Rachel Schieffelbein of Chatfield has recently published a young adult romance novella, “Secondary Characters,” which will soon be available through Swoon Romance.  PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Rachel Schieffelbein of Chatfield has recently published a young adult romance novella, “Secondary Characters,” which will soon be available through Swoon Romance. PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Rachel Schieffelbein is a swooning pantser.

That doesn't make her secondary character - she's Mabel in the lead.

"I'm a 'pantser' in that I don't write up an outline ahead of time - I kind of just go with the flow of the story. I did have some great beta readers that helped out with it in its early stages," said Chatfield author Schieffelbein, whose young adult romance novella, "Secondary Characters," will soon be available through Swoon Romance, an imprint of Month9books.

She related the plot of her novella, saying, "'Secondary Characters' is about Mabel, a teenage girl who feels like she's always in the shadow of her best friend, Amber. When she finds herself falling for Lance, she worries that he is falling for Amber."

The back copy of the book reads: "When Mabel's best friend, Amber, drags her along on a double date, she finds herself falling for Lance, the obnoxious class clown whom she swore she'd have no interest in. The only problem is, she's not sure if she's really the girl Lance is into, or if, like every other guy she knows, it's really Amber he's after. One thing is clear - if Mabel wants to be the lead in her own love story, she needs to start acting like it."

Schieffelbein got the idea for her novel while at a concert at Potter Auditorium last summer and began writing after she'd seen a call for novella submissions from Swoon Romance.

"I saw a call for submissions from Swoon Romance - they were looking for novellas - and I'd had this idea of a girl who feels like a secondary character rolling around in my head for a while, so I decided to give it a shot," she explained.

She continued by sharing how inspiration struck her while sitting in Potter. "A couple of local girls sang a song titled, 'Secondary Characters,' where they've taken over the stage for a while from the main characters. I loved the idea," Schieffelbein said. "Mabel's voice came very easily for me. She really loves her best friend, Amber, but struggles with feeling like her sidekick. The book goes back and forth between Mabel and Lance's point of view. Lance was very fun to write...to see how he saw Mabel. It's a very sweet, innocent sort of romance."

She first wrote the book from only Mabel's perspective, but soon decided that it needed some balance. "Initially, the book was only from Mabel's point of view, and I'm so glad I added Lance. He's such a sweet, goofy guy, and I loved writing him," Schieffelbein added. "I know he's been a favorite of those who have read it, too. The biggest challenge was writing in both points of view and making it realistic that Mabel questions Lance's feelings, because of course, we, the readers, see his feelings! He's crazy about her, but she doesn't have the self-confidence to see it."

Having written both characters' perspectives, Schieffelbein grew to love each character for the traits she gave them. "I love them both. I love their attitude...they are both funny - and in Mabel's case, sometimes snarky - characters."

Schieffelbein enjoys creating characters and endowing them with their personalities. "I love trying to make them unique and find their individual voice. Then I love having them find each other."

She added, "I write young adult fiction, and I love all the 'first love' feelings that go with that...the excitement of falling for someone, wondering how they feel about you, seeing them at school and trying to pretend like you aren't going crazy."

Schieffelbein explained that her book came along rather quickly. "The characters were fun, so it wasn't difficult to fall back into their world and keep writing," she added. "The most rewarding part has been to hear other people's reactions to Mabel and Lance, and to hear people enjoy their story."

The author is glad to have her work published by a small publishing house and to see her name on the cover of a book. "Swoon Romance is an imprint of Month9books. It's a small publishing house, but with a big reputation," she added. "They are growing fast and I am thrilled to be publishing with them. They are very friendly, and very professional. One of the nice things about being with a small house is that it's like a family. All the writers do their best to support each other and help promote each other."

Her book releases May 28 as an e-book and will be available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

"Seeing the cover with my name on it was pretty darn exciting," Schieffelbein added.

This author's imagination is a busy one, and she's written several other pieces that are going to be published soon.

"I have a short story coming out in an anthology this year as well. The anthology is titled 'Real Girls Don't Rust,' and my story is 'Seeing Red,'" she said.

Schieffelbein explained that "Seeing Red" is a retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood." The anthology will be available as an e-book and in print.

"I have another young adult novella that will be going to Swoon soon that is set at the Arabian Youth Nationals horse show," she continued. "I also have a couple other young adult projects in the works as well, including a zombie novel that will be aimed more at male readers, and another young adult romance that is a contemporary retelling of 'Rapunzel'."

Schieffelbein said she loves to write young adult fiction and has several more young adult stories to write.

"I also plan to write MG, middle grade, as well. I love children's books and plan to stay in that area. I do have an author page on Facebook where people can stay up to date on my future releases," she said.

For now, she'd like to know that her readers are turning the pages of "Secondary Characters" in anticipation.

"I hope they love Mabel and Lance as much as I do. I hope they feel their ups and downs and cheer them on as they stumble to figure things out," Schieffelbein concluded.