Rachelle Dekker joins us to talk about her latest book, The Calling, the most enjoyable part of Remko’s story, and the fictional character she became quite attached to.
Melissa: I really liked Remko in The Choosing and was so pleased to see that this book was going to focus on him. He has these endearing insecurities and struggles that are an instant draw and make him quite relatable. As the author, what has been the most enjoyable and fulfilling part of telling his story?
Rachelle: Fear has always been something that I have dealt with, so writing about facing fear from Remko’s perspective was a treat. I really got to dive into what can stir up true fear and then write about all I’ve learned or am learning. So telling his story in a way is telling mine.
Melissa: I very much enjoyed the storyline for The Calling, but in my opinion the themes are what set this book apart. The control of fear and surrendering fear are vividly portrayed. However, my favorite parts are about purpose and what is our true calling. Which themes ended up being your favorites and offer the most encouragement for you?
Rachelle: I believe all these themes really go hand in hand, but I loved learning about surrender and then writing about it in a dramatic way. The entire process was a real learning experience for me.
Melissa: I have this bad habit of becoming overly attached to certain characters. What have been some of your favorite fictional characters that perhaps you became a little bit too attached to?
Rachelle: There’s the series call the Mortal Instruments and I remember being completely into one of the main characters named Simon. He was the smart, clever, best friend that was always just me favorite. The series is pretty intense throughout and I kept thinking, “If he dies so help me…” that was pretty dramatic.
Melissa: I have always found the opening quote, poem, prologue, etc. to be an important part of the book. It sets the stage and gives the reader a good idea of what themes they’re going to encounter. I love the opening poem in this book. It is written by your sister and it’s absolutely beautiful and works perfectly for this story. Tell us a little about the background to this poem and how it made its way into your book. Did Kara write it just for you or is it something she’s had tucked away?
Rachelle: I have always loved my sister’s poetry and wanted to start my books with something different and original, so I asked her to help. She wrote this poem specifically for the novel, after discussing it in length with me. Poetry isn’t a gift of mine, and I’m always amazed by how she can tell a such a strong story with such few words.
Melissa: I don’t want to go into spoilers, but there is one particular character that didn’t do exactly what I wanted him to do. In fact, he seems to be going a direction I absolutely do not want him to go. In what ways has he surprised you? Or is he doing exactly what you expected from the beginning?
Rachelle: Yeah I always knew where he was headed. It was important for the story and actually one of my favorite characters to write. But don’t worry his story isn’t over yet, we still have one more book!
Melissa: A fun part of dystopian novels is finding out what the antagonistic organization is plotting or what terrible oppression they are already enforcing. The Authority’s plan in The Calling is definitely unsettling and something I’d rather pass on. In the dystopian novels you’ve read, which oppressive organization’s plot have you decided you’d like to absolutely avoid at all cost?
Rachelle: Well I think the situation in the Hunger Game would be terrible. The entirety of civilization tuning in to watch kids fight to the death? Yeah I would not want to be stuff there.
Melissa: I came to a part in this book where Carrington is talking to Remko and she says, “Is that what living is for you? Breathing? We’ll just end up right back where we started. Living isn’t about flesh and bone and breathing. It’s about faith. Faith that surpasses fear. Faith in something bigger than yourself. That’s what we’re doing here, showing people how to live!” When I first read this, my immediate response was, I don’t like this. Remko’s view is much more comfortable. But after giving it some thought, I agree with you and really like how you presented it. What has been your strongest reaction to a theme that you’ve written?
Rachelle: I can’t go into much, but some of the themes in the third novel really did a number on me. I always know that there are strong when I have to walk away for a moment because they’ve impacted me so much.
Melissa: What’s next for you and the Seers?
Rachelle: Like I mentioned, there is one more book in this series, and the journey isn’t over yet. It’s written and I’m working on the fine-tuning now. I’m excited to see what readers think about where the series ends up. It’s really a wild ride!
To learn more about Rachelle and her books, visit her website or connect with her through Facebook or Twitter.