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Alumni Profile: Rachel Koller Croft


Since graduating from Ridgewood High School in 2004, Rachel Koller Croft has had a remarkable career. Now based in Los Angeles, California, Koller Croft works full-time as a Novelist and Screenwriter. On February 14, 2023, her debut novel, Stone Cold Fox,  was published through Berkley/Penguin Random House. Additionally, she wrote the screenplay for Torn Hearts, an original country music horror film out now on Amazon Video starring Katey Sagal. 


Upon arriving at the University of Minnesota, Rachel didn’t know exactly what she wanted to major in, but after exploring different major her first two years, she landed on a degree in English Literature. After graduating, she had to decide her next move. Originally she had planned to move to England, she had studied abroad for one year at the University of East Anglia in England, but ultimately decided to make her first move to Los Angeles, where she accepted a job writing for the popular celebrity gossip blog. After a year and a half working for the blog, she decided she missed the windy city and moved back to Chicago.


Once she moved back to Chicago, she started her career in Travel and Hospitality Sales. Although her career path during this time was not in writing, it helped teach her valuable skills that she is currently still using.


“This ended up being a really good detour as a writer. I feel like people don’t tell screenwriters that about 80% of the job is sales. You have to go into rooms and pitch yourself and your stories. So it was a good detour for me,” said Koller Croft. 


The company she was working for at the time decided to expand their market, which in turn led Rachel, a top sales person within the company, to relocate to Los Angeles to assist with that expansion. 


Knowing that writing was still her passion, Rachel sat down and began writing her first script in 2015, which she submitted to the Academy Nicholl Fellowships. The Academy Nicholl Fellowship, associated with the Oscers, is an international screenwriting competition established to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters. She advanced in the competition and it was the first year that you could purchase the “readers comments.” The last bolo note comment she received was extremely offensive, so she took to the official Facebook page to express her concerns and stand-up for herself and other women in Hollywood at the time. Her comment ended up going viral on social media with support and her mailboxes started blowing up with story inquiries from various news sources, such as the Chicago Tribune, Jezebel, etc. 


Being the business woman she is, Rachel seized this opportunity to help advance her writing career. She knew if her script was in the news, she would get people interested in reading it, so she took the interviews to gain exposure. This is when she began her relationship with her manager, who submitted her script to the production company, One Place, on the Sony lot. This news exposure was able to push her script to the top of the pile and they were able to sell her first script. 


This moment changed her life forever. 


Since then she’s been able to sell a tv pilot twice, first to Comedy Central and then to Freeform. A few years ago, while working in screenwriting, Rachel started to become frustrated with having to pitch on everyone else's books and pre-existing content. This helped her decide she wanted to find a way to have her own creative control, which in turn led her to writing her debut novel, Stone Cold Fox


In 2019, she started writing her first book. After completing the first draft, her managers introduced her to a book agent, under her current company, and they loved the book! A year later, they were finally able to go out with the book. The book was extremely popular and ended up going out on auction. Rachel ended up with a two book deal with Berkley/Penguin Random House. The rights to Stone Cold Fox were recently sold and it will be getting turned into a tv series with producer Julie Plec. Her second book is set to release next year! 


“I hope to continue writing books, because my long-term game plan is to write books, adapt them and ultimately direct them,” said Rachel. 

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