Meet Rachel Coker, YA teen novelist. Coker published her first novel, Interrupted, in March 2012, and recently published her second book Chasing Jupiter in December 2012 (both Zondervan). I love Coker’s story – she discovered her love of writing when she was 11, wrote her first novel when she was 14, and published the novel at the age of 16. To learn more about Coker and her books, visit her website.
What is your greatest challenge while writing, and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is just finishing! I have a short attention span, and I tend to get tired of things before I’ve spent the time necessary to complete them! I sometimes get bored working on the same story for a long time, and I just want to work on something new! But usually, if I go back and remind myself just what it is about this story that makes it worth finishing, I can motivate myself to keep going.
Are you a fan of sharing what you’ve written during the “early stages,” and asking for advice? If so, who has the privilege of reading your first drafts?
The only people to read my first drafts are my mom, sister, and agent. I don’t want to spoil it for people when I know it’s going to get better! But it is good to get the advice of others, and those three people are pretty critical so I respect their opinions.
What would you say to teen writers who struggle with completing their drafts?
“Uuuuggghhh… I feel your pain….” Haha, but really–I do! It’s hard to finish a first draft. It takes a lot of work, and time, and dedication. But then, once you finish it, you experience the most amazing feeling of accomplishment! It’s totally worth the blood, sweat, and tears! Just keep looking for fresh inspiration, and don’t forget to take breaks sometimes so you don’t feel overwhelmed. You can do it!
What are the two most important traits writers can possess, and why?
The ability to find inspiration everywhere, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to create beautiful stories about real, flawed human beings that inspire and touch others. And the ability to write about what you know, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to relate your real struggles in a personal and engaging way.
What are you currently working on? What is next for Rachel Coker?
I’m hard at work on Book #3! I’m almost finished with the first draft and will soon be moving on to editing! Hopefully, it will come out sometime next year! I’m also blogging (www.rachelcoker.com) and giving personal writing lessons to students all across the country through email!