Interview with RaeChell Garrett


About the Author: 

“RaeChell Garrett has written everything from marketing plans to health insurance benefit schedules, but she much prefers writing novels about the ups and downs of carefree girls finding their way in the world. She lives in Michigan where she’s likely to be found trying a new recipe, talking sports with her husband or philosophizing on life with her two teenagers. Promposal is her debut” (Bio from the author’s website).

Find RaeChell Garrett on the following platforms:

A huge thank you to RaeChell Garrett for taking the time to do an interview with us at Pine Reads! Her debut young adult novel Promposal is out now from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Poppy. 
Be sure to check out our review of Promposal here!

Emilee Ceuninck: Congratulations on having your debut novel Promposal published! What is it like being a first-time author? How does it feel to have your first book being read by others?

RaeChell Garrett: Thank you! My emotions are all over the place. I’ve been writing toward publication for quite a few years, so one minute, it feels like a dream come true, and the next, I’m asking myself what I’ve done. Knowing people are reading my work is a bit scary.

EC: In honor of this big milestone, when did your passion for writing start? Have you always wanted to publish a novel?

RG: I’ve loved writing of all kinds since I was small. I did a ton of creative writing in middle and high school. As an undergrad, I majored in journalism and minored in English and only wrote academically or journalistically during that time. But soon after I graduated, I started to feel that ache to write fiction again. Nearly a decade passed before I thought to pursue fiction writing as a profession.

EC: For new or aspiring writers, what advice would you offer for generating story ideas and continuing to write even through rejection?

RG: Generating ideas is the most difficult part of the process for me. I’m not the writer with notebooks and notebooks full of ideas. My advice is to explore everything with outlining or freewriting (whatever your process is) and see if it goes anywhere. Never completely dismiss anything without seeing if you can make it work.

EC: I am a huge fan of young adult novels, especially those set in the last few months before high school graduation. What draws you to write young adult fiction?

RG: Writing YA chose me more than I chose it. I started out writing for the adult market and never finished a project. But, after I began to read more widely, I realized YA is where my voice fits. And I love it because I love firsts—first love, first job—that kind of thing, and teens are still dreaming regardless of what they’ve been through.

EC: Promposal does not skimp on the fun high school drama! How did you approach writing realistic drama that readers could relate to?

RG: I wish I had a refined answer here, but the truth is, I still remember the drama and intense feelings of high school. I don’t think I could’ve written about it while I was in the midst of it, but being several years removed helps me to see all sides and how one simple moment can impact things in ways they don’t seem to in life after high school.

EC: One of the main themes in Promposal is entrepreneurship and following Autumn’s journey creating her own promposal business. What inspired you to focus on entrepreneurship in the novel?

RG: Autumn came to me as an overachiever, and I just couldn’t imagine her working for anyone. No matter her profession, I see her as someone who would always do her best to ensure she was in control of her own destiny.

EC: The significance of prom is an important topic in Promposal. Why did you select prom as the overarching event of the novel?

RG: Autumn was going through a lot, and the angst was high in every aspect of her life. Ha ha. So I wanted to make sure I found a way to keep things fun and light for her and the reader. And prom is about as light as you can get.

EC: I adored all of the cute promposals included in your debut! Where did you get your ideas for the promposals Autumn creates?

RG: To be honest, the promposal ideas surprised even me. Promposals weren’t a thing when I was in high school. But coming up with the ideas was mostly about being in Autumn’s head and figuring out what would impress her. What would be something that would make her feel like she’d gone above and beyond what others would call “average”? That said, all except one of the promposals came in the flow of writing.

EC: A big theme throughout Promposal is self-growth, and I enjoyed watching Autumn’s confidence in herself and her ideas grow. What was the most fun, challenging, or unexpected aspect of writing her journey?

RG: The most difficult thing in writing Autumn was making sure she never lost faith in herself, even when things didn’t look like they’d go her way. She was down but never out. Many of us (likely even myself) would’ve folded at some point. But, deep down, Autumn never doubted that she was worthy of all her dreams. The most fun thing to write was Autumn’s conflicted feelings about Mekhi. She had to accept she had no control over what bubbled up in her when she was around him or whether or not the feeling was mutual.

EC: Promposal left me hungry for more of your work. Are you currently working on any other projects? Are there any genres or themes you would like to write about in the future?

RG: Thank you so much! I am working on something new. It’ll probably be out in early 2025. I’m in the beginning stages right now, but I’m already in love with my new main character. Relationships will always be a big part of my work. I love exploring how we begin to figure out where we fit in the world and who we fit with.

PRR Writer and Editor, Emilee Ceuninck