It is my great honor to welcome Rachel Brimble, who is not only a stellar author and a delightful person, but also holds the distinction of being my first EVER blog victim … er, guest. One commenter will win a signed paperback copy of one of Rachel’s books – winner’s choice – so grab a spot of tea and settle into something cozy. This trip across the Pond is on me!
You celebrated with a book launch party for your debut novel, SEARCHING FOR SOPHIE. What was it like – especially as a first-time author – to see your book hit the shelves with such a bang?
It was less of a book launch and more of a huge neighborhood thank you! We set up a marquee over the driveway that I share with our very good neighbors and basically invited friends, family, work colleagues and everyone else we could think of to share in my happy day. It was fabulous! Lots of fun, lots of laughter and over thirty books sold – not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
That DOES sound fab! Speaking of your driveway, you live in the gorgeous English country side with your husband, two daughters, and the requisite family dog. In this picturesque, lovely setting of yours, what drove you to pen in the lurid world of suspense?
I am drawn to the romantic suspense genre because of the combination of danger, suspense, love and fighting good over evil as a couple. I think romantic suspense gives the author a huge expanse of different emotions to draw on and in turn, the reader gets a good old ride of a story. Even though I have ventured out into other sub-genres of romance, romantic suspense is still the one I choose to read more than any other – and it probably takes up a good amount of my TV viewing too!
Oooh, me too! I love the heightened emotions in a good suspense. And with those wild emotions often comes some equally intense intimacy. Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? What makes it so alluring?
Oooh! Good question! And a hard one…
I kind of like ALL my love scenes ; ) but if I had to choose one moment in each book it is probably the first time the couple (or one of them) notices the other physically. I like describing that whole attraction thing, the loop the loop in the stomach, the heart picking up speed…mmm, lovely.
And with my historical, I think because it is set against a Victorian background, it makes it even more romantic because the relationship is that much more taboo.
Oooh, yes, the forbidden is particularly tasty! On the topic of misbehaving, have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits? If so, who won – you or the character?
I have never had this happen to me because I tend to go with what my characters tell me! I used to be a manic plotter but with each book I am becoming more and more of a pantser and in turn my characters lead the plot. There are aspects of my characters’ personality or actions that I sometimes don’t entirely agree with, but that is who they are.
This is the difficulty in getting family members and friends to understand you are a ‘writer’ and what the characters do and say is not always a reflection on you! LOL!
That’s an excellent point and I’ve never heard it summed up quite so nicely. I’m going to have to remember that one! On that note, have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it? Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?
No, not because of what someone said but I do tend to make big changes in my books on the second draft. I write the first draft in one continuous stretch, not stopping, not looking
back, just getting everything down as it comes to me, making notes of possible changes along the way. I work on the skeleton of a synopsis I drew up before I started writing the actual book and when I feel myself drifting, I make a note of it but don’t stop the muse. I worry if I don’t listen to my muse, she’ll stop talking to me one day, and I cannot afford to let that happen.
But when I come to the second draft, I sit down and read the whole thing through and more often than not, I see the plot holes, personality shifts and there are big changes to be made. Not all writers could work this way, but it suits me perfectly.
Consistency is essential for any author, but can be a real bear when you’re dropping clues and trying to keep the mystery alive. As a suspense writer, how do you keep track of the clues and plot twists?
With difficulty! See above. I haven’t written romantic suspense for a while but when I do, this is the genre that I make the most notes. Anything imperative to the plot is written down and clearly marked throughout the second draft so I know I have all aspects covered.
Romantic suspense is great to read and hard to write – I admire so many great romantic suspense writers and constantly stress that I will never, ever be as good!
I confess – I admit to a little angst of my own when it comes to basking in the brilliance of other writers. Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer? Why?
All of them! There is some aspect to each of my novels that reflects who I am. Not necessarily as a writer but as a person too. I think our thoughts/feeling/ethics come through on the page in some shape or form without us realizing it a lot of the time. We don’t preach but we might give a little snippet of dialogue to someone or an action that reflects our own feelings. I love that about writing!
There are parts of me in all my characters from the heroine, right down to the most minor secondary character.
You are so right. Authors leave bits of themselves on the page, and part of the fun is discovering new things within yourself when you meet a new character! What are you currently working on?
My next release is due out January 17th from Lyrical Press and is a contemporary romance set in the fictional town of Foxton, UK. It is called “Getting It Right This Time”. Here’s the blurb and buy link:
She’s back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.
Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.
A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.
Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work. But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter? Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?
Thanks for having me here today, Sarah!!
It’s my absolute pleasure, Rachel! Readers, it’s a great day to be you. Leave a comment for the chance to win a signed, paperback copy of one of Rachel’s books. Heck, you even get to pick which one – I told you this lady was fab! For more Rachel Brimble, visit her website, blog, or follow her on Twitter (but in a non-stalky kind of way).
**CONTEST CLOSED** Congratulations to Iamhouseholdsix – you’re the winning commenter! Thanks to ALL of our visitors and commenters for a kickin’ opening day. Much love to every one of you!