Rachel Benson Gifford publishes first novel

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Rachel Benson Gifford

Rachel Benson Gifford of Manila can add the title of author to her impressive list of accomplishments.

Gifford, Dean at Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville, oversees the Marketing and Development offices. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and a Master's Degree in Mass Communication with a major in journalism.

It is no surprise to those who know her to see where her love of reading and writing has taken her. She has gone to a new level with the publishing of her first novel "Keeper of the Seed."

Gifford said she has started several other books but never got past the first 20 pages. With her new novel, she stuck with what she knew and it flowed.

"My friend Ginger Berry visited with me one day during one of my son's baseball practices and we came up with the character names and possible plot line," she said. "It was fun just imagining where I could take the characters. What started out as a look into the world of cottonseed breeding, and was initially intended to be a mystery/suspense book, morphed into a romantic suspense."

She said she went where the characters took her. She admits she could not have told anyone in the beginning how the story would end.

"There's an international component as I used my own Swedish ancestry as inspiration and made it a part of the main character's lineage to give her a unique and interesting quality," she said.

In her novel, Gifford said she wrote what she knows and it made it easier. Sarah, the main character, may share some of Gifford's characteristics, however the characters are figments of her imagination. She does say there are pieces of people she knows peppered throughout the book.

Keeper of the Seed took Gifford a long time to write. It was not as if she could devote all of her time to writing. She is a wife, mother of two active children, Miles and Meg, and has a full time career.

She calls her husband, Scott, a lifesaver when he bought her a laptop so she could write while the family traveled to baseball games and other events.

Gifford also gives credit to her friend, another Manila native, Sheiron Bearden, who helped with the proofing and critical reviews.

Once the novel was finished Gifford found it a difficult task to get a publisher to pick up the manuscript.

"That process is harder than actually writing the book and is a lot less enjoyable," she said.

She decided to go with an electronic e-book. She said with the e-book she can put it out there for anyone who wants to read it at a low price.

Going with the e-book gives her more time to write and she is almost ready to release the sequel, Seedlings.

In addition to the Keeper of the Seed and the sequels, she is also working on a book about the unconventional romance of a teenage prodigy and she has started research to write a historical romance from the WWII era.

Gifford also gives credit to Ammi Tucker with Ammi Tucker Designs for helping with the format and designing the book covers.

A short description of Keeper of the Seed:

Some secrets are worth dying for...Sarah's are worth fighting for.

When you grow up on a small farm in Cottonwood, Ark., you expect your life to be uncomplicated. That's the way it was for Sarah, a down-to-earth girl, satisfied to live in the shadow of her brilliant brother Ben. She was simply the lanky girl who played basketball. But when Sarah visited Ben in Lubbock during spring break and met Tim Randall, life's simplicities were forever changed.

Now, 15 years later, Sarah's bond with her brother is gone and the sudden death of her husband has turned her world upside down. When Sarah receives word that her brother, now a renowned cottonseed breeder and research professor at Texas Tech University, is missing and his graduate assistant has been murdered, Sarah responds with a vengeance.

Gifford's e-book is being distributed by Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel, and Versent books.

For updates on Gifford's work and links to purchase Keeper of the Seed log on to www.facebook.com/rachelbensongifford; www.rachelbensongifford.com.

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