We’re getting near the end of Loooooove week. What? Here…we explain it all on Monday’s post.
TheÂ lucky winner of yesterday’s “Name your fictional town” contest, chosen by Rachael herself:Â Becca,Â who wrote, “I would name the town Lester, as a bad joke on the pronunciation of Leicester.”Â Â Congrats, Becca — you’ll be receiving a copy of Rachael’s brand-new book,Â HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME!
Today’s the last day of our probing questions with Rachael. Tomorrow, we have an extra-special surprise for everyone and the biggest prize this week! Don’t miss it!
Knitty: How did knitting and romance find themselves together in your novels?
Rachael: Iâ€™ve always been a writer, but I was, for a long time, a more â€œseriousâ€ writer. I wanted to write Great Things (which, of course, never got written, as things with such weight attached to them often donâ€™t). Then in 2006,Â Â I took part in National Novel Writing Month (an online challenge to write a novel in the month of November). I knew, that Halloween night, that I had one evening to figure out what I was going to speed-write a novel about. I knew I loved two things: romance and knitting, and perhaps if I wrote about what I loved, the going might be easier. And it sure was. I put a knitter and a sheep rancher together (both need wool, but not for heat; they generate enough of their own), and they took over the story. It was a fun, wild ride, and I realized at the end of the month that I loved my little book, and that it was better written than my serious stuff ever was. Over the next year I doubled its length and did revisions, and eventually took it out to find agent representation, and the rest is history.
K: Has anyone you loved (romantically) ever knit for you?
R: Oh, yes. An old boyfriend learned to crochet just so he could make me a yellow afghan, in honor of the first short story I ever published. And my wife, Lala, knits me socks. In fact, sheâ€™s almost done with my Christmas pair! (From 2009, okay, but theyâ€™re coming! 75% done!)
K: What is in the water in Cypress Hollow? It seems to attract hot men like bees to honey.
R: Ha! Someone once pointed out to me that it seemed like all the men in Cypress Hollow had great butts. I never knew I was someone who really appreciated that side of a man until I reread some of my workâ€”yes, the heroine always, at some point, is behind the hero, admiring the view. Huh. Illuminating.
And then, of course, there are the men like Elbert Romo and Pete Wegman, the older ranchers and town locals who probably had great backsides in their time, but are now more well known for being loving and kind and funny, and I adore them just as much.
K: Is Cypress Hollow based on a real town or a whole bunch of towns that you’ve spliced together?
R: It changesâ€”when I first created it, I thought I was making it up. Now, I realize that Iâ€™ve drawn from many small towns Iâ€™ve known. In my head, itâ€™s a cross between tiny Pescadero (south of Half Moon Bay) and the coastal ranching town I lived in during my teens (Arroyo Grande). And when people from small towns write to me and say that I got it just right, that people really DO interact the way they do in my books, it makes me feel fantastic.
K: Would you rather own a yarn store or book store?
R: Bookstore! For sure. No, wait. Yarn store! Seriously, interesting question. I hadnâ€™t ever stopped to consider the fact that my first heroine, Abigail, owns a yarn store, and my second heroine, Lucy, owns a bookstore. I worked in a small-town bookstore for five years, so I know that commerce, that kind of trade, better than I know the yarn industry, but I certainly know the PRODUCT sold in yarn stores. But my brain is so tied now to being at my desk, creating worlds, that it would be hard to work retail in any form. I consider those who own yarn and bookstores my heroes, and I respect their chutzpah and bravery in the face of todayâ€™s often stormy economy. I pledge to continue to do my part in the form of purchases!
It’s our last book-day giveaway…maybe today will be your lucky day!
This time, to win, leave a comment to this post by Thursday, March 10th at midnight, eastern time. In your comment, tell us what your fictional heroine does for a living. Rachael will pick her favorite and that lucky person will win a copy ofÂ HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME.
See you here again tomorrow for the big finale! A present for everyone AND the biggest prize yet!