ABOUT RACHEL REYNOLDSRachel Reynolds is a special educator and freelance writer. She currently serves as the principal of the Dominion School, operated byCommonwealth Autism Service. You can find her writing at Richmond Mom,Hello Grief, Richmond Magazine, the webzine Insert Eyeroll, and her personal blog, See What You Meme. She is also the co-founder and executive director of CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation (CJSTUF). In 2012, Rachel was awarded the Eagle Rare Life Award for Courage.
Rachel lives in Ashland, Virginia with her husband and two incredibly annoying (but completely adorable) cats. In her spare time, she obsesses over Don Draper, dark chocolate, and public radio personalities (not necessarily in that order). You can follow Rachel on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.
To find out more, please visit http://www.rachel-writes.com
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Rachel Reynolds. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
A: I have only been writing professionally for the last two years although writing has always been an interest of mine. I love reading all kinds of books. In addition to my writing, I work as principal of a special education school for children with autism and help run the foundation we started in our daughter’s honor (CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation)
Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
A: Four Seasons for Charlotte is the story of our lives during the year that my 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed and treated for a brain tumor. Although she did not survive her cancer journey, we learned so many lessons along the way. We were encouraged and amazed by the support the community brought to our family in our time of need. The book captures the many lessons that we learned along the way. I wanted to share this story in order to offer a parent’s perspective on grieving as well as provide tips and support for families or communities in similar situations.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?
A: As I recounted the story of Charlotte’s diagnosis, illness, and eventual death, I was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions as I recalled those emotional events once again. The other challenge I faced was trying to share advice or suggestions from what is a unique story. I know that every family’s situation may be different, but we experienced many things that I think are common to families enduring intense chronic illness and I think many people in similar situations may be able to relate.
Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?
A: My press kit is online at www.rachel-writes.com/media. It includes a one-sheet about the book, reviews from other media outlets, my bio, a Q&A with the author, and a book group question guide.
Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?
A: Since the book was released in May 2012, I have spoken to a variety of local groups in the Richmond area. I also appeared on our local CBS show Virginia This Morning. A copy of the video is on my media page. I continue to book appearances with groups, both locally and around the country, as we make contacts and generate interest. I will be speaking at the Virginia Festival of the Book in March 2013.
Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
A: I do not have an agent. I am sure that if I had one, some of my PR for the book would be a little easier; however, we have made some great connections and I had a great publishing experience even without an agent.
Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?
A: Before publication of the book, I did send advance copies to media contacts and some people that I knew who wrote on high traffic blogs. This resulted in some guest blog post and/or book review opportunities on a variety of sites. I also appeared as a guest on a podcast and had the TV interview experience mentioned previously.
Q: Do you plan subsequent books?
A: I have a few ideas in mind for subsequent books. I just need more time to write!
Q: Thank you for your interview, Rachel. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
When Rachel’s three year old daughter Charlotte was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the world of the Reynolds family was changed forever. In Four Seasons for Charlotte, she recounts the events of the year of Charlotte’s diagnosis, treatment, and eventual death. Her chronicle of the family’s story is about more than the untimely death of a child. It is about harnessing the strength of a community, gaining perspective through tragedy, and finding light in a time of darkness.