Whilst reading ‘That Girl’ by Rachel Strong, I found that I was beginning to get a lot of questions in my mind about the story. Hands up who has read the book yet? No? Here is my book review of Rachel’s book if you haven’t: #Bookreview of ‘That Girl’ by Rachel Strong – Blog Tour.
For those that have already read the book, if you’re anything like me in terms of dissecting a story and want to know EVERYTHING, then you’re going to love this post today. TWG has managed to have a chat with Rachel about her latest book where she has answered a few of my questions regarding it. Don’t worry though, there are no spoilers within the answers, you’re safe ;), I’m not that mean!
I hope you enjoy!
TWG: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions!
Thank you for having me, I’m so excited!
TWG: Some of TWG’s readers may not be too familiar with your name; could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m Rachel, I’m married to the lovely Greg and we have three gorgeous children. I’m also the author of Complicated Love and I have just released my second book That Girl.
TWG: Now, because this is your first interview with TWG, I’m going to ease you in gently! Which would you choose?
Pasta or potatoes?
Chocolate or crisps?
Black or white?
Lions or leopards?
Lions – love them!
Tesco or Asda?
Asda – I go at least once a day!
Family guy or Friends?
FRIENDS!!!!!!!!! I’m a big Friends fan, I recite the dialogue as I watch it, I drive my husband crackers.
James or Katie?
Oooohhh what a question! But I’m going to say James. Despite doing what he did, James is a good guy, he got himself in quite a pickle and things spiralled out of control, he was just desperate to make things right and be a good dad. Whilst writing That Girl, I just felt so sorry for James, yes he did something awful – but Katie was very deceitful.
TWG: What were your favourite books to read as a child?
I loved The Faraway Tree – being able to escape to some magical land always appealed to me and Moon Face was my favourite character. I also loved Matilda.
If you could choose any superpower, which would it be and why?
To be invisible, so that I could see what my kids are up to when I catch them with that guilty look on their faces, especially my eldest.
TWG: Congratulations on your newest book ‘That Girl’, how on Earth did you get the inspiration for that particular story?
Aw, thank you so much. The idea came to me a few years ago when I was writing my first book, Complicated Love, I kind of briefly touched on the subject there and then there was a big story in the news about this very thing and I just thought, that would make such a good story line for a book. I must admit, with it being such a delicate matter, I was nervous to write about it, but I couldn’t not, and I’m so proud of how the story unfolded. When my husband read the first draft, he just sat there and said ‘wow!’ He read the last couple of chapters on a plane, flying home from Germany with his boss, and he told me he just completely lost it and sat there and cried like a baby.
TWG: Did you feel as though you may have helped any readers that were going through similar things, as you wrote the story?
I like to think I have, this was what I have been most scared of, not getting it right and offending anyone that has been through what happened to Katie.
TWG: How long did ‘That Girl’ take you to write?
The first draft took me about a year, I kept leaving it and coming back to it because I got so involved in the story and it was emotional. Plus, with three kids, finding the time to sit down and write can be difficult.
TWG: Throughout the book, several big decisions had to be made. How did you reach the decision to write which path certain characters took?
A lot of the time I just kind of went with the flow. Just lately, I have started planning out my stories, but with That Girl I just let things happen and unfold without really planning ahead. Though I knew how I wanted it to end, before I even finished the first chapter. With some of the characters, I put myself in their shoes. For instance, Katie’s parents. As a mother to a daughter, I made myself think about how I would feel and the protectiveness came out. But by the end, my attitude kind of changed because as a parent all you want is your child to be happy.
TWG: Do you think that many readers will side with your choice of how the events unfolded, or do you think readers may disagree?
I have had very mixed reactions, some have come back to me and said, ‘wow, I couldn’t have been so forgiving,’ quite passionately. And then others have been like, ‘well, I can see where they’re coming from’. This is what I love about being a writer, the difference of opinion on my characters, it’s very entertaining.
TWG: Some of the characters in the story have very complex personalities, yet others were the complete opposite. How difficult was it to switch between the characters and their diversity?
When I start writing a new story, I always have an idea of what kind of personalities my characters are going to have and so I get them fixed in my head and spend a lot of time thinking about each of them and how I want to them to be.
TWG: Because ‘That Girl’ has such a harrowing storyline, how did you manage to get the facts so realistic?
Aw, thank you! A lot of research! Google is a wonderful tool. I really don’t know what I would do without it!
TWG: Katie is someone who I found, how shall I say this, rather tricky. Did you write her like that because of her age or because you knew she would be a bit ‘marmite’? Both. Katie is very young and immature so I didn’t want her to come across older for her years. She reeled James in, in a very manipulative way, and I wanted the readers to have a love/hate relationship with her, but then I wanted them feel everything with her at the end.
TWG: Speaking of marmite, do you like marmite?
I have never tried it – not sure I want to either (ha ha)
TWG: It takes a lot of strength to be able to write about a situation with such emotion, could you tell us how you truly felt whilst writing ‘That Girl’?
Writing That Girl really took it out of me, I think I went through everything with James and Katie. Writing the end was so un-believably hard, I just couldn’t keep it together long enough to get my words down and it took me over a week. When it was done, I sat there and had a big cry.
TWG: Could you give TWG any exclusives? Is there a new book in the pipeline? What is in store for you going forward?
I can! I have just finished the sequel to my first book, Complicated Love – Coming Home. It’s now just a case of editing, editing – oh and editing! Not my favourite process, but I’m hoping for a release date of early next year. I have just started planning out my fourth book, another delicate subject to write about, but something that is happening to a lot of people in the world right now and a subject pretty close to my heart.
TWG: Thank you again for answering my interrogation, and congratulations on the book!
No, thank you for having me – it’s been fun!
TWG got an exclusive!! How brilliant is that! More books to come from Rachel Strong with yet another delicate subject, I must say I am incredibly intrigued! Thank you again to Rachel for answering my questions! Although I do have one more for you Rachel; which land is your favourite from The Magic Faraway Tree?!?
It’s quite clear that ‘That Girl’ will divide readers with their opinions on the situation. If you have read the book, do let Rachel know what you think of it via Amazon/GoodReads! A review goes a long way!
If you wish toy the book or her first one, seeing as there is a sequel coming out for it 😉 then pop along to Amazon via HERE, and grab yourself a treat…or two!