Writer Wednesday: Rachael Tulipano

Tulipano Author Photo

Author Rachael Tulipano

Welcome to Writer Wednesday, where I feature either a guest blogger or a Q&A with a writer. My first victim is indie author Rachael Tulipano. Read on to learn about her life, her writing, and her books. Don’t forget to follow her on social media and check out her books by clicking on the link at the bottom of the interview. If you’re interested in being featured on Writer Wednesday, drop me  line at cassidytaylorauthor@gmail.com.


Q: Hi Rachael! Let’s start with a little bit about you. Where are you from? When and how did you first get into writing?

A: Hello! My name is Rachael Tulipano. I’m originally from Massachusetts, but my family moved to Maine in 2001. I’ve been living in southern Maine ever since. I earned my B.A. in Communications and minor in Sociology in May 2014 from the University of Southern Maine. It was in college that I decided to try my hand at writing novels.

I’ve loved writing my whole life, but I didn’t accept the challenge to write a full-length novel until college. Back in 7th, 8th and 9th grades, I was writing short stories and essays. Torn came to me during my sophomore year of college, and its sequel, Mated, was completed the following year.

Q: Tell me about your writing and editing processes.

A: My writing process is fairly straightforward. I begin with an idea – a storyline – and from there plot it out. I develop the characters, setting, appropriate perspectives, and most of the scenes. Mainly, I’m a plotter. I’m most successful if I have a general sense of where my story is going. Even if only tentative, a mapped out plot is best.

Naturally some things do change as my writing takes over. Sometimes characters have new motives or certain scenes move around as needed. It depends a great deal on which direction I decide to take my story in once I begin molding it and writing.

Typically, it takes me 6-9 months to write a first draft. I do my best to write every day, but even if I can’t find an hour at the very least, I definitely spend the bulk of my week writing. When I encounter writer’s block, I take a break. For me, it’s best to step away from my projects and come back to them with a fresh mind. I do my best to write honestly, passionately, and thoroughly. I certainly hope it shows!

Q: Do you listen to music when writing?

A: When I was in the process of writing and editing my paranormal romance novels Torn and Mated, I spent a lot of my time listening to “To Build a Home” by Cinematic Orchestra. It’s a long, soft lullaby that resonated well with the passionate, romantic stories I was writing at the time.

For my current trilogy, Unwanted, I actually haven’t been listening at all. I’m in the process of creating a deep, intricate plot and find myself needing to devote all of my attention to building the story. Music hasn’t aided my inspiration in this project. Instead, silence and lots of coffee have been my two best friends!

Q: What inspired you to self-publish your first duology, Torn and Mated? What has your experience been like as an indie author?

A: Self-publishing my novels Torn and Mated was not a decision I made lightly. Once Torn was complete and edited in full, I began querying agents, seeking representation so I could publish traditionally. I spent roughly 8 months – the better part of 2013 – querying agents to no avail. I received several partial requests and 3 full requests, but the bulk were immediate rejections or no response at all.

By the end of 2013, I decided to self-publish. I was so anxious to put my work out into the world and make my next novel available for purchase, even if only on Amazon. In March 2014, I self-published Torn, and by September 2015, I self-published the sequel and final installment, Mated.

My experience has been spotty. At first, I sold a few-hundred dollars worth of books. I was so excited and shocked by the initial wave of interest I received! Over time, though, marketing myself became more and more difficult. Even now it’s challenging to sell my paranormal romance novels. Vampire books have saturated the market, and being a debut author certainly has its limitations. It’s difficult advertising beyond my local community. I’m hoping my next series, the Unwanted trilogy, will boost sales, interest, and overall readership, and word-of-mouth will become my friend. Having readers spread the word for me will ultimately aid me in growing my presence in the literary community.

Q: What actor would you like to see play Landon? What actresses would you like to see play Bria and Natalie?

A: If Torn and Mated became movies on the silver screen, I would love for actor Jesse Metcalfe to play the role of Landon Pratt. He’s handsome, charming, and looks fabulous in a suite – all the traits to make the perfect Landon.

I would be ecstatic if Victoria’s Secret models Adriana Lima and Candace Swanepoel played the roles of my leading ladies. Adriana Lima would make the perfect Bria Lawrence – a tall, curvaceous vampire with luscious dark hair and a beautiful smile. Candace Swanepoel would be the ideal Natalie Taylor – a petite, seductive cat burglar with blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

Q: So you’re working on a new trilogy. What can you tell me about it? Where did you get your inspiration for Unwanted?

A: The Unwanted Trilogy is a New Adult (NA) dystopian romance set hundreds of years in the future after overpopulation results in the planet suffering from a cleanse. 95% of the human race is eradicated, and after the US falls, a new society called Stonewall is born. To prevent a recurrence of overpopulation, Stonewall law mandates families follow a one-child policy to control the population.

My main character, Quinn Mayer, is a second-born. She is known as an Unwanted – an “extra” child who is illegal and legally allowed to be executed by the military. However, on Quinn’s 18th birthday, she becomes an Untouchable, which is a new status that protects her from execution, but still makes her an outcast.

Then there’s Reeve Sutton. Reeve is an Underlying, which makes him a foundational, wanted citizen. He’s a first-born, and on his 18th birthday, recruited into Stonewall’s military. Reeve has no real love for the military, but following orders is all he can do.

It’s during Reeve’s mission to rid Stonewall of Unwanteds that he finds Quinn.

My inspiration for the Unwanted trilogy comes from many places. In some ways, it shares similarities with dystopian stories like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Handmaid’s Tale. The one-child policy was also partially inspired by China’s family planning policy. Finally, Stonewall’s “hermit kingdom” complex is based loosely off of North Korea’s choice to wall itself off from the rest of the world.

Unwanted, Untouchable, and Underlying are the three installments in this new series that challenges a society’s restrictions, asks questions about family values, and ultimately cultivates change where reproduction, morality, and human rights are concerned. The trilogy is written to bring value and meaning back into their world.

Q: I’m working on planning my own series and would love to know how you’ve approached planning the trilogy. How has planning and writing the trilogy been different from your first two books?

A: Planning a trilogy – or an even longer series, for that matter – requires deep, thoughtful, and insightful connections. As the writer, you have to be creative, mindful and deliberate. It’s critical to know the ins and outs of the story from beginning to end, even before the actual writing happens. All major details should be well-planned, even if there’s room for change during the writing process. Having a structured plot will assure the story is free of plot holes and inconsistencies.

Planning a trilogy, especially this dystopian series, has proven to be more challenging than writing my paranormal romance duology. While writing my novels Torn and Mated was more about developing passionate relationships, writing the Unwanted trilogy is much more about creating an entirely new society.

In Unwanted, I have to be mindful of creating realistic jurisdiction, an authoritative president, and the division of people according to social status. There is far more research required to create a society based on immoral rules and philosophies.

Q: How has your writing evolved as you’ve gained more experience?

A: My writing is constantly growing, becoming more and more polished with time, experience and research. I’ve recently joined several virtual writers’ groups and communities that have proven to be exceptionally helpful. From others, I’ve learned new ways of organizing my sentences, appropriate word choices, and original content. Writing coaches, editors and fellow writers have aided me in growing.

I’ve also learned how to be more aggressive with marketing. Advertising a book long before it launches only helps an author grow their readership and garner interest. Lately, I’ve been doing my best to do just that. I created an IG account dedicated to the Unwanted trilogy. This account shares snippets from all the books, with direct quotes and appropriate stock photos. Additionally, I’ve been gaining interest by networking with new writers.

Q: Do you have any advice for writers that are considering self-publishing versus the traditional route?

A: Conduct thorough research. Look into as many companies as possible, carefully examining their services. Self-publishing can be a significant investment. Services like cover design, formatting, and synopses are often expensive. If a writer can do most of it him or herself, I support it. The cost to design the covers for Torn and Mated was $700.00 each. Now that I’m designing my own book covers, I’m saving myself a good amount of money! Similarly, I’m writing my own synopses and taglines. This will also save me money.

In short, it’s best to research as much as possible. Self-publishing is a great way of pushing books out into the world and building an author platform. It reserves an author’s autonomy, artistry, and creativity. There are no major editors, agents, or publishing houses in the mix that can make drastic changes. That being said, it’s a great method to publish, but be certain that it’s the right way for you to go.

Q: What book are you reading now?

A: Presently, I’m reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I’ve heard absolutely amazing things about Aveyard’s debut novel. I even picked up the sequel Glass Sword, and the novella, Cruel Crown. I’m so excited to dive in!

Q: What is your Hogwarts house?

A: I grew up reading the Harry Potter books! I’d have to say my house is Ravenclaw. I learn quickly, I adapt to situations I find myself in, and I am original and creative.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A: I really enjoy reading any new book I can get my hands on. I’m also obsessed with watching Friends reruns. I own all 10 seasons and have watched every episode countless times! Books and TV aside, I love shopping, spending time with my family, listening to music, and snuggling with my puppy.

Thanks for reading! Find Rachael on social media here:


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Rachael Tulipano is a fiction and content writer with a passion for authoring novels. A native of New England, she graduated from the University of Southern Maine in May 2014 with a B.A. in Communication and minor in Sociology. Rachael’s unwavering appreciation for storytelling sharpened during her college studies, inspiring her to try her hand at writing books.

Presently, Rachael’s published works consist of her paranormal romance novels Torn (March 2014) and Mated (September 2015). Readers can purchase Torn and Mated by visiting Amazon Books.

Paired with her fiction writing, Rachael also contributes editorial pieces to Elite Daily, GenTwenty, and The Niche Movement. Her editorial contributions to these organizations are archived on their respective websites. These articles are designed to capture the millennial experience and offer guidance to young professionals.

Rachael lives in southern Maine where she is currently at work on her new novel Unwanted.


Books by Rachael Tulipano

Click on the picture to visit her Amazon page!

TORNMATEDUNWANTEDUntouchable

Underlying

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