Historically, Argyle Fox Publishing has specialized in publishing shorter books. But when Rachel Randall submitted her engaging story, Shadelands, we couldn’t say no. The characters were vivid, and the story was thrilling. So we made an exception for this author who lives near Seattle, Washington.
Will there be more exceptions? If they’re as good as Shadelands, yes. Until then, meet the author whose story grabbed hold of our imaginations and wouldn’t let go.
Before we get too far, tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Rachel Randall?
Writing has always been my passion. Growing up, I was always up a tree reading a good book or in my room penning children’s tales. I was especially fascinated with reading books that included other languages or cultures. My favorite was Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
As a young woman, I was given the amazing opportunity to live in Latvia, an eastern European country, for two years. I quickly learned everything I could regarding their customs and folklore. To this day, much of my writing finds inspiration from this magical time.
Nowadays, I live on a wooded hill with my husband and two kids, a playful poodle, and a plethora of rowdy chickens.
Tell us a little about Shadelands and where you got the idea for the story.
In Shadelands, a Starbeam girl must evade controlling imps to save a friend, reclaim her light, and return to the family she lost.
I first got the idea for the story over a decade ago when I used my negative thoughts to create a tiny, shoulder-riding imp and gave him the name, Pester. A short story then followed that was more an allegory than an adventure tale, but the idea set the foundation for the later novel. In rewriting Shadelands, aspects of Latvian folklore—Daughters of the Sun, from which I derived Starbeams, and devils who kidnap people to drag them into their forest world, from which I made imps—were added to give the story substance. The concept was finalized when I used the idea that listening to negative voices causes us to walk in shadow. But positivity draws us into light.
How will you measure whether it is a success or not?
I’ve been amazed at how successful it’s already been. But I suppose if I received several good reviews and was able to earn enough in sales to cover the initial cost of publishing, that would be a good measure of my book’s success.
How did you find Argyle Fox Publishing, and what made you think we would be a good fit for your book?
I found Argyle Fox Publishing through an internet search. I’d been doing my homework about what to look for, and when I came across Argyle, I was impressed with the story of its founder—how [the company] was made by an author for authors. I liked the fact that their books were published through Ingram spark, and that the cost of publishing was reasonable. Seeing that they also had many children’s books listed on their site, I knew my juvenile fantasy would be in good hands if they accepted my work.
While your book only published recently, what feedback have you received from readers?
The feedback I’ve received so far has been wonderful, both by word of mouth and online. One example of a five-star review on Amazon states:
“As a homeschool mom of a 10-year-old avid reader, I am always on the lookout for quality books. Shadelands not only fits the bill for me as a parent educator but also my daughter who couldn’t put the book down. She loved how the book kept her on her toes and didn’t follow the typical run-of-the-mill plot lines. When asked if it was similar to any other books she has read, she said it was a one-of-a-kind—making Shadelands a keeper! Her favorite character was Nia, who she related to as an overcomer. The only negative thing she said (if you can call it negative) is that she wished there was more! Here’s hoping for more from this author!”
What are you doing (or plan to do soon) to get your book in readers’ hands?
I’ve been using various online platforms, including Amazon ads, Facebook, Twitter, Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Bargain Booksy, target.com, and an iPage listing. I’ve answered interview questions for an indie book blogger on Twitter, and I’m awaiting a Booklife review coming in November. Locally, I’ve been asking libraries to have a copy on hand, and I’ve been handing out copies to friends and family.
What did you learn about the publishing process that surprised you?
I guess I was surprised by how involved it was. I knew I’d be expected to go over everything before its release. But I didn’t realize how much creativity it would take to design a book illustration, or how involved I would be in finalizing edits. Overall though, I’d be happy to do it over again.
What would you say to writers who are nervous about taking the next step and looking for a book publisher?
I’d tell them to trust their instincts. If they feel their book is fully vetted and ready for the wider world, and they want to kickstart their writing career, go for it. There’s no shame in taking that next step.
Do you have another book in process? If so, can you give us the inside scoop on it?
I’m currently in the outlining process for a young adult fantasy novel I’ve given the temporary title Beetle Fire. The current premise is about a gnomish teen who must overcome his troubled past to save the city of Beetle Fire’s magical cave trees from a rival gang before their ignorant act of destruction destroys their entire civilization.
Where can readers find you online?
Is there anything else the world should know about you or your writing?
As a Christian author, I write within the lines of my faith. While I do not necessarily write Christian books, I try to include traditional values and morals within the book’s structure that are consistent with the church’s teaching. Shadelands is certainly no exception.
Rachel, thanks so much for writing your story and trusting us with it. Because of you, we were forced to reconsider our commitment to books under 20,000 words. Thank you for that. Here’s to success!
Have you written a great juvenile fantasy that needs publishing? Now that Rachel broke the mold, we’d love to consider it for publication. Look around the site to see if you think we’d be a good fit for your book. Then submit your manuscript for consideration. Happy writing!