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Kathleen Basi 0:00
Welcome to Author Express. Thanks for checking us out. This is the podcast where you give us 15 minutes of your time and we give you a chance to hear the voice behind the pages and get to know some of your favorite writers in a new light. I'm one of your hosts, Kathleen Basi. I'm an award-winning musical composer, a feature writer, essayist, and of course storyteller. Let me tell you a little bit about today's guest.
Kathleen Basi 0:24
Rachel Corsini writes women's fiction with humor, heart, and a whole lot of hot mess. She deals with the millennial experience and women figuring out their lives in their 30s. Midwest book review hails her debut novel, Sushi and Sea Lions, as a study in romantic comedy that opens with a bang. Rachel often blends humor with raw emotion to move her character-driven stories forward. She enjoys figuring out the messy bits of life one step at a time. She's a native New Yorker and her stories explore the city from the Upper West Side to Queens, revealing a slice of her home in each novel she writes. Welcome to the show, Rachel.
Rachel Corsini 1:00
Hi, I'm so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Kathleen Basi 1:04
Yeah, we're super happy to have you here. So, we're gonna start by asking, what is the most interesting thing about where you're from?
Rachel Corsini 1:12
I'm a Queen's girl. I was born and raised in Queens.
Kathleen Basi 1:16
So, like, spider man?
Rachel Corsini 1:17
Yeah, I'm from where Spider Man is from. Absolutely. And the most interesting thing about where I'm from is that my neighborhood in Queens, it really has this small-town flair dropped into the middle of a city, right? There's all these little like, bodegas and local bars and stuff where like, you walk in, and you can kind of see the same people that hang out there, like, every single weekend. But then also you get on the train and you're right in the middle of midtown Manhattan. And it's super urban and all-consuming. So, it still has that fast pace to it, where I grew up. And it's pretty cool. Like, I went to high school in Midtown. So, it was like, I had this bubble of Queens, this little area in the city where I grew up. And then it was all of a sudden, my whole world exploded into a city. And it was very interesting to grow up like that. And where I live now is on the south shore of Long Island. So, I live by the water, and it's really beautiful. But it's also a little bit wild because I have a strip of bars by my house. So, in the summertime, it's like, people eating a lot of seafood and getting drunk.
Kathleen Basi 2:24
Okay, so, there you go. Sea lions and sushi. There you go.
Rachel Corsini 2:27
There you go.
Kathleen Basi 2:29
So, you've lived your whole life around New York City, then?
Rachel Corsini 2:32
Kathleen Basi 2:32
so, if you could live anywhere other than New York City, where would you go and why?
Rachel Corsini 2:37
Okay, so I've also traveled a lot. So, in the United States, if I moved anywhere within the United States, it would be New Orleans.
Kathleen Basi 2:46
Oh, yes. Great town.
Rachel Corsini 2:47
It would be New Orleans. I really love old things. So, I think that's also why I'm still attracted to New York because it is so old, too. And New Orleans, when you're there, all of the houses and all of the buildings, they're all considered historic and the gaslights still work. And there's this very quaint, romantic feeling to New Orleans. One of my favorite places there is Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, which the fireplace is still going. There's no electricity in there. It's amazing. Like, it's one of the coolest bars I've ever been to in my life. And so, that would be, within the United States, I would move to New Orleans, I could definitely live that life. Now, overseas, if I was going to move anywhere overseas, it would be to Florence.
Kathleen Basi 3:28
Oh, wow. Why Florence in particular? Not Rome or Venice.
Rachel Corsini 3:32
Because Rome is like, the New York of Italy. I actually really hated Rome when I was in Rome, because I think when you're from somewhere so metropolitan, they all kind of seem the same. The only difference to me about Rome was I could see the Colosseum in Rome, right? Don't get me wrong. It was absolutely incredible. I had a, come to Jesus moment when I was in the Colosseum. It was brilliant. But once you step outside of those things, it was like, walking down Fifth Avenue. It didn't ignite a fire in me, but when I was in Florence, it was this beautiful Italian city with, you know, at night, you could hear the opera singers practicing in their apartments next to where I live. And,
Kathleen Basi 4:13
I'm a musician. So, that makes all my strings resonate.
Rachel Corsini 4:17
Yes. And the piazzas lit up at night. And there was one piazza with the glittering carousel, and you could just stroll around and it was a city, but it was still an Italian city. It didn't just feel like any city and so, I would, Florence.
Kathleen Basi 4:35
Very cool. Very nice.
Rachel Corsini 4:37
Kathleen Basi 4:37
I remember in school, I haven't been to Florence, but there's a Renaissance piece that was meant to evoke the double dome of the cathedral there and so, that's a place that's always been on my radar for that reason.
Rachel Corsini 4:49
Kathleen Basi 4:50
Rachel Corsini 4:51
like, when I would leave where I was staying in Florence, it was two blocks away from me. So, I saw it every single day when I was there. Yeah, it was incredible. Yep, that I would move to Italy. Goodbye.
Kathleen Basi 5:03
Okay, let's focus in on your book, Sushi and Sea Lions for a minute.
Rachel Corsini 5:07
Kathleen Basi 5:07
Let's talk about, who were you thinking of when you were writing this book. Who's going to connect with it?
Rachel Corsini 5:12
If we're gonna go all the way over there, when I started writing it, I was writing it for myself. I was 31, 30 years old, and I gone through some heartbreak, and it calls myself but whatever, it happens. Anyway, I was trying to process all of these things. And it felt like, my life was falling apart, right? And maybe not necessarily my career also, which is what happens to Daniella. But I didn't really know how to pick up the pieces and figure it out. So, I started really writing for myself. So, now in a general sense, it was written for women who have maybe been through a similar experience, where it was like, the life they thought they were going to have, or the life that they knew has ended, and they are moving on to something that they don't know or they don't understand and everything is changing, I, done a big career change in my mid-20s. I understood what that felt like, too. And just this general sense of, what do I do now, right? And I think that happens more often than we talk about. I call it not the midlife crisis, it's the mid-20s crisis, that when you're heading into adulthood crisis, do I want to do this for the rest of my life? Do I want to be with this person for the rest of my life? Who am I now that I'm an adult? And figuring that out. And that's who it was written for. Women like, going through those stages of their life.
Kathleen Basi 6:47
Wow, that's interesting. So, you've gotten your book out there. And now I guess the question is, what do you want to tell other people who are dreaming about writing a book? What would you say?
Rachel Corsini 6:58you go. Right? I graduated in:
Kathleen Basi 7:59
And you said it happens over time, right? At the beginning those things, they really are soul-crushing. And then later, you get the stab in the heart. And then you're like, Okay, I can still make dinner tonight.
Rachel Corsini 8:09
Yeah. You know, I grew up, I was always a creative and like, an artist. So, not like the drawing artist. I was a ballet dancer. So, talk about a world of rejection.
Kathleen Basi 8:20
Oh, wow. Yeah. Oh, my gosh,
Rachel Corsini 8:22
nothing is ever good enough. Right?
Kathleen Basi 8:24
I'm a musician. So, that's kind of the world there. Although I think that with ballet, it's about your body, as well as what you do. And with music, it's just like, you're never good enough at how it comes out of the instrument.
Rachel Corsini 8:37
Yes. Right. And the body in ballet is the tool, right? So, if it's not working right, they're going to fix it, or make you fix it. It's an art that strives for perfection in a place where perfection doesn't exist, which you understand. Right? So, I grew up in that climate. And so, I was very used to from a young age being told no.
Kathleen Basi 9:04
That was really good preparation for the query process. That's for sure.
Rachel Corsini 9:08
Absolutely. I was like, just another no. Move on.
Kathleen Basi 9:12
Yep. Moving on. Well, good for you.
Rachel Corsini 9:15
Kathleen Basi 9:16
So, tell us where's the best place for people to find you if they want to learn more about you, about your book?
Rachel Corsini 9:21
You can find me absolutely anywhere. So, I am on Instagram. I'm on TikTok. I am on Twitter, I have a Facebook page, I also have a website. But my handle, like, if you're looking for me across my socials is, @madameraerae. That is my handle.
Kathleen Basi 9:40
Oh, interesting. Raerae, spelled how?
Rachel Corsini 9:43
Kathleen Basi 9:45
Okay, all right. Very good.
Rachel Corsini 9:47
That's what my friends call me. My close friends call me, Rae.
Kathleen Basi 9:50
Oh, very nice. Okay, so, what book or story inspires you the most?
Rachel Corsini 9:56
Whoo, this is such a good one. Again, I don't just have one. Okay. So,Kathleen Basi:
no one does.Rachel Corsini:
So, Peter Pan has been my favorite book since I, probably, I don't know, maybe five or six years old, like, four or five, six, my dad actually started reading it to me. And just the magic of that book. I mean, you read it different as an adult. But being open to the world of story that way, that you could fly if you really wanted to, it turns into this thing for me of flying, follow your dreams. And that was very inspirational to me. If we're going the romance route, it would be Pride and Prejudice. The OG. I mean, Darcy is the original Grump. You could argue with me and what do you want about that. Elizabeth isn't really sunshiny, but they do have, the opposites attract is there, he's a sunshine Grump. I mean, it's not dirty. We've moved on some spicy books from there, but it is the original romance novel. All of the beats are there. I mean, when she refuses him, that is the original back pedal, right? Because, you know, against all odds, he's in love with her. So, Pride and Prejudice. Absolutely. And Vincent in Sushi and Sea Lions might have a little Darcy in him. He's much more reserved than Daniella is. Daniella is a little bit more bubbly and kind of out there.Kathleen Basi:
It's so interesting to see how all of us are influenced by Pride and Prejudice. And yet it comes out in such different ways.Rachel Corsini:
Yes, it literally, will always have my heart.Kathleen Basi:
Some of it is just so funny. Mary being in love with Mr. Collins, like, people miss that.Kathleen Basi:
Poor Mary, you know, you've won over everyone who's a Pride and Prejudice fan. So, go you.Rachel Corsini:
Thank you so much for coming on with us today and sharing a little bit about yourself. And we look forward to hearing from you in the future.Rachel Corsini:
Yay. Thanks so much for having me. This was really great. And I'm really glad that we talked today.Kathleen Basi:
Thanks for joining us today. We hope you'll take a second to give us some stars or a review on your favorite podcasting platform. We'll be back next Wednesday. And in the meantime, follow us on Instagram, at Author Express podcast to see who's coming up next. Don't forget, keep it express, but keep it interesting.