Rachel McGrath – This Girl’s Got Talent!
Today’s spotlight spins around and around before coming to rest on a new, rising star, “indie” author. So, without further ado please allow me to introduce you to a woman with heart, soul, and a whole bunch of stories to tell. Drum roll please! Rachel McGrath!
1/ When did you discover you wanted to write?
I have always wanted to write. In fact, I have short stories I had written at the age of fourteen (and they are quite funny now to read). I remember I loved the classics, but even more so I loved Virginia Andrews (don’t judge!). I have a lot of short stories from my teenage years which are very ‘Virginia Andrews-esqe’ style. For a naïve, young, girl, I certainly knew how to elaborate on sexuality. Unfortunately, however, life and ambition got in the way of my creativity, and whilst I always felt I had a book in me (and I started many over the years), ‘Finding the Rainbow’ was my inspiration for me to come back to writing! I am however glad that I have started now, as I am a very different writer to what I was in those teenage years!
2/ Your first book; ‘Finding the Rainbow’, was clearly a very personal story. What prompted you to write this?
At first it wasn’t a book, it was my solace and a way of capturing my turmoil. I had never imagined that I would deal with the fertility struggles that I faced; let alone how many losses we did experience. Before long, it was a longer piece of work, and something I felt passionate about capturing. I had wanted to keep my experiences recorded, so that when we did finally have a successful pregnancy I would never forget what made us parents and the journey we had traveled to get there. Unfortunately we are not yet parents, but now this book is something that reminds me of the strength you need to overcome adversity; that love and partnership are fundamental to achieving your dreams; and that sometimes your dreams are not always what you had thought they would be and happiness can be found in different paths.
3/What types of books get you excited?
Had you asked me over a year ago, I was quite a conservative reader, sticking to similar genres. Now I have written my own book and connected with so many great independent authors, I’ve truly widened my reading appreciation. Now I get excited about new books; ones I may not have picked up in a book store, but those that really surprise me. I can name several books recently that have taken my breath away, and most recently (and this is not a biased comment) by the very talented Grant Leishman, ‘Just A Drop in the Ocean’! There are other great independent authors out there that I have truly enjoyed (Bill Ward, Jana Pekten, Jalpa Williby, Colin Griffiths, to name a few).
4/ You followed Finding the Rainbow, with two children’s books; Mud on Your Face and The Wonderful World of Willow. What prompted you to write those?
Mud on your Face was actually something I wrote just over three years ago. However, it needed work, and I lost my mojo at the time and continued on my corporate path. After Finding the Rainbow and the appreciation I was receiving for this book, I decided to revisit the story. So I rewrote it in the way I had first intended and contacted a very talented illustrator. To be honest, it was something I always wanted to publish but I just needed the guts to do it.
The Wonderful World of Willow is a younger children’s book series, and will become a series (hopefully). It will tell the stories of my own cat, Willow; and my dog, CocoPops in a way that children will hopefully enjoy and connect to. I love the children’s market it is so much fun and there is so much room for fantasy!
5/ What do you enjoy the most about being an Author?
I love that I can put my crazy imaginations down onto paper and create a story that will hopefully resonate or connect with someone I have never met. I love to write, I have always loved stories, and this is my own personal way of expressing myself! It is absolutely liberating.
6/ What is the favorite book you’ve read in 2015?
Okay, this one is an even tie for sure. I absolutely loved Jalpa Williby’s ‘My Perfect Imperfections’ and I’m not just saying this because of the interviewer, but I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Just A Drop in the Ocean.’
‘My Perfect Imperfections’ was a story that shook me. I guess I have been somewhat fortunate in many ways to not have had to face a family member with a disability, but also in many ways I was also naïve. This story of a young girl living with cerebral palsy was just heartbreaking and at times brutal. I loved every page.
‘Just A Drop in the Ocean’, also a brilliant read for many different reasons. It shows how human nature wants to love and be loved; how life plans can get in the way of reality; how we can think we are taking one short cut and suddenly we land in deep, hot, water with no escape. It was about love, hope and finding yourself through adversity. I was smitten with the characters and enthralled with every page.
7/ If you could have six people (living or dead) around for dinner, who would they be and why?
Okay, I love this stuff.
1.Anne Boleyn (with the head) – I want to know what really happened
2.Steve Irwin– and he needs to bring a big crocodile with him
3.Alf Stewart(from Home and Away for those who watch Australian soap operas… ‘flamin’ galahs’)
4.Shakespeare– I love my Shakespeare and can recite several of the monologues!
5.Elizabeth I– because I think Anne B should meet her very successful and revered daughter
6.Dick Van Dyke– because I just love him!
8/ What does 2016 hold for Rachel McGrath – Author?
I have a few projects on the go, and I guess it is about timing.
I have a sequel to my children’s book, called ‘CocoPops the Crazy Pup’, due in January.
I also have an anthology of short stories that will hopefully be published early in the new year. This will be a piece of work that will be dedicated to my father, and all proceeds will go to cancer research. The main challenge I am finding right now is a charity that will partner with me!
Then, I have lots of ideas, it’s just getting time to put them on paper. Truly I’m excited about this great world of writing and the ability to be heard. I love every moment and this is only the beginning!
Please do check out Rachel’s work.
You can visit Rachel on her website: http://rachelmcgrath.net/
This interview is an abridged version of a much more expansive interview that can be found here: Grant’s Blog