Monday, May 8, 2017

Interview & Book Review with Author Rachel McGrath

Please Welcome Author Rachel McGrath 

Q1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Interesting? So firstly, I was born in Australia and then moved to the UK with my career (in Human Resources) just under ten years ago. I still work full time and I’m very ambitious and focused on my career, but writing for me has helped me balance the pressure of work and my life. At first it was a hobby, now it is so much more than that. I don’t plan to be a full-time writer, but I will continue to write and publish my work.

Q2. What does “being creative” mean to you?

Pulling out that inner voice, and truly letting yourself go with your thoughts and ideas. Being creative is not being afraid to try something different, challenge yourself and the way you tell stories, so that your ideas come to life, and become real to your readers. I’m constantly learning the more I write, and I am always trying to push the bounds of my creativity, especially with my works of fiction.

Q3. What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

Experiences serve as my biggest inspiration. Watching other people, interactions, or experiencing situations myself. Whether I write in non-fiction or fiction, I often pull my ideas from my own life. However, in writing fiction, sometimes my imagination then runs away from itself, and any story I do write bears no similarity to the reality – which is of course my intention!

Q4. Do you have any current or future projects?

I am currently working on a charitable project – an anthology of short stories and poems which I will donate all profits to the AMAR foundation (an award-winning charity that works across the middle east to help families scarred by war rebuild their lives). The project – named Limitless - is calling for submissions alongside stories written by four other independent authors. It will be published globally on paperback and eBook.

Q5. If you could just feature one title, what would it be?  

Finding the Rainbow. It is my first published work, and the one I am most proud of. It was my story, and it served as my strength through a very difficult time in my life. It means a lot to me in many ways, and it has shaped me to be the person I am today.

Q6. What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?

I would honestly say that they are the same. I don’t put any pretense into my written word, and I like to think that my writing style comes across naturally and real to my readers. In reading my stories, I hope that they see me, hear me, as I am – especially as many of my books are non-fiction, this is important.

Q7. What is the best advice you have for other authors? 

If you dream to write and be published, you can do it. Many come to me and ask whether they should wait to be accepted by a ‘big name’ publisher. Honestly, nowadays with all the opportunities in self-publishing, if you are invested in your work, and you invest in it (ie. Editing, formatting etc) to get it reader ready, you have as much chance of succeeding as you do with a publisher. Of course, they have the money and the backing, and you may want the ease of that, but if you are willing to put in the hard yards, and go it alone, there is nothing stopping you. Either way, never give up on the dream! That is my biggest piece of advice on its own.

Q8. Why did you start blogging?

I’ll be honest, I was afraid of blogging. I’d often wondered whether my own thoughts and experiences would even be of interest to others. However, I was encouraged to start when I finished my memoir, Finding the Rainbow, and it was due to be published. That was two years ago! Now I love blogging. I find it cathartic at times, as putting my thoughts, feelings and opinions down into a small piece, often feels like a release. Then, having my readers acknowledge or comment on my blogs, gives me the reassurance that I am connecting somehow, even if only to a handful of people at times.

Q9. Do you have any blogging tips?

The rule of thumb that I follow is that it needs to be short, punchy and to the point. I generally aim for 500 – 800 words on average. I want my reader to be able to read it and comment on it within a couple of minutes. Many people today don’t have time to read lengthy and verbose pieces of writing. Blogs that appeal to me, and I’ve been told appeal broadly, are to the point, raise an issue or a question, and get the reader reflecting or taking an action. I always include a visual, and most often another link should there be an associated document or website that is relevant. More than anything, I want to inspire my readers to want to come back and read more of my blogs. 

Q10. Who is your favorite author? And why? 

I enjoy a broad variety of authors across different genres to be honest, and I’m not sure I have a true favourite. What I will say is that I have developed a real interest in independent and undiscovered authors. There are some amazing books out there that are not listed on the ‘Times Best Sellers’ list, and they wholeheartedly deserve to be. What I now say to readers or anyone looking for a good book, is to check out my blog. There are some great writers out there, and sometimes it is fun to try something different, even a different genre, I know I have even surprised myself!

Book Blurb: Finding the Rainbow
Winner of the People's Book Prize and Reader's Favorite Bronze Medal winner (2016).
Finding the Rainbow is a fascinating and honest insight into a world that most would find difficult to understand, and many would be quietly thankful not to need to. McGrath tells the story of her battle to conceive and carry a baby, with unrestricted honesty, leaving the reader in no doubt as to her thoughts and feelings, and the courageousness with which she deals with a very difficult period in her and her husband's lives. This emotive account draws attention to some of the otherwise unknown aspects of infertility and miscarriage, whilst still leaving room for humor, happiness and philosophy. The first book for Rachel McGrath, she writes about her battle with her body, her mind and the health service, whilst showing an incredible amount of inner strength, elegance and poise.

Book Blurb: Eye of the Storm: The Silent Grief of Miscarriage

"There is no heartbeat . . . " Those four words will stay with me forever.
Sadly about thirty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and many of those women who have suffered this loss often grieve in silence.

This short novella details the experience of one woman’s loss during the early stages of a pregnancy. McGrath tells her story with full transparency, sharing all of her raw emotions and baring her soul through an incredibly difficult time.

This short account provides a heartfelt perspective on a subject that is sometimes still considered taboo.

Editorial Review: Eye of the Storm 5 stars

I came across Rachel's book one night on Twitter and I just had to read it. Eye of the Storm is Rachel's story about her loss of her unborn child. It meant something very deeply to me and moved my soul to read her words, for I too have suffered the loss of a child. Unlike her I got to spend a few months with my daughter. My heart broke with each page I turned, but at the same time it gave me peace hearing about someone else's loss. Her words made me feel as if I wasn't so alone and that I had a connection with her. Even though it’s been 23 years since my daughter's passing, it never gets any easier. I give Rachel great kudos for sharing her story and I pray that others will find her story to be a blessing, just like her unborn child was.