Rachelle Dekker’s debut novel, The Choosing, was released in May 2015, followed by two more books in her Seer Series. The Choosing won a Christy Award in the Young Adult category and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel. Rachelle wrote When Through Deep Waters in 2018. In 2019 she was on a roll to publish her fifth book in five years. The Girl Behind The Red Rope was published in September 2019 and immediately went to #3 on the Revell Bestsellers list.
The Girl Behind the Book
My thoughts on The Girl Behind The Red Rope here. On October 28th I spoke to Rachelle in her home in Nashville about her writing journey.
Rachelle, you’re living in Nashville, home of the Predators hockey club and I’m a Canadian. Are you a hockey fan?
I grew up in Colorado as an Avalanche fan. Now I’m learning to cheer for the Predators. They’re not doing very well.
You gave birth to your first child in December 2018. Congrats to you and your husband, Daniel. How did motherhood affect being an author?
There was a learning curve I was not expecting. It is very difficult. Children are our greatest teacher. I’m learning patience among others qualities. Things on a checklist don’t get done. There are motherhood lessons that correlate with writing that I did not expect.
Are you the inspiration for the character of Grace, the girl behind the red rope?
I see myself in all of the characters. All of us have deep-seated fears that help us relate to Grace. Stepping out of the boat is not without fear. Fears that we think keep us safe are what we need to be freed from. My husband and I were on a Friday night date, sitting in Frothy Monkey talking about the novel I was outlining. Our conversation drifted from one thing to the next and suddenly he said, “What if our fears could actually devour us?” It was an “aha” moment for me. I said, “like monsters that stalked us, and we couldn’t see them.” That gave birth to “the Fury” – invisible creatures that terrorize the townspeople in the story.
When did you most feel alive in writing “Beyond The Red Rope?”
At the very beginning and the end. That’s normal for me. The book flowed naturally. There was an exuberance and motivation to start and keep writing. The first 1000 words came quickly. I really enjoyed writing the story. Writing the ending about Grace and her mother was heartfelt. I needed to get it out on the page. This story is bigger than me.
Faith From Writing
How did writing the book affect your faith?
I write for myself first. I learn from my fictional characters by putting myself in their shoes and seeing what actions they will take. Then I help others with what I learn.
The story illuminated how much fear I actually have. Since I am a child of faith, what is there really to be afraid of and yet I had my fears. Fears about money and popularity. Do these things really give me value? I was reminded where my security lies. I see a lot of people in the Christian community missing out on their identity. Our identity is found in Christ. We are supposed to be in tune with Christ. But there is a lot of fear out there. So I ask myself, “How do we take a different approach to live with love and not fear?” This was a radical experience for me. A catharsis.
Besides your father, who co-wrote this book, who helped you most to improve your craft?
It takes a village. My editor – Erin Healy. She has a fantastic voice for fiction. My gramma on my mother’s side. As a kid she encouraged story telling in me. She was a College lecturer. Gramma would send me books to read. She really had a contagious passion and was so supportive of me. My tribe helps me. I go to a restaurant with friends when I’m stuck. Writing is a lonely path but writers do not walk it alone.
Out Of Fear
Tell me a story of a person who read your book and found their way out of fear.
I was recently at a Convention in Detroit. A participant told me she saw herself in the character of Rose – how she was constantly trying to protect her kids and get it right as a mother. The shame she felt because she wasn’t good enough. There is a high level of fear in being a mom. She realized she had learned fear from her mother. She said she would never parent the same way again.
The Path To Publishing
Rachelle, you have four previously published books. This time you pitched the book for three months with no success. Publishers were not enamored with the content. How did you find a path to publishing?
I felt uncertainty and fear that it wasn’t going to work. Should I change the content or go with my instinct? I really rely on other’s wisdom to guide me but I also want to follow my own heart. Dad came into the picture and started to co-write. I just knew this was the book I was supposed to write. My publisher, Baker Books, became a huge support in the process.
Hope grows here. We share stories that inspire people, build faith, and offer lasting purpose.
We’d love to have you Subscribe to REVwords. We’ll put helpful content into your inbox early Mondays to get your week off to a good start.