About

 Short Version

Hailing from Texas, I’m a former U.S. Army Captain, with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan under my belt. I have a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Journalism from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. I just finished writing SUFFUSION, my first fantasy novel, and am gearing up to delve into the query trenches in August. When I’m not writing, I enjoy hiking, reading and jamming out to Celtic music and movies scores. I’m also an avid coffee drinker, lover of pigs, and hope to one day travel to every country in the world. I currently reside in New York with my husband where I work at Education First as an ESL teacher.

Not-so-short Version

I grew up on a small farm in Fredericksburg, Texas. At the age of twelve, after writing and illustrating a book for a fifth-grade homework assignment, I fell in love and decided right then and there–I wanted to be a writer.

I went to Texas A&M University and earned a B.S. in Agricultural Journalism. No, I didn’t want to write about cows and plows (though 4-H and FFA made college easier with some nice scholarships, of which I’ll always be grateful). Much to my dismay, I soon realized journalism wasn’t for me.

I wasn’t so talented at writing concisely, (hence this long ass bio). Hard news stories were the bane of my existence. I didn’t understand the point of writing a whole story if people were only going to read the lead sentence. So to escape the miseries of my undergraduate purgatory, I wrote my first novel FLICKER OF A CANDLE. Soon after, a thief broke into my house, stole my laptop, and since I didn’t know jackshit about backing anything up, the flicker was snuffed out of my candle. I rewrote my novel from memory, but it was crap. I shelved it and moved on.

After graduation, I got married way too soon. When I joined the Army and deployed to Iraq in 2010, I came back divorced in 2011. I was home for a year and then redeployed to Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013. There, I earned an M.A. in Creative Writing (much more my speed than Rachel Fikes Soldierjournalism) and wrote another book. BUNKER OF ABSOLUTION was its name, but I should’ve called it BUNKER OF ABSOLUTE SHIT. I queried tons of agents, received tons of rejections and then finally realized, it too, was cow manure–as was my writing. I shelved it and moved on.

The Army had a way of shaking me up. I had taken so many things for granted as an American. Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. It took me deploying to the desert to pull my head out of my arse and find my purpose. I decided that when I returned home, I’d never taken anything for granted again.

Rachel Fikes Ms. EarthAnd I didn’t. I ran marathons. I completed a half-ironman, a humbling experience; sixty-year-old women left me in their dust. I got scuba certified, which I ‘d still love to dive with Great Whites if anyone is interested. I went skydiving, (though had I not been strapped to a beautiful Australian man, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to jump). I competed for Ms. Texas US and won. I competed for Ms. Earth and won, and spent the better part of a year traveling to India, Singapore, the UK and Australia, working with different charities.
Rachel Fikes Ms. Earth

I had lived. But I still felt incomplete. At the end of 2014, I moved to New York, hoping to get as close as possible to the publishing industry and started working part-time on a Ph.D. in Critical and Creative Writing. It was going to take me eight years to complete if I stayed in the States. If I moved to my school, Bangor University in Wales, I could finish it in three. I made preparations to go, and had my student visa approved, when a friend-turned-boyfriend, asked me to stay. So, of course, I couldn’t leave. I asked his mother’s permission to propose to him, gathered all his friends (told him it was a housewarming party), dolled myself up and even got down on one knee. You can watch the video here.

Wedding shotOctober 2017, we had a little backyard wedding. I wore mint. (This was my second wedding. The jig was up). I can be artsy when I try, and I created my bouquet out of a tattered James Patterson novel, TRUTH OR DIE, ironically. I also love making cakes and crafted mine in the shape of a typewriter, and made his, into a police car because well, he’s a cop. You can see our wedding here. We went to Ireland for our honeymoon, where I became inspired by the setting of Game of Thrones. When we came back home, I binge-watched the show, ordered the books and then binged on them. I’d never been a massive fan of fantasy, but man, George. R.R. Martin was my gateway drug into this realm.

Cliffs of MoherIt finally dawned on me. I’d spent over twenty years writing about our world and the miseries of war and reality when I could’ve been creating my own fantasy world instead. An idea popped into my head, and I cranked out 105k words in two months. I finally found my niche. I’ve never felt this way about my writing. I’m obsessed with my world and my characters, spend every waking minute thinking about them, haven’t slept worth a shite in months, and guess what? I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. My baby is currently with the fabulous editors at Author Crash Course, undergoing in-line edits. I’m hoping by the end of August; I’ll be ready to start querying. In the meantime, to keep myself from going insane, I’m working on a couple of new sci-fi/fantasy projects, while teaching ESL classes with Education First. I currently reside in the Hudson Valley in New York with Chris, my OCD husband (no joke, he vacuums like three times a day) and our eight-year-old puppy Zowie.

Stay Tuned.

rachel fikes (22)

 

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