you so much for your time and for opening up about your books and your past!

It's been soo much fun! Thank you. 

Want to know more about Rachael and her books? You can read Holding On for FREE on 
Amazon and B&N


For five years Becca has been struggling to hide her feelings for her best friend, Brad. Now she finally has a chance to move on. She's in a new city, she's attending a new school, and she's met the first guy besides Brad who's held her attention in a long time. Not only is Ethan attractive, he's an amazing tennis player, and he might just be Becca's match on and off the courts. 

Brad has loved Becca for as long as he can remember. Now that Becca's family has moved two thousand miles away, Brad may finally be ready to lay his heart on the line and do whatever it takes to hold on to Becca. 

But is Brad too late? Or will Ethan's secret drive Becca back into Brad's arms? Torn between her love for Brad and the promise of something new and exciting with Ethan, Becca has an almost impossible choice to make, the choice between letting go or           holding on.

This book is a young adult romance, intended for readers as young as 14 years old.


Holding On was a fast, emotionally captivating read that immediately drew you into the story and kept your attention (and your heart) riveted to the page. 

Becca is an easy main character to emphasize with, along with become frustrated with, which to me marks the sign of a great character because you can't like someone ALL the time. 

Brownell spins the story with vivid clarity, while still leaving your enough room for your own creativity to take hold and flesh out your own visions.

A sweet story about life, love, and the choices you feel like you're forced to make when you'd rather not make any choices at all.

I highly recommend Holding On because it captivates your humanity, and I seriously doubt there's anyone out there who wouldn't be able to relate to Becca in some way!