A Void the Size of the World by Rachele Alpine: Q&A

A Void the Size of the World
by Rachel Alpine
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 20th 2017
Genre/s: Contemporary, mystery
Age Category: Young Adult
A haunting novel about a girl who must face the consequences after her actions in-directly lead to her sister’s disappearance. Rhylee didn’t mean to kiss her sister’s boyfriend. At least, not the first time. But itdoesn’t matter, because her sister, Abby, caught them together, ran into the dark woods behind their house...and never came home. As evidence mounts that something terrible has happened to Abby, no one wants toface the truth. Rhylee can’t bring herself to admit what she’s done: that she is the reason her sister ran away. Now Tommy, Abby’s boyfriend, is the prime suspect inher disappearance, and Rhylee’s world has been turned upside down. Slowly, Rhylee’s family is breaking—their lives center on the hope that Abby will return. Rhylee knows they need to face the truth and begin healing—but how can they, when moving on feels like a betrayal? And how do you face the guilt of wishing a person gone...when they actually disappear?


How did you come up with this book? Can you describe your writing process?

This book actually started as a short story called “Circles Within Circles” that I wrote for a workshop in the MFA program I was a part of. I wrote the story, revised it, and just could not get the characters out of my mind. I felt like there was so much more to this story that wanted to be told, so I begin to dig deeper into it.

My writing process was actually a bit crazy. I knew where the story started and where I wanted it to end. It was the in between that I spent a lot of time discovering. I’d write scenes as they came to me, so there wasn’t a particular order to my writing. I created these scenes and then when I felt like I had gotten everything out inside of me, I then laid them all out to form an order to the story. I then looked for holes in this story and wrote those scenes until I had a first draft. I like to say that I Frankenstein-ed the story, by putting it together piece by piece.

What was the hardest part in writing this book?

Turning the short story into a novel. Like I said above, I knew where I wanted to start and end, but it took some time and effort to create a novel that I believed encompassed the same ideas and feelings that the short story did. But I loved the journey, because along the way, these characters that I thought I knew kept surprising me in a whole bunch of different ways. It was like hanging out with a friend but discovering stuff about them as we spent time together. And while it wasn’t always easy and the words didn’t always flow out of me, I loved seeing where my characters took me!

Who are your writing inspirations and how did they affected you as a writer?

I love authors like Laurie Halse Anderson, Courtney Summers, and Nicola Yoon. They tackle a lot of important topics and tend to push the structure of narratives and how you tell a story. Their books act as an inspiration to explore things that might be more untraditional or a hard or difficult topic. I also love the language of Curtis Sittenfeld and Jandy Nelson. Their words are so beautiful, and I could read their books over and over again just to hear the sound of their sentences. They definitely inspire me to strive to create stories where I don’t just focus on the plot but also on the language.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating this book?

How fun it can be to head into a book where you don’t know exactly where it’s going to take you. While I knew how I wanted the story to start and end, I didn’t know a ton of the middle details. I loved sitting down each day and going along for the ride with my characters as they took me on twists and turns. There is nothing more fun than being surprised by your own writing and where it leads you!

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like a specific character, but I do take on the mode of my books. My two YA novels both deal with darker and hard topics, and while I write, I have a sound track that gets me in the mood. I feel that when I go deeper and deeper into the world of my characters, I often carry some of their emotions on my shoulders. I’ll be in a more melancholy mood when writing my YA, because the story lines don’t just affect my characters, but they affect me too. That’s part of the reason why I decided to write middle grade. I needed a break from my YA books, and so I focused on writing a funny story! Now it’s a good mixture of both, so I’m not too deep in my YA brain and all the emotions that come with it.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love spending time with my family. I have a two-year-old son, so we go for lots of hikes with our dog or spend time at Lake Erie or the pool. I’m also an avid reader and huge fan of the city of Cleveland. I love exploring new places, trying new restaurants and cheering on our baseball and basketball teams (I’m a huge Cavs and Indians fan!).

What's next for you?

I just turned in a proposal to my agent for what I’m hoping is my next YA novel. It’s a little different for me, because it’s told in dual POVs and has both a male and female narrator. I’m pretty excited about it, so I’m hoping my agent and editor love it to!

I also have a middle grade novel coming out on August 15 called BEST. NIGHT. EVER. I can’t wait for this book, because it was written by six other authors! It is told by seven characters, and we all wrote it together using Google Hangout and Google Docs. I’ve never even met the other six authors in person, which is a bit crazy to think about. It really is a testament to how awesome the internet is!

About the author:

Rachele Alpine is a lover of binge watching reality TV, dogs, knitting, gummy peaches, and lots and lots of coffee!

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 indulg-es her reading habit.

By day she's a high school English teacher, by night she's a mom and wife, and she writes during any time she can find in between!

Rachele lives with her husband and son in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back toBoston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.
Author links:


One finished copy of A Void the Size of the World (07/12)
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  1. Awesome interview!! I love Rachel's writing inspirations! Laurie Halse Anderson and Courtney Summers are 2 of my favorite storytellers also-- and YES to Jandy Nelson's writing. I swear she's a super-secret alien because HOW does one write so beautifully?? Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. Thanks so much for featuring VOID on your blog!!! Yay! : )