Rachel McClellan has only lived in Johnston for about a year, but as she prepares for the launch of her second book, she is making a name for herself in town, hosting a book launch party at the Mohr Library on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
McClellan’s second book, “Fractured Soul,” is a sequel to last year’s “Fractured Light,” and will be available in print and as an eBook on Feb. 12.
“Fractured Soul” follows Llona, a young aura, or a person with the ability to manipulate and control light. Llona struggles to conform to the rules of an auran lifestyle, but her defiant streak comes in handy when her school, Lucent Academy, is threatened.
“She learns to use her light as a weapon, which is a huge no-no,” McClellan said.
Creating Llona’s supernatural powers and the world in which they exist was fun for McClellan, who enjoys fantasy and all things paranormal.
“I love all those supernatural shows, anything dark but that’s set in the real world. It’s fun to create those sort of things and have it be familiar still to me and to readers,” she said.
While Llona isn’t based on her creator, the author admits that the character’s sarcastic streak is not entirely unfamiliar, as is the case with traits found in ancillary characters.
“There are parts of me in every single character,” she said.
McClellan has long enjoyed writing, and can remember stories she worked up going back to her teenage years. She never thought she could make a career out of it, though, until she traveled to Ireland with her mother and sister. Something about the trip reinvigorated her love of writing, and her faith in the dream was restored.
“I never really believed I could do it. I have drawers full of stories and half-finished novels, and it wasn’t until 2007 on a trip to Ireland that I considered it,” she said. “Something there, the Cliffs of Moher, maybe … I decided I could actually do this.”
McClellan has been dedicated to the craft ever since. By day, she works part-time in merchant account processing, at the same time juggling the duties of wife and mother to four children. Still, she finds time for writing.
“There hasn’t been a day since 2007 when I haven’t written at least something once a day,” she said.
Sometimes, that something is just one sentence. But more often than not, McClellan finds that one sentence leads to another, and many days yield pages of work. Within three years, she had two novels under her belt, though she admits that those books may never be published.
“Sometimes you have to go through those first couple to figure out the writing craft,” she said.
In 2010, while she was still living in Idaho, she started writing “Fractured Light,” which was released in 2012. Writing the sequel to the planned trilogy was much easier for McClellan. Now relocated to Rhode Island with her family, she had learned from her mistakes and developed her own process for writing.
“I definitely have grown a lot. It came naturally. I knew immediately the mistakes I was making as I was writing them,” she said.
She had also learned to weather rejection, and not to expect too much too quickly. She says publishing is a “long process,” which can be discouraging.
“The publishing business is just so slow. If it’s something you love to do, the first couple of rejections sting, but then it becomes part of the process,” she said.
McClellan most often works on an Alpha Smart, a type of word processor that shows three to four lines of text on a small screen but is compact and portable and allows the writer to jot down notes or passages wherever they are.
She never outlines her stories, but has come to realize that she can’t start unless she knows where the story will end.
“I never start a story until I know the ending. When I did used to write, that would be my problem. I would have no idea where I was going,” she said. “I tend to write very quickly if I have a goal in mind of where it’s going to end up.”
The “Fractured Light” series is geared toward young adults, a target audience that McClellan enjoys writing to and writing about.
“I love to write for young adults. Everything is new and exciting. There’s a lot of firsts and so a lot of emotions are heightened. You have built-in tension just because they’re teenagers,” she said.
McClellan hopes some Johnston teenagers in that audience will come out for her book launch at Mohr. The Feb. 6 program starts at 3:30 p.m., when she will talk to young patrons about the publishing business. She will then be available to sell and sign books until 6 p.m. Also that night, she plans to put out a sign-up sheet for a potential writing workshop that she would run weekly or monthly, depending on the demand.
For more information on Rachel McClellan, find her on Facebook or Twitter, or go to www.RachelMcClellan.com. Additional book signings are scheduled for Feb. 26 at Barnes & Noble in Bellingham, Mass., at 7 p.m.; Barnes & Noble in Hingham, Mass., on March 16 from 3 to 5 p.m.; and Barnes & Noble in Framingham, Mass., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 23.