Ten Things About Rachel Ember - An Author Interview

Rachel Ember is another wonderful author I found through being an ARC reader... and I've read and enjoyed a few of her books and have more on my TBR...

Let's jump right in and see what Rachel has to share with us, shall we?

Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you...
I am indie published! For years I assumed I would one day pursue traditional publication, but I never could bring myself to take the first step down that path. Whereas, soon after I began exploring the indie route, it felt right and I couldn’t wait to jump in.

Plot or Pants?  Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things?  How do you keep track of characters in a series?  Do you keep a journal of your characters’ statistics, such as hair and eye color, relatives, hometown, etc.
So far, each of my books has had its own process! I would say I’m a hybrid between plotting and pantsing. I don’t do a lot of physical outlining on paper, but I don’t begin writing until the story is very alive in my mind, including the conflicts and some of the plot points. So in that way I think I am “outlining,” but it happens invisibly over time while the story is on my mind and my imagination is filling in holes and coming up with key scenes.

Tell us about your first… published M/M fiction/romance 

My first book was Jaywalking, a novella I wrote about the forbidden attraction between a professor and student. It was a novella released in August 2020, and I have since extended it into a full-length second edition that released in August 2021. I poured so many of my favorite things into that book, and by some standards that might mean it has a little too much going on, but it’s still very special to me. 

 and then your most recent one..
My most recent book was Burning Season, book three in my Wild Ones series, and my first historical novel. I didn’t set out to write a historical within the series, but I love intergenerational family sagas and when the idea of writing the love story of a past generation in the family occurred to me, I couldn’t help myself! Burning Season is about the younger son of a rancher who’s trying to reconcile the expectations of his family with his desire for men, and the drifter he meets on a Texas roadside.

Do you write full time or part-time?  
I’m a part-time writer. I have a full-time career that I’m very dedicated to.

If you could invite 4 people (real or fictional, living or dead) to a dinner party, who would you invite and what would you serve?
Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Edgar Allen Poe. I think they all deserve to let their hair down over a greasy slice of pizza!

Something people would be surprised to know about you
My first pet was an aquatic turtle. I don’t own any reptiles now, but one day I really want to provide a home for a giant tortoise. I follow several sanctuaries and I already know where I’d put the heated tortoise house. My husband said that I can have one if I sell enough books...but based on his definition of “enough” it’s going to take a while!

Which character still pops into your mind to visit from time to time?
Oh, any number of the ones whose books I haven’t written yet. They’re the demanding ones! Everyone whose story I’ve told is for the most part peacefully living out their happily ever after, from what I can tell. :)

Where do you write?  Do you have a routine?
Most of my writing happens on my sofa, with my laptop, from five to seven in the morning (before my kids are awake).

What are your writing goals for the next year?  The future?
I would like to publish four books in 2022. My future goals are to finish the series that I have in progress, and to write a variety of gender pairings, especially trans or gender queer characters.

What’s the hardest part about writing M/M romance or erotica?
Honestly, I find these books a joy to write. All the struggles I have with writing my books are the universal ones that go along with book writing of any kind, like self-doubt, and editing, and the discipline to get all the words down. But I don’t think there’s a genre out there that feels more comfortable and enjoyable to me.

What else do you want us to know about  you?
If you’ve read me, you already know this, but I’m a huge animal lover. I mentioned that my dream pet is a tortoise, but that’s only because I’m already lucky enough to have dogs, cats, and two horses in my family.

What is the funniest scene you’ve written?
I’m not sure, but probably a scene between one of my characters and their friend groups. I love the dynamics of a group of friends and those are the scenes that always have me laughing as I write them.

What’s the hardest part about writing?
Starting each book. It always feels like an impossible task. After each one, I can’t believe I did it and I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to do it again. Each time I have to prove myself wrong, and it’s hard!

Who’s your biggest supporter/cheerleader?
Definitely my husband, who dubiously gives me time and space to create, even though he doesn’t understand or share my book obsession.

What made you decide M/M romance was the genre you wanted to write?  Do you write other genres?
I have written science fiction and fantasy, but at the time that I decided I wanted to write, m/m romance was the genre I was reading voraciously. I think that it’s a question of timing… if I’d chosen to write a book and began exploring publishing at another time, I might be writing very different books. But it’s possible that only m/m could have inspired me to take off on such a crazy and intimidating journey. I really don’t know! I do write other genres, but only short fiction so far. I have some science fiction and fantasy stories that I wrote for literary journals over the years. I don’t know whether I’ll do more with them.

Where do you find inspiration?
My own life, I think, which is why my books are set in places I know and involve themes of love, family, and the strange difficulty of finding yourself--which I feel like I keep doing, over and over, in different phases of my life.

What do you do if you hit a wall while writing?  How do you combat writer’s block?
If I find that a story has stalled, it usually means that I’ve made a wrong turn somewhere in the story. I go back and reread, and almost always, I can see from that vantage point where I went wrong. It’s never exactly the place where the stall happens, but slightly before. 

What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
They know, and at least to my face, they keep any negativity to themselves! Honestly, I just don’t have any romance readers within my inner circle, so the books aren’t their thing for that reason alone. They are happy that I’m happy with what I’m writing and have no issues with the subject matter. If they did, we wouldn’t be friends. ;)

What is your favorite thing about writing M/M romance?
The author community is incredible. I don’t think that there are so many wonderful, supportive people in one place in any other genre. But maybe I’m biased.

How can we connect with you?
I have a Facebook group! It’s called Rachel’s Party Barn. I spend arguably too much time in there and share stuff that spans all my random interests, as well as updates about me and my books. If you don’t enjoy Facebook, or if you just want to stalk me more thoroughly (which I welcome!), I send a weekly email to subscribers that includes a new chapter of my mailing list-exclusive novel. You can subscribe on my website, www.rachelember.com/    signup.