Dennis: How long have you been a writer and how did you get started?
Rebekah: Ever since I learned how to read and write, I’ve always been creating little books. When I was about eight, I wrote a story on printer paper and illustrated it with marker. I stapled the papers together so they looked like a real book, and on the back, I wrote a price. When I gave it to my grandma, she read the whole thing. When she flipped it over, she saw the price and asked if she could buy it. When I said yes, she handed me real money. That’s when I realized that I enjoyed writing
Dennis: You have written a book titled In the Family. Please provide an overview of the book and why you chose this subject? Just from reading the some of the information the point your book presents needs to be said, I am glad you have written this book.
Rebekah: Aliyah, a blind high school senior, is used to being teased. Her only friend, Kyra, sometimes pretends the two hadn’t met to protect her reputation. But when Aliyah’s secret admirer, Hayden, introduces himself, things begin to change. As he tries to prove to the other students that Aliyah contains much inner beauty, she learns some of his
family secrets. This causes many situations to arise that pull together and then seperate the group. Can they learn to love themselves, love each other, and love God the way the Bible instructs before they lose
each other for good?
Rebekah: Inspiration is an interesting thing. I originally started writing this book after a harsh breakup where I realized I could’ve done much better than him. But a few chapters in, I realized I really wanted to share what I had learned with others. I wanted others to know what it really means to be blind, and I wanted to encourage other teens who may be going through similar situations. I felt like the best way to do that would be to write advice into a story. So, fairly quickly, this book was born.
Dennis: What do you want readers to gain from your book In the Family?
Rebekah: My goal as a writer is to inspire and encourage others with my stories. Specifically for In the Family, I want to reach out to teens and young adults, hopefully helping them with typical situations at this time of life. Also, I want to share about blindness. Whether a reader is disabled or knows someone who is, this book deals with typical issues
we disabled teens face.
Dennis: The National Federation of the Blind is an important organization in our country. Please provide some information as to your involvement with them andhow it relates to the book you have written.
Rebekah: As a blind person, I look for support and encouragement from others like me. The NFB has been my best resource. I served on the board of my local chapter as well as the Colorado Association of Blind Students, a devision of the Federation. The NFB seaks for equality for blind people. They view blindness differently than most of the world. For
them, blindness is just a trait. With the proper training, we are fully capable of living normal lives. Thanks to them, I realized I can live out my dreams, even though others tell me I can’t fulfill them because I’m blind. This philosophy is so important to me, I wrote it into my story. The main character, Aliyah, sets an example of what blind people are truely capable of.
Dennis: I saw you received honorable mention a few years ago in a short story contest and that your work was featured in the 2011 New Voices Anthology. How did you come to enter the contest along with your work being featured in the 2011 New Voices Anthology?
Rebekah: A few years ago, my stepfather recognized my ability to write and began
sending me emails packed with short story writing contests. One of them was from New Voices. I decided to enter both the short story and essay contests. My essay recieved an honorable mention, and as a prize, they
featured it in their 2011 New Voices Anthology.
Dennis: What are your future writing plans?
Rebekah: I plan to continue to write encouraging stories for youth and families.
Writing children’s books has also been a passion of mine, so I plan to publish some of my kid-friendly stories as well as write a novel for
pre-teens. Eventually, I hope to have a book published for every age group, all of which being family friendly and inspiring in some way.
Dennis: Do you belong to any social networking sites?
Rebekah: Yes, here is my Facebook page:
Dennis: What suggestions do you have for other writers/authors?
Rebekah: Well, I could spend days on this subject, but here are a few suggestions:
- Writing a book can be a long process, and viewing it as a whole will only scare you. Think of it the way you view a year—taking it one day at a time.
- The fun part is writing the book. But along with fun comes a lot of work. Be prepared for what comes afterwards. From editing to submitting your manuscript to publishers to promoting your book, this is where the real work kicks in.
- Got writer’s block? Remember that a good story comes from inspiration. Don’t try to write about something you don’t know a lot about or don’t enjoy. Make sure you have a final goal laid out so you know where to take the story. Remember that if you created a writing plan before you started, you don’t have to follow it exactly. Let your
imagination contribute.- And most importantly, have fun!
Dennis: What have you learned about the publishing industry that might help
other authors or those who may want to be authors?
Rebekah: There are two important things I learned through this process.
First, publishing isn’t a one-action project. It takes dozens of little steps to complete. The book needs editing, a cover, a format, and many
other things that you must be involved in.
Secondly, your book doesn’t automatically sell once it’s in stores. You need to promote it. If people don’t know it exists, how are they going
to buy it? Book signings and public readings could help, but the internet is an amazing tool for promotion.
Dennis: What kind of marketing activities have worked for you that you might suggest to others?
Rebekah: The internet is a very useful tool. Use social networking sites to get
people’s attention. Create a signature for your email as well as your forum posts (no matter the forum). In the signature, direct people to
your book. I’ve also come to understand that in order to get someone’s attention, they need to see your ad more than once before they think to
buy it. People don’t go online to look at ads. In fact, they tend to ignore them at first. If you are selling online, allowing sampling is very important. When someone is at a book store, they can pick up a book and flip through the pages. But not online. They need to see what
makes your book so important. About three chapters is a good amount to offer for free. Make sure it cuts off at an irresistable cliff-hanger. If they have to purchase the book to find out what happens, they will be more interested in buying it.
Dennis: Do you write articles? If yes, please provide some links where others
can read what you have written?
Rebekah: Not at the moment, but I plan to in the future.
Dennis: Is there anything else you would like to add to include in this interview? Basically what would you want others to take away from this
Rebekah: If not anything else, I hope others are inspired by this interview. And I hope to gain the trust and interest of potential readers.