Winterview with Author Rachel Brick (Composer IceRequiem)

To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. We’ve also partnered with additional artists and authors for a few surprises throughout the winter. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our blog hop for a sneak peek at who’s on the roster in the coming weeks.

Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m trained as a biomedical scientist, currently working as a research scientist for a small company in New Jersey. During my PhD studies, I discovered my passion for writing stories and composing violin/piano music. Most of my music pieces are instrumental, either classic orchestral, or some kind of classical/electronic fusion. This has become my “night job,” in addition to writing and caring for my little budgie friend.

2. What types of books do you write, and why?

I began writing sci-fi because at the time, I’d just read/watched a rash of stories depicting scientists as the “evil mastermind.” Being a scientist myself, and getting to know plenty of other scientists in the process, I got a little sour and tired of stories only depicting scientists in a negative light, as though their experiments and expertise could only ever be used for nefarious purposes. I set out to write a story where scientists were the heroes, and not only because they’re useful for combating rogue viruses/plagues. I found that I did indeed struggle with writing the story, and not only because writing itself is difficult. Turns out, it’s ridiculously easy to make science seem evil. I think for all my efforts, though, I ended up with a story where the scientists may not be the most angelic people on the planet, and they’ve made some terrible mistakes, and some make questionable choices—but they are passionate about their family and work, and empathic toward their neighbors. They ultimately aim for their work to leave a positive impact on the world. They are, in other words, human.

3. What were your early influences, and how does this manifest in your work today?

When I first started writing, I tried to model my writing after Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I love his books and the voice, and I wanted to emulate that so much. As a result, my writing initially used a real lot of adverbs, which, uh… I learned was Bad. At the time, I didn’t understand that debut authors should follow all the rules, whereas NYT bestselling authors were given more leeway in breaking those rules. So, there’s a lot fewer adverbs now, though I do still tend to use them more for humorous purposes than anything else.

4. Are there aspects of the craft that excite you more than others?

I think the initial stages of the craft is probably the most exciting for me. The seeds of an idea, brainstorming, watching those seeds grow and spiral into something tangible. Then, of course, I sit down to write it out, all excited, and I see the blank page and everything flies right out of my head. It does eventually come back though!

5. What books or websites are your go-to places while editing?

I used to be quite a fan of ProWritingAid, and every once in a while I’d use HemmingwayApp. Now, though, I tend to bypass all those and go right to my trusty CPs 🙂

6. Tell us about your writing space (music/snacks/interruptions/etc.)

I generally have some kind of TV series playing in the background on my second computer screen—generally something I’ve already seen, otherwise I’ll pay attention to the video instead of my writing. Sometimes writing can get a little lonely, so I tend to have my chat messengers up and running as well. My goal is to one day have my budgie be comfortable enough with me to join me at my desk and distract me 🙂

7. Tell us about your current WIP or your latest book release.

Project: Yggdrasil is the first book of my sci-fi trilogy. It follows the story of a genetically engineered soldier named Morrighan, who can manipulate metal with her mind. Due to her brother’s betrayal, she and two of her siblings are captured during a mission. The enemy intends to infuse them with newly developed drugs. Morrighan manages a jailbreak, stealing a vial of the drug during the escape. She plans to return home to Helix campus, where her “parents” (the group of scientists who created her) can analyze the content of the vials in their labs, only to find that the enemy has razed everything to the ground in her absence. Morrighan’s journey continues to the next best place to figure out the effects of the enemy’s drug, New Athens, the city of scholars. Unfortunately, the enemy realizes this too—and they plan a visit to New Athens as well, but for very different reasons.

I’ve also started work on a contemporary urban fantasy. The plot is still rather hazy right now, but I can tell you that it will be set in Pittsburgh, PA (where I did my graduate school, and thus is the city I know best). There will be also be a talking cockatoo. Her name is Giggles.


Curious to know more about Rachel Brick aka IceRequiem? Be sure to visit her website, hang out on her blog, listen to music on her soundcloud, follow her on Twitter, stalk her on Facebook, or poke around her stuff on YouTube and Instagram.

Don’t forget to check out this year’s Winterviews and partner interviews. You can also follow this blog and be the first to know when new content is released.

2 comments to Winterview with Author Rachel Brick (Composer IceRequiem)

  • Maria A Guglielmo  says:

    Great article and a beautiful novel aesthetic!

  • Lexi  says:

    Great interview Rachel! It was a lot of fun finding out more about you. And…Maria, you beat me to the punch on commenting on the aesthetic! WOW, what a lovely look inside of your book Rachel. Also, I totally have to go check out your writing resources. Thanks for sharing. The initial stages of writing are super fun! Last thing, I totally giggled about the blank page thing. Thanks for sharing that! Again great interview! It was super fun to read KJ and Rachel!

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