Writing from a place of hope – Rachelle Ayala
I’m delighted to welcome author Rachelle Ayala to my blog today. When I met her this past year, I was attracted first by her willingness to help a hopeless social media newbie (me). In addition, I’ve been blown away by her prolific creative output; she published three books (including the just introduced Hidden Under Her Heart) representing three different genre’s in less than two years. Whew! I had to know more about her, so I invited her to share a little about herself and her writing.
* * *
Hi, Rachelle! Welcome. I know you’re busy, so I’ll jump right in. You’ve written across several genres – historical fiction/Biblical, technothriller and women’s fiction. How do you approach the challenge of building a market for three such different novels?
Hi Carol. Thanks for having me here. Everything is new to me and I’m new to the readers. I’m not too concerned about crossing genres because I write what I’m interested in. I have found readers who like my storytelling and are eager to read my books regardless of the stated genre. One reader called it the “Rachelle Ayala” genre. In her words “It is almost magical, maybe mystical, the way she can intertwine a few different types or genres, into one book.” [link] By writing three novels that are so different, I avoid limiting myself to certain audiences. The common thread in my writing is deep identification with a flawed female protagonist as she works through untenable problems and falls in love. It appeals to readers who are compassionate and willing to immerse themselves into another person’s life while suspending judgmental attitudes. Another reviewer said she should dislike Jennifer Cruz Jones (Broken Build) for the mistakes she made, but something drew her to feel for her.
Since we’re all flawed in some way, I just say, thank heaven for compassionate friends and readers! The volume of writing you produce is inspiring to me. It makes me wonder what inspires you to write?
I write because I have hope. I hope for a better world, kinder people, and understanding. People cannot really understand what motivates someone else without walking in their shoes. While we personally cannot have every experience possible, fiction is the closest in getting ourselves into someone else’s life. By exploring their motivations, desires, fears and hope, I can lead the reader into situations where she can experience the emotions of the story characters. This hopefully leads to acceptance of people who are different or have had different life experiences from the reader.
Experiencing other lives is one of the things I like best about reading fiction. Writing and publishing are fraught with possible pitfalls. What’s the part of the writing process that gives you the most trouble?
I pretty much enjoy the entire writing process, including giving and receiving critiques. I suppose it is obsession. It takes me time to get into character, but once I’m in, I see almost everything through their viewpoint. For example, after writing Maryanne Torres, a nurse who is pregnant from rape, I am now joining pro-life groups, including those who advocate for rape babies. I never gave much thought before about the rape and incest exception. But now that it has touched my character who is so close to me, I’ve gained a new perspective. My new character is so different from Maryanne and right now I’m trying to change myself into someone who does not want love, who avoids commitment and does not easily trust. My family has to suffer through these mood swings and personality shifts. Ha, ha.
My husband struggles with my mood swings as I write, too. But he’s really happy when I complete a project. Where do you find the most joy in your writing?
The entire creative process. I daydream and get a lot of ideas when I’m out walking or jogging. Now that I’m writing, I look forward to visiting new places and noticing details. I never have to force a story to go in a prescribed direction. But I do like to challenge myself with seemingly impossible situations, where I write myself into a corner and plausibly extricate my characters and plot.
You do have an amazing ability to get your characters into and out of trouble. Speaking of getting characters out of trouble, you’ve helped me more than once to navigate the world of social media. In fact, you’re one of the most knowledgeable and helpful social media people on the planet. How do you find time for it?
*Blush* You are too complimentary. Having a computer background helps. I pretty much grew up with the computing industry and the Internet. I’ve always been comfortable meeting and interacting with people online when it was only USENET newsgroups and e-mail digests. I enjoy social networking so it is relaxation time for me. I learn from others as much as they learn from me and believe that sharing information makes us a true online community.
It has been fun to learn at your knee and now be able to pay it forward. So, what’s next for you?
I’m working on a story about a woman who is hardened toward feelings and emotions. The last man she said “I love you” to was her father right before he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. This will be a romantic suspense and involve a past and current mystery. I’ll also touch on physical disability. The two characters I have in mind are hard to love. This will present a challenge with reader identification, but I’ll worry about that later. First, get the story down, right?
Get the story down. I agree that’s the first and most important task. No matter the genre. I wish you well, Rachelle, as you continue on this remarkable writing journey filled with hope. Thanks for talking with me.
More about Rachelle Ayala:
Rachelle Ayala was a software engineer until she discovered storytelling works better in fiction than real code. She has over thirty years of writing experience and has always lived in a multi-cultural environment.
Rachelle is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.
Visit her at: http://www.rachelleayala.com or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.