Author Highlight: Rachel Van't Land

Business Highlight, Inspiration

Local author Rachel Van't Land shares her new book, Talk Back to Me: A Radical Guide to Growing Up

What most people don't know about Rachel and me is that our kids attended the same school through 8th grade! Rachel and my kids leap frogged in grades so we've crossed paths several times over the years. It was really fun to hear about her new book and photograph her author headshot portraits. We're parenting kids in the same age range so I'm excited she wrote a book from her parenting perspective.

Please enjoy our short and sweet interview below:

How would you describe what you do?

I’m a writer by day (content strategy consultant) and also a writer by night. Or by early morning. My day job is business-y writing, so my personal writing projects happen before and after hours.

How did you decide to start this book?

When the pandemic first hit, I was among the masses of people looking for a creative project to help alleviate the angst. While everybody else was busy baking sourdough bread, I signed up for a writing class that promised a tiny, completed, self-published project in 30 days.

I decided I was going to make a book of 10 life tips for teens that I could give to my kids on the day my youngest turned 13. However, tip #1 blossomed into a full essay, as did all the others. Her birthday came and went and I was still writing. Eventually, I had a completed book with chapters on everything from making smart money moves to how to not screw up your dating life. I submitted the manuscript to One Idea Press, an independent press based in PIttsburgh, PA. I was delighted to get a call several weeks later that they’d like to publish my book!

Then, of course, I began to panic. After losing a lot of sleep, I finally went back and removed some personal and family details that are best left out of the general public. Once those changes were confirmed by the editor I was able to exhale and begin to genuinely enjoy the rest of the publishing process. I’ve had great feedback so far and my wish for this book is that it helps each reader in some small way. 

What’s a great way for people to connect with you to learn more?

People can find me at or on Instagram at @rachelvantland.writer.

About author portraits

When I work with creative professionals like Rachel, I strive to provide them with portraits that are versatile. What that means is that we have a conversation about what kind of crop they need to make them the most useful for marketing purposes. The classic headshot portrait is a rectangle, so for Rachel, we did a couple versions per portrait. Square is a good crop for social media platforms or speaker posters, while a landscape orientation is good for adding text or logos to a postcard or cover images.

I love working with other creative professionals and am grateful Rachel decided to reach out and book her session with Native Light Photography.