It’s your friendly neighbourhood SpAN Editor here. I thought for the start of 2019, it would be great to highlight how our contributors (and other awesome humans) are using their spoons!
For this week’s Spoonie Spotlight, we’re featuring Rachel Marie (Rachel Jeffrey), who just released her first romance novel, Carefree and Consequence. I love the candor in her responses!
This responses to the following questions have been edited for clarity, upon request of the author.
Today we’re talking about your debut romance novel, Carefree and Consequence! First of all, congratulations on the release of this book! What inspired you to write this story?
My love of the 1950s, my great grandmother’s courting story, and a beloved 1970s musical—Grease. I thank John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for being my inspiration for this!
I was a major fan of Grease as a kid! Is there something about this time period you love?
I particularly love the fashion. I also love the simplicity of the time, even though it wasn’t a happy time for disabled people. I always feel like I was born in the wrong era. I like sweet romances, snatched moments in red telephone boxes, listening to the local radio show with your friends, and sweet love letters.
The story shows the different reactions between blood family and “chosen family.” Was it important to you to show how friends can be a support system?
Yes, of course, and I think I developed a friendship with the characters themselves because I’ve never really had a closeness with people my own age. I began to really care for these characters.
How was it like for you to explore a time where “pregnancy before marriage” was such a taboo? What do you think it teaches readers in 2019?
Well, to be honest I’m a virgin, so I had to learn about sex first. But I suppose back then people thought pregnancy within marriage suggested that you’re in a stable relationship with someone who loves you, and that you’re able to bring somebody wanted into this world. I think my story teaches us that maybe perhaps we should slow down and not rush into things. Granted, Annie and Lewis were already in a committed relationship and thought they were adult enough, but they obviously weren’t ready to deal with all the consequences and the stigma. Hence, the title of the book.
Will we be seeing these characters again in future stories?
Maybe not with Annie and Lewis, but maybe I’d like to explore some of the other characters .
I wouldn’t mind writing about the time when the boys were in Korea, from before they were killed, and how they felt in army life. I’d like to write about Lily being a divorced woman as well. And perhaps bringing in a “scandalous” LGBTQ storyline. I don’t know yet.
What other writing projects do you have on the horizon?
My next writing project is about a woman who is helping her mother move house, and she finds a box named Rosie in the attic. Inside is a hospital bracelet and a birth certificate, along with a grainy photo of the baby. Along the way, she discovers things about her family that she never knew. But she is determined to find out who this baby is—no matter the cost. My main heroine believes every story has to be told, even if it unearths old wounds. This story will also flip back from the 1950s to the present, examining and exploring the attitudes towards disability, in society and in the family.
Is Romance your favourite genre to write in? Are there any others you’ll be exploring or have written in?
I do love writing romance, but at the moment I have a first draft of a thriller that I would like someone to read. It’s only two chapters along, and it’s quite different from my happily ever after point of view.
Seems like you have a lot of interesting things on the go! Where can readers buy Carefree and Consequence? And how can we learn about any future books and writing projects of yours?
Rachel Jeffery is a writer who battles with cerebral palsy, depression, spinal arthritis, and CFS/ME. She now works in public relations.