I'm around kids all the time, and I see their worries and their triumphs. So I want to inspire young people through my stories. - Rachele Alpine
Rachele Alpine enjoys reminiscing about her childhood Girl Scout days of cooking with pie irons on camping trips and having overnight adventures at COSI and Niagara Falls.
“I loved being in Girl Scouts,” she said during a recent interview.
Alpine, 38, originally from Fairview Park, is now an English teacher at Perry High School in Lake County and published author of middle-grade and young adult fiction. Fond memories of scouting, coupled with her passion for teaching, have inspired the author to reach out to local Girl Scouts to share her writing experiences.
Chardon Girl Scout Troop #1178, excited for the opportunity to meet Alpine, hosted her on May 9 for an interactive evening centered around the author’s most recent publication, “You Throw Like a Girl.”
The fifth-grade troop purchased 17 copies of the book two months prior so that each member of the troop could read it in preparation for the author’s visit.
“We have a large group of readers,” said Troop #1178 co-leader Laurie Kogovsek, a Hambden Township resident.
The novel, set in Northeast Ohio, is the story of a girl named Gabby, who is torn between her love of softball and her mom’s desire for Gabby to enter the Miss Popcorn Pageant.
Alpine said she chose softball because she grew up immersed in baseball.
“My family was obsessed with the Cleveland Indians,” she said.
Emilia Larkins, 11, of Chardon Township, said she loved the suspense of the novel and Gabby’s story has inspired her to try new things.
Alpine’s troop visit commenced with Abbi McGee, 11, of Hambden Township, reading an introduction she had prepared about the author.
The author brought her own fifth-grade writing journal to share with the girls and also fielded questions, signed autographs and provided patches and bookmarks.
“I loved having my book autographed,” said Teagan Sprague, 11, of Chardon Township.
The Girl Scouts enjoyed guessing how many drafts the author wrote before the book was published.
“Twenty-nine drafts,” said Alpine with a smile.
The author emphasized there should be continuous revision when writing a story.
“But also, don’t be too hard on yourself,” she added.
Chelsea Stanish, 11, of Munson Township, said Alpine’s visit inspired her to write more and choose new topics.
During the interview prior to her troop visit, Alpine shared that her passion for writing developed, in part, by experiences surrounding the severe speech impediment she had as a child — a challenge that necessitated speech classes through eighth grade.
“In my earliest years, it was hard for people to understand me,” she said. “I retreated into books because it was a world where I didn’t have to try to get people to understand me.”
The author said initially, her mom encouraged her to write down her thoughts to communicate. “I feel like a lot of that is still in my head and I want to get it out on paper,” said Alpine.
A childhood experience also inspired the concept for Gabby’s dilemma in “You Throw Like a Girl.” Alpine said when she was younger, she had wanted to play hockey, but there wasn’t a hockey team for girls.
“So my mom signed me up for a figure skating class,” she said. “The girls wore skirts, but I wore shorts and an NHL sweatshirt.”
She said the other figure skaters twirled while she intentionally kicked up the ice.
“I gave Gabby a little more spunk and I wrote from the perspective of how I could change the situation if I could go back,” said Alpine.
Hannah Toth, 11, of Hambden Township, said Gabby’s story shows how one second can mean everything.
“You should never give up,” added Madison Primc, 11, of Chardon Township.
Jessica Kitchen, 12, of Hambden Township, said she hopes the author enjoyed the visit with the troop as much as she did.
“The girls were so sweet and had great questions and book recommendations,” said Alpine.
The author, who now sells her books on proposal, has two additional books coming out this summer via Simon & Schuster, and a third to be published by the same company in 2018.
“I’m around kids all the time, and I see their worries and their triumphs,” said Alpine. “So I want to inspire young people through my stories.”
Alpine’s upcoming events include a July 5 publishing workshop for adults at Geauga County Public Library’s Chardon branch and a July 12 creative writing workshop for ages 10 to 13 at The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby.
The author resides in Mentor with her husband; two-year-old son; and writing buddy, Radley, a Wheaten Terrier named after Arthur “Boo” Radley in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
To schedule a Skype session with Alpine for your book club or Girl Scout troop, you may contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.rachelealpine.com.