RACHEL MARKS: I WROTE DARKNESS BRUTAL WHILE WAS RECOVERING FROM CHEMO
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Rachel Marks debuted among the Amazon bestselling list early in June with the first part of her trilogy Dark Cycle – Darkness Brutal. For the second week in a row the novel is pat of Top 10 and engaged a lot of fans of YA genre. The story already gathered a fine amount of positive feedback with average 4.4 Amazon stars. Land of Books is proud to welcome lady Rachel Marks as our next guest.
– What is your book Darkness Brutal about?
– DARKNESS BRUTAL is my debut novel and it’s about a teen boy named, Aidan, who is trying to save his sister, Ava, from the demons trying to hurt her. He has a few very unique abilities and he’s hoping they’ll help him protect her. But they’re journey takes an interesting turn when Aidan ends up under the wing of an enigmatic con artist who runs a paranormal detective agency.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– Aidan’s story came to me as the question: what if a young man was asked to put aside the fate of the world to save someone he loves? I was intrigued by this idea of having to choose between two impossible things. And so the series The Dark Cycle was born.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– My biggest challenge while writing DARKNESS BRUTAL was that I had just gone into remission and was recovering from chemo. I was having bouts of illness a lot, my immune system being weak. But as the pain subsided and I could focus, the story just poured out of me. Really this was one of the easiest stories I’ve ever written.
– Tell us something more about your main character Aidan? Is he close to someone from your real life?
– I was an only child and I always wanted an older brother growing up. I’d pray every night to get an older brother with the faith-filled mind of a toddler. I was very disappointed when I realized that was biologically impossible…lol. So, I guess Aidan began as the sort of older brother that I never had but always wanted.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– The manuscript for DARKNESS BRUTAL took me two years to write. I got an agent fairly quickly and we went through several edit rounds. She’s a powerhouse so it was within the next year that the manuscript was picked up by Skyscape. I know from past tries that my experience with DARKNESS BRUTAL is much quicker than most, though.
– What will the readers find in your book Winter Rose?
– WINTER ROSE began as a short story I wrote about fifteen years ago—my very first ever finished piece that I was proud of. Over the next decade I rewrote it about a dozen times from word one. It’s now become the novella you can buy on Amazon. I’ve had several readers ask that I make it into a novel but I’m not sure it would translate with the same urgency and sharpness it does as a novella.
The story is about a young girl who lives atop a very cold and harsh mountain with her sick mother and fearful older sister. It begins as their father is leaving them alone to fend for themselves, and it follows Rose’s story, showing how she holds things together and tries to keep her sanity and her soul in tact. It’s a very simple story, actually. But it’s still my favorite one of all the pieces I’ve written.
– Who are you?
– Ha. This is a question I’ve been asking myself my whole life. Who am I? I am many contradictions. Concretely, I’m a writer and artist who loves to create imagery worlds with words or colors. But most of all I’m a mommy, a wife, and a lover of mystery and imagination. I started writing fiction after my youngest son was born (he’s now 12) because I had one silly story about an elf girl I wanted to write. I never finished that one, but I haven’t looked back, and I’ve completed seven novels and more than thirty short stories and three novellas since that first word all those years ago.
– What are your writing habits?
– I usually write while the kids are in school and then later in the evening (unless I have design deadlines). I hold my writing time sacred, especially since I’m now responsible for writing two more sequels in The Dark Cycle story.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– So far I’m completely stunned by how many sales I’ve made in merely the last two weeks. DARKNESS BRUTAL has hit #4 out of all the books on Amazon and is still #1 in several YA categories. I’m amazed.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I have a very strong marketing team behind me at Skyscape, and they are being very supportive. I have several blogging programs planned for the end of June and a possible signing at ComiCon the second week in July, but the Kindle First program the staff at Amazon nominated DARKNESS BRUTAL for has been amazingly helpful in getting my name and story out in front of readers.
– When will we see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– DARKNESS FAIR is the second book in The Dark Cycle and it’ll be releasing at the beginning of February, 2016 (it’s already available for pre-order). It’s going to take Aidan’s story to the next level and delve deeper into the characters from DARKNESS BRUTAL. This series is meant to be a slow unveiling of the world and characters as well as the mystery that Aidan faces to save those he loves. Hopefully in Book 2 the reader will get a lot of surprises and feel the story’s only becoming bigger and more satisfying. Hopefully. 😉
– With four kids around you how you manage to find time for writing?
– My kids are all teenagers now (12, 14, 16, 17) and so I have a lot more time than I did when I began to write seriously more than a decade ago. They are wonderful kids, too, and they have always been so supportive of their crazy mom and all her imaginary friends. Now it’s super fun because my two daughters read along and we talk about the stories and hash things out together (especially as I’m writing Book 2). So, at this point my kids are a huge blessing to my writing—even though driving them to all their sports, music, art, science, events is a full time job in itself. I don’t sleep much, let’s just put it that way.
– You are a cancer survivor. How did the fight with the disease change you as a person?
– Cancer is a beast. It’s taken both my grandmothers and both grandfathers from me, and just this last Autumn it took my father suddenly at the young age of 68. I was blessed in that it didn’t get me, but it definitely changed me. A lot of the things I used to stress about seem silly now. And so many things I used to take for granted became precious. I missed four years of my kid’s growing up years battling to stay alive and sane. So now I focus a lot of my time on hanging out with my family and learning how to be a good helper, guide, and mother for them. Time is slipping away so quickly now as they become the people they’re meant to be, and I don’t want to miss another second.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was little I wanted to be a mermaid. In fact, I was pretty sure I was one; I had been whisked away from my ocean family to live with the humans. I would sit on the beach and watch the water, waiting to see if I could hear anything. I mean, I had green eyes and my mom and dad had blue and brown. I must’ve been adopted! And plus, the sea makes me happy. So, of course, I’m a mermaid trapped in a human body. It’s tragic really. 😉