Publisher’s Weekly Article
Well, it seems the death of Whitney Houston is going to overshadow my book debut. Life can be tragic sometimes. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Actually, I wanted to tell you about a funny experience at our local Barnes and Noble yesterday. I found out that the new Publisher’s Weekly magazine featuring a profile on me had come out, and I really wanted a printed copy. I couldn’t find one, so I asked the store manager for help. Long story short, she heard the whole story of my book, the interview, and the fact that B&N changed my cover from grey to blue three times. From me, from my mom, and from my dad. By the time my dad showed up and said, “Hey, did you hear that Barnes and Noble actually changed the cover from–” she only held her hand up and said, “We got it, Dad. We got it.” It was pretty funny. Can you tell I have proud parents?
Anyway, I did get my publicist to send me what they printed via email:
Rachel Coker: Teen Author
The loss of a loved one is difficult to cope with at any age, but at 13, Rachel Coker channeled her grief and landed a publisher at the same time.
Coker, now a homeschooled 11th-grader, started writing Interrupted: Life Beyond Words (Zondervan, Mar.) three years ago. The story, set in the late 1930s and 1940s, focuses on Alcyone “Allie” Everly, who is sent to live in Maine after her mother dies from cancer. Coker lost her uncle to a brain tumor, and she says the story came from her conversations with God about why people die. “What I realized is that death is something that young people face,” Coker tells PW from Virginia, where she lives with her parents and two sisters. “I realized it could make us bitter, but it could also make us stronger. Even though that bad thing happens, [Allie] can learn to love again.”
The publication of her book when she was just 15 also inspired an international peer group of young writers who comment on her personal blog and on what she writes as a guest blogger for sites like Go Teen Writers.
“I think the most frequent comment I hear from e-mails or in comments on my blog is, ‘I didn’t know this was possible. I always thought some day in the future, one day when I was older, I would be a writer. Now that I know it’s possible, there’s a chance for me, too,’ ” Coker says. “That’s my favorite thing to hear.”
She didn’t think she would get published as a teenager, either. “I thought it was silly and insane when I sent out my query letter. I prayed, ‘God, I know this is probably impossible, but I’m going to try anyway.’ Now that it’s all finished, knowing that other people are willing to go out there and take a chance is good for me.”
Coker has already written her next book, a novel set in the 1960s, which will also be published by Zondervan. She is nevertheless looking forward to what could be a successful writing career. Meanwhile, she also teaches piano.
“I’m really open to whatever God has in store for me,” she says. “I’m 16 years old, I don’t have the answers, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I want to be happy and I want to bless other people. I want to not just make a living but also to live a God-filled, hope-filled life.” —J. Victoria Sanders
Pretty sweet, huh? I can’t wait to get my hands on a printed copy. This is the sort of thing that just might be passed down to my grandchildren.