Staying quiet will destroy her, but speaking up will destroy everyone. Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete. But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.
First and foremost, I'd like to welcome you to the blog, Rachele!
Thanks! I’m happy to visit! (pulls out hostess gift, and hands you a cheesecake!)
What was the hardest thing about the whole writing process? Revisions and editing? Brainstorming at the very beginning?
I don’t think there was one part of the process that was harder than the others.
Each step had it’s own challenges. Even now, when I’m pretty much done with
everything that I will do to the book, I’m still keep busy with marketing. There is
always something new, but that’s what keeps it all fun and exciting!
On average, how many words did you write a day?
This varies. During the week, I do a lot of editing or more marketing stuff. My
brain is usually too exhausted from teaching to sit down and produce new words.
I do most of my writing on the weekend, when I can average 5+ hours a day. I’m
lucky enough to have summer vacation, so I write most of my early drafts then
and then spend the school year revising.
How did you keep on track and avoid distractions such as Twitter?
I handwrite pretty much everything first. It’s rare to find me just sit down at my
computer and start typing. Writing by hand keeps me away from the distractions
of the Internet and when I do sit down to type, it’s as if I already have a first draft.
How and when did you come up with the idea for Canary?
Canary started as a project for an education class in college. We had to write a
multi-genre paper about a topic that we felt was important in high school. The
paper consisted of research presented in a variety of different ways (pictures,
essays, narratives, poems, song lyrics…) I focused on sexual assault and told
the story of a teenage girl who had to face the rumors and harassments of her
peers after a classmate created a fictitious story about what happened between
them. After I turned in the project, I realized that I had a story fighting to come
out, and that’s how the early idea for Canary was born. In fact, one of the poems
that I used is in the book.
Was it difficult to write the scenes where Kate was assaulted?
Emotionally, the assault scene was very hard for me to write. It’s all fade to
black, so it wasn’t the actuality of putting the words down on the paper that gave
me trouble, it was more putting my main character through something like this
(especially since she’d already been through so much and was fighting to come
What's the most important piece of advice you would tell a young aspiring writer?
To keep yourself fed on a steady stream of books. Read as much as you can.
Read anything and everything and then write, write, write! Write what you love,
for yourself. If you’re true to your own writing, it will sound authentic.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve always loved to write. One of my favorite teachers ever was my fifth grade
English teacher, Miss Radcowski. She told us all to bring in a notebook and we
started class each day by writing for ten minutes. I looked forward to her class
and the notes she’d write in my journal when we had to turn them in. She was
defiantly someone who first taught me to love writing.
Were there any songs you listened to for inspiration while writing Canary?
I have a whole Canary playlist! It would get me in the mood to write:
What do you think that readers will most enjoy about Canary?
I really enjoyed writing about a character who is not perfect, but is just trying to
be herself and to find her place in the world. I’d love my readers to be able to
connect to that and maybe even find a piece of themselves in Kate’s journey.
Thanks again for being here with us!
Thanks for having me! (Points at the cheesecake and wonders if you’re going to
cut it, so we can all dig in!)
About the Author
Rachele Alpine is a lover of sushi, fake mustaches, and Michael Jackson. One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. By day she’s a high school English teacher, and by night she writes with the companionship of the world’s cutest dog, Radley, a big cup of coffee, and a full bag of gummy peaches. Rachele lives with her husband in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.