Author: Rachel Maldonado
Rachel Maldonado is an American author of lesbian fiction with 50+ novels and short stories topping the Amazon charts such as Burning Desire, Touchdown Hero, and Her Maiden Voyage. She is a graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, USA, with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Communications and has a book group on Facebook called The Lesbian Book Nook where she conducts author interviews on Saturdays from 12-2pm CST, and where she also hopes to air a radio podcast with live author interviews. Rachel Maldonado currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her wife Vanessa and her dog Ginger.
Independent or published author? Published
Preferred pronoun: She/Her
1. What is your first memory of enjoying reading?
I was probably about three or four years of age. My mother registered me in a book club, so I would receive children’s books in the mail. She also frequently took me to the public library. Rather than read books to me, my parents taught me how to read so that I could read the books I enjoyed as many times as I wanted. When I discovered I could read alone without much help from them, I began to read just about anything and everything in the library.
2. What are you currently reading?
I’m almost always reading something whether it’s for research or just for pleasure. My current reads are Becoming by Michelle Obama, Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, and The Blue Devils in Italy: The History of the 88th Infantry. One of my works in progress is a book about a soldier, so I’m researching WWII at the moment.
3. Which character you’ve created/written do you wish you could spend a day as?
That’s a good question! If I could spend the day as any one of my characters, I think I would choose to be Shellvis. I’m actually an introverted, shy person, and Shellvis is the exact opposite of me. She’s fun, quirky, extroverted. She’s not afraid to perform as Elvis in front of a crowd or shy in public to talk to fans. When I was younger, I’d say in my early 20s, I actually thought performing as a male impersonator would be something I would want to do and had it on a bucket list. I’m not so sure anymore that it’s something I want to do. But for the purposes of answering this question, I would definitely choose to be Shellvis for a day.
4. Which character that someone else has written do you wish you could spend a day as?
This is a difficult question because I actually don’t read much fiction. I read mostly biographies and non-fiction. I love learning about people and their life experiences. I love learning in general, so I’ll read about anything just for the sake of learning about it. College is expensive, but knowledge and learning is free. You can go to the library and read and learn about anything under the sun. It’s important that people know that, especially kids. The more you read the more you know.
5. Have you created any characters you don’t like?
Absolutely! Every good book has to have a believable antagonist to test and push the limits of the protagonist. It helps to drive the story line and keep things interesting. You have to have a good character that every reader loves to hate. If you think about it in terms of superheroes and comics, every good super hero needs a villain to defeat, otherwise, how is he/she going to be a hero?
6. What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think, “I want to be a writer?”
I’m not sure that the thought “I want to be a writer” ever crossed my mind. I started writing poems and short stories as early as elementary school. It was how I chose to express myself. When I started receiving praise from teachers and winning awards, I realized it was something that separated me from others.
7. Do you edit as you go or as a full process after a first draft?
Both. I edit constantly. I check for correct word usage, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure both as I write and when I complete each manuscript. I tend to do several read-throughs where I read what I’ve written aloud to myself or my spouse. The sentences and paragraphs have to flow smoothly, and the train of thought has to make sense and be in the correct order of the way things are occurring. If it sounds odd, repetitive, or if the sentences are too long or too short, I’ll rewrite the sentence or the paragraph. Most authors have proofreaders, beta readers, or editors to look for what is called “holes” in the story. I edit constantly so that I can catch all of my own mistakes and don’t have to rely on anyone else.
8. Where do you write? And what do you need around you?
I write from home. Always. I’m usually in my bedroom in bed or in my living room. I can’t say that I have any lucky objects around me, coffee, or snacks. I do, however, always have my internet open and available for use in case I need to research a word, phrase, or event. If I’m working on historical fiction, I may have some books in close proximity. I can easily write for eight to ten hours a day if I’m in the writing zone, but I’ll stop for bathroom breaks and lunch breaks.
9. Pen and Paper, typewriter, or computer?
Good question. Mostly laptop. But I’ve been known to write in spiral notebooks at times, then I eventually transfer what I’ve written to the laptop. Old habits die hard, I guess. I grew up in the 80s, so I’m used to writing with pen and paper.
10. Who are three other lesbian/bisexual authors that you recommend?
Oh, wow. Only three? There are so many! Just off the top of my head I’m going to say Barbara Winkes, Ann Aptaker, and Kiki Archer, but I’m also going to mention my good friends Lila Bruce, Becky Sullivan, and Bonnie James. Please look them up! Also, remember that when it comes to books, if you read it, please review it!
11. What is the best thing about being part of the LBQ Community?
I’m going to have to say the sense of unity, family, and friendship because everyone in the community provides such an overwhelming sense of support. I was taken advantage of by a publisher when I first started out, and I was never paid royalties for one of my books. I was ready to quit writing and never publish anything ever again, but there were several authors that reached out to me and helped me self-publish. I’ve been self-publishing ever since, and I’ll never sign any of my books or royalties over to anyone. Ever. I’m proud to say that I do all the aspects of self-publishing on my own: writing, editing, cover art, publishing, and marketing. Be careful who you trust, research publishers carefully, and most importantly, have fun when you write. If you’re having fun, I guarantee you that your readers will enjoy what you’ve written.