Author Spotlight: Rachel Scott McDaniel

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It brings me great joy to welcome another dear writing friend, Rachel Scott McDaniel, to the blog today! Although I've never met her in person, I sure feel like I have, because when Rachel was unable to attend last year's ACFW conference, our mutual friend Rebekah taped Rachel's pic to a Wonder Woman figurine. So I may not have met Real Rachel yet, but I've definitely met her superhero doppelganger, Wonder Rachel. (That's Wonder Rachel with her Genesis trophy over there).

Anyway, Rachel, welcome to the blog! 

Thank you for having me! This is my first interview and I’m feeling all authorly and fabulous, as well as completely honored to be here.

How did you start writing? At what point did you realize you were hopelessly bitten by the writing bug and that all hopes of life as a Normal Human were pretty much gone?

I’ve always had a love for words. In fact, I procured my very first writing award in fourth grade when I penned a short story called Mary Had A Little Elephant. Original, huh? I remember being ridiculously nerves because I had to read the piece in front of the entire community women’s club.

But I never really became serious in the pursuit of writing until I was named a finalist in a national contest. I only entered to receive feedback and was floored when I received notice that my story had advanced to the last round. Then my next thought was- Wow, I’m not as horrible at this writing thing as I thought. I may even be decent. From then on, I was hooked. I learned so much on this journey and gained valuable friends.

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? What challenges pop up when scheduling time to write?

I write when my kids are at school or at night time when all is quiet. My main challenge is keeping focused. Haha. It seems so many thing nowadays pull for my attention.

I can definitely relate to that, as you and your Lisa Simpson "Concentrate" gif can attest.

What is one thing you know now that, looking back, you wish you could tell your younger Writer Self?

Oh brother. When I first started writing, I did EVERYTHING wrong. No joke. My first novel was plagued with head-hopping, backstory, info dumps, and an embarrassing amount of melodrama. I didn’t even know what telling was. So what did I do after I finished the first draft? Go back and revise? No, I sent that baby off to all my family, friends, and even my boss! I cringe when I think about it!

My advice to my younger writer self would be the words from the first book of James-  Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Over the years, I’ve had the tendency to rush—the idea that I need to barrel forward at full speed. That kind of attitude depletes you. Instead of focusing on the the destination, enjoy the journey.

That is such wonderful advice, and boy, did I need to hear that today!

If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author, living or dead, who would you choose? What would you ask him or her?

Haha. It would most definitely be coffee and maybe some chocolate, too. ;) I would probably choose Rachel Hauck and not for a question but to say thank you. Years back, I started writing but then my daughter was diagnosed autistic, and I quit. Over the years following, the whispers of writing faded. On a whim, I picked up a Rachel Hauck novel and while reading, felt God’s gentle nudge. I opened my laptop and began again. It’s amazing how fiction can touch a person’s heart. I want my stories to encourage others like hers had for me. 

How has God changed you during the writing process? What spiritual lesson has God taught you that’s found its way into your fiction?

It seems that every one of my manuscripts reflect a different growth challenge in my personal life. For The Red Canary, the spiritual theme is trusting God above the shouts of fear. There’d been times when doubt and worry tried to overwhelm me, but God had proved faithful, giving me scripture to cling to, and words of encouragement through various people. And so, I try to subtly sprinkle hope into my stories. Faith fused into fiction can be a very powerful thing. 

Amen to that!

 I always admire writers of historical fiction for all the research they do. What are some of the key ways you immerse yourself in the era you’re writing?

My grandpa was a fighter pilot ace in WWII, and so that era had always been fascinating to me. When I researched the 40s for my story, The Red Canary, I surrounded myself with the culture. I watched movies from that time period, listened to big band music, browsed fashion articles, etc. I never really considered it work, because it was so enjoyable.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

My family tends to keeps me busy, but when I get the chance I LOVE to read.

Thanks again for being here today, Rachel! Last question:  How can we pray for you?

What a beautiful question! Mostly, I would love for God’s words – His message – to flow through me.  Not only in my writing, but in my day-to-day interactions with those around me.

Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one random new subscriber to her newsletter! Click here to subscribe, and you'll automatically be entered! We'll announce the winner in the comments on this post here next Friday, April 27.

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Rachel McDaniel is an award-winning writer of Christian historical romance. Her passion is to weave the truth of God’s Word into entertaining and thought-provoking stories.

Rachel’s been published in the WNY Family Magazine and Natural Awakenings Magazine. She is a writer and editorial traffic manager fora healthy living magazine. You can find Rachel on her blog, rachelscottmcdaniel.com, where she posts regularly about faith, family, and fiction. She is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.