Interview with Rachel Reynolds, author of ‘Four Seasons for Charlotte’

 

ABOUT RACHEL REYNOLDS

Rachel Reynolds is a special educator and freelance writer. She currently serves as the principal of the Dominion School, operated byCommonwealth Autism Service. You can find her writing at Richmond Mom,Hello Grief, Richmond Magazine, the webzine Insert Eyeroll, and her personal blog, See What You Meme. She is also the co-founder and executive director of CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation (CJSTUF). In 2012, Rachel was awarded the Eagle Rare Life Award for Courage.

Rachel lives in Ashland, Virginia with her husband and two incredibly annoying (but completely adorable) cats. In her spare time, she obsesses over Don Draper, dark chocolate, and public radio personalities (not necessarily in that order). You can follow Rachel on TwitterFacebook, or Goodreads.

To find out more, please visit http://www.rachel-writes.com

Q: Can you tell us why you wrote your book? Four Seasons for Charlotte is the story of our journey as a family when our only daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 3 years.  I wanted to write the book so that other families in similar situations could find a kindred spirit. I also wrote the book as a guide for others supporting their friends and others in the community who may be dealing with a crisis or grieving.  There are so many lessons that we learned during the year that Charlotte was sick.  If I can help just a few other families manage what can only be described as an unbearable situation, I have accomplished that goal.

Q: Which part of the book was the hardest to write? The parts of the book where I recounted Charlotte’s final days were definitely the hardest to write and edit.  I remember when I wrote the original draft of those sections and I was emotionally drained when I remembered the feelings associated with that time in my life.

Q: Does your book have an underlying message that readers should know about? In our foundation, we like to use the phrase Every Day is a Bonus. That is a message that stuck with us during our journey with Charlotte.  Every day that we got to experience time with our daughter after her diagnosis was a bonus.  Every day that we get to experience health, face another day, or hug our children is a bonus beyond measure.  Our experience taught us how to appreciate the smaller things in life.

Q: Do you remember when the writing bug hit?

Q: Besides books, what else do you write?  Do you write for publications? I write in a personal blog (www.iseewhatyoumeme.blogspot.com) and I also do some freelance writing for various publications.  I am a frequent writer at RichmondMom.com and my work has been featured in Richmond Magazine.

Q: Do you have a writing tip you’d like to share? I think about topics that I want to write when I’m exercising. I often work out blog posts or articles that I’m tackling in my head while I take a brisk walk. It’s a great way to clear my head. I play around with the words, think about different ways to approach the topic, and then when I get home, I’m ready to write.

Q:  Would you like to tell us about your home life?  Where you live?  Family?  Pets? I live in Ashland, Virginia with my husband and our two orange tabby cats.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your childhood? I grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write at home?  When I am home, I usually just write sitting on my couch with my laptop but often sitting at home can be distracting so I like to go to my favorite coffee shop and settle in with a chai latte and some music on my ipod while I write.

Q: What do you do to get away from it all? My ideal vacation involves getting away from phone and email for a few days with a pile of books and a sunny place to relax.  Ideally, a porch swing or hammock is involved.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promoting your book?

Q: Are you familiar with the social networks and do you actively participate? I am ashamed to admit that I spend far too much time on social media.  I think I’m addicted.  I am on Facebook multiple times a day and love to troll through Twitter, especially during live events.  I also spend time on Goodreads.

Q: How do you think book promotion has changed over the years? I think the book industry is very similar to the music industry in that the Internet has become the great equalizer.  It is so much easier to be a self-published author or published by a small press and still get exposure and attention thanks to the magic of the world wide web.  It still seems that the major publishing houses (like the major recording studios) have a major foot in the door when it comes to publicity, but social media makes it much easier to reach a wider audience.

Q: What is the most frustrating part of being an author? Since writing is a part time endeavor for me right now, it is hard to devote all the time I like to writing.  I would love to make writing a full time gig but I also love my job as principal of a small private school.  I usually have more ideas for writing than I have time to put pen to paper.

Q: What is the most rewarding? I love getting comments on how something I wrote struck a chord with another person or how reading a post that I created really helped them understand something better.

Q: If you had one wish, what would that be? I would love to be able to write full time and travel around the country.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world other than where you are right now, where would that place be? That’s such a difficult question! I think if I lived anywhere other than where I am right now, it would be in the mountains.

Q: Your book has just been awarded a Pulitzer.  Who would you thank? This sounds so cliché but I would have to thank my mother. She instilled a love of reading, writing and literature in me from such an early age.  She has always encouraged me to strive towards excellence but to also be true to myself in all endeavors.  She has given me wings to fly but has also given me a safety net whenever I stumble.  I am grateful for that support.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, (name of author).  Do you have any final words? Thank you for the opportunity to share Four Seasons for Charlotte with you and your readers.  I look forward to more opportunities to share our story with the world.

 

Four_Seasons_For_CharlotteAbout Four Seasons for Charlotte

Rachel Reynolds shares a powerful journey in her memoir, Four Seasons for Charlotte. It is the story of an ordinary family bearing an extraordinary burden.
When Rachel’s three year old daughter Charlotte was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the world of the Reynolds family was changed forever. In Four Seasons for Charlotte, she recounts the events of the year of Charlotte’s diagnosis, treatment, and eventual death. Her chronicle of the family’s story is about more than the untimely death of a child. It is about harnessing the strength of a community, gaining perspective through tragedy, and finding light in a time of darkness.

1 Comment

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One response to “Interview with Rachel Reynolds, author of ‘Four Seasons for Charlotte’

  1. Lovely interview on a great piece of writing.

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