Rachel Jonas - Romance with Bite
Rachel Jonas is a Michigan native with a passion for writing who has several young adult releases on her schedule. Those releases are within the genres of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and dystopian fiction. Aside from the many hours spent happily pecking away at her keyboard, Jonas is also a wife, mother of three, an avid reader, and a gamer with a penchant for all things Sims. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her latest book, The Genesis of Evangeline.
Please give us a short introduction to The Genesis of Evangeline
The Genesis of Evangeline is book one in my completed, upper YA/NA, paranormal romance series, THE LOST ROYALS SAGA. The series features wolves, dragons, and witches, so there’s a little something for everyone. In this first installment, readers get to discover the mysteries of Seaton Falls, Michigan right alongside the cast of characters.
Why wolves and dragon shifters? What drew you to write about fantastical creatures?
Well, I started out in contemporary romance in late 2013 and had a successful run on that side of the tracks with around 15 books published, but something was missing for me. I fought it awhile, and finally identified what that something was in late 2016. I wanted to write outside the “normal”, and sometimes formulaic realm of romance. I wanted magic and otherworldly beasts to complicate my plots beyond my couple and shake things up a bit. So, I took one of my ideas off the shelf and decided to begin this journey into paranormal romance in February 2017, and I’m so grateful I did!
Tell us more about Evie Callahan. What makes her tick?
Evie is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written. She’s a young adult who’s hit with a lot in this series, but she perseveres. Yes, sometimes she doesn’t realize her strength, but always has a roll-with-the-punches kind of attitude I really capturing. From one installment to the next, her character grows and changes because circumstances leave her no choice, and I believe that makes her easy for readers to connect with. She’s a real girl, with real emotions, realistic reactions, and the driving force behind every decision she makes is the love of her family and friends.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
While writing is my first love, I also sing, design covers as a side hobby (including the covers for Evie’s series), and I dabble in poetry. I’m also an avid gamer who’s very open about her Sims addiction, and I often fantasize about participating in a Tetris tournament (#NerdGoals lol).
Can the Genesis of Evangeline be read as a standalone? Did you plan from the start to make this into a series?
Because so many layers of the series are pulled back with each installment, the five books do have to be read in order. I’d love to say I’m a super planner and knew exactly how many books there would be, but … yeah, no lol. I did, however, know it would be a series, but had a hard time deciding whether I’d need four or five to thoroughly tell Evie’s story. I finally settled on five as I neared the end of book two. At that point, I had a clear visual of exactly how it would all playout.
Where do you find your inspiration?
A lot of my writing inspiration comes from music. The Genesis of Evangeline was so heavily impacted by the songs that carried me through the story, I included the soundtrack at the end of the book so readers could check it out, too. I also get inspired by the most random scenes in movies. They, literally, have the loosest connections to the thoughts they cause to sprout in my head, but it’s taught me to always, ALWAYS keep a notebook handy.
Oh, and Pinterest! How did I almost forget that? I create boards for all my stories and often visit them to keep my descriptions of characters and locations fresh. You can check out the ones I’ve shared >HERE<.
What do you hope your readers will take from your books?
I write from my heart and it’s always my hope that readers feel that. Even though I’m writing about hotheaded dragons and vicious werewolves, the words come from a very emotional place. Every writer has their own style, and I guess that’s a strong characteristic of mine. Writing in first-person means readers are up close and personal with my characters throughout the entire story. It’s important to me that they don’t just *read* the scenes, but *experience* them—all the highs and lows. A standard for me when choosing a book to read, it has to be one that makes me feel everything. If the heroine is pissed off with a parent, I should be pissed off, too. If she’s falling head-over-heels, can’t-feel-my-face in love with a guy, I’d better be falling for him, too. Because this experience is a requirement for me as a reader, I aim to create it when writing as well.
You tell your story from multiple point-of-views. Why did you take this approach?
I choose to write from several points of view partly because, as a reader, I prefer to get more than one character’s perspective. Not only does it add depth, it can also change the entire feel of a scene depending on whose eyes we’re seeing it through. Multiple POVs provide an array of options when deciding how and when to reveal information to the audience, too. For instance, if a character is completely in the dark and not privy to information another has access to, it can be a fun way to build tension as we wait for the bomb to drop (insert menacing laughter here).
The book contain some twists - did you plan them out before you started writing, or did some of them just "happen" along the way?
Both. There were certainly a few planned surprises, but others came to me as I wrote. Another unexpected wealth of inspiration? Readers! Sometimes, when the story really resonates with someone, they message me or leave reviews with guesses for what’s to come. Their thoughts often spur my own creativity, helping me dig deeper and explore options I hadn’t considered before.
What got you into writing? Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
I think I’ve been writing stories since I *could* write lol. Even when I wasn’t putting them down on paper, I played out elaborate dramas with my Barbie dolls (yes, I was already a drama queen at seven lol). I gave writing a full-length novel a try around 2006 and wrote a chapter before deciding it was too big a task. Then, in 2009, I finally did it! I wrote a 120,000-word book that turned into a 600,000-word series published under a penname. Something just clicked, and when I was ready, the story just flowed out of me!
What are you working on right now?
With The Lost Royals Saga complete, I’m working on a vampire series that I absolutely love! It’s still upper YA/NA, but this one’s a reverse harem (fun, right?!?!). It features a super-dope heroine by the name of Cori (Corina). She’s the bane of the vampires’ existence because she frees their human slaves/food source, and she does it all while concealing a disability—epilepsy. Her eventual love interests are totally unexpected, because they just so happen to be the four coldhearted (at first) vampire princes preparing to take over the dynasty Corina’s been plaguing.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
To check out more of what I write, readers can visit my Amazon page >HERE<. I’d also love it if they’d come hang out in my reader group on Facebook, THE SHIFTER LOUNGE—where the readers don’t bite, but we can’t promise our book boyfriends won’t.