This week, it’s my pleasure to once again welcome debut author, Rachelle Harp. She first joined us on December 11, 2019, to talk about her novel, The Breakout.
In the earlier post, Rachelle shared her vision of a story world where people were physically separated into zones based in large part on their genetic makeup and their usefulness to society.
This week, we’ll explore this story world a little more.
Rachelle, why did you choose this story world? How does your initial vision of the world compare to what’s in the book now?
I couldn’t get Trina’s world out of my head. Once I envisioned it, Genesis and the Resistor’s Base each grew until they seemed so real. The story flowed once I dove in, along with all the big questions that needed exploring. I love asking the big “what if?” questions, and this story is full of them.
In the early stages of the first draft, I wanted to tell the story by alternating between Trina’s and Jarek’s POVs. Jarek was actually the first character to talk to me and start telling me what was going on. But, as I finished the draft, it was clear that Trina’s voice was the dominant one, and she had about three times as many scenes. So, I decided to tell the whole story from her POV instead, which I think turned out much better in the end.
During the first draft, I didn’t know all the plot twists and the end that well. Those surprised me when I got to those scenes, and the ideas came, which of course, I thought were pretty exciting.
Mostly, the subsequent drafts were pretty similar to the final. I did a lot of fleshing out of characters or scenes as new info or ideas came to me, making sure timelines and plot threads were lining up, and double-checking things were set up correctly. And of course, lots of editing and proofing took place as well.
What led you to choose Trina as your main character?
I like to brainstorm in my writing journal when I’m developing new characters or stories. At the time, I asked a lot of questions as I was writing and trying to figure out the story. Trina was the one who answered most of them. She had a lot to tell me about her world in Genesis and here story Very shortly, she stood out as the main character. Trina had a lot at stake, especially after her bold move in the opening chapter (no spoilers, I promise!). It became clear that she was the one who needed to tell this story.
What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
Writing any book has a ton of challenges—figuring out the details, fleshing out the characters, and finishing it, of course. But the toughest part of writing this one was trying to build the relationship between Trina and Kalen. We only meet Kalen at the beginning of the book, and then a long time that passes before he reappears. I had to rely on Trina to tell the reader who he is and why she cares so much about him, and to make the reader believe she’d risk everything to save him.