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Depths of Delight: An Interview with Rachel A. Greco, author of The Gift of Dragons

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Rachel A. Greco dreams of being a dragon but has settled instead for being an author, which is almost as fun. Her short story, Fairy Light, won honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Leading Edge magazine published another of her stories, and her debut novel, The Gift of Dragons, is now out in the world. When not writing, she can be found reading, kayaking, or dancing with elves in the forests of her North Carolina home.

You can buy The Gift of Dragons here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Titles are the worst! They’re always the hardest part of writing a novel for me. I toyed with lots of ideas—Pursued, Freedom’s Spark, and others—before settling on The Gift of Dragons. I actually remember sitting down with my professor, who was helping me edit the book as my college theses, and jotting down every title we could think of, some of which were pretty terrible! You have to get through the bad titles to find the good ones. And, as with The Gift of Dragons, the simplest titles are sometimes the best.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Amazing! There are no words to express the depths of my delight, shock, and gratitude to see the dream I’d been hoping for and working toward off and on for ten years become a reality! It still surprises me sometimes, in the best possible way, when I see my book on my shelf and think, “Oh, yeah. I’ve published a book.”

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

Nothing specific comes to mind. I’ve always been a story-crafter and story-lover. First, I crafted stories with my toys as I made up worlds and characters for dolls and Beanie Babies (remember them?!). Reading opened up a whole new magical realm, and I couldn’t get enough. I had to have some of this magic for myself! I’ve been writing stories ever since then, and now there’s no going back.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I currently write creative nonfiction for a nonprofit, which is a different form of storytelling that I also enjoy. Most of my readers know that I love camping and kayaking and just being in any form of nature that I can, but most don’t know that I lived in a tiny country called Papua New Guinea for two years. Does anyone know where that is without looking?

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

My heart always melts whenever I get emails from readers saying how much they loved the book. This makes all the other challenges of being a published author worth it!

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Actually, it does have a soundtrack! Near publication, I always try to collect songs into a playlist to give my newsletter subscribers a feel for my upcoming book. The Gift of Dragons’ playlist includes Thousand Eyes by Of Monsters and Men, Revolution by The Score, Dragonwing by Two Steps From Hell, and Hide and Seek by Kodaline—all songs that express the themes, challenges, or atmosphere of the book.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope my readers grow a little with Adelaide and realize that you can’t judge a person just by their place in society without knowing them. My perfect reader is a young adult who loves action, plot twists, and characters who grow and who are not afraid to see the world and maybe themselves a little differently at the end of the story.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

The sequel and final book in the Gift of Dragons duology is also under contract with Atmosphere Press and will hopefully be published this fall! I hope readers enjoy the rest of Adelaide’s journey as she fights for her people.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

It was wonderful, and I actually have written an article about it on my blog: It was a fantastic first step into the scary world of publishing, and I highly recommend Atmosphere Press to any would-be published author.

I’ll be honest. Getting published and your name out there is hard. Writing—at least for me—is the easy part! Publishing and making yourself known is not for the faint of heart. It requires perseverance, endurance, and patience. There’s no easy road to finding your readers, but when you do, it’s worth all the challenges to get there!

You can buy The Gift of Dragons here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.