How did you become a writer?
I wrote stories as a kid and even won a contest, but then life got in the way. I went to college and earned a degree in computers so I could make a living. It wasn't until I was in my late thirties and miserable at my job that I considered doing some I wanted to do for a living rather than do for the money. It was during that time of introspection that I read one of Sherrilyn Kenyon's books (titled Dream Chaser, ironically) that struck a chord. It had a storyline similar to a story I had, and I thought, "Why the hell not?" I started writing my first novel that day. That was eight years ago. Last year, I quit the day job to write full time. For the first time in my love, I absolutely love my job.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
I grew up on comic books and science fiction novels, so those as a whole shaped my mindset and passions the most. I've always found the "what if" of speculative fiction fascinating, and so the stories I write are always in the genre I want to read. After I began writing professionally, I found an understanding of the writer's life in Stephen King's On Writing.
When and where do you write?
I'm a full-time writer, so I write Monday through Friday and sometimes on the weekends. I usually take the evenings off to spend time with my family, though writing deadlines sometimes get in the way of that.
What are you working on now?
I'm writing the first book in a new series coming out from Aethon Books in late 2019. The Flight of the Javelin series is a spin-off of the Fringe series, with Throttle, the kick-butt, paraplegic captain playing the lead role. I'm having so much fun with this series!
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
To me, writer's block is the same thing as procrastination. I'm very, very good at procrastination and often find myself working long hours the week before a deadline. I need to get much better at protecting my writing time.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Jonathan Maberry once said that writers should help other writers. We're all in this game together, and helping another writer doesn't mean we'll lose our spot in the game. Being a writer can feel like a solitary career choice, but it doesn't have to be. Connecting with kindred spirits and helping others is the best ways to stay sane and to network in the industry. You never know when a writer you helped two years ago invites you to be a part of his latest anthology.
What’s your advice to new writers?
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. It's an old phrase, but it didn't really stick with me until I read it in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. TANSTAAFL essentially means that if you want to write a book, you have to work at it. It takes a lot of words to fill a novel, and that equates to many hours at a keyboard. Talking about writing a novel is never going to get it written. Writing the novel is the only way to get it written.
Rachel Aukes is a science fiction writer with over a dozen books in print, including 100 Days in Deadland, which made Suspense Magazine’s Best of the Year list. She is also a Wattpad Star, her stories having over six million reads. When not writing, Rachel can be found flying old airplanes with her husband and an incredibly spoiled 50-pound lap dog over the Midwest countryside. Rachel lives in Iowa.