Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie

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  • Be sure to read our review for Canary here at OBS!

rachele_alpine_authorValerie: Who or what inspired you to write Canary?

Rachel Alpine: CANARY came from a project that I had to do in college.  My teacher had us research an issue in teenagers (I chose sexual assault) and instead of presenting our research in a report, we had to do it in a multi-genre paper.  This consisted of stories, pictures, poems, song lyrics, and other creative elements.  The character of Kate came from these pieces and one of the poems I wrote for the project is used in the book!

Valerie: As a writer, do you have any special or quirky habits you can’t write without?

Rachel Alpine: I have a few!

  • I handwrite everything first.  I can’t sit down and type out a scene.  Last year I was so busy with teaching that I only had time to handwrite.  When the summer came, I had a notebook and a half full of handwritten pages!  It took me over two weeks to just type it all out!
  • I always need to write to music.  If it’s quiet, I can’t concentrate.  I have playlists created for all my books that I listen to when writing.
  • I write the most in the morning and make sure to get at least an hour in before I even check the internet.  This is a hard one, but once I get on the internet, I get sucked in!
  • I am really particular about what tables I sit in at a coffee shop (where I usually write in the afternoon).  They need to be big, so I can spread out my work and away from people who are there talking with each other.  Once I drove to three coffee shops before I found the perfect table!

Valerie: What message would you like readers to get out of this book?

Rachel Alpine: I think the most important message is to never be silenced…by anyone.  To always speak out no matter how hard it is, because someone will listen.

Valerie: Is Kate purely a figment of your imagination or is she based on anyone special?

Rachel Alpine: Kate is entirely made up, however, Kate’s brother was inspired by a student that I had at the beginning of my teaching career.  He used to talk to me about joining the Army because he wanted to stand out in his family since the rest of his family excelled at sports.  He was looking for a place to make his own, and he felt like the Army was the best option.

Valerie: How has writing Canary changed you as a person?

Rachel Alpine: I think helped to teach me that it’s important to speak out about injustices too.  Sometimes it’s easier to just stay silent, but it’s so important that you don’t.  You can’t let other’s and their thoughts/actions silence you.

Valerie: Who was the first person to read Canary after you finished writing it and why?

Rachel Alpine: The first people to always look at my drafts is my critique group.  I have some really good readers, and I can trust them to be honest about everything (especially the negative parts!).  It’s important to have readers who tell the truth, so your writing can get stronger.

Valerie: Can I first say I loved Canary? However, why did you choose to write about such a controversial topic?

Rachel Alpine: Thanks for the CANARY love!  Part of the idea came from the paper I wrote over ten years ago in college, and the other part came from the athletic culture that idolizes sports stars.  When I started to write this book, there was a lot in the news about professional and college athletes who seemed to be getting passes for behavior that is unacceptable.  It seemed as if a lot of these excuses where tied to the fact that they were big name athletes.  I started reading more and more about this and then started to think about where this way of thinking started.  That’s how I ended up writing about high school and the way some communities view their athletes.

Thank you to author Rachele Alpine for an amazing and interesting interview; and letting us know some of her quirky habits 🙂