Sometimes a good book really is all you need. They have the power to transform, take your mind off of troubles, whisk you to fantasy lands, and even if for a mere hour, allow you peek into the intimate details of someone else’s life. So we’re saluting the authors who keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us wanting more–sharing with you our favorite scribes who put pen to paper and uplift voices for the unheard.
Clutch: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
RS: I’ve always been a lover of books and language. When I was twelve, I started my first novel, but lost steam after the first two chapters. I never considered writing professionally until college, when I began editing the novel of this guy I had a crush on. Once he got a lucrative book deal and decided to date someone else, I realized that I could’ve been spending all of those hours writing my own novel!
Clutch: If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you would be doing?
RS: I’d be doing exactly what I do now, which is working in the field of education. I was an English teacher for eight years, and I’ve been a high school principal for the past two. Somehow I manage to squeeze in my creative projects on the weekends and during the summers.
Clutch: In your opinion, what’s the one thing one must possess if they want to become a professional writer?
RS: I think the cliched answer is that a professional writer must have discipline. But I’m honestly not the most disciplined apple on the tree, so I would say more importantly that a writer must have a thick skin. Even the most successful artists experience an inordinate amount of rejection. In addition to the rejection, criticism is constant and necessary: from agents, editors, and fans. A professional writer must view that feedback as essential to growth.
Clutch: How has the internet and Social Media helped you as a writer?
RS: Sites such as Facebook have allowed me to connect easily with any and everyone I used to know from high school, college, and former jobs. It’s a great way to ensure that the people all over the country whom I already know are aware of my books and can spread the word. My favorite internet tool that connects me to strangers is my blog: www.rachelskerritt.blogspot.com. I love posting entries and reading folks’ comments about all of my “Sex And The City“-eque topics.
Clutch: Tell us about your current book?
RS: When The Lights Go Down is about a bored-with-life English teacher who has trouble finding a guy to live up to her impossible standards. She keeps a list on her computer of hundreds of requirements necessary in a mate. Her world is turned upside down when she meets and falls for a famous R&B singer during a summer in New York City. She has to make some difficult choices around what she really needs in order to be happy.
The story was inspired by my Penn classmate, John Legend, who has spoken eloquently to me about how people react to him differently now that he’s famous. It made me think about how “ordinary people” respond when they find themselves in extraordinary situations.
Clutch: What advice would you give to up and coming writers?
RS: Write! Don’t wait until the mood hits you, or until you come up with the perfect story idea. Turn on the laptop or open the journal and let the words come out.
Visit www.rachelskerritt.com for information on books, short stories, and current projects.