Finalist Spotlight

Rachel Huffmire

Rachel Huffmire grew up surrounded by wheat fields and gardens. Her mother paid her a dollar per classic novel she read, so in a quest to amass a small fortune Rachel finished over 200 classic novels in elementary school. In college, she ran to the BYU bookstore for her first job. Behind the register, she watched local authors hold book signings and began dreaming up plots of her own. She currently lives in Southern California where she enjoys sand at its finest: the beach and the desert. She enjoys playing board games with her two little boys, snuggling her baby girl, and reading bedtime stories to her husband every night.

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Rachel Huffmire on her Whitney Awards Finalist novel,

Spinning Briar

What was the inspiration for your Whitney Awards finalist novel?

Spinning Briar is a retelling of Charles Perrault’s “The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood” mixed with historical research from medieval France.

What was the tipping point that turned this novel from “just an idea” to a project you HAD to complete?

While writing my first novel in the series, Shattered Snow, I fell in love with a side character named Charul and knew I HAD to write a story just for him. I left his storyline in the first book open to a spin off, giving him his own epilogue. I’m so glad I did!

 How did this book evolve into the final story? Did it end up the way you thought it would, or did the plot or characters change along the way?

I am a huge believer in outlines and I had every detail of this story laid out before I even sat down to write… And then my characters rebelled… Maybe it’s because I was writing teenagers. Their demands took me by surprise. I tried forcing them into submission, but their dialogue immediately turned snarky and they refused to get along with each other unless I let them take their own paths. It was the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me. I think they had a much better story planned than I did though, so I’m glad I decided to follow along in the end.

Who is your favorite secondary character, and why?

I absolutely love Tia. She’s sweet and naïve in some ways, but has a deep sense of loyalty and grit that make me think she can accomplish just about anything.

If your book was made into a movie, which scene would you want to be a background extra in?

I’d love to be a part of the scene where the castle falls asleep. That scene is anything but boring…