If you know the reference to my site title, then we will be best friends.

I’m a writer and teacher in in “flyover” country, Minnesota, 25 miles from where I grew up. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My book, Not the Camilla We Knew: One Woman’s Path from Small-town America to the Symbionese Liberation Army, is the story of Camilla Hall, a Minnesota native who got caught up in one of the 1970s most violent radical groups.

My first book for adults, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, was published in 2013 by the University of Minnesota Press and was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.

I’ve been a newspaper journalist and have written more than twenty nonfiction books for children. I’m an associate professor of creative writing and do some freelance writing.

I’ve kept this blog since 2012. I may not post too often, but I will put down some thoughts as inspiration hits! If you are looking for information about Camilla Hall and the SLA, you can use the search bar on the left or choose one of the categories listed.

I frequently speak at libraries, schools, and book clubs about my book and the writing process. I also lead writing workshops and work with individual writers. Find out more at www.rachaelhanel.com.

That's me! Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota-Morris.
That’s me! Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota-Morris.

15 thoughts on “About”

  1. dalmatianangel said:

    Hi Rachel!
    I just finished reading “We’ll Be The Last Ones To Let You Down”. I am fairly new to Waseca having moved here in Nov. of 2014, but my husband was from Waseca. We have become all to familiar with Woodville cemetery either the death of my husbands parents and other family and friends over the last 15 years.
    I really enjoyed reading your book. I felt like I was right there with you, and I knew the places you mentioned.
    We did some cemetery drives today to get out of the house during the pandemic. As I saw graves with black dirt, some that sank down leaving holes I thought of your description of your dad being so meticulous with each grave making it look like no one had ever been there. Sadly, it is not that way now.
    Your book leaves me wanting to know more about the people and places
    Thank you for writing.

    • Hi Nancy! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. I was hoping it would have some extra resonance for people familiar with Waseca. I’m sorry to hear that you are becoming more familiar than you would wish with Woodville, though it is a pretty and peaceful cemetery. I also have seen sunken graves filled with just dirt — so unsightly!

  2. I’m so glad to have found your blog. I’ll always remember you as one of my favorite teachers!!

  3. I’m the proud owner of a NOOK…your book will shortly be in my library!
    All the best,

  4. lucewriter said:

    I finished your book! What a lovely book. It’s so well woven and in the last 1/4 or so I started to think it read like a poem. You made so many wonderful insights, and I felt a kinship with you on a number of occasions. Beautiful work, Rachael!

  5. lucewriter said:

    Sorry, I forgot to tell you where to check it out. Sigh. Go here to read about it: http://writersite.org/2012/12/08/from-the-cat-choir/.

  6. lucewriter said:

    I just nominated you for the most inspirational blogger award :).

  7. Your cover photo and blog title actually made me say “wow” out loud! Nice job!

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