Video by Gavin Tannish
Article by Megan Carlson
Rachele Mielke, who publishes under the name Rachele Alpine, is widely known for her middle grade and young adult books. In addition to being a talented author, she is also known as an incredible English 2 teacher here at Perry High School. Unlike most English teachers, Mielke is able to give students who may be interested in writing a little glimpse into what it’s like, from the writing process all the way to the publishing process. She was kind enough to meet with me to answer some questions about her writing career so far and her plans for the future!
Q: What made you want to pursue a writing career?
Mielke: My mom was a preschool teacher, so basically from the day I was born I was surrounded by books everywhere. We went to the library constantly. When I got into first and second grade and learned how to write, it was the coolest thing ever to discover that I could create my own stories and create something that I loved. That’s kind of how my love of reading translated into my love of writing.
Q: Do you see yourself as more of a teacher or more of an author?
M: I think that being an author gives me the chance to examine my world and the world around me through the lens of writing. By being a teacher I’m surrounded by people that I write about, and the world that I question. So, I don’t think one is higher than the other, they both go hand in hand to be able to be immersed in what I write about. I get to spend my days talking about writing to my students and talking about good writers. It’s pretty cool to be able to go home and try to create some of that stuff on my own.
Q: Do you prefer writing young adult books or middle grade?
M: I like them for different reasons. I’d say that’s almost like asking somebody who their favorite child is! My young adult books are definitely issue driven. Usually it’s something in the news or a topic that moves me in some kind of good or bad way. I want to explore those issues, so it’s usually more intense and not the easiest subject to look at and write about. That’s why I like middle grade so much, because those are funny and they allow me to have fun. I try to do more empowerment type of messages, but I do it in a more lighthearted way.
Q: What inspired you to write A Void The Size of The World?
M: I’ve always been intrigued by a tragedy affecting a town, and how the town comes together to deal with it. I started to explore it that way, but earlier roots was when I was growing up, a girl in the town over from me went missing and it impacted everybody in a really big way. That kind of always stuck in my head.
Q: For Best. Night. Ever., who chose the writers and how were they chosen?
M: We all write for the same imprint at the publisher, and we were all just friends on social media. One of the authors thought it would be a fun idea and we all agreed and decided to take on the challenge together.
Q: Do you think you’ll collaborate with more authors on future books?
M: I would! I loved the experience. It was kind of crazy and magical. We never even met in person, we did it all on google docs and it was pretty cool. I would go to sleep at night and I’d wake up the next morning and there would be thirty new pages. I don’t know how we pulled it off, but we did.
Q: Just this year, you’ve published three different books. Did you ever feel overwhelmed or was it mostly excitement?
M: I was mostly excited but I felt overwhelmed at times. It’s not the easiest thing to teach full time, be a mom and write. But, what I would always tell myself is, “This is what I’ve always wanted.” I’ve always wanted to see my books on the shelves at libraries and bookstores. How can I complain about reaching a dream? That always put things back in perspective.
Q: Do you have anything planned for 2018?
M: I just turned in two proposals to my agent, one for a middle grade novel and one for a young adult novel. We are hoping my editor wants to buy both of those, so we’re excited to see what happens with them!