Rebecca Serle is a full-time writer, which means she gets to wear pajamas to work. She went to the University of Southern California, then got her MFA from the New School in NYC. (She likes New York much more than LA, but don’t tell anyone that.) Rebecca loves shiny hair, coffee, yoga, and pretending to be British. She, too, experienced heartbreak once. It worked out okay, though, because she turned the experience into her first novel, WHEN YOU WERE MINE. Find out more on my site and follow me on twitter!
Let the conversation begin!
What is your writing process? Do you work from an outline?
I work off more of a bullet-pointed list. Generally my process goes like this: I will be awoken at 3 am with a crazy idea and think “I guess it could be a book? Sure, why not!” Then I will spend about 30 pages “writing my way in,” which means I just explore— who should tell this story? Where should it be set? What’s the best way to get across what I’m really trying to say?
After those 30 pages I’ll take stock and make a list of about 20-30 plot points I think I have to hit before the novel ends. My stories are not well behaved, though. They are quite disobedient. To say I plot ahead would just be a blatant lie.
Do you enjoy speaking engagements? Or would you rather stay locked in your office, writing?
Mmmm, this is a good question. I’m fairly new at this, and frankly, yes, speaking in front of an audience scares me—as do a multitude of other things I’ve done in the past few weeks: Being on TV, doing radio tours, giving readings, etc. But I will say this: it’s getting easier. With each public thing I do I become a little more sure of myself, this book, and what I’m really here to say. For me, this part has been surprisingly fullfilling. I find I’m learning more and more about myself, and why I’m a writer.
Who was your hero when you were a child?
Any author. Really anyone who wrote a book. I also loved Jennifer Love Hewitt. Yeah— she was my girl crush for sure.
Who inspires you and how are you a bit like them?
My friends inspire me. I’m so blessed to know and work alongside incredible authors. My dear friend Leila Sales is also my writing partner and she’s so funny and witty and wonderful. The thing I respect the most about Leila is that her books always deal with something— they’re always in pursuit of an idea that hangs just a bit higher that the individual story at hand. I’d like to think I do that, too. I really wanted to explore the dialogue between fate and free will, so I wrote When You Were Mine. It’s not just about a girl and a boy. It’s about what heartbreak means, how it’s linked to destiny…that, to me, is the meat of our work. I really learned that from Leila.
How did you learn to ride a bicycle?
My best friend’s older brother taught me. I have a scrapbook filled with pictures of it, too!
Based on something you’ve already done, how might you make it into the Guinness Book of World Records?
Greatest caffeine intake. Without a shadow of a doubt.
When was the last time you did something for the first time? What was it?
I walked in a fashion show a few weeks ago. It was terrifying, but a lot of fun. You can see it here. That’s my family cheering.
If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
Sing on Broadway. If there is a different answer to that question, I am not aware of what it is.
What is your definition of a productive day?
Words on a page. Any number of them. The more, the better.
What is your definition of a relaxing day?
Some form of physical exercise and maybe enjoying the sunshine with friends.
Have you ever jumped out of a plane? If you knew you would survive, would you do it?
No, I never have. I don’t think my fear of that comes from not surviving—I think it’s more from the free-falling minutes. So, yeah. Probably not. But, you know, I never say never anymore!
What was your nickname growing up or now?
Rebecca has a lot of nicknames, but most of my friends call me “beccs.” No offense to any of you out there—but I never liked the nickname “becky.” When I was younger people would try it out and it just wasn’t me. I think if you’re Rebecca you are either a “becca” or a “becky.” I’m definitely a becca. Not sure what that says about me? Comment away!