About John Rachel:
John Rachel has a B.A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, been a songwriter and music producer, and is a bipolar humanist. He has spent his life trying to resolve the intrinsic clash between the metaphysical purity of Buddhism and the overwhelming appeal of narcissism. Lately, that has translated into a lot of travel and writing. Following his impulsive and poorly planned departure from the U.S. in 2006, he has visited and lived-in 32 countries. At first as he bounced from one country to the next, he wrote long quickly deleted emails to his friends, and commentary about new experiences and his quickly changing ideas about the world. These soon became more coherent and formalized, as short stories, essays, and poems. He was up and running as a writer!
Since 2008, when he first embarked on his career as a novelist, he has had eight fiction and two non-fiction books published. These range from three satires and a coming-of-age trilogy, to a political drama and now a crime thriller. The two non-fiction works were also political, his attempt to address the crisis of democracy and pandemic corruption in the governing institutions of America.
Never knowing when enough is enough, the hyperthyroid Rachel continues to be very busy. He has three more novels in the pipeline for publication late 2015 through 2016: Sex, Lies and Coffee Beans, a spoof on the self-help crazes of the 80s and 90s; Love Connection, a drug-trafficking thriller set in Japan; and finally The Last Giraffe, an anthropological drama involving both the worship and devouring of giraffes, which unfolds in 19th Century sub-Saharan Africa. Several major publishers have declared that they will do everything in their power to make sure these books never see the light of day.
Moreover, he recently increased his output of incendiary political blogs, sure to alienate the remaining few remnants of his meager literary following.
John Rachel’s last permanent residence in America was Portland, Oregon where he had a state-of-the-art ProTools recording studio, music production house, a radio promotion and music publishing company. He still writes music and, much to the annoyance of his neighbors in the traditional rural Japanese town where he now lives, attempts to sing his original songs.
What inspires you to write?
What can I say? I never get writer’s block. I have writer’s tsunami. I’m drowning in ideas. My wife has resorted to firing animal tranquilizer darts at me to shut me up. What inspires me? Life. People. Politics. Love. War. Hope. Dreams. Speaking of which, the last few years I have been doing my best work while asleep. I know I know. It sounds like a rationalization for living like a cat. But seriously, I now have these incredibly vivid dreams, whole scenes, dialogue, narration. Now I will admit, sometimes it’s garbage. Or it just dissolves as my head emerges from the quicksand of sleep. But more often than not, the stuff is pretty good. If it sticks with me through my first cup of coffee, I know I’ve got something I can use. And have used! Many times in my books and stories.
Tell us about your writing process.
First, I turn on the fan. Then I suddenly realize I that forgot to take out the garbage. So I do that. Of course, now I see there’s all sorts of gunk in the bottom of the garbage container from the tomatoes that went bad and the mushrooms that turned to slime. So I have to clean up that mess.
Finally, I pour a cup of coffee and sit down to write. Oops! Forgot to check my FB account. Whoa!! 87 new notices. People loved that video I posted of a kitten chasing a rhinoceros. Hmm. Bad news. It looks like over 30 people deleted me as a friend. Cold! What did I do? Could it have been the blog I wrote about Mitt Romney being a pedophile?
I’m exhausted. Writing sure takes it out of me.
I decide I need a nap. I’ll get 20 winks, wake up fresh, ready to really roll!
I try to sleep. But they are slaughtering a yak next door, beating it to death with garden rakes. You’d think they could come up with a more humane way to kill the thing. Jeeez!
I take a sip of wine from a newly opened bottle to try to relax. I decide to just finish the whole thing off.
The next few hours are a blank. I wake up in the bathtub. I’m hugging a bag of fertilizer. The doorbell is ringing.
I run to see who it is. Ah! The post man. My new Fiction Writing software has arrived. Excellent! This could be the shot in the arm my career needs.
I spend the rest of the day trying to install the program. My Windows laptop keeps giving me error messages.
The library catalog file ‘clusterfck.dll’ is missing. Please reinstall operating system.
After five hours of this, I am famished!
I head down to the drive-thru window for Magic Rainbow Happy Luck. It’s Chinese fast food. But they refuse to serve me because I’m on a bicycle. I go inside. Everything is in Chinese. I order something by pointing. They bring me monkey entrails on a croissant. Not very appetizing.
This would be a total waste of time, except thinking ahead, I brought my computer. Munching away, being careful to keep the blood and grease from dripping into my keyboard, I begin . . .
Once upon a time, there was a large tree in the middle of an island. A boy of eleven years old leaned against it. A stranger approached him from behind. The boy turned. The man was wearing a ‘Mitt Romney for President’ button.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I used to talk to my characters. But then they started getting obnoxious. Making all sorts of demands. Usually it had something to do with playing down or entirely eliminating flaws in their characters. Sometimes it was really superficial stuff, like making them more beautiful. This one fat slob threatened to kill me if I didn’t make him slim and give him huge, sexy muscles. Another female character threatened to commit suicide if I didn’t kill off another character who had jilted her. Now he was the lead character. And I’m supposed to deep-six him on page 83? Gimme a break! To put it mildly, I got sick of it.
What advice would you give other writers?
If it feels good, do it.
Never take no for an answer.
There’s a reason for everything.
Stay away from cliches.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had so many options, it was a big decision.
Let’s see. If I recall . . . there was . . . hmmm.
One. Yes, that was it, one offer. Out of over 900 emailed queries, I got one offer to represent my recent books.
I visited their world headquarters, dressed to the teeth, of course. It was confusing at first. The sign above the door said:
‘Castelli Brothers: Furniture Re-Seller’
They explained they had to keep a low profile, mainly for tax purposes, because publishing was such a lucrative business. No sense attracting a lot of attention with ostentatious offices and a moniker that would bring in hordes of vulture capitalists.
So I’ve been with Literary Vagabond Books for all of my novels. They are interesting people, for sure. All of them are lacto-ovo vegetarians. In the center of their warehouse, next to a wood lathe, they have a statue of Buddha reclining. The back wall is covered with heavy metal band posters. I think the head of the company, Sybil Fairbanks is a transvestite.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Publishing appears to be going the way of stick shifts and coal-powered dial phones.
But for the more distant future, publishing will go the way of a steel mill on Atlantis.
You know . . . global warming and all that.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Commercial, Contemporary, Satire, Political, Travel, Humor
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.