Please welcome Rebekah McClew (@RebekahMcClew) to the blog today!
What name(s) do you write under? If you write under a pseudonym, what helped you choose that name?
I mainly write under my maiden name Rebekah McCLew. I've been married to my husband Justin Dine who also happens to be a writer. We've been together for 8 years and married for 5 years.
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Traverse City, born and raised but moved to Kingsley Michigan after getting married.
What is the name of your most recent or upcoming release? Can you give us an idea of what the story is about? What genre is it? Where can we find it?
I have 2 books being released at the same time. The first one was delayed since I was focusing on our other authors books for a while but both "Phantom Mist #3 and Hailstorm #4 are being released October 12th of this year. I write paranormal romance.
The two books that are coming out are a continuation from the Family Secrets series. The third book takes off from Obscured Darkness you start to get introduced to the strange things that are happening with Rose and of course Lucian being a protective brother is doing everything he can to protect his sister. He’s mainly protective since she’s never shown any vampiric traits. This takes you more into her life, you also find out what has happened with Jacob when the demon hunters took him as a baby. Aiden who you were first introduced to in the first book is much more active when he comes to help the family with Rose and he gets more of a surprise to himself that keeps Lucian laughing at how is uncle is reacting to certain things. The Madams obsession grows a little more and part of it is finally shown in this book. There are to main romances that really get interwoven through this one.
Book four has an innocent human who gets thrown into a world she had no idea existed and in an odd turn of events when she thinks she has finally found and stuck in the one place no vampire can get her she runs into Lucian. You find out why and how the ultimate power source was left to an ordinary human and you find out more about the Madams experiments that she had done with Doctor Denthre and how a group of the divided into two different groups while a group of shades has decided to interfere with one of them. Hailstorm you also get introduced to someone who is in a rather unique situation and I can’t say too much about him other then he’s addictive!
The Family Secrets Series is a total of eight books with five through eight coming out much later. Each one digging deeper into the Madams madness and the struggle with life, love and the McAllister family, just how much it will affect the world around them and the few humans who accidentally get in the way.
When did you start writing, and when did it turn professional?
I've always loved writing and my parents encourage this by giving me all the paper and pencils I wanted growing up. I didn't watch much television and in the winter you need to learn how to entertain yourself so I created my own worlds or simply wrote poetry. I always wanted to get published, to have a book of my own and to hold it in my hands and know I accomplished something of my own.
I've had 12 years of experience in the publishing industry however most of it has been as an editor. I think once my first reader told me they enjoyed my book. That was when I felt professional. I’ve had 3 books published through Center One books, two in the series and one single with two more coming out in the series.
What is your writing process? Do you use an outline, fly by the "seat of your pants" or some other method?
I tried an outline however for the way I want my stories to sound it doesn’t work. I feel too trapped to stay within the outline so I don’t use one. Most of my stories have come from dreaming or daydreams. I don’t have to many habits other than when I can’t decide on a name for someone if it feels that it doesn’t fit the person I’ll either use guy #1, guy #2 for side characters or for mains I have two personal names that I really love using. Once the story is done I’ll switch the names for who I feel they really should be. I might start the story however I feel the story takes a life of its own once the characters are developed and their world becomes more than an imaginary one. I treat them as if they are real so that they will come across this way.
What or who inspired you to being writing?
I think simply reading inspired me to become a writer. I would think of ways I would have preferred seeing the story end. I still do this. While I was growing up I only knew writers from their novels and found that I enjoyed certain writing styles. My husband Justin more than anything encouraged me to get back into writing after I had stopped for several years.
Who are your greatest literary influences?
There have been so many over the years. One in particular would be Louise Armstrong with his song what a wonderful world. I would imagine what type of story that would fit this writing. I loved Anne Rice, Stephen King, Joss Whedon, Douglas Adams, Judy Blume, Jane Austin, Emily Dickenson and then later with a few newer ones like Cassandra Clare, L.J. Smith, Stephanie Myers just to list a few.
Did you hire or use an editor prior to publishing?
At the beginning I do a lot of my own editing to polish my writing however to make sure I haven’t missed anything it helps to have someone neutral that hasn’t been with the story from the beginning to go over it and see if anything needs to be fixed in the story line or simple editing of words.
Did you use a graphic artist to create your cover art? If so, what helped you decide on the cover(s) of your books?
I use a mix. For the first book the candle is from a picture I had taken on my basic camera. The back is being replaced with a different moon that I’ve taken and done a few alterations to. My husband mainly does the covers for our books and those for our authors. We have hired artists to do work for us as well as use stock photos depending on what we need for the covers. The covers we try and create a certain feel or at least something that relates to the story itself. When we work with our authors we prefer getting their input and what they would like to see on their covers.
What have you learned on your journey from writing to publishing that you think should be passed along to those interested?
I’ve learned a lot while publishing our books. Main point to remember would be not to put too much pressure on yourself and have fun. Don’t worry about all of the writing rules and simply write your story. Write something you can be proud of or at least enjoy writing. If it’s something you have a passion for it will come across in your writing. Make sure you read the requirements when submitting to publishing companies, this is the main reason many get turned down because they don’t fit what the particular group works with. Most importantly get to know the publishing industry and what you need to do before either submitting your work or self-publishing.
I know some authors set writing goals, such as so many words per day. Do you set any goals for your stories?
I pretty much wrote what I could when I could. With three children (17, 14 and 3) my husband, the publishing company, editing, advertising, working on equipment and dealing with products and constantly promoting books, I generally write for five minutes before I go to bed. I find it relaxing otherwise occasionally I get a chance to write at other times but I never set a word count. Many times I’ll delete what I previously wrote to start over.
Do you have a favorite character of your own and what makes him/her your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite among my characters however there are certain personality traits they show at times that I feel closer to. For Aiden this shows even more in book three.
Do you have any projects your working on now?
I’m always working on something. We have two new authors whose books are getting ready. I’m already working on editing the fifth book in the series and I have several singles that I have been working on. Currently I have one single that has been out called Mortal.
How do you juggle time between all your responsibilities?
Between the publishing company, my family, all of our pets, traveling for business, fixing up an old house, it really doesn’t leave very much time and we can’t always schedule some things. There are certain things that simply take priority and others get worked in when I’m able to which unfortunately for now includes writing. When my little one gets a little older and is able to do more for himself this will help but until then I get to spoil and enjoy my time with him while he’s little.
How do you feel about publishing in a digital age?
Digital books have certainly been interesting. There are many benefits to it especially if you don’t have much space to store physical books and I’m the type of person who will re-read a book if I loved it. There are benefits to this especially if you don’t have a bookstore near you or wished you had a book and were not able to get out either due to weather, illness or other reasons. The downfall to it however makes it easier to steal the books and put them up for free on other sites, or simply those who hoard books that are on permanent to be read list and this doesn’t help the author. However there are many known as “trolls” that simply leave horrible reviews for authors simply for the sake that they can and this certainly doesn’t help either and unfortunately not enough real reviews are being left.
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