Today I am incredibly honoured to welcome Racquel Marie over on Misty Realms!
Racquel is the incredible author of Ophelia After All— a story about self discovery, friendships, queerness and more!
Ophelia After All seems like such a fantastic book and I cannot wait to get my copy in Feb! I invited Racquel over on my blog to chat and answer some questions I had in mind. Let’s begin!!
About the Book
Title: Ophelia After All
Author: Racquel Marie
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
A teen girl navigates friendship drama, the end of high school, and discovering her queerness in Ophelia After All, a hilarious and heartfelt contemporary YA debut by author Racquel Marie.
Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.
So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiralling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.
✨ OPHELIA PREORDER CAMPAIGN ✨
PREORDER CAMPAIGN INCLUDES:
– one (1) bookmark featuring art by @ivvanaap on instagram
– one (1) signed bookplate sticker featuring art by @by.yitmarak on instagram / @yitmarak on twitter
This preorder campaign closes on February 14th, 2022 at 11:59pm PST. All receipts must display the title of the book and the date the order was placed. Receipts from in-person purchases from release week are also eligible.
Submit your receipts in the eligible form below!
U.S. FORM: https://forms.gle/5UQcztEKixGUUvXV6
NON U.S. FORM: https://forms.gle/gT4nghsNpRmpbivg9
Interview with Racquel Marie
Hi Racquel! Thank you so much for joining me over here on Misty Realms. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey till now?
Hi Kashvi, thank you for having me! I’m a 2022 debut author who recently graduated from college and likes to write about messy queer Latine Americans. As far as my professional writing journey goes, I wrote my debut in 2017, revised it for a few years before signing with my agent near the end of 2019, then sold it in mid-2020! I’ve been writing since I was a kid, so my debut, Ophelia After All, isn’t the first book I ever wrote, but it is the first one I actually revised for the sake of pursuing publication!
Pitch your debut novel, Ophelia After All in a short sentence!
Ophelia After All is a coming out/of age YA contemporary following Ophelia Rojas, a hopeless romantic rose gardener who likes every boy she meets, who begins questioning her sexuality and sense of self when she starts to fall for a female classmate in the weeks leading up to her senior prom and high school graduation. (That wasn’t very short, was it?)
What songs do you associate with Ophelia? Do you have any playlists for Ophelia After All?
The main song I associate with Ophelia is “She” by dodie because of how thematically aligned they are, but I’d also pair my book with “The Prom” by Urban Cone, “Boys” and “Crush Phase” by Jill Baylon, “since i was young” by Wrabel & Kesha, “Crush Culture” by Conan Gray, and “Girls Like Girls” by Hayley Kiyoko. These are all on my personal Ophelia After All playlist but I might make a public one closer to the book’s release!
Ophelia After All is a book about friendships, queerness, self discovery and more! What is your favourite quote from your book?
I think my favourite quote would have to be:
“Mostly, I want to ask if it was worth it. If that small moment between her and a girl who she shared beds and rings and nightmares with was worth losing the version of herself that her family had in mind from the time she was young, to let who she really was breathe for a minute or two. But all I do is tighten my short ponytail and smile like the periods behind everything I ever thought about myself aren’t slowly being replaced by question marks.”Ophelia After All, Racquel Marie
It’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever written, and think it gets to the core of a lot of what Ophelia’s dealing with throughout the book.
What inspired you to write Ophelia After All? When did the story first come to you and how did it evolve since then?
My biggest inspiration to write Ophelia After All was my own journey coming to terms with being queer. The story first came to me right after I turned nineteen and was attempting NaNoWriMo in 2017, with the original first line: “I’m going to be honest, I sort of miss being straight.”
That’s unfortunately no longer the first line, mainly because Ophelia isn’t quite that aware of her sexuality at the start of the book now, but that sentiment was the starting point for me—feeling overwhelmed by the realisation I wasn’t straight and not knowing where to go from there—and as I continued to write about a girl learning to celebrate her queerness, I was able to learn the same.
Introduce your main character Ophelia, using emojis!
😍 🌹 💐 👗 👀 📚 🚸 🏳️🌈
Without spoiling much do you have a favourite chapter, scene, or place from Ophelia After All? And why?
Oooo, okay in the least spoiler-y way possible:
My favourite scene to write was an argument between Ophelia and another character that takes place in the middle of the night (love being vague). Something about argument scenes feels very cathartic and I caught myself crying whenever I got to this specific one because it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to Ophelia’s inner turmoil, so I tried to pour a lot into making the feelings really jump off the page. My favourite scene to read/think about, however, is far less angsty, far more friendship-building instead of breaking, and involves a promposal. But that’s all I shall say about that.
If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why!
Oh this is SO difficult! I feel like I have to pick Ophelia, she’s the titular character after all *wink* and writing her taught me so much about myself and my relationships with sexuality, love, femininity, and self-kindness. Plus I’m in desperate need of someone to help me with my gardening skills. It’s a miracle I haven’t killed the plants in my room yet.
Can you describe the dynamic of Ophelia’s friend group in a few words (p.s. they seem so fun!!)
I loved writing Ophelia’s friend group so, so much! They’re all trying to sort out their own issues with insecurities and navigating the end of their teenage years, so messiness and support both arise when love triangles, jealousy, and secrets come into play. The best way to describe them is complicated, but trying, because despite their conflicts, there’s a lot of love between these kids.
What do you hope readers take away from your upcoming novel, Ophelia After All?
I hope readers take away that it’s more than okay to give yourself time and space to figure out who you are. Every day we’re discovering new aspects of ourselves, so there’s no rush or timeline or standards to abide by when it comes to self-exploration.
Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects? I’m literally dying to know !
Yes! Right now I’m working on edits for my 2023 YA, You Don’t Have A Shot, which is a rivals to lovers sapphic soccer contemporary that I’m absolutely obsessed with. I’m also revising my short stories for two anthologies: Our Shadows Have Claws (2022) edited by Amparo Ortiz and Yamile Saied Mendez, which is a Latine YA horror anthology featuring my take on the Colombian myth, La Patasola, as well as Study Break (2023), a gen-z anthology with interconnected stories taking place over one school year at a fictional college! It’s been a very busy year but I’m really excited to get these and more of my work out into the world!
That was it! Thank you so much for your time, Racquel. Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for these wonderful questions and for having me on the blog! Nothing to add other than gratitude for the bloggers, bookstagrammers, booktubers, booktokers, and folks that make up the online book community that’ve shown me and Ophelia so much love!
Racquel Marie grew up in Southern California where her passion for storytelling of all kinds was encouraged by her friends and big family. She received a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in gender and sexuality studies from the University of California, Irvine. Racquel primarily writes YA contemporaries starring queer Latine characters like herself. When not writing or reading, she loves practicing beauty and special effects makeup, watching and producing YouTube videos, and teaching herself to play ukulele in spite of her extremely long nails. You can learn more about her writing and love of books through her Twitter, @blondewithab00k.
Are you excited for Ophelia After All? What are you most excited for in Ophelia After All? Drop them in the comments below!
Thank you so much Racquel for taking your time to do this interview for Misty Realms, I had a wonderful time chatting about Ophelia After All !!