Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween Interview with Rachel Pudelek!

Ever since Rachel landed her agent, Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary, I have wanted to do an interview with her. I met Rachel over a year ago in the blog-o-sphere and she has helped me so much in the area of queries and pitching to agents, now her wise words are here for you!

*Waves to Rachel*
Thank you for letting me interview you! Tell us about your book!

Deadly Splendor is a young adult horror novel about a teen girl, Allura, who is chosen by her elders to lead her all-female secret society back to their roots of man-hunting. But when the enemies of her ancestors follow the blood trail she’s left behind, she’s forced to kill for more than just pleasure.

Where did you get the premise for you story and how did you go about the research?

I think there isn’t enough fierce-female stories in our culture, and I’m not just referring to the written form of story-telling. So I sought to write a novel about a whole sub-culture of women that not even Chuck Norris would want to meet in a dark alley.

I loved researching for Deadly Splendor! Most every country/culture has age-old tales of huntresses, women who lured men to their deaths. So I combined the attributes of these folkloric women to create the ones you see in my story. They call themselves Femina Mari. I also pulled in bits of history. One of my favorites is when Allura explains how her foremothers avenged the hundreds of women who were burned during the European witch hunts, by slaughtering the ruthless men in charge.

The book started out as a Young Adult Supernatural novel and turned into YA Horror. Where you surprised by the genre shift?

Actually, I was relieved by it. My agent told me that while I had supernatural elements in my story (The secret society is comprised of descendants of folkloric man-eaters.) my writing style and voice were horror/thriller. She encouraged me to embrace this, which made me happy because that meant Allura got to let loose and rack up a body count.

Is there any particular message you were hoping to get across in your novel? What are some themes you explored? 

When I wrote it, no. Except, of course, the whole girl power and equality aspect. (Allura befriends a guy, which complicates things.) Actually, through my research this story taught me important lessons rather than me trying to teach others through the story.

What has been the most exciting thing about having an agent and getting closer to a publication deal?

I wrote DEADLY SPLENDOR in 2011. And despite the challenges I faced with this type of story, I refused to give up on it. I’d trunked a manuscript before writing DEADLY SPLENDOR, so it wasn’t that I was too stubborn. My connection to Allura and the Femina Mari world runs deeper than that. So the most exciting thing about having an agent and therefore getting one step closer to the possibility of a publication deal is the idea that maybe one day others will see mist and evergreens and think of Allura, just like I do.

What has been the most surprising thing? 

I’ve been learning a ton lately about this business, but I think what surprised me the most at first was that your season of waiting doesn’t end once you’ve crawled out of the query trenches. In fact, those trenches were only the practice round.

What are some other projects you are working on that you’re excited about?

I finished a YA light sci-fi romance a few months back, involving hidden pasts and inter-dimensional forbidden love. I’m in the editing stage of an upper MG novel about an Egyptian mummy princess in New York City. And I’m plotting a dark YA contemporary romance involving cougars, cubs, and motorcycle gangs. ;)

Fun questions:

Favorite Horror Movie: It’s kind of an older one (made in 2001), but Frailty with Bill Paxton and Mathew McConaughey.

Favorite Book: I have a favorite book for each genre I read. But there’s one book I read when I was a teenager that I still think about often: STRANGER with MY FACE by Lois Duncan.

Favorite Book Cover: I don’t have one. I just adore all beautiful covers. But the dark, eerie cover of BETEEN the DEVIL and the DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke has my attention, for sure. I’m intrigued by the cliff, the mist, and the evergreens. Also, the romantic and colorful cover of ALIENTATED by Melissa Landers is absolutely gorgeous.

Favorite Word:
A particular German cussword I say at least twice a day.

Favorite Color: Purple

Favorite source for inspiration: Nature. Preferably the forest, filled with evergreens, moss, and ferns. If there’s a lake, or ocean inlet, or waterfall, I’m in heaven.

Thanks for the fun interview, Rachel! I CANNOT wait for DEADLY SPLENDOR!

You can find Rachel at her blog: A Rainy Day Writer in the Evergreen State
Twitter: @rachelpud


  1. Good Interview Ashley and Rachel. Deadly Splendor sounds...deadly amazing! Good Luck.

  2. I'm impressed by your determination to get Deadly Splendor out for all the world to see, and I'm delighted to hear you're working on an Egyptian story. (I live in Egypt.) Great interview! :-)

    1. Thanks! Yes, it was a struggle at times, that's for sure. :) My agent was pleased to hear I was working on an Egyptian story too! LOL! My daughter and I love learning about Egypt, so this story came to me while she was doing a report on mummies.

  3. Great interview, great questions, and I LOVE the premise of this book!! There really aren't enough fierce female stories out there, so I'll be crossing my fingers that this gets published SOON!

    1. Thanks, Liz! I could use all the crossed fingers I can get!

  4. Thanks so much for such a great interview, Ashley! I really had a fun time answering your questions. :) Can't wait to return the favor when your book is ready for release!