Monday, March 28, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense: Interview #11 - Rachel Haimowitz

Hello! I know I once again skipped last week, the schedule has been tossed aside and things are just happening as they happen! I thank all of you who've been keeping up with this tour for being patient. Please welcome today author, Rachel Haimowitz!

Before we get started, tell us a little about you, Rachel –

I’m 33, single, kind of a hermit, and fortunate enough to write and edit full-time, though I often do it for others to pay the bills. I’m easily distracted and have some tremendously varied interests, so I’ve tried my hand at a lot of things throughout the years both professionally and for fun: game-store owner, musical theater performer, professional clown, knife thower, EMT, long-distance hiker, political writer, and of course novelist.

You're a ghost writer, right? What's that like? Is it different from normal writing?

I am. Since I primarily ghostwrite nonfiction, it’s very different from my own fiction writing just by the nature and structure of the job. You spend a lot of time interviewing your subject, doing research, making outlines . . . in that sense it’s a lot like your typical (250-page!) college research paper. The trick, of course, is to find the right hook and voice so the book doesn’t read like a dissertation.

How does one get into ghostwriting? Does it ever bother you that someone else takes credit for your work? (can't you see I'm curious about this subject? *grin*)

I sort of stumbled into it ass first, but it grew out of my primary professional work, which is editing, and secondarily out of the occasional marketing writing I do (press kits and the like). Ghost writers can’t afford egos—I save that all for my novels ;-)—and I’m paid pretty well for what I do, so I don’t mind seeing someone else’s name on the book; they were the subject matter experts, after all, and the genesis of the book’s idea, rough though it may have been. It is, however, both terribly exciting and terribly frustrating to see a book you’ve written or doctored hit major success when you worked entirely for hire instead of a partial profit share. That’s happened to me twice now, and each time I tell myself I’m going to work a profit share into the next contract. Somehow, I never do.

You also write non-fiction, do you find your voice is different in non-fiction versus fiction?

I haven’t written nonfiction in a good long while now, barring work for clients. I used to write for the Huffington Post and for some regional print magazines, but I dislike the daily grind of that. I have the start of a book on ultralight hiking on my computer, and another on the communities of the Appalachian Trail; and I’ve been obsessing over writing a coffee-table book on the artist Leon Bibel, whom I knew as a child. I’d like to tackle those properly one day, but they’ve taken a backseat to fiction for now.

Strangely, the voice doesn’t change too much from fiction to nonfiction. In fiction, I find myself writing to the tone of the piece, so my voice may change from book to book, but there’s always a distinct core of me in each narrative. Nonfiction is the same way; you write to the tone of the piece, but readers who know me will always know it’s me: a little musical, a little snarky, sparse but not naked.

For your fiction, how does inspiration strike you? Where do you find your inspiration the most?

Who knows. Inspiration comes from all directions: other books, movies, TV, family, people you meet on the street, a stream you stumble across in the woods, dreams, conversation snippets . . . It’s everywhere.

Do you require complete silence to write difficult scenes or do you need mood setters, like music?

I need silence.

What did you do when you received your first letter of acceptance?

There may have been some dancing involved.

What advice would you give to a new author receiving their first personalized rejection?

Hey, that’s great news! I know it’s easy to forget that “personalized rejection” actually means “this editor/agent saw enough of worth in your work to take time out of their insanely busy schedule to tell you so” when all you can see is the word “rejection” flashing in big red letters. But really, a personalized rejection is a positive step. If the letter included notes on how to avoid such rejections in the future, consider them carefully and implement them if they ring true. Don’t knee-jerk and assume the editor/agent just doesn’t understand your work; odds are they understand it better than you do—or at least its place in the market, which is frankly the knowledge you need to have if you want to sell things.

Thank you so much Rachel, for stopping by my blog! Tell us where we can learn more about youThanks for having me—it was a pleasure! I hang at a few places online:


Blog (updated M/W/F):

Twitter: @rachelhaimowitz



Stop by Wednesday to read a FULL chapter from Rachel's epic fantasy erotic romance novel - Counterpoint!



  1. It's very interesting about the ghost writing thing. I've never thought about doing that.

  2. I know, I've always been so curious about ghost-writing, I'm really glad Rachel tolerated answering my question (thanks, Rachel!). It's not something I could do though, I barely have enough creativity to lend to myself right now, let alone another persons story. :-)