Interview: Rachel Bateman, Associate Editor at Month9Books

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Rachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She grew up in the middle of Montana, despite living in the south (usually on a beach) in her head; now she lives in The Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming. Yes, that is capitalized, as it is (or at least should be) the official name of where she lives. Rachel works as an Associate Editor and Editorial Coordinator for Month9Books. She’s also currently rewriting a manuscript she first wrote around three years ago, called 99 DAYS OF LANEY MACGUIRE. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and herd of alpacas.

Updates on all projects show up on her blog. Check it out!

Let’s see how Rachel answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
To me, happiness is in the simple things. Like having movie night at home with my family instead of going out on a Friday. Or waking up at three in the morning to watch a meteor shower with my husband because he’s nerdy like that. And it’s definitely when one of my kids asks me for advice and I wing it because I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. These are the moments when I’m overcome by how utterly, beautifully, perfect this whole imperfect life is. Go figure.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
Rocky Raccoon by The Beatles. I don’t remember the first time I heard it, but I can guarantee I heard it many times before I was old enough to remember it. There are a lot of songs out there––even on the same album––that are much better than Rocky Raccoon, but it’s still my favorite, and has been for as long as I can recall.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I see people, like my boss, Georgia McBride, and Hank Green, and Kaleb Nation (and many others), who have this optimism and drive that blows my mind. I know they have struggles just like the rest of us, but I watch as they have an idea, KNOW that it will work, and set out to make it work, and I yearn to have that as well. They don’t hesitate, debating with themselves, worried about failure; they just run with the idea and make it happen. Maybe some people wouldn’t classify that as a talent, but I do, and it’s something I’m constantly working on.

On what occasion do you lie?
True confession: When I was younger, I used to lie about EVERYTHING. The stupidest little things, ones that had no consequence, and I would lie about them. (My dad likes to say that he could come home, smell smoke, and walk in on me holding a burning paper. And I’d say, “It wasn’t me.”) I blame it on the fact that, until I was about four or five years old, I would take the blame for everything my older sister did. And the neighbor kids. It didn’t matter who did it, I would own up and face the consequences. Once I wised up, I didn’t want to face the blame for anything, even if I did it, so I lied.

Now, I am a pretty truth-telling person. I lie to my husband sometimes, because I am TERRIBLE at keeping surprises from him, so I totally lie about what I’ve been doing, because if I let on at all that it has to do with a surprise, then I’ll completely spill what it is. Even if he never asks. I also fib to my son sometimes, because, at almost two, he can handle “It’s all gone” way better than “No more.” Yeah, probably I should just say, “No more,” and leave it at that, but sometimes I take the lazy way and say, “It’s all gone,” so he’ll not get so upset.

What is your present state of mind?
Jumbled. :) I’m getting over the plague, and trying to catch up on everything I let slide while I was sick. When I am not working, however, I am quite calm, and I love that.

What is your motto?
I don’t really have one motto that I’ve embraced, but I always try to remember that, “You’ll attract more bees with honey than vinegar.” It’s hard to always be kind, especially to people who aren’t always kind to you, but life is so much better if I am. Which isn’t to say I don’t fail at this sometimes, because I do. A lot.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Honesty. Just tell me how it is, rather than avoiding (or worse, lying) to spare my feelings. Also, loyalty. I don’t expect my friends to always agree with me or do what I want, but I do expect enough loyalty that I get the benefit of the doubt in sticky situations. I give those things to my friends, so I like to get them in return.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I won’t lie. And in my writing: just, so, that, and probably about a hundred others

Your favorite painting?
Picasso’s The Old Guitarist. I don’t know what it is about that painting, but I love it.

The Old Guitarist Pablo Picasso, 1903

The Old Guitarist
Pablo Picasso, 1903

What is your favorite journey?
Life. Any time when I’m experiencing something new or exploring the world around me. Even if that’s only through books, as is often the case. Watching my son grow and learn is an amazing journey. Amazing.

What is your favorite time of day?
Oh, this is a tough one. I used to be a morning person, then I switched and was a late night person. Then I had a kid and was forced to be a morning person again. But there is still something kind of magical about being up when the rest of the world seems to be sleeping, when everything is so still and quiet.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Well, I don’t drink coffee, but I would like to share a mean cup of hot cocoa with Raskolnikov. He can bring Sonja if he wants.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I used to say that if I read for a living, I could die happy. And now I read for a living. Of course, I said that before I had a family, which is my total joy now. I would like to see my son grow up, but even if I don’t, I think I could die happy now. I’d just prefer not to. :)

Who or what is your first love?
Water. I was always fascinated by water: the ocean, lakes, streams, rivers, all of it. I wanted to live in the water. I still do, a little.

My biggest love is my husband and son, but water is my first.

What’s the last dream you remember?
A couple nights ago I dreamed that I called my coworker, Courtney, and yelled at her for getting me sick. Through the internet. From almost 600 miles away. Yeah, the plague does weird things to the mind.

What’s your madeleine?
The smell of salty air and sunscreen. Just one whiff and I can feel the sun on my face and the sand between my toes, even if I can look out my window and see a foot of snow on the ground.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Love.

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