Welcome, Rachelle The Spotlight Is On You.
Rachelle, Tell us about yourself?
I am a mother of three (or four, counting my son Ross) who loves to read, write, and arithmetic (I was a math major). I am a born-again Christian and play the violin, mountain dulcimer and mandolin.
Tell us about your book?
Hidden Under Her Heart is a story about a young nurse struggling with her decision to abort after being raped. It shows the emotional consequences of abortion on both men and women.
2013 marks 40 years of legalized abortion in the United States. 53 million lives have been lost and countless others have been impacted. I decided to write a non-political fictional story exploring both sides of the abortion decision. One out of every three women of childbearing age in America has had an abortion. I would bet that a similar percentage of men have been touched by it. I came up with the idea while brainstorming a romantic suspense about a woman who wanted to catch a rapist by keeping her baby. The story transformed into something different when I realized prenatal testing could very well extract the baby’s DNA, so there went my plot!
What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?
To examine their feelings about abortion beyond the labels of pro-life and pro-choice. Too many of us take polarizing labels and positions without consideration of the feelings of those in the opposite camp. My two protagonists are in love, but disagree on the fundamental issue of abortion on demand. At the end, both of them are transformed.
Where can visitors find you online?
My blog http://www.rachelleayala.com where I feature author interviews and guest posts is a lively place. Readers can also find me at my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/rachelleayalawriter and send me a message. I welcome readers to talk back to me and let me know what they feel about my books.
E-mail me directly if you wish: ayala (dot) rachelle (at) gmail (dot) com
What inspired you to write this book?
My friend, Matt Patterson, wrote a book about his daughter, Emily, who had Down syndrome and died of leukemia at a young age. I have a son who was born at 26 weeks gestation and lived only 3 weeks in the NICU. Matt encouraged me to write something that would heal my wounds. I did it by revisiting the entire pregnancy and birth, looked at all the pictures, read my journal and tackled it head on. After all the grief, there is only acceptance and reliance on God’s grace.
What’s next for you?
I’ll probably write another romantic suspense. I really enjoy that genre and look forward to plotting diabolical villains and explosive situations. I don’t have anything concrete right now because I am decompressing from Hidden Under Her Heart.
How can someone get a copy of the book?
It is currently available in ebook only because I’m waiting for my cover designer to complete the wraparound cover. It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.
Readers can find all of the links at my Book Page: http://www.rachelleayala.com/p/hidden-under-her-heart.html
What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?
I am a character-driven writer so getting into the head of my female main character, Maryanne Torres, was very difficult. I had to imagine myself raped, pregnant and struggling with the decision to abort. I hope I didn’t come across too clichéd, but I did have to rewrite chapter 17 several times [the one where she discusses her decision with her boyfriend, Lucas]. Revisiting the scenes of my son’s short life was also hard, but in some sense it was cathartic.
Did you have to do any special research for your book?
I read abortion survivors’ stories on the internet, scoured bulletin boards and forums, and experienced the distress and heartbreak caused by hasty decisions. One of the questions I ask at the end is, that if you’ve had an abortion, how does your feelings about it change through the years. I imagine if you had one when you were a teen, you were probably relieved. But as the years roll by, and you have another child, then become a grandmother, your feelings change. I saved myself from doing research on the rape by having my protag drugged and unable to remember it. I didn’t want to divert the story into a PTSD situation and dilute my plotline.
Why do you write?
Is it something you've always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
I write as long as I have something begging to be said. I’ve written on and off through childhood and college, but when I became a software engineer, I concentrated mostly in writing code and technical specifications. My first full length novel was Michal’s Window, inspired by my study of the Bible and wondering what it would be like to be King David’s tragic first wife.
How did you feel when you got the first copy of your book?
I haven’t received a copy yet because it is not available in print. But since I do my own formatting and prep work, it doesn’t feel as exciting, but more like relief that it is finally done.
Hidden Under Her Heart (A Story of Abortion & Courage) was released January 2013 in remembrance of Roe v Wade’s 40th Anniversary.
Other Books by The Author
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.
Other Books by The Author