"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today I'm excited to introduce to you guys a girl who I have a ton in common with: STAR TREK (you knew that was coming, right?), BABYLON 5 (this sets her in a class apart), and TERRY PRATCHETT (just to name three things).

Rachel's brand new book has just hit the world!

INTO THE RUINS by Rachel Coles
An Anthology of New Beginnings


Rachel has stopped by to answer a few questions for us!

PJH: I love the story ideas in Into The Ruins! They sound like a must-reads! What made you decide to indie-publish?

RC: I was curious about the self- and e-publishing process. I liked the freedom of being able to publish some stories that don't necessarily fit into genres of traditional publishing. I liked being able to create covers myself. It was an interesting learning curve. I feel like I have learned a lot about the writing process and polishing, marketing, graphics, website creation, and a lot of other skills I might not have learned if not for indie exploration.

PJH: What has been the funnest thing about having your books out in the world?

RC: People reading them. I am tickled and honored by feedback when people are affected by one of my stories. It means I did something right.

PJH: How about the most challenging? Or has it all been sunshine and lollipops?

RC: Internet formatting. I'm not the most computer savvy person, and on top of that, I have an astonishing ability to mess up tech devices, like Harry Dresden, except without any wizard powers. That was one challenge. I'm slowly learning, and relishing the ability to use any new tech word in a sentence, like 'hyperlink'. It sounds so Trek-universe! Another challenging aspect, perhaps the most challenging one has been marketing. I'm not good at remembering to sell things. And having spent most formative educational years at an orthodox Hebrew day-school, self-promotion still feels weird, years later. It definitely is an acquired skill for many people, I think.

PJH: What's the funnest part of marketing for you? Least fun?

RC: I have enjoyed creating a blog and posting in it. I was told that having a forum like a blog where I can promote my work is important. But I have also found that posting on the blog about multiple other things helps my writing too, by keeping me thinking, and letting people get to know me, in general. The least fun aspect of marketing is trying to figure out summaries and 'hooks'. People are all different, and since I have mostly been resistant to advertisements as a television watcher, at least after I grew out of the 'cuckoo for cocoa-puffs' phase, it's hard for me to figure out what few words might get people interested, without being intrusive about it. I think in this area, it helps to be more of an extrovert.

PJH: If you had to give five reasons why someone should read Into The Ruins, what would they be?

RC: It is an anthology of stories select as a group because all of them have a global element, not necessarily global as in the world of humans, but with conclusions that change everything for an entire group, and transform them, for ill or for good. And I hope that the reader can sink into the stories enough to experience that change. On the other hand, each of the stories are profoundly different in tone from each other: one horror, one comedy-horror, one animal tale, one historical fantasy, and one sci-fi tale. So it's kind of like getting a sample platter, you get potato skins, onion rings, egg rolls, calamari, and hush puppies all on one plate. The stories, even the ones edging into horror, were fun to write, and so I hope they will be fun to read.

PJH: Okay, for fun:

PJH: Favorite myth?
RC: Picking a favorite myth is like picking a favorite flavor at an ice cream shop. I can't even walk past the shop without going in and getting something, usually several somethings. I'm the glutton with the big fat ten scoop sundae because I couldn't make up my mind. I love myth of all kinds. At different times, I've gotten into different myths, but I would have to say that my current favorite is the epic of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. My interest may have been affected by world events, given that we have been engaged in conflict in the land of Gilgamesh for several years: Iraq. I feel, not being there, as if reading the myths that originated there might give me a peek at the people around whom such stories arose. They are not the same people thousands of years later, but I believe that such cultural icons are ingrained and leave impressions that do mean something, echoes that last. In thinking about modern parallels, I wrote a short story called Enkidu. It was just published in The Horror Zine, September 2011 issue at http://www.thehorrorzine.com. It is dedicated to the veterans of the Iraq Water Project. Since I can't pick just one, another past favorite myth, during junior high and high school, were the Red Branch Cycle of Irish myth, specifically the Cattle Raid of Cooley, featuring Cuchulain, the Hound of Ulster. I wrote a short story a long time ago around that myth which I have socked away somewhere.

PJH: Favorite wonder of the world (ancient wonders count, too)?
RC: Favorite wonder of the world would also be hard to pick. I was an exchange student in archaeology, so I saw the ruins of Navan Fort where Cuchulain of Ulster was said to have lived. At the time, it was one of the most amazing things I ever saw, to have something in a myth I knew, confirmed in reality. I was also honored to have visited the Mycenaean ruins where Agammemnon was supposed to have resided. Those were extremely powerful experiences. But I think that one of the wonders of the world that I will not get to experience in my life-time but that would be one of my favorites because it keeps me looking at the stars, is space, the Milky Way. It's a wonder for the future world, that maybe my little girl will get to explore in her lifetime.

PJH: Fantasy Island or Love Boat?
RC: Fantasy Island over Love Boat. I'm not much of a straight romance sitcom girl. The Love Boat was funny, but a little too normal for me. And I've never had much interest in cruises, so watching a whole show about a cruise isn't really my bag. Getting violently ill for what seemed like an eternity, aboard the last boat I was on didn't really strengthen my interest either. I liked Fantasy Island, at least what little I can remember of it because it was just a little creepy and tweaked. And, even though it is interest by association, Ricardo Montalban will always have a special place in my heart as Star Trek's Khan!

PJH: Scooby Doo character you are most like? RC: If I were a Scooby Doo character, I would definitely be Shaggy. I love food and sarcasm, usually together.

RC: Thank you so much for interviewing me, and for the fun questions!

PJH: Thank you so much for being here!


From Amazon:

Into The Ruins is an urban fantasy anthology featuring life-changing or world-changing events. They feature everything from comic horror, as in Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, horror, as in Mushrooms, historical fantasy, as in Plagues, science fiction, as in Whistles, and finally a fun animal story, as in Beergarden.

Delve into these stories of horror, hope, and transformation, and see what the world looks like when you are done.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview Rachel & P.J. I'd find the marketing and Internet formatting challenging too Rachel.

Good luck with your book.

Matthew MacNish said...

So they're all short stories? Sounds very cool.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this looks really nifty! Thank you for interviewing me, that was fun! And I had no idea that you were into Babylon 5 too! Who is your favorite character? Mine is Alyt Neroon. He's so classically tragic, and the actor, John Vickery, could read the phone book and be really compelling. We just watched Legacies last night. What is your favorite Terry Pratchett book?

Angela Brown said...

It isn't often you hear about a collection of great stories that are awesome as well. Thanks to both of you, Rachel and PJ, for the great interview and a new great recommendation.