Name: Rachel Van Dyken
Hometown: Sunnyside, WA
Current Residence: Boise, ID
Education: Social Sciences degree, minor in Spanish with MBA in HR
Briefly: #1 NY Times Bestseller, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller.
Favorite Read: Anything by Julia Quinn.
Pet Peeves: Popping knuckles—husband does this when I’m trying to sleep.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A school counselor.
Up Next: Elect – sequel to Elite
Do you think having an MBA has helped you in terms of dealing with the business aspect of the publishing business?
Totally. I always joke about how a psych/business major made it into book publishing but the thing is, psychology helps you learn about people which also helps you build characters and having an MBA helps me market and grow my business. I’m very blessed to have had the education I’ve had.
What led you to start writing the Waltzing with the Wallflower books?
I love books about Wallflowers. Half my life was spent holding up that wall. So, to write a book series about it, was exciting.
Did you intend to have it as a series from the very start?
Not at all. The initial intention was to do a book about a wallflower and use it as a promo for the rest of my regency backlist as well as Leah Sanders backlist.
Do you have a particular process in terms of period research for the books?
I like to visit the places I write about. I visited London last year and to this day carry a pop up map of London so that when I’m writing I know the areas by heart. I also have a lot of language books as well as etiquette books that help me along.
As someone who writes in the romance genre, do you think that romance novels should bear some blame for perhaps implanting what some experts say are unrealistic expectations in women’s minds about romantic relationships?
Not at all. I think in the past that may have been true but recently there’s been a trend in romance where authors are actually putting in the gutting, scary, emotional, real stuff that people go through on a day to day basis. I think its wonderful and as an author try to do the same.
Do you have to be in a specific environment to be able to write?
I have to have music and I need coffee. [Smiles]
Alyssa, the character from the second book of your Seaside series, is at first, afraid of everything. What’s your biggest fear as a writer? My biggest fear is letting my readers down. I feel like they put so much faith in me and I would hate to not meet their expectations.
If you could give new authors some advice, what would you say to them?
Keep writing and don’t give up. Writing is a craft, the best way to get better is to keep writing. Don’t put your eggs in one basket, keep going until you get published. [Smiles]
Do you think it’s helpful for authors to read their readers’ feedback on their books, as well as critical reviews?
Absolutely. I read at least five books a week not only because it’s beneficial, but because it helps me relax for a bit. As far as critical reviews, its good to know what people aren’t liking because you can fix it in your future projects.
What should every writer know about writer’s block?
You have to write through it or start a new project. Don’t give up. Just find something else to do and come back to it.
And about book marketing and publicity?
Word of mouth is gold. Yes you can spend money on ads but in the end, it’s people talking about your books that does the trick.