In a world where hyper-positivity, Rachael Biggs’ And I Was Like November offers a glimpse of the other side, while navigating themes of isolation and longing.
These are stories of what happens to the women that didn’t get their happy ending—the ones who don’t believe the cliches about family being everything and who know that live-laugh-love isn’t the cure all. Taboo topics that embrace a gritty reality include transactional sex, romantic obsession, maternal disdain and teenaged drug dealing are linked by the need to survive in the midst of questionable sanity and deep loneliness.
Rachael Biggs is an author, screenwriter, copywriter and journalist. She studied creative writing at UBC, UCLA, and with masters of the craft Syd Field and Robert McKee. In 2016 she earned a screenwriting diploma from Vancouver Film School with a focus on television.
Her memoir Yearning for Nothings and Nobodies debuted to critical acclaim and was adapted for the screen as Behind the Eight Ball.
She is a frequent contributor to print and on-line publications and her short fiction appears regularly in literary magazines including Door is a Jar, Angel City Review and Charge Magazine.
Rachel, welcome to the discovered Wordsmith today.
How are you doing? I’m good, thank you. Thank you for having. That’s great to have you. I can’t wait to hear about your book, but before we do that, let’s find out a little bit about you. So tell us some things about you where you live, some of the things you like to do besides writing.
Rachael: Okay. I’ve just actually moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver Canada, whereas the, which is where I’m from originally.
And what do I do besides writing? I have a puppy, a year and a half year old puppy. So I go to a lot of dog parks and dog meetups and walking of the dog. Yeah, I like to be outside. I I ski, I hike, swim, all those usual things. Nice.
Stephen: So what type of puppy did.
Rachael: He’s a long haired dash hound. He’s, oh.
With his friend right now. Cause I needed him to be quiet. or it to be quiet, got it. Just got a text that he’s crying for me oh God.
Stephen: We were chatting just a minute before this started. This is your second book. Tell us a little bit about it and why you wanted to write this.
Rachael: It’s a book of short fiction and it started out I read Stephen King’s book on writing.
If anyone hasn’t read that, I really recommend it. It’s so excellent. Yes. And he, I had self-published a book, a memoir in 2013 called Yearning for Nothings and Nobody’s, and it while critically acclaimed didn’t get much traction, it didn’t sell very well. So I was looking for ways to get published traditionally.
And I happened upon that book and he talked about writing short stories and, submitting to literary magazine. So I had never heard of that before. I guess it was in my brain somewhere, but that just, made it a reality. Thank you, Stephen King. So I started writing short stories and I had written a couple previously mostly as like outlines for bigger things.
Cause I do movies and novel type stuff as well. Yeah, I started writing short stories and I, my goal was to publish. Of them within a year and within I think it was about six months, I’d publish 10 of them. So then I had a body of short stories and then it just went from there.
I’m like, oh, I could have this as an anthology and yeah, open that
Stephen: world. Nice. So when you say you had ’em published, where did you get them all published?
Rachael: Different literary magazines. I don’t know if anyone knows about this website. It’s called Duotrope and they, it’s an excellent website. Do you know about it?
Yeah, I’ve heard of it. Yeah, it’s really cool. It’s you can search by genre and word length and everything. For publications that are accepting queries. So that’s how I did that. And what was the question, ?
Stephen: Oh, I was just curious about where they were all published. So it’s different
The first one was Dalhousie Review and then there’s 12 other ones from all around the country. And I think there’s one in Australia as well. In Canada.
Stephen: Yeah. So you wrote the short stories all separate, not necessarily intending to be a book? No. And got ’em out. What have people been saying about them?
I’m jumping around in the questions, but this is a little different than most people I talk to cause you’ve gotten stories out and feedback on them. So what have you been hearing about the different stories?
Rachael: It is a theme and I’m not a good pitcher of myself, but the theme is loosely, women in peril and like bad girl themes.
So yeah, so I’ve submitted to I was about to say adult magazines, but that sounds pornographic. It’s not like that , but yeah, I It’s your, yeah, it’s your publication. The quote that I actually have on the cover from Alo Magazine calls it a beautifully written bummer. So I think that’s sort of summarizes.
It’s like themes of loneliness and longing and, transactional sex hit and runs. Fantasies of inflicting violence on your grandmother, stuff like that.
Stephen: Wow. So why did you choose to write a bunch of stories about that? When you say dance and distress, I think of the white knight, coming into the yeah.
Not quite , right? Doesn’t sound like that. Why a bunch of stories centered around that type of a theme or that type of something that’s a little different than what I normally.
Rachael: I wouldn’t say it was intentional, it was just what flowed out of me. They’re very raw, honest.
Some of them are essay essays, so I’ll let people decide which ones they think are true . But yeah, kinda came out.
Stephen: So the overall theme, the style, the story and all that, is there any books out there that are similar that if people go, oh, I like that other book this sounds interesting. I might read that.
Rachael: Yeah. In the vein of the Glass Castle or White Oleander um, catcher and the Rye. Even there’s some mental illness themes. As well. Okay. Interesting. From a perspective. Yeah. .
Stephen: Okay. Yeah. And it’s just coming out, is that correct? It
Rachael: pre-sales are December 15th, 2022, and then it hit sells January 31st, 2023.
Stephen: Okay. Okay. So it is just, by the time the episode’s out, they’ll be able to order it Nice. Just in time.
Rachael: Just in time for our holidays if they need a light holiday. Or if you’re gonna see your family and you need something relatable. .
Stephen: Now this is your second book. How is it similar or different to your first book?
Rachael: The first one was a memoir. And that took me a really long time. It took about two years to write and edit and, get to final. Publication. This one came out a lot. It was a lot more in the flow. I wrote it mostly during Covid, so I had a lot of time and oh, hi Kitty .
Stephen: Yeah, I got a visitor
Rachael: just popped up behind your shoulder there.
Yeah, so it felt easier and also, but I’ve been writing a lot longer now. I think that’s part of it as well.
Stephen: So your first book being a memoir and this being a collection of short stories, do you feel it’s the same type of reader or different reader, different types of readers?
Rachael: Yeah, probably the same kind of reader I would say.
It’s similar style. This is maybe no it’s similar. I was gonna say, this one might be a bit edgier. Not a lot .
Stephen: Okay. All right. Yeah. Now here’s a weird question for this. Are there any maybe not the whole book, but any of the stories that you think would make a good movie or TV show?
Rachael: Probably. I’m always amazed at what they can adapt into TV and movies now. But yeah, there’s definitely. Visual element to them. I’ve been told, I’ve even been told that they can read like horror. So speaking of Stephen King, a lot of his stuff has been made into movies, obviously. So yeah, that wouldn’t surprise me.
Stephen: Okay. That’s funny you say that cuz I do a horror podcast with a friend and Oh, you do? This month I’ve been watching Christmas horror movies to get ready for Christmas movies, transitioning. Oh, I
Rachael: didn’t know that. That was a genre.
Stephen: It’s barely a genre. Most of them are really bad . But
Rachael: yeah, there’s a lot of Hallmark movies that could be considered horror, in my
Depend on your viewpoint. Definitely
So where do you have a website and where can they find the book?
Rachael: Yeah, it’s my website is rachel bigs.com and Rachel is r a c h a e l. I have to clarify that because I’m sure like your name, , it’s constantly misspelled.
Stephen: I name my daughter Megan, m a e g a n. So that’s little different spelled with the ae, like you, yeah.
Rachael: Sentenced to a lifetime of correcting people. But I do that extra a, so I do correct people. So yeah, it’s rachel bigs.com and then my Instagram is rachel underscore bigs underscore author. Twitter is at Big Z Bigs. I’m not very good about keeping up with my Twitter, but my Instagram, I’m pretty on it.
And then the book will be available. Sorry, did I cut you off?
Stephen: No, go ahead, please.
Rachael: It will be on Amazon, obviously, and in the Ingram Spark catalog. Or I guess it’s just called the Ingram Catalog. And then hopefully in, in bookstores. We’re still working on that, Barnes and Noble and some local stores, but that will be all over my social media.
Nice. Will not
Stephen: be shy about. And you mentioned Amazon. Are you going in Kindle Unlimited with this?
Rachael: I don’t know. I Ingram Spark is who I’m publishing with, and then I guess that falls under the umbrella of them. I’m not super clear on
Stephen: that yet. Okay. No, that’s fine. I was just curious because I know Kindle Unlimited.
More popular with certain types of books and genres. So I was just curious as to if that was looked at that you think your book would be good in Kindle Unlimited or not? Can you tell me about that? What Sure. So Kindle Unlimited, a lot of people don’t like it because it’s you get kinda locked in for three months.
If you get on Kind Unlimited, it’s a subscription service. I don’t know if they, I think it’s in the Canada now. I know definitely the States and a few other. . So for $10 a month, I can read as many books and Kindle Unlimited as I want. I don’t own them. It’s not really checking out the library, it’s a subscription.
If I cancel Kindle Limited, I can’t read the books anymore. And I know a lot of authors put their books in there, but it fits very well with things like Romance, where you’ll get readers that read 20 books in a week, go through and read, everything. And that’s authors make money from it. But when you’re in Kind Unlimited, you can’t publish it else.
So I was just curious cause you mentioned Amazon, but you didn’t mention like Cobo or anything like that. So I was curious.
Rachael: So that might be something that you like put your book on? Maybe not initially, but a year in or something when you want to do a little push maybe.
Stephen: Yeah. I’ve heard all sorts of things.
I know some people that put it in Kindle Unlimited when they start and nowhere else, and then after three or six months they put it, they leave it on Amazon, just not in Kindle Unlimited. Then they put it elsewhere and I know others that offer it here. And then, like you said later, they pull it off elsewhere and put it in Kindle Unlimit.
So yeah, various strategies.
Rachael: There’s so much to know now. As I said I published, self-published 10 years ago versus now. There’s just, it’s a wealth of information out there.
Stephen: We’re gonna talk about that for the second half. So for all the authors listening, that’s gonna be our topic of discussion for the second half.
And do you have plans for a third book? Cause it sounds, we had a long time between it didn’t sound like it
Rachael: wasn’t my intention to wait 10 years, but life just happened. I was working in TV and that sort of took over my life for a but yes I do, I have, I’m actually, I have.
It’s memoir slash educational with regard to cancer and like holistic treatments to cancer. I lost my dad in 2015 and it was really difficult to navigate all of the treatments and, everything’s happening so fast and you’re so emotional. So it’s a memoir slash informational book.
Which I have no idea if it will find , a place in the world, but I’m writing it regardless. Okay,
Stephen: nice. So totally different from the first two books. You seem to keep doing something a little different each time.
Rachael: Yeah, it’s not completely different in that it’s a memoir and my first book was, About my mother.
She was she was schizophrenic and a drug addict, and it’s our lives intertwined. So this one will be about my dad and our life together. So there’s a little bit of similarity, but yeah, that there is the interesting educational component as well.
Stephen: Oh, that’s interesting. I like that. Yeah. Ok so let’s go off your book for a minute.
Do you have any favorite books and authors that you like to read?
Rachael: Yeah, it’s hard to choose, just one, but some of my favorites. I really like Donna Tart. Who, the Gold Finch, obviously. And secret History, which I liked as much as the Gold Finch. I love Tom Robbins. He’s such a freaky. Do you know Tom Robbins?
Stephen: I’ve heard the name. I haven’t read
Rachael: anything. He, his, probably his most famous one was They made it into a movie with Umma Thurman cowgirls. Is it even half asleep in frog Pajamas is my favorite. And then it’s the cowgirls one. She’s got the giant thumb. Do you
Stephen: remember that? Yeah. I Not ready to bell.
Rachael: you haven’t read it, but yeah. Tom Robbins I like Kaku. Yeah, I’m always reading like different like spiritual kundalini kind of books as well. I tend to have a novel, some kind of self-help spiritual book and then some kind of educational book on the go.
Stephen: Do you like to read a paper or do you just read Kindle paper?
Rachael: do that myself every time I move, but , I do like a good old fashioned paper.
Stephen: Yeah it gets to be a little overwhelming. I’m discovering more and more digital, it’s easier to carry around, like you said. Yeah,
Rachael: I have a Kindle, but I just, I never even remember that I have it, I’m just like, wow.
And I keep buying books. Oh my God. Just get a, use your Kindle. But anyways, .
Stephen: Okay. So when you are buying your books, do you have a favorite local bookstore you like to go to? I do.
Rachael: It’s called Pulp Fiction here in Vancouver. Yeah, it’s a great store. They have new and used books and yeah, I could just spend hours in there, but every city has a favorite bookstore for me.
Portland has some great ones. LA has a really great one. Actually they have a few great ones downtown, but there’s one on the the Venice Boardwalk called Small. It’s a small world books or just small world books. So yeah, I find them wherever
Stephen: I. Yeah, me and my kids, when we went on vacation, we used to look for bookstores everywhere.
Rachael: Where are you anyway? What city are you in?
Stephen: I’m in Ohio Northeast Ohio. Right by Kent State. Everybody, Kent State from the shooting, so unfortunately that’s, yeah.
Rachael: Yeah. Unfortunate. Yeah, I, Ohio makes me think of Dave Chappelle. He lives.
Stephen: Yes. He lives down in Yellow Springs, down southern Ohio. Been through there, haven’t seen him, but it’s a cool little hippie town.
Rachael: Yeah. Yeah. That’s all I think of when with Ohio, .
Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. You’re not the only one than very much yeah. That’s outdated. I don’t wanna say forgotten, but it’s, different generation at this point, yeah. Alright, so before we talk some author stuff and move. Rachel if someone came up to you and said, Hey, I heard you wrote another book.
Why should I get your book and read it? What would you tell ’em? Ooh, .
Rachael: I would probably run nervously in the other direction. I’m so bad at self-promotion, but , let me give it a shot. It’s it’s very honest and raw and I feel like we live in this world. Everything is presented as being so glossy and unreal.
And this is the opposite of that. So if you want to feel like real connection with characters and people and you’re tired of, fake then I think this is probably a good read.
Stephen: Nice. Great. All right. I wish you best of luck. I hope the presales go well over the Christmas thank holidays.
Thank you. It goes on presale the day before my birthday, so Oh, I’m all for that . That’s a good, yeah. There you go. I’m bestowing good os upon you. Thank you. You’re welcome.