|Rachel and her husband at|
Cherhill Manor in July 2013
Friday, February 28, 2014
INTERVIEW WITH VERSATILE ENGLISH AUTHOR RACHEL BRIMBLE
Today, please welcome English friend Rachel Brimble. Rachel is an amazing woman who writes wonderful books in multiple genres.
Caroline: Tell us something about growing up and your life now.
Rachel: I have been married to my fabulous Mr. B for nearly 16 years and we have two teenage daughters. I grew up in the famous maritime city of Bristol and lived there until Mr. B and I moved to a small market town in 2001. I am lucky enough to live just a short thirty-minute drive from the beautiful, historical city of Bath which is just THE best place to visit and why I chose to set my Victorian novels there.
As for your bookworm or jock question….most definitely a bookworm. I considered my librarian one of my friends growing up. It’s a miracle how little teasing I had at school––I have loved books my whole life and still have to pinch myself that I am now a published author.
Caroline: Lucky you. I remember being on a hill and looking down at the sunlight shining on the city of Bath. What a beautiful city. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Rachel: My favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis and Robyn Carr for contemporary romance and Philippa Gregory, Jean Fullerton and Jean Plaidy for historical novels. Romance is my favorite genre whether that be mainstream, romantic suspense or historical. I also love to read a lot of non-fiction and biographies about past British monarchs. Can’t get enough of Britain’s vast royal history!
Caroline: I am an anglophile and so admire Queen Elizabeth. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
Rachel: Knitting in front of the TV – I watch far too much TV and more often than not have loads stacked up waiting for me. My favorite shows are US crime dramas like Rizzoli & Isles, Castle and CSI as well as UK period dramas like Downton Abbey, Ripper Street and Mr. Selfridge. Fabulous!
Caroline: I watch several of those shows, but am not familiar with Ripper Street. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
Rachel: “Set it up the way you want it to be.” Iyanla Vanzant
Caroline: How long have you been writing?
Rachel: I started writing when my youngest daughter started school full time in 2005. I am proud to say every book and novella I have written has been published. The Wild Rose Press published the first book in 2007 and now I write contemporary novels for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington.
The dream to keep writing for the rest of my life – it is what I love most in the world. When I haven’t written for a couple of days, I turn savage!
Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude?
Rachel: I need complete silence to write and my favorite place is on the sofa with the laptop and my black Lab snoring beside me. In the rare warm, summer days we have here in the UK, I always take advantage and take the laptop outside and write under the parasol. Bliss!
Caroline: I prefer my desktop PC to my laptop. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
Rachel: I’m a combination of the two – I start each book browsing the internet for pics of my hero and heroine and then I write a two or three page synopsis and character sketches. After that, I write the first draft without looking back. The hard work comes in the second and third drafts! I usually hit a block around the 40,000 word mark but have learned to write through it because things usually come good in the end. The one thing I am certain of is this writing business never gets any easier, lol!
Caroline: So, true. In fact, I think it gets harder as we try to discover new twists and plots to stay fresh. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Rachel: As I said earlier, Bath is the main inspiration for my Victorian romances and I fully intend to keep writing books set in this beautiful and fascinating city. As for my contemporary romances, I have used several real-life events in my own life as inspiration. The most recent with my second Harlequin Superromance, FOR A MAN LIKE HIM, I used the real life and terrifying experience of my family and I being rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof during the 2010 French floods. The opening chapters are almost an hour-by-hour account of what happened.
Caroline: I remember when I learned about your terrifying experiences in that flood. You shared the experience with readers on my blog. Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
Rachel: Every day I appreciate that I get to write full-time around the kids and husband – I treat my writing like a job and work every weekday from 8.30 – 3.30pm with a dog walk in between. Once the kids are home, it’s usually running around or grabbing moments on the laptop before dinner. After dinner, I might allow myself an hour before shutting down at 7pm – after that it’s family time.
Caroline: An admirable schedule. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Rachel: Satisfaction/belief in true love – I write for the romantic inside me as well as my readers. I think it’s vital an author believes in what they are writing if they have any chance of a reader coming along with them for the journey. The ultimate hope is someone picking up one of my books and enjoying it so much they look for my backlist. I love it when that happens for me with other authors…not so much the case as far as my husband’s concerned!
Caroline: I love reading a good book and learning the author has a long backlist, don’t you? What long-term plans do you have for your career?
Rachel: Writing is all I want to do for the rest of my life so the goal is to get better and better at my craft – and in turn, hopefully earn enough money that I can support myself and children. The best thing about having a successful writing career is surely the option to write anywhere. A cruise liner, a café in Florence, a beach in the Bahamas....yep, I most definitely have long-term plans ;)
Caroline: I like the way you think. ☺Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Rachel: Right now I am working on the third novel in my series with eKensington. All my historicals novels are set in Bath or the surrounding towns and villages. The first two books (THE SEDUCTION OF EMILY and THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA) mainly take part in the city itself, but this third book will mostly be played out in a real village outside Bath called Biddestone.
The heroine, Monica, is a secondary character in THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA but as I was writing the book, I knew she deserved her own story. Luckily, my editor suggested it first so I knew we were on the same wavelength J
Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Rachel: Write! It really is as simple as that – you will never get a book published unless you finish one, first and foremost. I also recommend enrolling in as many online courses as you can afford. The Romance Writers of America chapters offer varied courses on dialogue, plotting, point of view etc. They certainly helped me when I was starting out.
The final, and most important, piece of advice – allow yourself to write a ‘crappy’ first draft!
Caroline: Good advice all around. What is a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?
Rachel: I haven’t had my hair cut professionally since my wedding day, almost 16 years ago! LOL!
My hair is so curly I can get away with my husband (and now my eldest daughter) giving it a trim with the kitchen scissors as and when I need it.
Caroline: How lucky, and your hair looks lovely in your photos. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?
Rachel: Here’s the blurb for THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA:
Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…
Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?
Caroline: How about an excerpt?
Rachel: Certainly, here it is:
What was she doing inside Adam Lacey’s house, sitting upright and rigid upon a settee she could never afford? Laura crossed and re-crossed her ankles as she glanced around his drawing room. His home was masculine, bare of trinket or flower, but compared to her and Bette’s place, it screamed of achievement. He’d left her to go upstairs and change out of his wet clothes. She glanced at the wall clock. The ten minutes she’d been alone could’ve been an hour.
She needed to leave. Get out of there.
Standing, she stepped toward the door just as it swung open and Adam entered. Her breath caught. The man was ridiculously handsome. His dark blond hair was darker than usual, after his unplanned swim, and his face scrubbed clean. Her gaze drifted, of its own accord, to the smattering of chest hair just visible at the vee of his open-necked shirt. The man was unfairly relaxed. Laura inhaled. Handsome—stupidly, stupidly handsome.
He halted, his smile dissolving. “You’re leaving?”
He moved to touch her, seemed to think better of it and dropped his hand to his side. Their eyes locked and silence descended. Her heart beat fast with the knowledge she would’ve given the world to stay there. Eye to eye; toe to toe with a man who fascinated and intrigued her.
She stepped back. It was too dangerous. The atmosphere between them too potent. Her attraction to him kicked and punched at her heart. It was strong enough to make her want to kiss him, touch him and bring that dazzling smile to the surface over and over. For little more than another breath, she would risk everything to run her fingers over his biceps and up to the plane of his wide shoulders…
Laura blinked as her mouth drained dry. What had she been thinking by coming here? She hadn’t been thinking. In that moment when he asked her to accompany him back to his home––nothing but desire had whipped through her. Nothing but interest had leapt in her veins and obliterated her common sense. The fervor and lust in his eyes bespoke of a man who clearly had an agenda entirely different to hers.
Laura blinked and looked past him to the door. “I have a friend. She’s sick. She needs me and the medicine I bought before I came upon you at the park.” She brushed past him, through the door and into the hallway. “I shouldn’t have come here. I’m sorry.”
Ignoring him, she hurried toward the closed front door. She had to get out of there. If she looked at him again, she’d falter. Her rationale already hung on a hair’s breadth. His footsteps sounded at lightning speed behind her and when she clasped the door handle, his hand closed over hers. She stared at their joined hands and her body heated.
“Laura. Please. I need to talk to you.”
Swallowing hard, she forced herself to meet his gaze. His dark brown eyes shone with a pleading she hadn’t expected. How was she supposed to refuse? He was the first man in forever to make her heart pick up speed and flourish her hope for something more. She slowly pulled her hand from beneath his.
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
Rachel: At these urls:
Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
Rachel: As well as THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA, the next installment of my Harlequin Superromance series is released March 4th, yay! WHAT BELONGS TO HER is available for pre-order right now.
Caroline: Wonderful, Rachel. Thank you so much for sharing with readers today. Best wishes for continued success in your career.
Readers, thanks for stopping by!