About

Short Version

I’m an OEF/OND veteran and SFF writer from the Texas Hill Country. When I’m not writing, you can find me nestled on my balcony in Austin, reading, enjoying a local stout, and praying for rain, or jamming out to Celtic music and irritating my neighbors while I learn how to play the bagpipes. I’m represented by the brilliant Naomi Davis at BookEnds Literary Agency

Not-so-short Version

I grew up on a small farm in Fredericksburg, Texas. 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.

In 2008, I earned a B.S. in Agricultural Journalism from Texas A&M University. No, I didn’t want to write about cows and plows, though 4-H and FFA scholarships certainly made college easier, and I’ll always be grateful. But much to my dismay, I soon realized journalism wasn’t for me.

I wasn’t so talented at writing concisely, hence this long 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 reading the lead sentence. So to escape the miseries of my undergraduate purgatory, I wrote my first full-length work, a mystery novel, FLICKER OF A CANDLE. Soon after, a thief broke into my house, stole my laptop, and since I hadn’t backed 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.

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After graduation, I joined the army and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn in 2010. I was home for a year and then redeployed to Afghanistan in 2012 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. There, I shared a room no larger than a closet with another lieutenant. It was so small, only one of us could fully stand at a time. I ended up writing a military thriller at the foot of my bed atop a tough box. This would be such a great story if this novel, written amid incoming fire and chaos and war, was my ticket to traditional publishing. But alas, I’d entitled it BUNKER OF ABSOLUTION, yet I should’ve called it BUNKER OF ABSOLUTE SHIT. I queried tons of agents, received tons of rejections, and then finally realized it 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, and 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 take anything for granted again.

Rachel Fikes Ms. Earth

And I didn’t. I earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. I ran marathons. I completed a half-ironman, a humbling experience; triathletes twice my age left me in their dust. I earned my PADI certification, which I’d still love to dive with Great Whites if anyone’s 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 in pageants and was crowned Ms. Texas U.S. 2014 and Ms. Earth 2016, and spent the better part of a year traveling to India, Singapore, the U.K., and Australia, working with different charities.

I had lived. But I still felt incomplete. I moved to New York, hoping to get closer to the publishing industry and started working part-time on a Ph.D. in Critical and Creative Writing at Bangor University. But life happens: I had to put my doctorate on hold.

Rachel Fikes Ms. Earth

A trip to Ireland in 2017 immersed me in the setting of Game of Thrones. I’d never seen the show, but I’m notorious for watching something, quite simply, because the scenery enamors me. When I returned home, I binge-watched GOT, ordered the books, and then binged them. I’d never been a huge fan of fantasy, but George R.R. Martin was my gateway drug into this realm.

It 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’d finally found my voice. 

After three reads–I had to complete some major revisions–I landed my DREAM literary agent Naomi Davis at BookEnds Literary Agency. While she submits my books to editors, I’m working on some new fantasy projects while teaching ESL classes with Education First. I currently reside in Austin with my pet plants because I’d likely kill anything else.

Stay Tuned.

-RF

2 Comments on “About

  1. Amazing journey Rachel. I am so inspired by your drive and versatility. You saw your dreams and went after them over coming every obstacle along the way. In the words of Anne Frank “ How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Your story does that from serving the country and your Soldiers to Ms Texas and Ms Earth to publisher writer. Your voyage has been ever driven and motivational. Keep driving forward, nothing extraordinary happens when you hold back.

    Like

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