Interview With Rachel Thompson

Interview With Rachel Thompson

After reading Rachel’s book, Broken Pieces, I absolutely had to interview her, especially because her collection inspired a poetry book of mine that is still a work-in-progress. Even though I was not assaulted as a child, many of the feelings I experience(d) are still roughly the same.

1. After reading Broken Places, I would love to know if this book was emotionally taxing for you to write. Was is it therapeutic at times? Triggering at other times?

It was difficult to write for many reasons. My marriage had started to fall apart and I spent a good majority of the time writing late at night, alone in my bed, because we had separated already. Perhaps that lent to the sense of longing in some of the pieces. I do feel writing is always therapeutic for me…for anyone really. Just getting those thoughts out of our head but more, out of our heart, skin, soul, even our bones, sometimes, can lighten us up significantly.

As for triggering? Not really, though it’s interesting, when I wrote ‘Shame’ – I wrote that piece in about five minutes one afternoon and then slept for about three hours. Sleep is my go-to escape, so I know writing that piece definitely affected me deeply. I don’t usually feel triggered easily in general, so when I write, I’m almost in a dissociative state, which is protective to an extent, if that makes sense. When writing nonfiction, memoir especially, you have to be an observer of your own past, your memories, so reaching inside, pulling them out, and examining them makes a writer take a scientific point of view, rather than an emotional one.
2. What made you decide to make this book mixed media, with essays and poetry? Do you think mixed-media books can be successful?

Well, I had written Broken Pieces similarly, and I felt comfortable with the format. To me, it’s how I’ve always expressed my thoughts and so it was a natural progression to create books in this way.
3. Are you still in the process of healing from your trauma? If not, what are you doing to help yourself manage and cope?

It took me a long time to accept that ‘recovery’ was a term I was willing to use to refer to myself and what my process as a survivor is, but I do believe that ultimately, yes, I am still healing. I still have nightmares, flashes, and while I’m rarely triggered by an event or something I read or see, it does and can happen occasionally. I’m pretty tough, but once in awhile, something happens. What non-survivors don’t realize is that those memories/feelings are always right there, just below the surface of everything we do, and we can’t always keep it hidden. Nor should we. To manage and cope, I’m in therapy, I take medication, vitamins, and watch my diet and do yoga. Sleep is always very important for my equilibrium. If I don’t get enough, I grab a nap.
4. Do you plan to write other books similar to Broken Places and Broken Pieces? As a survivor of trauma myself, I feel like I can write collections and collections of poetry and flash fictional pieces revolving around my own trauma.

I am writing Broken People now. That will be the last book in the series about these subjects, and will focus more on the effects of abuse, which I started to discuss in Places, not only mine, but also on those around me. And you should write your stories! We all deserve to tell our stories.
5. As an advocate, what do you ultimately want to do for both survivors of trauma and those who have never been through trauma?

Compassion is always my first hope – that survivors can help and support one another with compassion, and that non-survivors will better understand that it’s not a simple ‘get over it’ kind of thing; that minimizing what others have been through only makes it so much worse. So educating others is another reason I share my story.
6. How long did it take you to write both Broken Pieces and Broken Places?

The writing itself probably takes about six months. If I could do nothing but write, the writing would take much less time! But having a business, being a single mom, and also the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope (my publisher), bringing other people’s stories of trauma and recovery to life, takes up quite a large bit of time. But I love it all!
7. You have other books besides those two ones. Tell readers about them and what inspired you to write them.

I did release two primarily satirical essay books in 2011 – mostly about men, women, and relationships: A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed (both in eBook and print from Booktrope on Amazon). Mostly I just got tired of my then-husband (we were married for 22 years) not changing the damn toilet paper roll, because, really? It just steamrolled from there.
8. There is so much more to you than being an author. What else do you think are the most important aspects of yourself, be it your love for a certain hobby, your job, or anything else you can think of?

Besides writing, I’m a mom to two amazing kids (a girl, age 15 and a boy, age 9), a businessperson, an advocate for other survivors as well as for mental health issues in general for Stigma Fighters (as well as on their board and the director of Communications), an avid reader, sci-fi movie fan, piano plunker, and terrible cook. I’m pretty sure I’ve summoned demons at this point in the kitchen.
9. What is most important in your life right now?

Besides my children, my writing and my business, along with being the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope – I’m honored they chose me to bring stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life, (we have about twenty authors with amazing stories. Our first three books release very soon and I cannot wait!) the advocacy work I do with and for childhood sexual abuse survivors is absolutely incredibly important and fulfilling.
10. What is your ultimate goal for the future?

Keep doing what I do. I love every single day. Maybe a little more sleep.

Rachel-Thompson2-768x1024About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places (2015 Honorable Mention Winner, San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…),,,, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She is also now the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope, bringing stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Contact Information

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Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Twitter (Business): @BadRedheadMedia
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For full media information, click here.

The-Broken-Collection-663x1024Title: The Broken Collection
Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: 241 pages
Extras: Authorgraph
Publisher: ebook: Booktrope
Release date: ebook: March 24, 2015
Purchase: Amazon

Book Summary:
Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her nonfiction collection: Broken Pieces and Broken Places. In both titles, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

Broken-Places-644x1024Title: Broken Places
Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: 124 pages
Extras: Authorgraph
Publisher: ebook: Booktrope * print: Booktrope Editions
Release date: ebook: January 13, 2015 * print: January 12, 2015
ISBN-10: 162015689X
ISBN-13: 978-1620156896
Purchase: Amazon

Book Summary:
Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

Broken-Pieces-paperbackTitle: Broken Pieces
Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: 106 pages
Extras: Free Sample * Authorgraph
Publisher: 1st edition: Rachel Thompson
2nd editon: ebook: Booktrope * print: Booktrope Editions
Release date: 1st edition: ebook: December 19, 2012
2nd edition: ebook: September 23, 2014 * print: December 12, 2013
ISBN-10: 162015160X
ISBN-13: 978-1620151600
Purchase: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Book Summary:
Broken Pieces is an award winning book about relationships, a study of women, and a book with heart. Vastly different in tone from her previous essay collections A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, Broken Pieces is a collection of pieces inspired by life: love, loss, abuse, trust, grief, and ultimately, love again. While still non-fiction, best-selling Broken Pieces is not humor at all. In Thompson’s most intensive work to date, she opens her soul and invites the reader in for a visit. Thompson goes into those long buried rooms we lock up deep inside and shares a bit of her soul. Broken Pieces is vulnerable, raw honesty, and no-holds barred.

FINAL-MANCODE-EXPOSED-BOOKTROPE--200x300Title: The Mancode: Exposed
Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: ebook: 129 pages * print: 140 pages
Extras: Free Sample * Authorgraph
Publisher: 1st edition: Rachel Thompson
2nd editon: ebook: Booktrope * print: Booktrope Editions
Release date: 1st edition: November 29, 2011
2nd edition: ebook: January 8, 2015 * print: January 6, 2015
ISBN-10: 1620156768
ISBN-13: 978-1620156766
Purchase: Amazon

Book Summary:
If You Want Unicorns and Rainbows, Go Somewhere Else

The Mancode: Exposed is a satirical essay collection about men and women, the mancode and chickspeak, sex and chocolate. Author Rachel Thompson holds the mirror up to family relationships, love and romance with a sharp eye and a keen sense of humor. This newest companion book to A Walk in the Snark is an Amazon Top 100 bestseller.

FINAL-A-WALK-IN-THE-SNARK-BOOKTROPE--200x300Title: A Walk in the Snark
Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: ebook: 155 pages * print: 160
Extras: Authorgraph
Publisher: 1st edition: Rachel Thompson
2nd editon: ebook: Booktrope * print: Booktrope Editions
Release date: 1st edition: January 23, 2011
2nd edition: January 8, 2015
ISBN-10: 1620156482
ISBN-13: 978-1620156483
Purchase: Amazon

Book Summary:
A Walk in the Snark is author Rachel Thompson’s first satirical essay collection about relationships, marriage, chickspeak, sex and coffee. She dares to ask, “Why do men want to change the world but can’t change a roll of toilet paper?” After decades (dear god) of marriage, Rachel’s keen insights into male and female behavior will keep you laughing with her. Please note that this is a book of satire, and not to be taken literally.

Thoughtful Sunday: Why I Write Poetry

Thoughtful Sunday: Why I Write Poetry

Mariah Wilson’s Logo Design for Sleeve
  • I feel like Saturdays and Sundays will be a mixed bag of things, from guest posts, to interviews, to stuff about me as a writer.

I never saw myself writing poetry. Ever. Back when I was at Georgia Regents University (a name I detest since the school was re-named out of vanity), I took a creative writing class with a professor whom will remain unknown out of respect. I took this class because I wanted to learn how to write poetry. I wanted to understand poetry beyond the canon of classical works literature students must read that I couldn’t enjoy, as I had to do a myriad of read-throughs to understand these poems. Thus, at the time, I thought poetry had to be complicated. So when we received assignments for poems to write, that is what I did–I made them complicated, and the results were horrendous.

I attribute 100% of the blame to the professor, who had no idea how to even teach poetry. We didn’t study the types of poetry one could choose from, from sonnet to free-form to haiku. We had no creative writing textbook. We weren’t given any pointers what-so-ever about writing our own poems. Workshops were unhelpful, as the students were just as clueless, and we were never given any guidance on how we could critique a piece of writing. When we received feedback from the professor, it was vague and awful. Next to a particular line, he would write “a stone,” meaning we could turn that line of poetry over and find more beneath it. That was the most unhelpful garbage ever, so I never learned how to truly write poetry.

Then I switched colleges due to my erratic mental health, which is still erratic to this day. I attend Columbia College of Missouri and take their online courses. I decided to take creative writing again, and I learned so much more. We were actually given a textbook on how to write creatively. My previous class had no such textbook. We also had textbooks to read poems and short stories from. We had discussions about what we thought worked and didn’t work, as it related to our creative writing textbook. Workshops still weren’t helpful, but the students were complete beginners, and I am not, so they stuck, hardcore, to the rules of writing I abandoned a few years ago. At least the professor gave us guidelines.

This creative writing class was MUCH better. I learned poetry doesn’t need to be complicated. The best poems are ones easily understood in a first read-through. I also learned this from Mariah Wilson as well. She was–and is–my mentor throughout this class. The professor’s feedback was so simple for the poems, but they made a world of difference. It was ACTUAL feedback. He would say, “This poem has a lot of potential. I think this poem would work much better with more enjambment” or whatever he felt was best for that particular piece. And you knew what he meant and could apply it. So simple, yet so effective. I only listened to his feedback and disregarded students’ feedback because it was obvious they were trying TOO hard to criticize a piece of work. I’m grateful I re-took creative writing (earning an A :D), because this is when I fell in love with poetry.

Even so, I still didn’t see myself publishing it. Then I experienced a recent curve ball, which has triggered my PTSD horribly. I won’t go into this. Poetry suddenly became an appealing escape for me, so I wrote. I then decided I had so many ideas for poems that I might as well write a collection and seek publication for it.

I ravenously began to devour poetry, especially from my American Literature II class, where poetry is a huge chunk of what we read. I’ve also finished reading Mariah’s We Walk Alone, which I beg you buy. It is incredible. Rachel Thompson is also an amazing novelist/essayist/poet. I recommend both of her books you can find on her Amazon Author page. I implore you to check out her work as well, as it inspired my collection that will include a novella and 36 poems. I do have a publisher in mind in which to submit this work to, one who reached out to all AEC authors.

I now write poetry because poems can be me. I am poems. I love being a novelist first and foremost, but it’s in bad taste for an author to insert herself into the novel she’s writing, unless it’s a nonfiction piece. With poetry, however, you can lay all of yourself down into a piece of poetry, which is exactly what I did in every poem I wrote. The novella, however, is a bit more complicated. After all, it’s about a young girl named Alexandria living in an exaggerated 19th-century mental hospital. Perhaps it isn’t exaggerated, but mental hospitals began to improve around her time. The first two parts have been published, and you can go to my bio to read those. But they are going to be revised. I have not gone through what Alexandria will go through, but it still fits with the overall theme of my collection.

Poetry is my catharsis, my purging of feelings.

I am so proud to now call myself a poet along with being a novelist. Maybe even an essayist in the future. 

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