This is the last week of Fresh Start September and what a month it’s been. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know all our fabulous authors so far. Today we have another treat, an interview with debut author Rachel Harris! Rachel’s debut book, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is about a young girl who is transported back into Renaissance Italy! Is that cool or what? Let’s find out a little bit more about My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century:
September 18th 2012 (US) / September 27th 2012 (UK)
Add this book to your TBR list on Goodreads
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
I’ve been lucky enough to have read the book and you can read my review here. I loved it and I’m thrilled Rachel agreed to an interview for this event! Read on to find out more about her reaction to being published, how she does her research, and her favourite places to travel!
Who is the first person you told when you found out My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was picked up by Entangled Publishing?
Wow, I think I called just about everyone! I called my husband, then immediately called two my critique partners and best buds, Shannon Duffy and Trisha Wolfe, and then I called my mom. That night my husband took all of us (me and our girls, along with my mom and brother—my dad was working unfortunately) out to dinner at PF Chang’s =)
What is the most fun thing you have done so far that you wouldn’t have had a chance to if you haven’t been published?
I think the biggest change was going to the Romantic Times convention in Chicago this past April and hanging out with all the authors, introducing myself…and still going total fan girl on them, but having that direct one-on-one access to do so! And now, over the past few weeks that my ARC has been out, talking to readers and having them tell me that I made them laugh or smile or how much they love Lorenzo…all the things I’ve thought or told my favourite authors. Now having people want to talk to me, to ask for my bookmarks instead of me offering them first, to say they actually liked something I wrote. Man, that just rocks. It’s even
The majority of the book is set in Renaissance Florence. What kind of research did you have to do to make sure it felt authentic?
I LOVE research! I know, I’m a dork, but that’s okay. Seriously, I researched constantly while drafting, checking everything three and four times just to make sure, or discovering another aspect I hadn’t looked up yet. But the two weeks prior to beginning were spent in a non-stop, obsessive read a thon of encyclopedias, travel journals, and novels, surfing around Google Earth and the Internet, and watching videos from the library (my favorites were the ones for kids!). I compiled a huge binder filled with pictures of Renaissance paintings and notes on culture, on food, on language and beliefs, on architecture and transportation. Then the trick was taking that and not hitting the reader over the head with it, but sprinkling it throughout so you constantly felt like you were in a time other than your own and slightly off balance but still a part of it. I hope I succeeded =)
Cat deals with the pressure of having famous parents. Is this inspired by anyone you know in real life?
No, not really. I did intern at Entertainment Tonight one summer in college and I remember listening to several of the interviews and really learning that these were real people, you know? I mean, we know that, yes, but it’s still easy to think they aren’t just like us….only with a lot more money lol. So, when I was creating the character of Cat and I knew I needed her to be a person intent on having control and not liking the spotlight, so I could force her into this world where she kinda is, I had to think about what type of world and upbringing would create that. The whole living in a fishbowl thing leapt to mind and it took off from there.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing instead?
Well, when I’m not writing, I’m a homeschool mom. That is my main job and was my only job once I had children, so I’d definitely be doing that still. In the past, I hosted and produced television shows in college and I worked for mortgage companies, but after my kids graduate and I’m on my own, if I’m not writing (though I hope I will be), I think I’d either go into college admissions or high school or college counselling. Being around to help teens and young adults explore the possibilities of the future while navigating the changing and often turbulent present would be an honor and a blast.
Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
ITALY!!! Like, every city I went to during my tour was amazing, but the whole Tuscan region was definitely my favorite. The food, architecture, art, culture, did I mention the food?? Second to that is a tie between my trip to London and my extended trip throughout Greece. London is absolutely beautiful and filled with history, and the people were wonderful, and Greece, come on, it’s gorgeous! I would love to have a house in Florence, London, or Rhodes. Sigh…
I want to say a big thank you to Rachel Harris for participating in Fresh Start September and allowing Faye, Melissa and I to bring you this interview and to her publisher for donating an ebook copy for the giveaway below! We hope you all enjoy My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and do let us know what you think!
As a bonus part of the event, we are giving everyone a chance to win some prizes donated by our wonderful participants and ourselves! The prizes include:
- 2 winners of Strange Chemistry ARC packs, each pack including a copy of Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings, The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke AND Katya’s World by Jonathan L Howard (courtesy of Strange Chemistry)
- 1 winner of an eBook of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (courtesy of Entangled Publishing)
- 1 winner of an paperback of Speechless by Hannah Harrington (courtesy of Harlequin) – US/CAN ONLY
- 1 winner of a hardcover copy of 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues (courtesy of the author) – US ONLY, enter here
- 3 winners of a book of your choice from any that has been featured in Fresh Start September (each courtesy of the hosts)
The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (except when specified otherwise) and will run until the end of the event (30 September). Remember to follow the Twitter and Facebook pages of the prizes you want to win, for example, to be eligible to win the Strange Chemistry Prize, you must follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Good luck!