Interview with Rachel Florence Roberts

How do you approach cover design?
I really wanted to get the 'feel' of the novel, the 'eptiome' of what it is about. I wanted the reader to look at the cover, and see the patient in a straight-jacket; her hands dripping with blood, as she stands outside the gate of 'Royal Bethlem Asylum', and think to themselves, "What did she do? I want to know more", and then flick to the blurb, and hopefully, the first few pages. I employed a professional designer, and believe it or not, the girl on the cover is me, sort of computer-altered!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My favourite of all time has to be Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. It took me three tries to 'get into' that novel, and it was worth it. It makes me laugh even now, when I think of the famous line about the 'crab apples'.
My second would have to be 'The Post Birthday World', by Lionel Shriver. I love how the author entwines two 'alternate' universes based upon a split-second decision. It bends my mind to imagine how differently your whole life could be, right now, if only you had made a different choice somewhere along the way. Would it be better? Worse? Or simply indifferent? We'll never know!
My third favorite is The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. I admire the author for using Death as a narrative tool. I can't wait for this movie to be released.
My fourth favorite is The Help. I also loved the movie. I know the author has had some pretty damaging allegations made against her, and we'll never know whether they are true or not, but it doesn't detract from the power of the story.
My fifth favorite is The Other Boleyn Girl. I really enjoyed finding out about the famous Anne Boleyn's lesser known sister...and until I read the novel, I didn't even know she had one! I am aware that the historical accuracy of this has been much disputed, but a novel turned into a movie starring Scarlett Johannson is alright in my book!
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. I am always looking for those elusive novels that stand out from the crowd, that make you think, and reassess something...somehow. This is part of the reason I wrote The Medea Complex. I find that if you've read one crime book, or any other genre, you'' find yourself reading a thousand others that are barely distinguishable. There seems to be story after story that are made upon each other. I like a book to stand out, and I don't mind what reason that is. It just has to start, read, and end well. There's nothing worse than a novel that disappoints you in the end.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a kindle (the original one), and a Kindle Fire HD. Both of them were Christmas presents from my fiancée, as he knows I love to read.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Lets wait and see, shall we? I'll answer this question later!
Describe your desk
My knee.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Medea Complex is a novel centered around a woman who wakes up in a lunatic asylum. (I cant tell you why, as it will give away the first part of the story!) Lets just say I had my own experiences with mental health, and did a bit of research on it. I found that this particular THING has been around for centuries, and is still as misunderstood as it was in the 19th century. I thought it would be interesting to put a character in my position, and throw her back one hundred and twenty-odd years...and whilst I was at it, through in a few other issues. After that, the novel sort of evolved into its own making. The story I started off with was NOT the story I ended up with!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Stubbornness. And curiosity.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well, my book isn't even uploaded yet so again..I'll tell you later.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Ha! Its actually a mixture of great joy, and great stress. I would say the best thing for me was when a loose thread really connected in my mind, and the story wove itself together perfectly. There's something intensely satisfying in that.
What do your fans mean to you?
Oh, wow. I have a few already from when my work was in the making...and I just love the sort of clarification that Ive written a GOOD STORY. the most important thing to me is entertaining my readers...I want to leave them with a sense of "I really enjoyed that!" And I'd LOVE it if they told me so. Not for my ego, mind you, but for validation. I want the story to mean just as much to other people as it does to me.
What are you working on next?
I have a few ideas that can stem quite easily from The Medea Complex. I'm actually thinking outside the box at the moment on this one...as I'd love readers to actively contribute to the next one. Perhaps they want to see a specific character again, or they want to know more about one of the subplots. Im open right now, but one thing is for certain...there WILL be another published within the next six months.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Usually my son, calling from the nursery. I wouldn't say it is exactly inspiration as opposed to a very loud alarm clock.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With my family. When I rarely get the chance, I like to just take my own time and relax..either by swimming in the sea, snorkeling, or popping up to the local café.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I try NOT to use the charts. I try to read the blurb of the book and download it on its own merit, the same way I would pick a book up in a physical bookstore. They don't have numbers next to them, do they? I think this ranking business is all well and good, and lots of books that do well deserve it, but I also feel that there are some gems in this pile that for one reason or another, just aren't visible...and on that basis alone they're not being read. I do wish there was a way around this.
What is your writing process?
Long. Write and edit, times a gazillion. With lots of Pepsi.
Published 2013-10-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.