I happy to host Rachel Schurig today as she is on her blog tour for her latest novel, In Search of a Love Story. This is the first book I have read by Rachel Schurig, but it definitely won't be the last! Her writing is fun, concise, and multi-layered.
The story is about, Emily is a twenty-something single woman with good friends and a career as a physical therapist. But her life is far from perfect. When she was only twelve years old, Emily's mother died. Now she has a close yet not-so-close relationship with her dad, and Emily also can't seem to find lasting romantic love. When Emily's latest boyfriend cheats on her, Emily's good friends decide to take her under their wing and teach her about romance. Emily watches tons of chick-flicks and reads Pride and Predjudice, but she still has trouble connecting with the traditional notions of how love is "supposed to be."
This is simply the beginning of the story. Ultimately, Emily will come to a place where she must decide between finding and keeping what seems to be the perfect guy, or finding herself. Along the way she must examine her priorities, come to terms with her relationship with her dad, and rediscover her own vulnerabilities and strengths. While ultimately this story affirms the power of love, even more so, it affirms the power of friendship. If at times it's slightly predictable, the tight writing and deeper themes make up for that. I strongly reccomend this novel. It's well worth the read!
Please continue on for an interview with Rachel!
Me: Your characters often appear in more than one of your books. For example, I see that Brooke is the focus of the follow-up to In Search of a Love Story, in An Unexpected Love Story. What are the challenges of continuing your characters’ stories on in this way?
RS: I really like revisiting characters in future books. My first novels, the Three Girls series, featured the same three girls in every book, with each story focusing on a different girl. I felt that revisiting the characters and carrying them through the series allowed me to deepen my connection with them; I really got to know each of the girls. I hope my readers would feel the same. I didn’t originally plan for In Search of a Love Story to be the start of a new series. Once I had started to write about Emily and her friends, I knew I wanted to know more about each of them. It was a natural fit for me to continue Brooke and Ashley’s stories in their own books. As far as challenges, the biggest issue is making sure the characters remain consistent throughout the series. You also run the risk of people picking up one of the sequels first, and thus being “spoiled” about the outcome of the earlier book. I try to minimize the chances of that by clearly labeling each book.
Me: On the one hand, In Search of a Love Story is a romance, but it also seems to be saying that love stories are only so relevant in real-life. How did you balance the romantic elements of your book with the self-actualization themes?
RS: I adore romances. Love songs, romantic movies, romance novels—I love them all. I do think that it’s important to remember that real life doesn’t always turn out quite like the movies. That’s a discovery that Emily makes over the course of her story. In all of my books I try to express my belief that love—even if it’s not Hollywood perfect—is very much worth searching for and fighting for.
Me: Is there a book, song, television show or movie you can compare your novel to? If not, can you name some sort of influence or inspiration for this book?
RS: After spending so much time with these characters they’ve become very real to me. They are like my imaginary children now, and I have a hard time comparing them to anyone else! I would say that this book was influenced by the chick lit genre. Some classic examples of authors in this genre include Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Harriet Evans, and Helen Fielding. To me, chick lit is any novel that focuses on a female protagonist, has a romantic element (while still exploring issues of her life outside of the romance), and has a light and humorous tone. Those are the books I best like to read, and I hope I succeeded in creating that feel with In Search of a Love Story.
Me: What would be the perfect meal to enjoy while reading In Search of a Love Story? (Include dessert and beverage choice.)
RS: Several people have told me they consider In Search of a Love Story to be a comfort novel. I agree! I suggest curling up in your most comfortable pair of yoga pants with a nice bowl of pasta and a glass of red wine. Finish up with the chocolate of your choice. I recommend Hershey’s Bliss squares, which I totally OD’d on while writing this book.
Me: What do you do when you’re not writing? Can you name any ways that “real life” has influenced your writing?
RS: My real life is always slipping into my novels. For instance, I love the outdoors and spend quite a bit of time in northern Michigan. It felt very natural for me to set part of Emily’s story there. I am also very close with my friends, much like Emily. All of the books and movies that Ashley and Ryan recommend in the book are personal favorites of mine. On that note, you can expect traveling and cake decorating to make an appearance in my books down the line, as those are two favorite non-writing activities that I have yet to write about.
Me: Okay, here’s a selfish question: You seem to be very successful at marketing and establishing “your brand.” Any tips for other indie-authors?
RS: My best tip is to just keep writing! I actually do very little marketing; I’m constantly berating myself for not blogging enough and not connecting on facebook or twitter more often. I think I got very lucky when one of my first books, Three Girls and a Baby, was featured on a few book sites. You can’t always control things like that but what you can control is the amount of work you have available for readers to find. When Baby started to sell well I already had two additional books out for readers to read next. I work very hard to produce new content as often as possible. As far as branding, I maximize my efforts by writing in the same genre and ensuring that my covers all “fit” together. Developing a distinct voice as an author is also important. Anything you can do to make it easier for readers to associate your books with you will help!
Me: Thanks so much for letting me pick your brain! Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
RS: Thanks for having me today! I love to hear from readers and I promise to always respond to blog comments, facebook comments, and emails. I can be reached at my website (http://rachelschurig.com), on facebook (www.facebook.com/RachelSchurigAuthor), and on twitter (@rems330). I also have a newsletter (on my website) where readers can sign up for updates and exclusive content. I hope to connect with everyone soon!
Click here to buy In Search of a Love Story on Amazon
Click here to buy In Search of a Love Story on Amazon