Please welcome Rachel Brimble to the Nook today. Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. She started writing short stories about eight years ago but once her children were at school, she embarked on her first novel. It was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published with small presses as well as securing her first contract with Harlequin Superromance in May 2012.
Represented by US agent Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency, Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…
Bea: Hi Rachel, please tell us a little about your new release, “Finding Justice”.
Rachel: Finding Justice is a romantic suspense story set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove. When their childhood friend is murdered, the hero and heroine reunite to find her killer…and each other.
Bea: What was the inspiration for the series that “Finding Justice” is kicking off?
Rachel: The setting – even though Templeton Cove is fictional, I am writing about a real place where I used to holiday as a child. The setting is very clear in my mind and I’m finding as I write each book, something new is added and it is becoming a real community of characters too which is fabulous J
Bea: You write both contemporary and historical, what do you like about each era when writing? Do you prefer one?
Rachel: I love both – my ideal way to work is to alternate between the two because it keeps me interested, and hopefully, keeps my writing fresh for my readers. Historical is more of a challenge because of the research and the need to get the accuracy right. I tend to write about the emotions rather than the events of the Victorian era for fear of getting things wrong! I use the social etiquette, costume and political aspects of the age to add the Victorian ‘flavor’, but it’s all about the characters really and emotion is the same whatever the time or era.
Bea: When writing, do you outline or plan, or do you wing it?
Rachel: I start with a 2-3 page outline and character sketches for the hero and heroine (also the villain if I have one) and then write the first draft from start to finish without looking back. Drafts two and three are where the hard work comes in!
Bea: What do you hope readers will take away when they read your books, what reaction are you aiming for with your stories?
Rachel: A satisfying and moving romance – the reaction I want is from people is for them to feel happy at the end of my books; to care about the characters and think about them long after they’ve finished reading. I want them to believe in real love and that all-important Happily Ever After.
Bea: What is it about romance that attracts you to the genre? Do you think you will ever write in a different genre?
Rachel: I love romance because it makes me feel good when I’m writing – there’s enough heartache and evil in the world and I think romance provides the ultimate escapism and leaves the reader feeling hopeful. What’s not to like?
The only other genre I’m drawn to but haven’t attempted yet is crime – As I write more and more romantic suspense, the need to write a police procedural or mystery is getting stronger.
Bea: What do you like best about writing? Your least favorite part?
Rachel: Best and easiest part for me is dialogue – I find it really liberating and more often than not, it feels like I’m taking dictation when my characters are interacting. My least favorite part is plotting and the dreaded ‘sagging middle’. Every book I write, I reach the 40,000 word mark and everything just grinds to a horrible halt. The only way to deal with it is to write through it and hope I can make something of the chaos on the next draft.
Bea: You mention on your site that short stories are an art form in themselves; do you think you might try your hand at writing one again?
Rachel: I might one day but I’m REALLY not very good at all at writing them – my novels come in at around 85-90,000 words and training myself to write a complete story in 1,500 words or less is beyond me!
Bea: Does your family read your books?
Rachel: My mom and mom-in-law do but my husband doesn’t – my daughters are 14 and 12 so I suspect the eldest will soon…although she has told me she hopes the sex isn’t too ‘full on’, LOL!
Bea: Do you have a preference for ebooks or print books?
Rachel: I LOVE print books and nothing makes me happier than browsing for hours in a bookshop, but I also couldn’t be without my Kindle. Books are my passion and I love them in every format.
Bea: If you could be a character in a book – lead, sidekick, heroine, villain, etc. – what would it be?
Rachel: It would have to be the heroine – I live vicariously through all my heroines. I love their journeys and really believe in everything they do.
Bea: If you could have dinner with any author or authors, who would they be and why?
Rachel: Nora Roberts – and hope she shares her secret!
Margaret Mitchell – why didn’t she write a sequel?
Jodi Picoult – so I can tell her I want to write like her when I grow up J
Bea: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Rachel: I watch FAR too much TV! Especially love British period dramas and US crime dramas.
Bea: What are your favorite genres to read? Any favorite authors?
Rachel: Romance, crime and historical are my favorites – from each genre, Nora Roberts and Robyn Carr for romance. Tess Gerritsen and Tami Hoag for crime and Philippa Gregory and Jean Fullerton for historical.
Now for some fill in the blank questions:
- 1) The first book you ever loved was - The Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton2) My favorite meal is - chicken satay from our local Chinese takeaway3) Books are important because - they educate, entertain and provide a much-needed escape from real life.4) My favorite book is - anything by Nora Roberts5) The book or author that inspired me to write is - Enid Blyton6) The best advice I’ve ever received was - to give myself permission to write a ‘crappy’ first draft. So freeing!!7) My dream man is -Kind, funny, romantic and interesting…and looks like Ryan Reynolds or Tom Hardy or Hugh Jackman or… ;)
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and best of luck with “Finding Justice”.