Also today, a bit later than usual, I’ve got a Meet the Author interview for you. I’m chatting with Raquel Rich about why her dream to be a writer laid dormant for many years, all the things she loves to do, autocorrect (this will make you laugh), blogging, her book Harmatia and more….
Time Travel Thriller (heavy on the “thriller”)
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Raquel Rich is a full-time novelist and occasional blogger. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. She’s married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy), and her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Hmmm… It’d be a tossup between Kay and Leo. Kay is funny and bold, and loosely based on my real life best friend, so I know I’d get along well with her. But Kay is also (very) chatty and quirky, and these qualities might annoy me after a while. How long would I be stranded on this island for? This brings me to my other choice, Leo. Leo is fun and flirty, and hot. You could lock us in a room together and throw away the key and I wouldn’t even be mad at you. Did I mention he’s hot?
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pilot and a writer. My writing dream went dormant in seventh-grade when Lisa, a fictional character in one of my stories, was raped and then committed suicide. My teachers, understandably, thought it was a cry for help and called in the cavalry. I was questioned by the police, and forced to attend sessions with a rotating roster of concerned counsellors. That’s when I stubbornly (stupidly) refused to write again. Like an idiot, I stuck to my guns well into my thirties, which was when I finally caved and wrote Hamartia. As for my pilot dream, that dream came crashing down when I threw up on a flight to Brazil and it hit me that I’d never be allowed to fly a plane with a puke bag at my side.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
How far back should I go? Like… I delivered the newspaper when I was super young. Though by “delivering the paper” what I really mean is, I recycled them and collected the money until I got caught (and fired). After that, I stopped being a scammer and got real jobs. My longest and most rewarding stint was in the travel industry, working for a tour operator/airline. I spent seventeen years making travel dreams come true. I progressed from a call centre agent, to a lead agent, to a tourism trainer, to managing a national training department. I stuck around until the company politely asked me to leave (they moved their operations to another province). If I wasn’t making a go at being an author, I’d still be in the travel industry. Making travel dreams come true is satisfying and addicting, and beats “delivering” newspapers any day.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
When I tell people I’m a writer, until they get to know me, they assume I’m an introverted insomniac suffering from who-knows-what. That’s not me. Not even a little. I’m bold, outgoing and social, I sleep a solid nine to ten hours a night, and I only suffer from FOMO. Any question that begins with, “Raquel do you want to go to…” has me putting my shoes on at the front door yelling, “Yes!” I love spending time with friends and family, hiking with my dog, reading, red wine, eating out, movies, red wine (did I already say that?), and I really, really love to travel. I have been to thirty-two countries and would like to reach fifty before turning fifty. Unfortunately, COVID has put a damper on my goal, so I’ll have to suffer through doubling my efforts when things are back to normal.
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
I like to read stories with a combination of options A & B, heavy on the A. If I don’t love the characters, I won’t care about the plot. I’m more interested in human emotions, how the characters evolve in impossible circumstances. I guess that’s why I love psychological thrillers; a good mind-f*ck and a fast-paced plot makes for a perfect book-storm.
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
I can’t think of a funny typo, but I’ve got a million auto corrections I could tell you about. My favourite repeat offending text is one I send to my husband, “Can you pick up some Portuguese children for dinner?” He never corrects me and I don’t even know if he notices. Thankfully, he comes home with Portuguese chicken, not children, for dinner.
What do you blog about?
I blog about my travels and sometimes about my life. I’m proud to say that two of my posts have gone viral. The first is titled “I have MS. Do you want anything from Starbucks?” which covers my diagnosis of a stupid, frustrating chronic illness, using my warped, sarcastic sense of humour. The second post-gone-viral is titled “White: the default setting.” This one went quietly viral; lots of people read it, yet few commented. Those who felt the need to say something did it privately, via direct messaging on social media. I’m glad I started the conversation. I wish I’d done it sooner. I should’ve talked about it to anyone who would listen and shouted about it to anyone who wouldn’t. In the spirit of never keeping quiet again, here’s the gist of that post:
When I started writing Hamartia, I decided not to describe the main character’s race. I never described what the character’s blood relatives looked like either, so as not to give it away. I did this because I’m biracial and am sick of reading books with only white main characters. I mistakenly believed that if I didn’t describe the character’s race, the reader would imagine the character looked like them, skin colour and all. My decision backfired. Readers of all races assumed Hamartia’s main character was white (even though its author is not). That was when it hit me that white was the default setting. I wanted to change that narrative with my books, and that’s why I did what I did, but I now realize I need to find a better way. I just haven’t figured out how. This post was my first step: https://raquelrich.com/2020/06/04/white-the-default-setting/
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Hamartia, a time travel thriller, follows Grace, a woman who wants to save her son from a disease plaguing the human race. She takes part in an illegal clinical trial, travelling back in time to find the cure. When she gets there, she discovers a horrible truth; saving her son’s life will come at a great cost, the lives of others. She’s forced into an ethical dilemma. The human race is counting on her to let her son die.
Hamartia can be found at most online retailers, such as Amazon. The sequel, Deus Ex Machina, will be available by end of year.
final words from chelle…
Thanks so much Raquel for coming over and chatting to me today. Autocorrect is such a pain and makes us type the worst things; and I’m so glad your Husband doesn’t bring home Portuguese children for dinner!! I’m not surprised that you didn’t pick up writing for many years after the things you had to go through! I’ll definitely be checking out your blog as your posts sound fascinating, incredibly important and you do have a good point. And finally, I’ve read Harmartia and it was fab!
You lovelies can read my review of Harmartia here!
If you’ve got any comments or questions for Raquel, then make sure you get in touch or drop a comment below.
I’ll be back tomorrow.