Monday, February 4, 2013

Welcome Rachelle Ayala

Today I'd like to welcome Rachelle Ayala to my blog. Rachelle Ayala is the author of Hidden Under Her Heart, a must read story about a young women forced to decide her fate and the fate of her unborn child after devastating and life changing events. Rachelle Ayala tackles the sensitive and controversial topic of date rape and abortion with compassion and ease.
Make sure you head on over to Rachelle Ayala's site. She is hosting an amazing Hidden Under Her Heart giveaway and tour. I will be on her site tomorrow doing a book chat on Break From You. She is also having amazing giveaways of some wonderful books, including Break From You, so head on over and sign up to win!

A warm welcome to Rachelle Ayala,

1.      Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve always been a storyteller. I was the oldest of four children and my siblings gathered in my room where I made up adventures with people and pets. I visualize stories like a movie in my mind and rarely take notes while working on a novel. I’ve always wanted to write, but had a career first in engineering and management where I gathered many life experiences.

2.      Where did the idea for Hidden Under Her Heart come from?
The initial idea was a romantic suspense where the evidence for the rape was hidden in the unborn baby’s DNA, but when I started writing the story, it turned into a more character driven story exploring the difficult decision a woman has to make when confronted with rape and abortion. The kinder and gentler hero, Lucas Knight, had a lot to do with the tone and direction of the story.

3.      How long did it take you to write this story?
Five months. I drew on my own experiences to write the second half of the story so once I got through the difficult first half, the rest of the chips fell in place. Of course I didn’t have a happy outcome in real life. One of the benefits of being a novelist is that I get to invent a happy ending.

4.      What is your writing process?
I’ve written three novels and used three different processes. I believe it is unique to the story. However if I had to put a name to it, I’d say it is combination NaNoWriMo and PlotWriMo. I hastily dash off a first draft without plotting and spend a month using Martha Alderson’s Re-Vision process to identify the energy markers and throw out extraneous scenes or rewrite segments that make no sense. Then I put it up on and have my associates critique it. I rewrite two to three times during the crit process, always from start to finish, each revision. Before editing, I send it to beta readers for their general reactions and do another revision with the feedback.

5.      If you had to choose a favorite character in your story, who would it be?
Am I allowed to do this? I’m a mother to three children and can honestly say that I love each one to the fullest. It’s equally hard for me to pick THE favorite character. But since you’re requiring me to chose one it would be Michal, the princess of Israel who became King David’s first wife. After all, I lived her life from the age of fourteen when she met the shepherd boy playing the harp to her final reunion with King David in her heavenly mansion.

6.      The attention to detail and the terminology you used in regards to medical references and triathlon running was well done. Did you do research for this or do you have experience in these areas?
My husband is in the medical profession and I was an allergy patient for fifteen years. Unfortunately, I also have firsthand knowledge of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as my son lived there for three weeks after his untimely birth. I researched the triathlon by reading Chris McCormack’s book and conferring with a sister of a friend who competes in triathlons. I also watched the Kona triathlon on streaming video and reviewed youtubevideos of previous triathlons. When I was younger, I used to run 10K races and finished a half marathon, but never a complete one, so I know the feelings of pounding the pavement and being exhausted, dehydrated or in pain.

7.      You tackle a very sensitive and controversial topic with ease, was that difficult to do?
It was extremely difficult to let the story tell itself without injecting my opinions. I revised the abortion discussion several times with the help of my crit partners who included both pro-choice and pro-life women. I had to capture the feelings of a rape victim and how she just wants it to go away, pretend it never happened. I also had to balance the reaction of her boyfriend between anger at the rapist, guilt for having backed away from the relationship, and concern for the unborn baby. He came off realistically judgmental in some places but loving and overprotective in other places.Both characters change in the story and experience emotional growth. Maryanne was not the strongest character in the beginning, but once she faced her weaknesses and started making decisions, she became more accepting of herself and confident.

8.      What is the overall message you want readers to take away from the book?
That it is hard to judge another person when you have not lived in their skin, and even if you don’t agree with their decisions or choices, they will not listen to your opinion unless you truly care and accept them.

9.      What can we expect from your next book?
I’m itching to do another romantic suspense. I’ve picked two characters that are hardened against love. Danger, a mystery in the past, a debilitating injury and buried family secrets combine to ignite both firecracker passion and bone piercing pain.

10.  Anything else you want to share about yourself or your books?
I love dramatic fiction with heavy emotional overtones centered around women coping with life problems. Favorite authors are Anne Rivers Siddons and Melissa Foster. These books take you into the harrowing lives of women facing huge challenges with unexpected twists and heartrending emotions. I like to write dramatic stories with flawed characters and impossible dilemmas. My crit partners often say I box myself into a corner. I enjoy the challenge of redeeming seemingly unredeemable characters and resolving mysteries with an unexpected but plausible ending.

Thanks Rebecca for introducing me to your readers. I welcome comments and questions. Please visit me at my blog: or find me on Facebook at:

Hidden Under Her Heart, available at
 Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships. After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man.

Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon. He's smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport. Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher's son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped.

Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort. But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby's DNA. Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy. When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision.

The rapist has other ideas. In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion. With Maryanne's life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby. However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.

Thank you Rachelle Ayala for joining me today! You can find out more about Rachelle Ayala at her blog, here. And don't forget about the giveaways!

More books by Rachelle Ayala

It's Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. According to the CDC, Dating Violence is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner. Sexual abuse is a form of dating abuse. It is when a date forces him/herself on his/her partner and doesn't respect nor care about the consequences.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, get help.


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