Thursday, March 12, 2015

Author Rachel M. Stiber

Day Four: Rachel M. Stiber

1.   Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Here are the basics: I live in Poplar Bluff, a small town in southeast Missouri, with my husband, a rambunctious dog, and three lovable cats. I teach seventh grade English Language Arts, which simply means I have 5- 50 minute periods to teach hormonal teenagers about literature, grammar, spelling mechanics, and writing. There must be something wrong with me because I absolutely enjoy it!
When I’m not with before-mentioned teenagers, I enjoy spending time with my family, writing, reading, participating in our local community theater, crafting, and baking.
Here are five not-so-basic facts: 1.) My students think I’m crazy, but in a good way. I make them laugh, so they enjoy my class (sort of!). 2.) I am absolutely terrified of flying insects with stingers, but I LOVE frogs. I’ve been known to chase tree frogs around my car in Wal-Mart’s parking lot. 3.) I baby talk to my pets. When my dog grows weary with listening to me, he growls. If I don’t take the hint, he snips. The cats simply ignore me.  4.) I am a Marvel girl. I’ve seen all the movies, but I don’t read the comics. My favorite hero is the Hulk, but I am extremely fond of Groot. 5.) I don’t like fried catfish, dishes made from deer meat, or beans/black-eyed peas and corn bread. In Southeast Missouri, it is almost a sin to not enjoy that type of food. However, I love fried chicken, which is another Southeast Missouri staple.

2.        What do you do when you are not writing?
If I’m not writing, I’m either grading papers or participating in one of the before-mentioned hobbies.

3.        What is your favorite smell?
I have several. Lavender vanilla air fresheners, coffee brewing, old books, the air before and after a storm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies . . . the list could go on and on!

4.        When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing in the fifth grade, but I didn’t finish my first actual book until 2013. I completed many plays, articles, and short stories throughout the years.

5.        If you had 24 hours to live, excluding spending time with your family, what would you do?
I would write a biography and final thoughts, seal it in a time capsule, and entrust a family member to bury the time capsule somewhere. 

6.        Do you ever experience writer’s block?
If any writer answers this in the negative, he/she must be joking. Writer’s block is a normal part of writing, and I definitely experience it at times. To overcome it, I work on edits, read something I’ve already written, or write silly things just for fun.

7.        Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I always outline the entire plot before I begin writing. I use the basic Roman numeral outline I teach my students.

8.        What is your favorite kind of cheese?
My favorite kind of cheese is cream cheese.

9.        Is there any particular author or book that influenced you growing up or as an adult?
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller greatly influenced me. If Mrs. Keller didn’t allow blindness and deafness to stop her from accomplishing her goals, then I simply have no excuse.

10.    Would I find anything growing in your refrigerator right now?
You would not find anything growing, but you would find dishes from a few weeks’ ago with completely frozen contents. We keep our frig cold.

11.  How would you describe yourself in three words?
        Quirky, creative, and attentive.

12.    Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Elise’s Choice is written mostly from imagination. However, Elise chooses not to listen to people who are wiser than her. That part of her character came from my personal experience.

13.    Who is your favorite author? Since most of you will probably say me ;) please tell me then, who is your second favorite author?
Asking me to choose a favorite author is like asking me to choose a favorite book, and in the words from Danielle de Barbarac from Ever After, “I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens.” 

14.    What was your favorite part of writing and why?
My favorite part of writing is the rough draft. It is exhilarating to take what I see in my mind, commit it to words, and watch the story unfold.

15.    Chocolate or Brussels sprouts?
Most definitely chocolate! I will only eat Brussels sprouts if they are swimming in cheese sauce.

16.    What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
My toughest criticism is that my writing is too lengthy and that I’m too “wordy”.

17.    What has been the best compliment given to you as an author?
The best compliment I have received in regards to writing is that my style is similar to Charlotte Bronte’s.

18.    What is your least favorite smell?
My least favorite smell? Hmm . . . I can narrow it to three: exhaust from a vehicle, burning rubber, and skunk.

19.    Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Simply write, and write often.

20.      Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?
Let Elise’s Choice be a start. If you follow me on this journey, it will be lengthy, but I promise it will be well worth your time.

Rachel's links:

Thanks for stopping by!
Sherry Gammon

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