The Divining Wand

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The Revealing of Rachel Bertsche
and Why She Writes

March 01, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts, Profiles, Q&A

[Introduced in the post, Picture the Book: MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend, relocated Chicago writer/editor Rachel Bertsche chronicled her search for a new, “closer in proximity” friend in MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend. Due to email snafus, Rachel’s Q&A was MIA but can now be presented along with her guest post on why she writes. Yes, a double post plus a Book Giveaway and now, without further ado, here’s Rachel.]

Although Rachel Bertsche’s quest for a best friend in her new home of Chicago was personal, the author focused on a dilemma that have many searching for a new and/or another best friend.

Let’s meet this debut author through her “official” bio:

Rachel Bertsche is an author, journalist and editor in Chicago, where she lives with her husband. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and more. Prior to leaving the office life for the comforts of working from home (and in her pajamas), Rachel was a producer for Oprah.com and an editor at O, The Oprah Magazine.

And now it’s time to get to really know Rachel, quite possibly even better than some of her “trial” BFF.

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. I am at my happiest right about now.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Do one thing at a time. (Or try, at least.)

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. I’m not sure there is such a thing as perfect happiness. To me, happiness is happiness. It looks and feels different for everyone. I don’t think one type of happiness is better than another. Even in my own life, I could have two relal happy days, but they might be totally different. Maybe happiness is like porn: You know it when you see it.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Losing loved ones.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Is it so lame to say right here, where I am… which is on my couch? Yes? Ok, Sicily.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. I want to say someone super cool like Annie Oakley, but that would be a real stretch. The truth is I have no idea. I guess I feel like so many people in history went through so much so that people like me could be where we are today. So I don’t identify as much as feel really grateful.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Michelle Obama is pretty amazing.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. When it comes to speaking: “Literally.” In my writing: “just.”

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To dance!

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. MWF Seeking BFF. That I wrote a book at all still amazes me. That I wrote one that someone agreed to publish, and that enough people read to make it a bestseller…I’m still pinching myself.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I’m so impatient.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Don’t take myself too seriously.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Any days I should have spent with my father and didn’t.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. JK Rowling. I just want to know—for one day!—what it would be like to walk around with that kind of imagination.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. My curly hair.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Neville Longbottom

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. A tie! Ed Rooney (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Regina George (Mean Girls)

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Michael Jordan. I’d say: “You are awesome! Also, my husband wore Air Jordans to our wedding.” Or maybe Sheryl Swoopes or Rebecca Lobo or Hope Solo. Those female athletes who have left me in awe over the years. I’d tell them that they inspire me. That when I watched them play when I was a kid (or with Hope Solo, even as an adult) I felt like I, too, could kick some ass.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. The sound of cardboard rubbing together. Ugh.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. That’s the only occupation, in some form or another, that I’ve ever had! To say editor would probably be a copout, but it’s true.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Oh there are so many: Yoga teacher. Bookstore owner. Book editor. Pop culturist (not an actual profession, but I’d like to turn it into one). Ballerina.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Sense of humor, kindness, intelligence.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. If calories didn’t count? French fries. Otherwise, um, still french fries.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Trick question! Depends on the day. If you looked at my ipod now you’d think I only listen to Glee. I’m that person who no matter what song comes on, I say “ohmygosh this is my favorite song!”

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, Harry Potter series (counting the whole series as one but if I have to choose I guess Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite since that’s when the whole series changed for me), Little Women, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. (Honorary mentions to A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and AJ Jacobs’ books)

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Picture the Book: MWF Seeking BFF:
My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend

February 16, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Book Trailers, Books

In relocating to Chicago writer/editor Rachel Bertsche almost had it all: a newlywed husband, elite writing credits, loving family and friends….who now, alas, lived too far away. And, though the love of her life was her best friend, he was a guy! Rachel needed a new girl friend and thus began her organized quest chronicled in her debut, MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend.

And through sharing her pursuit, she also found praise:

“Friendship is one of the most important elements of a happy life—but it can be tough to make new friends. In MWF Seeking BFF, Rachel Bertsche weaves together her engaging and often hilarious adventures in search of a new best friend with the latest research about the science of friendship. I couldn’t put it down.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

“Reading about Rachel Bertsche’s search for that special someone, you’ll find yourself thinking about all the friends you’ve ever had—and the ones you hope are right around the corner. Rachel writes with engaging humor and a measure of poignancy, too. You’ll enjoy joining her on her journey.” —Jeffrey Zaslow, author of The Girls from Ames

“Rachel Bertsche’s yearlong diary of searching for best friendship in a new city is compulsively readable and will plant a smile on your face as you turn the pages. Funny, forthright, and honest as a midnight phone call, Bertsche’s zesty hosanna to female bonding defines what it is to be a double-X Millennial.” —Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation
“I guess you could say Rachel had me at ‘Hello’ — I found myself totally invested in her honest, earnest, oftentimes hilarious quest for meaningful female friendship. Whether you’re actively seeking a ‘BFF’ yourself or simply recognize the value in making quality connections with other women, MWF Seeking BFF underscores the profound rewards we women stand to reap when we simply open up, reach out to one another, and go for it. A smart, fun, and inspiring page turner that will surely resonate.”—Kelly Valen, author of The Twisted Sisterhood

An introduction:

When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code, let alone an apartment, with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, Bertsche realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs—in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there’s no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan: She’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

In her thought-provoking, uproarious memoir, Bertsche blends the story of her girl-dates (whom she meets everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites) with the latest social research to examine how difficult—and hilariously awkward—it is to make new friends as an adult. In a time when women will happily announce they need a man but are embarrassed to admit they need a BFF, Bertsche uncovers the reality that no matter how great your love life, you’ve gotta have friends.

Now Picture the Book:

(if the video doesn’t appear on your monitor, please view it here.)

Ah yes, there’s also an Excerpt.

Rachel Bertsche’s need for a friend is universal and her insights into how, when, why, where are spot-on. However it’s no wonder since the author’s work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and more.

Follow her on Twitter and visit her daily blog,MWF Seeking BFF, where you might just find a new friend too. Enjoy!

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Announcement: The winner of Erika Liodice’s Empty Arms is: Melissa. Congratulations! Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address.