Author Interview, Rachel Loepker, Part 3

Today we are back with our third and final interview with local author, Rachel Loepker!

rachel-loepker-EDIT-210x300What project are you working on now?

I am working on a non sci-fi book right now. It follows the journey of a girl who is going blind. That is all you get for now!

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

My goal is to have this new project finished in a year and start the process by then, so maybe 2016?

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I definitely want to continue with the characters in Bleeding Ink, I feel like they have more to say and i would be overjoyed to share that! After I am finished with my current project, I plan to finish up Autumn’s story.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novels or getting them published that you would change?

No, every “mistake” is a learning process and has helped me become a better writer. Of course I wish it would be perfect the first time, but I know anything worth doing is worth doing wrong at first.

bleedIs there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for reading Bleeding Ink and going on this journey with Autumn and I! It means so much to me to share her story with you and I hope you enjoy it. :)

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can visit my Facebook page and message me or go to my website and post on my blog or email me at autumnwysocki31@yahoo.com.

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

”  “It is too late.” These words rattled around in my skull as a swarm of angry hornets. My face flushed scarlet. I would not permit this to happen.

“Are you certain there is nothing you can do? Anything. Anything at all? I have a great need for your patronage.” I was determined. My gaze was penetrating, I hoped.

“I am very sorry. We have tried everything. All the treatment that was administrated has not been successful. Again, I’m very sorry. The window of opportunity has passed. It’s just too late.” With a sigh of hopelessness, she slowly closed the large, iron-rusted door in my face. Tears burned my amber eyes as they raced down my scorching cheeks, staining my marigold silk blouse.

The stains were permanent, just like my problems. Reaching behind me, I attained a piece of paper that was long ago tucked into my back pant pocket. Memories of the first time I sought help flooded my senses.

“Treatment will be from nine forty-five until noon every other day. I hope that will be suitable for you. Here is an itinerary of what you need to prepare for in case of the worst.” A grimace appeared on Doctor Gates’s face. She pulled me from my recollection. I peered down at the perfect piece of paper. I accepted it reluctantly. The ink leached itself to my fingers and into my brain: a single mother with a young child, homeless, and elderly people with nowhere else to reside. As a steel hand gripped my neck, a contraction immobilized me for a moment. Their only alternative was experimentation. I discharged the spotless paper. A shiver of ice water coursed through my veins from my toes to the peak of my spine. This was only the notation of expectations, yet so many people had wept these words into print.

Doctor Gates unfastened her white lab coat and reached into a side pocket. She handed me a letter. I hesitated and then reached for the envelope. I slid it into my back pants pocket. My gift was not to be discovered. My gift was not of vocal cords, skills, or movement of the body, but implausible expansion of the psyche.

Every time my fingers skimmed a piece of paper that had been touched or printed upon with any variety of ink, I experienced that person’s pain, joy, and every sensation in between through images and emotions. I could relive memories just by feeling any document. I once tried to handle the Declaration of Independence; that did not go well. I also have started to evoke things as I smell them. This seventh sense had only matured recently.

The memory of my first encounter with Dr. Emily Gates slid. The sensation was like a contact forming to my eye. I lost my sight of the real world for mere instants, then I blinked, and I could see things I didn’t always want to. 

Gasping, I quickly recoiled my chilled fingers and tucked them gently in my other palm. I blinked three times to clear my focus. The old letter I obtained glided down on the hopes that no longer belonged to me. I didn’t understand the pain and worry that marked Doctor Gates’s face until now. In my vision, I noticed that a fear was being masked by her eyes. The risk was worth taking. I had gained information that was vital to my vocation. I nearly have completed my purpose, nearly.

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Teen Volunteers and what they do!

The Southport Branch Library and Pike Branch Library are currently offering teens (ages 14 and up) the opportunity to volunteer at their locations. This is a great opportunity for teens who need service hours for the National Honor Society as well as for teens who want to get involved with their local community, participate in teen activities, provide valuable feedback on teen services and materials and assist with a variety of other library functions.

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TAB members create blinking robot cards using electric paint pens, flashing LEDs and batteries.

Teen Volunteers may serve different functions at different locations, so be sure to talk to your librarian about what you will be doing at your location and whether or not it counts for volunteer hours.                  

Teen Volunteer, Erica, had this to say about serving on the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) at Southport Library:  

The library has been my home and sanctuary of choice for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, my parents didn’t have a ton of money to send us off to Disneyworld and what not. So, our preferred weekend getaway was a trip to the Southport Library. Through every Saturday morning, every Summer Reading Program, and every community event, the public library became further entrenched in my soul. To me, it’s not just a building full of books and fundamental resources it’s the embodiment of my childhood itself.

ericaNow that I’m older, I wanted to find a productive way to give back to the library and community, all while learning about who I am as an individual and how much of an impact my actions can have on the world around me. TAB gave me that chance, and helped me create the voice I had kept hidden for years. I joined TAB because I knew that it would allow me to meet passionate people of all different backgrounds, and provide me with a valuable medium through which I could lead, organize, and inspire my peers. Plus, it has helped me perfect all of the rudimentary struggles students face nowadays: time management, future planning, staying mentally sane, etc.

erica2I’ve participated and ran many programs through TAB, notably the library’s monthly Game Day, which appeased both my inner nerd and allowed me to meet a diverse group of clever, witty people. It also made me more aware of how much families in the community rely on the library for entertainment and quality time with each other. Trust me, there’s nothing like seeing a kid’s face light up when they try out their first RPG, and realize that their imaginations can take them anywhere. Teaching that seemingly lost skill to someone is powerful, and TAB gave me a realm to do so.

Although my participation in TAB is already a year and half in (time flies by so fast), I have no intention of stopping. My hope is that, someday, the majority of teens in our community will recognize how essential the public library is, and how much it can empower the average guy or gal.

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Author Interview, Rachel Loepker, Part 2

Today we are continuing out interview with local Indiana author, Rachel Loepker. Welcome back, Rachel. Today we are going to learn more about your book, Bleeding Ink!

bleedingHow did you come up with the title of your book?

At first, I wanted Bleeding Ink to be called Purpose. After talking with a few editors at Tate Publishing, we decided that Bleeding Ink was more fitting and stimulating.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

I hope that my audience would be a broad range, but I would say 12/13 and up. They should read my book to go on an adventure with some lovely characters that have intricate lives and go through a lot of hard things. It’s one of those a little bitter, but mostly sweet kind of novels.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Thankfully, I did not have to draw the cover. 😉 I had the idea of a bright image and then the black background. I wanted to the cover to grab your attention and symbolize Autumn as the light in a dark world. My designers at Tate helped me achieve that goal.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Oh, this is a hard one! It’s like trying to pick your favorite child. Of course, I love Autumn–I see a lot of myself in her, but I have to saw that Robin Kadeem is probably my favorite. She is sassy and honest. Her heart is big and although she has been scarred, she keeps getting back up. She is a fighter.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

My least favorite character is Kimberly Heights. She is villain of the story and I guess I did a good job creating her if even I don’t like her! She is a pity party person and has let challenges make her bitter, angry, and weak. She gave up.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I feel really lucky because getting it published was not very hard. I sent in a couple chapters and 6 weeks later they sent me a contract! The most challenging part for me was letting Bleeding Ink go. There can always be a section tweaked and perfected more. You have to step back and let it fly eventually. That was difficult.

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

I don’t have any books that I could compare off the top of my head, but any books that point to something more and show strong character traits have a commonality with Bleeding Ink.

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Undone Review

undone

Undone by Cat Clark

Available in Print.

So this book was kind of slow at times, but not enough to deter me from reading it quickly. I guess the reason I liked this book so much was the ending, which I won’t go into here because it is spoilery.

Jem is in love with Kai, but he is gay. Then, something happens and affects Kai so deeply that he kills himself. Jem is left to pick up the pieces, which is difficult for her to do. She wants revenge on the people she thinks pushed Kai to suicide. The rest of the story is all about her carrying out her revenge plans (which involves a lot of set-up), and the resulting aftermath of the plans coming to fruition. Unfortunately, in the end, she learns she was manipulated and is surprised to discover who is behind the manipulation. The letters from Jem’s best friend, Kai, set the pace, which is roughly a month per chapter. This books deals with topics like bullying, homosexuality, rape, and suicide, so not necessarily a cheerful read.

-Review by Michelle Frost

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Author Interview, Rachel Loepker, Part 1

rachel-loepker-EDIT-210x300Today we are starting a series of blog interviews with local author, Rachel Loepker! Please join me in welcoming Rachel to the Teen Scene!!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a Senior at Purdue University, majoring in Professional Writing and minoring in History. I’m 22 years old and I feel blessed every day that God wakes me up.

What book(s) do you currently have published?

Bleeding Ink is my only book published, so far.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I am either reading or–to be honest, I am a card playing addict. I love Euchre, Rumi [sic], Nerts [sic], Texas Hold’em, and Speed. My family/friends are extremely important to me as well and I love spending time with them.

Do you have a day job as well?

I do, besides being a full time student, I work as an Aftercare Teacher for a Preschool. I get to spend part of my day with 3-5 year-olds. :) It is the most demanding and exhausting job I have had–but, by far, the most rewarding. I love their innocence and honesty. It keeps me humble and constantly entertained.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

Unique? Well, I have a fascination with graveyards. Is that unique? They might seem scary or really depressing to some, but they are really peaceful and relaxing to me. I like visiting different ones and trying to find the oldest gravestone. It’s a precious place to remember lives and it helps me to remember to live mine!

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I’ve kept journals since I was really young and I can’t really remember what my first creative writing project was, but one I do remember I wrote in 5th grade, was about Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It was the *real* story about his nose and that whole ordeal. Bleeding Ink was my first completed project and that was completed in 2010.

Where do you get your ideas?

I wish I could say I had this fantastic dream or a near death experience or something earth shattering to get my ideas, but I can’t. I just think. I think about things that are and how they could be if different choices were made. I think about crazy and really out there things and sometimes a good idea forms in my head and I write it down ASAP–you never know how long it will stay.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

If I ever feel stuck, I go back and re-read what I wrote, edit, and almost every time I get my creative juices flowing. I try not to label it as “writer’s block,” because I know that I have a lot to say, I just have to get it from my brain to my fingers.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Both? :) I have a mental outline for certain parts, but I mostly just let the characters tell me their story. I have tried outlines and it weakens the plot for me.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I read a lot of books growing up, shout-out to The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester, but I never felt like just one really book or author influenced my writing style. I try to let the good parts of each book I read seep into my craft.

Is anything in your book(s) based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Most of the Sci-fi stuff is made up, but most of the characters in my story of mixes of people I know. A professor once told me, “write what you know.” How better to create strong, touchable, easy to relate to characters then by basing them off of the people in my life?

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

I haven’t had too many pieces of hate mail, but the toughest one was when someone told me at the end, “I didn’t get it.” I want people to read my book and attach to it. I want them to relate to a character and feel connected. I want my readers to gain hope and strength from this book and knowing that this reader “didn’t get it” was hard to hear.

What has been the best compliment?

One reader told me that Bleeding Ink made them want to change their life. That was awe-inspiring and utterly encouraging!

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Let me just me a hypocrite really quick–write every day. Even if 9/10 days you hate what you write, that 10th day, magic will spill from your pen or keyboard and the pain from the other 9 days will melt away. Completely worth it. And believe that what you have to write is worth reading by others. Take classes and criticism to make your writing better, never stop growing.

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