Authors typically write about what they know or where they’ve been. Places they frequented as a kid become settings and friends become characters. Local author and Michigan State University alum Rachel Schurig continues to use her familiar surroundings as inspiration in her own writing.
Schurig, a teacher-turned-author, taught special education to young adults while dreaming of publishing her first book before turning 30. That dream became a reality when she discovered the ease of self-publishing through Amazon. Over one year later and with more than 50,000 copies sold she is currently writing her sixth book and enjoying her first year as a full-time author.
Her current series, An Unexpected Love Story, plays homage to northern Michigan and the places she loves visiting. We had a chance to catch up with the busy author and find out what inspired her to become a writer and the steps she takes when planning for a new book.
Woodward Spine: What was your favorite book growing up? Why?
Rachel Schurig: My favorite book growing up was Anne of Green Gables. I was a lot like Anne; she was always getting into trouble for spending too much time daydreaming and reading.
WS: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
RS: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but never thought I’d be able to get published. When I started hearing about people having success self-publishing for Amazon’s Kindle, I knew I had to give it a try. I was determined to have a novel published by the time I turned thirty. Instead, I had three!
WS: What’s the hardest part when writing a book?
RS: The hardest part for me is getting started. There’s always a period where I doubt myself and my idea. Once I force myself past that doubt I usually get into a good groove. Then I find it hard to stop!
WS: How often do you come up with ideas or plots?
RS: I’m constantly coming up with new ideas. Whenever something pops in my head I make a note on my computer, notebook, or phone. I have enough plot ideas to keep me writing for a long, long time!
WS: Do you follow a writing process or steps?
RS: I usually write out a very general outline and some character descriptions. I don’t outline very much because I like to let the story take over. After I have a general idea of what I want to write, I start drafting. I jump around a bit in the story, sometimes writing scenes out of order so I can get all my ideas down as they happen. If I’m excited about a scene I always write it first. Once I have a draft finished I start doing some revisions and proofreading. When I’m pretty happy with the book I send it to beta readers: experts in my genre who let me know if they like the plot, characters, and prose. I incorporate their notes, do some more proofreading, then send it off to a professional editor. Editing is definitely a very hard step and I’m very relieved when I get through it!
WS: How long does it take for you to write a book?
RS: Once I get going, I write pretty quickly. I can usually finish a first draft in six weeks; that is, if everything goes according to plan. When I’m working on a draft I write every day, sometimes all day. The draft, of course, is just the first step. The rest of the process takes much longer.
WS: Who or what has influenced your writing?
RS: My writing is very influenced by growing up in Michigan and by my closest friends. There are bits and pieces of my friends in all of my characters. I like to set my books in the metro area so my characters can visit local places that I love.
WS: What are you working on now?
RS: Right now I am working on the 2nd book in a new series, An Unexpected Love Story. It’s my first book set outside of metro-Detroit; it takes place up north, another area I’m very attached to. Whenever I talk about my books I hear people say that they’ve always wanted to write a novel. I think everyone should give it a try! I wrote one of my best-selling books during National Novel Writing Month last November. I would encourage anyone to try it out; it’s a great time!
All five of Rachel’s books are currently available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To learn more about her books and to follow her journey in the world of writing and publishing be sure to check out her website rachelschurig.com
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rems330
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