Interview with Rachel Magee, Author of Happily Ever Afters

Today we’re chatting with Rachel Magee, author of the contemporary romance, Happily Ever Afters.

Please describe what the story is about.

Falling in love with a man she meets on vacation isn’t part of Lainey Stratton’s plan. It’s a slip of focus she blames on the sparkling Caribbean and Carter Thompson’s dazzling smile. Still, with her life in Dallas and his in D.C., it can’t be more than a vacation crush. But when tragedy strikes, her crush might be the only one who can help her.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

Daring was not a way I often felt. I preferred to make decisions based on fact and scientific reason. But for some reason, on this picturesque street with this handsome semi-stranger, daring sounded like a great idea.

What do you want people to know about your book?

This is a book about how love can help us find hope even after the toughest tragedies. It deals with loss and has a lot of heart, but it also has some humor. Because life, even during the hard times, can be funny.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned I could write a book from start to finish, which is something I really questioned halfway through the process. It was a lot of hard work and sleepless night, a lot of ignoring things like laundry and cleaning the house. But the second I held the galley and saw all of my words bundled together in a real book, it was all worth it.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

This book took a while because it was my first, and I had no idea what I was doing. I started it many years ago and put it down for a couple years. I actually got serious about finishing it (thanks to my encouraging husband) about three years ago. If we start from that date, it took me a year to finish it, about a year to rewrite it, then about a year and a half from the start of the submission process until publication. It’s been a long journey, but so worth it!

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

My favorite part is writing the first draft. I’m a plotter and I do quite a bit of character development before I start writing, but they don’t really come alive until I start writing their story.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

The idea for this book came when I was on girls’ trip several years ago. At the time, some of my friends on the trip weren’t married and there were a few handsome bachelors staying at the same resort. I wondered what would happen if someone fell in love in that scenario and how a long distance relationship could work in the midst of life’s tragedies.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

Maybe the better question is when do I not think about my WIP? When I’m in the plotting phase or the first draft phase, I think about my characters and story all the time. On the drive to work, while I’m working out, in the shower, while I should be sleeping. Ideas pop up at the most unusual times.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I have a mild form of dyslexia, which made reading and writing in school pretty challenging. Thanks to some great teachers and my amazing parents, I learned to compensate and not let one difficulty stand in the way of my love of getting lost in a good story. But my editors deserve big hugs because my manuscripts probably have more misspelled words most.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Don’t give up! This writing thing and getting published thing is a hard road filled with mountains of rejection. But don’t let that stop you from achieving your dream.

What’s next?

I just finished my second book and, fingers crossed, it should be out in 2018!

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“Lainey Stratton does not fall in love with strangers she meets on vacation. It simply doesn’t make logical sense. So when Lainey meets Carter Thompson on the first day of her Caribbean vacation, she knows it could never amount to anything more than a crush. At the end of the vacation she will return to Dallas and he will return to D.C., and that will be the end of it. Well, unless he wants to join her at a friend’s destination wedding, which would be considered vacation too, right?


But when an unexpected tragedy sends Lainey’s logical world spiraling out of control, she realizes her vacation crush might be the only one who can help her pick up the pieces of her shattered life. That is, as long as she can get out of the way of her own happiness. And as long as Carter’s past doesn’t catch up with him before she gets a chance.”