Rachelle Dekker has jumped from genre to genre throughout her writing career, but her work thematically seems to always come back to question of identity and humanity. I called Rachelle to talk about her upcoming novel, Nine, her latest exploration of identity, and along the way we talked about her own identity as a writer. Listen all the way through and get the inside scoop on an upcoming father-daughter collaboration.
The Interview | Rachelle Dekker
This excerpt has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above or subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Josh Olds: Where did the idea for this book come from? Was there anything that influenced your writing?
Rachelle Dekker: Yeah, I wanted to do something really different and fun. I wanted to write suspense, a high stakes kind of thing, which is not something I’ve really done before in that regard, and so I just wanted it to be mostly fun. When I set out to write this novel, I just wanted it to be as fun for me to write as possible. I’m going to try not make it too deep. But it always goes that way. That’s just kind of the way the Muse in my mind works. I had watched this show called Hanna on Amazon Prime. The second season just came out, which I haven’t seen yet, but the first season—I was already toying with similar concepts that are in the show—and then this show came out. And my first reaction was, “Unbelievable. I was literally just gonna write a story like this.” But instead of letting it deter me, I decided to just feel like an artist and use it and let it the inspiration of that show kind of drive me to continue down the path I was on.
Josh Olds: For me, it evoked memories of shows and books like the Bourne series. Or even El from Stranger Things. We have all of these stories that deal with the questions of humanity and identity. Obviously, themes like this really resonate with a number of writers, be they TV writers, movie writers, book writers. So how do you make your story stand out amid all of that?
Rachelle Dekker: Yeah, that’s really tough. The saying “There’s nothing new under the sun” is true…you’re just trying to tell your story in the most authentic way to you as possible.
Josh Olds: How influential was your father, Ted Dekker, in you wanting to become a writer?
Rachelle Dekker: He showed me that it was possible, you know? I was the kid who sat in my room and dreamed of being an author, but then also lived with one who had made it a reality. I think that gave me an advantage because I had first-hand experience with it becoming an actual possibility. I just thought, “Oh, if you want to be a writer, you become a writer.”
And the work ethic, I think was huge. I mean, my dad, every day without fail, was in his office from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, like any job. And then sometimes after dinner, too, he’d go back. As you know, from the rate of the novels that he put out, I mean, he just would grind those novels out. He could not be stopped…So getting to witness that firsthand, I think, was incredibly instrumental to my own sense of what’s needed to do this full time.
People are like, “Oh, did you see your dad writing and think, ‘ooh, I’m going to be a writer?’” And I was like, “No, I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, got to the end, and was so moved thought: “How do you do this to somebody? How can I write something that does this to somebody?” You know, those were the moments I remember being really inspired.
I wrote my first novel at age twelve. It was like 80 pages. It was really a novella. I gave it to my dad. My dad was like, “Wait, what? You write?” And I was like, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna be a writer.” And he was like, “Ah, well, maybe you could consider being something else?” Because he also knew how hard it can be and the tenacity and kind of tough skin that you have to have to do this…So there was almost like a deterrent for a long time
But now of course, everything is very different. And anytime I have a question about anything I call him, he’s like my sounding board because he understands crafting stories so well, that when I’m like in a rush, or I’ve hit a wall, that I’m incredibly fortunate to have a resource where I can call.
The Book | Nine
Read our full review of Nine by Rachelle Dekker here.
Zoe Johnson spent most of her life living in the shadows, never drawing attention to herself, never investing in people or places. But when a wide-eyed, bedraggled teenager with no memory walks into the diner where Zoe works, everything changes. Now, against her better judgment, Zoe, who has been trying to outrun her own painful memories of the past, finds herself attempting to help a girl who doesn’t seem to have any past at all. The girl knows only one thing: she must reach a woman in Corpus Christi, Texas, hundreds of miles away, before the government agents who are searching for her catch up to them.
Award-winning author Rachelle Dekker throws you into the middle of the action and keeps the pressure on in this page-turning story that, asks Are we who the world says we are—or can we change our story and be something more?
The Author | Rachelle Dekker
Rachelle Dekker is many things. She is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a writer, a friend, a cat lover, and a believer. However, these are all just roles and though she loves these roles very much, who she truly is cannot be fully addressed because that is something she is still discovering.
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She writes full time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair.