Reviewer Spotlight: Rachel Castleberg


Anatomy of an Uncustomary Writer

Reviewer Spotlight - Rachel Castleberg

What’s the oddest thing you own?

A, for lack of a better term, vase, short and made of clay with blue-green glaze, with a very severe/alien looking face molded into the front of it. My sister made it in a high school art class. I honestly can’t remember if she gave it to me or if I accidentally stole it.

Any writing rituals?

I need the room to be clean if I’m going to do my best writing. In fact, it’s best if all my household chores are done. It frees up psychic space in my brain. However, this rarely happens. I mostly write panicked snippets in the nearest notebook.

What substance (prescribed, illegal or from the freezer section) most inspires your writing?

A cup of Earl Grey tea and plate of Scottish short bread.

What’s the biggest advantage of your greatest disadvantage?

As a horrible procrastinator, I can still write well under pressure.

Which language do you wish you could speak to ask what question to whom?

Spanish so Pablo Neruda and I could have a leisurely conversation on poetic metaphor while we drank coffee on a balcony overlooking the ocean.

Describe your relationship with inspiration.

It only comes when I don’t have time to write, when I’m so busy with other things that ideas can sit in the back of my mind undisturbed.

The formula for the perfect day is:

A productive morning accompanied by a well-brewed cup of tea and a pastry, a nap after lunch, dinner with friends or family, and good conversation for dessert.

Anatomy of the Book

Do you prefer…

…chapter titles or chapter numbers? Numbers. Titles feel too much as if the author is trying to control my reaction to the next part of the story.
…short stories, a series, or a collection of poems? A series, especially if the characters are good. I want them to live as long as possible.
…footnotes, maps or indices? Footnotes. Easy to read, easy to skip.
…hardcover, softcover or digital cover? Softcover. I’m really rough on books (my own books, not other people’s books), which is bad if you buy expensive hardcovers, but especially bad if you have an e-reader.

Anatomy of the Reading List

What does your reading list look like? Is it a pile of books, a list of titles or a mental medley of thoughts?

Completely mental and always morphing. I’ll read just about anything that someone puts in front of me, including food labels.

Which book do you feel obligated to read next?

The YA Percy Jackson and Fablehaven series. My husband is having trouble waiting for me to read them so we can talk about them.

Which do you actually wish you were reading right now?

Terry Pratchett’s Snuff.

Uncustomary Book Reviews Written by Rachel Castleberg: Here’s the list.

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