The following is a list of all entries from the Press category.
So, guess who’s a cover star now? I know it’s hard to believe but, yes, I was featured on the cover of a magazine! Girlz 4 Christ was gracious enough to interview me for their July/August issue which was released just the other day! It has a great interview inside, so you should definitely check it out. I’m very humbled and honored by this opportunity, and it would mean a lot to me if you would pick up an issue! (I think it’s digital and costs $5 an issue)
This is the first Monday in a while that I have literally been counting down the days to. Because today is Jill William’s Team Novel Teen Blog Tour–featuring none other than Interrupted: Life Beyond Words. Being the author of Interrupted, I obviously have special interest in this event, but hopefully you’ll want to check it out, too! Eleven different bloggers are talking about Interrupted today, and I’m posting the links below for you to check out! Ten dollars to any reader who visits every blog and comments “Rachel Coker is the best. I know her personally and I can truthfully attest to the fact that she is funny, staggeringly brilliant, and cute!” (Joking ;P)
Anyway, here are links to the reviews:
Most of these bloggers also posted a review of my book on Amazon, which just tickled me pink. It’s so weird to go on Amazon.com and see that Interrupted has a 4.3 rating and over 20 reviews! A few years ago, I would have never ever thought that something like that could be possible. I guess God had different plans than I did! 😉
So my mom found out yesterday that my book was featured on the front page of crosswalk.com. Is that cool or what? I thought you guys might like to read what they said. I personally found it very complimentary, but obviously I like hearing nice things about myself. 😉
Interrupted: Life Beyond Words reintroduces a classic question in literary criticism: to what extent does the author matter when considering the quality of a piece of writing? Here’s the skinny on Interrupted author Rachel Coker: she’s a 16-year old whose debut novel possesses a maturity of emotional perceptiveness and writing quality which far surpasses her years. While most of her peers are content to pound out text messages on the latest smart phone, and the ambitious ones scribble out angst-ridden poems in their journals, Coker’s actually planned, plotted, and successfully published a Young Adult historical fiction novel set against the contentious backdrop of World War II.
For all of that, Coker deserves the highest admiration. But, perhaps a more challenging task is to take Interrupted on its own terms, setting aside Coker’s remarkable personal story. In that regard, Interrupted is a relatively safe place to start a career, a traditional coming-of-age tale made slightly more original by its historical setting and the thematic nods to Emily Dickinson. It’s the story of Alcyone Everly, a 14-year old girl whose safe and sheltered existence is shattered when her mother dies and she’s taken in by Beatrice Lovell in a Maine estate.
After Everly arrives in Maine, she becomes re-introduced to Sam Carroll, a native of her hometown in Tennessee. Sparks fly between the two, but Everly is stymied by her inner bitterness over the loss of her mother and frustration with Lovell’s efforts to become a mother figure in her life. Everly retreats into her writing, where her love of classic literature and self-expression proves to be an impediment to making valuable connections in her new life.
The emotional landscape of Interrupted is tactfully rendered and maturely handled. Coker takes great care to sculpt a believable protagonist in Everly, and walks her through a solid character arc, moving from devotion to her mother to a place of independence by novel’s end. That said, the plot is fairly thin. The inner coming-of-age struggles Everly faces compose the bulk of the conflict, and they’re not very dramatic. And much about Interrupted is a bit too genteel, from the idyllic Maine setting to Everly’s interpersonal conflicts with the other main characters. Everly never seems in real danger, either physically or psychologically, which takes the edge off the story’s stakes.
While this is technically historical fiction, the historical backdrop plays a minor role in Everly’s story. Until the story’s latter third, when Everly’s love interest is shipped off to war, it’s hard to get a sense of the time period, or why Coker chose it. In a sense, it’s the same story as could be told against a contemporary backdrop.
One neat element Coker includes which deserves mention is the homage she pays to poet Emily Dickinson. Each chapter of Interrupted opens with a short excerpt from a Dickinson poem which relates thematically to the chapter’s content. It’s refreshing to see such a young literary voice connect so fully with one of the greats, and potentially introduce Dickinson to a new generation of readers. In addition, one can feel Dickinson’s presence in the character of Everly, who is content to stay cloistered when the world is too scary. People are messy, Interrupted admits, but when you let yourself get messy, the joys are worth it.
In her publication debut, Coker displays a remarkable amount of poise and polish, and while Interrupted isn’t the flashiest or trendiest piece of YA fiction, it might show something more valuable: a young voice with potential staying power in today’s here-today-gone-tomorrow marketplace.
Another cool thing happened yesterday. I got a full-page spread in our local area newspaper! It had photos and everything, which was really neat. Unfortunately, I left it at our church last night, so I don’t have a photo to show you. 😦 But as soon as I get it back, I’ll post a pic!
So, have any of you finished Interrupted yet? Be honest: Tell me what you thought!
So, my inbox has been JAMMED this week with emails from my people at Zondervan, for one very big reason: My book was featured in this week’s edition of Publisher’s Weekly! For those of you who haven’t read the review yet, here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about Interrupted (Coming out in less than a month now!):
Coker makes an impressive debut—she’s only 15—in this Depression and WWII-era tale of Alcyone Everly, who is 14 when her mother dies of brain cancer. Allie is adopted by a woman in Maine, Beatrice Lovell, and vigorously resists her adoptive mother’s kindnesses, clinging bitterly to the memory of her mother. The past re-enters her life in the form of Sam Carroll, an old friend from her childhood home whose aunt lives next door to Beatrice and Allie. Sam has always been sweet on Allie, and his reappearance stirs many unwanted and confusing emotions in her. World events seize the day as the U.S. gets caught up in WWII, altering everyone’s lives. Coker writes an emotionally compelling and psychologically nuanced tale. The plot has some weak spots: Allie manages to overhear not one but two crucial incidents that give her unexpected information, and some of her character development late in the story is abrupt. But the historical context is an engaging narrative frame. Coker is one to watch.
Okay, let me die of happiness now. Ha ha, just kidding. But seriously, it is a huge honor to be featured in Publisher’s Weekly. I know that to be featured, much less get a positive review, is an accomplishment to any author. It just feels especially humbling to see God doing all this in my life right now.
But that’s not the end! A journalist for Publisher’s Weekly is also going to be interviewing me tomorrow for a special feature on their site. So I’ll have to keep you all posted when that is up.
Also: I’ve started guest blogging at my friend Stephanie’s blog, Go Teen Writers. My first post is up today, so go and check it out! Also, if you want to preorder my book and have it arrive by February 14th, order your own copy at Amazon today!