A Q&A with Perris, California Author Rachel Stark

By Rachel Tran | February 19 2024 | NewsFrom the Author

Q: Do you remember the first book you ever checked out of a library?

A: I had a lot of trouble learning to read as a kid. I don’t recall the books that I must have rented from the little school library during the once a week visit my class made— likely because I could not read them, but I deeply loved listening to the stories teachers and librarians read to me and my fellow classmates when I was a child. The first book I remember hearing read aloud that really had an effect on me was The Velveteen Rabbit.

Q: What’s one book you suggest checking out for writers who want to develop their craft?

A: Method and Madness: The Making of a Story: A Guide to Writing Fiction by Alice LaPlante is a good option for any writer looking to gain an understanding of the language and approach commonly taught in writing programs and referenced in literary critiques. It is a great resource for writers that want to gain perspectives and insights about their unique approach to the craft of writing by way of studying the mechanics and magic of the short story. There are so many wonderful examples of short stories written by brilliant authors within its pages and the chapters that focus on craft are very accessible and general enough to be applicable for a wide range of stylistic writing choices within most genres.

Q: Did you ever get a book recommendation from a librarian that stuck with you and that you shared with other people in your life?

A: In truth, I can’t recall receiving any one specific book recommendation in particular, but I can recall countless times being humbled and inspired by the generosity, patience and kindness demonstrated by librarians serving patrons from every demographic of the population.

Q: Books play such an important role in Perris, California, especially to the protagonist, Tessa, and how she escapes her childhood. Do you have a go-to book for comfort?

A: I can read just about anything from Louise Erdrich and find comfort. Reading her powerful and heart centered work gives me the opportunity to feel seen, understood and less alone when I need it. At the same time, her work offers me the opportunity to escape my own self-oriented and self-concerned state by way of gifting me, the reader, access to her carefully rendered characters while they navigate impossible circumstances in beautiful, honest and human ways. I feel so captivated by these characters that I am able to get out of my own story through the powerful draw to get to know and be with the unique and important stories Erdrich’s characters have to tell.

Enter to win one of five copies of Perris, California by February 27th.

Perris, California
A Novel
In this unforgettable debut novel, twenty-seven-year-old Tessa, pregnant with her third child and living in a trailer on her mother-in-law’s property, encounters the woman she used to love—leading Tessa to question the very foundations of the life she’s built