Tell us about yourself!
Hello, my name is Rachel!
Tell us about your books.
The Red Door is my first novel for middle grade readers. It’s light sci-fi/fantasy aimed at kids eight to thirteen years old, but it reportedly works well as a read-aloud for younger kids too. The main character, Aster, will especially appeal to neurodiverse readers.
The Fractured Galaxy trilogy is about three Air Force astronauts who find themselves on an unexpected adventure when their experimental spacecraft malfunctions, stranding them in space. The series is suitable for teens and anyone who enjoys space, science, or adventure stories about resilience and teamwork.
I have also written a collection of poems of faith (To Do This Right) and a historical play about Christians in 1930s Germany called The Confessing Church (suitable for older teens and adults).
What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?
The Red Door will probably appeal most to introverts, kids who feel like outsiders, and neurodiverse readers. Kids who enjoy stories with a bit of danger in them or stories about friendship will also find much to love here.
Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.
The main character, Aster Temple, is in many ways a reluctant hero. All she really wants is security, and she’s worked hard for it her whole life.
What I like about Aster is that however important her own safety is to her, she is still willing to take risks for the sake of truth and friendship—and she has a strong sense of what’s right, in spite of the society she’s grown up in.
What inspired you to write this book?
The Red Door was initially inspired by a mysterious locked red door in the middle of a chain-link fence wall at a base I lived on while deployed to Afghanistan (I’m an Air Force veteran).
I was also inspired by a short flash fiction piece I read about a kid whose senses were easily overwhelmed, but also made him special. I liked the idea of someone being set apart because of a sensitivity to something or ability to do something we take for granted (in this case, dream).
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
I have wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved books and became a serious reader in third grade, and I knew early on that authors exist because my mom liked to write.
What’s one middle grade book you always recommend?
The Good Master by Kate Seredy
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read widely in a variety of genres. Don’t bother reading things you don’t like, but try new things every now and then—you might find you enjoy a genre at fourteen that you didn’t care for when you were ten. Reading widely will help you learn how to write well by showing you how others do it and what you like.
The same goes for practicing writing: I recommend you write in a variety of genres and periodically try new genres, POVs, and techniques. That will help you find your “voice,” figure out your writing process, and get better at your writing weaknesses.
Find someone who will be honest but encouraging, and let them read your work and give you feedback (and encouragement!).
Finally, remember to have fun! Write as often as you can, but if you need a break, take a break.
What formats are your books available in?
Find them here.
If you’re in the market for middle grade books, I’d love to share my series with you! Power Pup is a funny Christian superhero series for readers 9-12.
For investigative journalist Alex Digger, reporting truth and busting bad guys with best friend Mittens Meow is just an ordinary Monday.
Turns out, this Monday is anything but ordinary.
When an earthquake threatens the citizens of Bowwow, a superhero calling himself Power Pup swoops in to save the day!
But the town’s troubles don’t stop with the tremors. Ordinary citizens are breaking out in wild, angry, public outbursts. Local police are baffled. Businesses fear opening their doors.
Can Alex, Mittens, and Power Pup use their super teamwork to discover what’s going on and save the city from chaos?