Let’s get to know more about Rachelle Layne, the beautiful -hearted author of My ABC Bible Book and Curly the Cow. Click on the links and it will take you to them and you can get your very own copies!!!
So, here we go…about Rachelle:
*Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I go by the pen name, Rachelle Layne, but my real name is Rachel Lynn. I guess I opted for a pen name simply for the fun of it. I am a farmer’s wife, but I hate the outdoors because I am allergic to everything in nature! A cow licked me once, and I broke out in hives. I have two daughters, Kaylee and Cassie, and one fur baby, Zumi. In addition to being a wife and a mother, I am an English Language Arts teacher. Writing and decorating cakes are hobbies of mine, which I hope both will become more than a hobby down the road. Even though I write books for children with themes of kindness and Christianity, which are themes I value, I love Sci-Fi! I can get lost in several post-apocalyptic series.
*When and why did you begin writing?
My very first poem was written when I was in fourth grade about a teddy bear. I just wrote for the fun of it, but that changed when I was in high school. My friends and I participated in a secret Santa gift exchange. We set a limit of ten dollars and drew names. When the gift exchange day came, I was very disappointed to have received a used gift. I went home and complained about it to my mom, who then explained to me that she had to be the giver of used gifts when she was a kid. She had been invited to a birthday party and had no money to buy a gift for her friend, so she gave a half-full bottle of perfume. She was so embarrassed she couldn’t even put her name on it. When the gift was opened, it was made fun of. My mom felt so small and humiliated. After hearing that story, I felt horrible for being so ungrateful. I went to my room, grabbed a notebook and a pencil, and I wrote my very first book, “Anna’s Special Gift.” It was always on my bucket list to get it published and dedicated to my mom, and twenty years later, I was able to do it. Since then, my main goal in writing has been to teach lessons about kindness and share my Christian faith. I believe that when God gives you a gift, it needs to be used in a way to glorify Him and make the world a better place for others.
* How do you deal with lingering thoughts of self-doubt or fear?
I used to be afraid of putting my writing out there because I didn’t want to experience rejection. Upon realizing that rejection was better than not trying at all, I gave myself a chance. My writing has been rejected, and that is okay. It has also been loved and received great reviews. I understand I can’t be everyone’s “cup of tea.” I try to trust God and His plan. In His time and in His way, things always seem to come together. If something doesn’t work out, it just means that it hasn’t worked out yet. With humbleness and faith, I have learned that it is okay to give myself a chance, enjoy success when it comes, and get back up and brush the dust off when I have stumbled.
* If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?
READ!!!! The more you read, the better you write. The more you read, the more you are inspired.
*What advice do you have for others who would like to get started on their writing journey and tips on getting published?
Don’t pay a dime to have your book published. I made that mistake and will never recoup the investment I made. If you have to pay thousands of dollars to publish your book, they won’t have your back. They have already made their money and their support stops there. Use social media to engage with other authors to find support and publishers who accept manuscripts.
*What’s the first book that you read that had you in tears?
I am a very deep feeler, so almost every book brings me to tears! Commercials bring me to tears! Songs bring me to tears! With that being said, one book that brings me to tears every time I read it without fail is “Thank You, Mr. Falker,” by Patricia Polacco. As a teacher, this book means so much to me. It reminds me of the teacher I want to be for my students. Now that I have a daughter with a learning difference, I connect to the book even more. My daughter has dealt with classmates calling her stupid and dumb just like the main character, Tricia. I have read this picture boook to my daughter because it is so inspiring to see in the end that Tricia IS Patricia Polacco. Even people with learning differences can do amazing things, like write and illustrate books. They are gifted and intelligent. I am very thankful for good teachers who help students to realize their potential and don’t tolerate bullying, and I strive to be that teacher for my students. My daughter has even said that her second-grade teacher is her “Mr. Falker.”
*Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good and bad reviews?
I do read my book reviews and I have submitted my writing to Readers’ Favorites, in which both books, “Anna’s Special Gift” and “Curly the Cow,” both received five-star reviews. I haven’t received a lot of reviews yet, but the ones I have received have been positive. I do have myself prepared for negative reviews remembering that I can’t be everyone’s “cup of tea.” I know a negative review will sting, but I also try to think of negative feedback as an opportunity to grow.
*Who would you like to most thank in your writing career?
My husband has been instrumental in supporting what I loosely call my writing career. He believes in my potential to become a successful author, but at the same time, he is supportive and uplifting in my moments of what feels like failure. He always reminds me that success doesn’t happen overnight.
*Do you have any quirky writing habits? If so what are they?
I do not have any quirky writing habits that I am aware of.
*Do you believe in writer’s block? How do you handle it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in being inspired.
*If you had a superpower, what would it be?
If I had a superpower, I would want super speed so I could get everything I need to get done in a day. As a mom, wife, teacher, and writer, there simply isn’t enough time in a day!
* What is your best accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment is my children. I am far from the perfect mom and my children are far from perfect, but they have changed me. They have made me stronger as I have had to advocate for them, and I hate confrontation. I have found strength in being a voice for my children. Being an introvert, they have also pushed me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know it until after I became a mom, but you have to get to know the parents of your children’s friends. This means stepping out of my introverted world, which has been an adjustment I have had to make. They have also made me less self-centered as everything I do now revolves around them. They are my biggest accomplishment because they have reshaped me, and I try to be the best I can be so that I can shape them.
*What’s your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is know-it-alls. It drives me CRAZY! The smartest people are the ones who realize that there is a lot more to learn and that their way isn’t always the right way for everyone or every situation.
*Do you have a favorite color? How does it compare to your personality?
My favorite color is hot pink. It compares to my personality because I am warm and nurturing. It is also bold, which I have become when it has been necessary.
*As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The answer to this question is quite funny. I either wanted to be a rockstar or a nun.
*What is your favorite book and why? Which of the books that you’ve had published is your favorite and why?
One of my favorite books is Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikelson. I love reading this one to my students because it has such a powerful theme of forgiveness and how choosing your attitude can change your entire outlook on life. It also shows the reader that no matter how much you have messed things up, you always have the chance to do and be better.
The book that I have published that is my favorite is “Anna’s Special Gift.” I love it so much because it is just one of many lessons my mother has taught me that has helped me to become the empathetic person I am today.
*How are you handling the pandemic?
I am pretty much a homebody, so when my state was shut down last spring, my life didn’t change at all. The hardest thing at that time was teaching virtually and keeping my daughters on track with their school work and learning. It was HARD teaching 100 kiddos online and supporting my own at home. If I never have to do that again, I will be so happy! We were lucky when we started school in August because we got to go back in person. We did have a period when we had students placed in quarantine and students still coming to school, so teaching in person and virtually proved to be challenging, but knowing it was short-term made it easier. Overall, it has been a great school year, and I am so thankful we got to be at school. I love my fifth-graders and I would have hated to miss out on these awesome kids.
I love getting to know more about our authors and I know you do as well. You can stay connected by following Rachelle on her social media account to keep up with the latest and greatest of what’s happening in her world Books By Rachelle Layne. Also, keep up with what all we have going on on our FB page and stay in the know.