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Rachel McNeely 

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For as long as I can remember I wanted to write and have a book of mine published. Sometimes life gets in the way, or we let it.
     I grew up in the south and lived with an aunt and uncle from the time I was ten until I graduated from high school. Both my aunt and uncle worked long hours, giving me a lot of time alone. With my love of reading and an active imagination, I was never bored.
     I wrote my first story at eleven or twelve years old and read it to my neighborhood friends. They, of course, thought it was wonderful. My story did not have a happy ending. My heroine died a tragic death. I was in my melodramatic phase.
     My first published work was a mother's day poem. The local newspaper had a contest between the high schools. I won and the prize was ten dollars and having my poem printed in the Sunday paper on Mother's Day. I won't say what year.
     My aunt was a very practical woman and had worked all her life. You did not write for a career. You studied and got a sensible job that kept a roof over your head and food in your stomach.
     My first career was Nursing. During my mid-life crisis, I went back to school and earned my Master's degree in Social Work. These were good choices, but in the back of my mind, those characters kept knocking on the door and reminding me of my dream job, writing.
     I did write during those years, everything from poems, short stories, and longer love stories. They filled my desk drawers and the bottom of my closet.
     With three grown children, three grandchildren, a very supportive husband and many friends' encouragement I finally got serious and decided in 2004 that it was time to commit to my dream, make some goals, and start my new career. They do say the third time's the charm.
     My first big shock: Not everyone thought I was a great writer. Like any other career you had to study, read, take classes, and write, write, write. Who would know following your passion could be so much work, but also so much fun?

 

Q: When did you decide to become a writer?

A: So long ago that I don't remember. I had an active imagination from the start. But for many years I let life get in the way until I made a New Year's resolution about four and a half years ago to write with the goal of publishing. My goals the first year were to join a writer's group, attend a writing conference, and finish a book. I did all three.

Q: Do you have a writing schedule?

A: I try. I'm most creative in the morning, so I like to write from around 8 or 9 a.m. until early afternoon. Then I think about doing housework, maybe.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for stories?

A: From TV, things people say, numerous ways but especially early in the morning when I'm half awake.

Q: What's your favorite romance genre?

A: I enjoy most all of them, especially historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense.

Q: What are you writing now?

A: I'm writing a contemporary story and beginning to edit a historical, set in the Regency period.

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