Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start writing?
I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for 15 years and we have a teen and pre-teen daughter as well as my beloved black Lab, Max. I grew up in Bristol before moving to Wiltshire in 2001. I love being close to the countryside in one direction and the bustling Georgian city of Bath in the other.
I started writing toward publication when my youngest daughter started school full-time in 2005. The Wild Rose Press published my first novel in 2007 and I’ve had at least one novel a year published since. Harlequin Superromance publishes my latest contemporary romances and Kensington publishes my Victorian romances.
You’ve written several highly rated Romantic novels, including historical and suspense. Tell us about your books and what inspires you to write.
Aww, thank you for saying my books have been highly rated, that means a lot to me! I love writing contemporary and historical novels alternately – it keeps my mind fresh and hopefully my readers’ too! My editor at Harlequin (contemporary) is happy for me to write mainstream romance or romantic suspense in my current series, which is great. So far, I’ve written two of each and contracted for one more – I’m thinking this last one will be romantic suspense. I feel a murder coming on!
My Victorian romances are also linked by a secondary character in previous book, becoming the hero or heroine in the next book. I am contracted with Kensington to write two more by June 2015 which will be four in total. As for inspiration? That comes in the form of deadlines, lol!
Describe your writing process. When and where do you write?
I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mum so I treat my writing like a job and write from 8.30 to 3.30pm during the week and as much as family time allows over the weekend. My laptop is always turned off by 7pm for my relaxation – ie bath, followed by a glass of wine in front of the TV.
Where do your ideas come from? Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
This can vary. Most of the time my inspiration comes from a premise and then I create a synopsis and character sketches which usually bring forth the conflicts.
How long does it take you to write a book? What research. If any, do you undertake when planning your book?
It usually takes me around six months to write a 85,000 word novel – my research is very limited, in that I focus on emotion more than anything else. For my Victorian novels, I make sure I have etiquette and social standing as spot on as I can, but again, the emotions are the focus of the book and love, hate, jealousy, greed and joy were the same in the 1800s as they are now.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both – I am becoming more of a pantser as time goes on but my work in progress is becoming a nightmare so I will definitely be plotting the next one more thoroughly. I like to start with a three page synopsis as an outline, character sketches for the hero, hero and villain, if I have one. After that, I dive straight in and write the first draft from start to finish without looking back. The hard part comes in the following drafts!
Of all your characters, do you have a favourite?
Oooh, difficult question! One of my favourite heroes is Will Samson from my Kensington debut, The Seduction of Emily…and one of my favourite heroines is Cat Forrester from my Harlequin debut Finding Justice. In fact, I like Cat so much she’s appeared in every book in the series so far and I’m on book four, lol!
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
I have three fantastic critique partners who I couldn’t be without – they are thorough but entirely constructive and I would be half the writer I am today without them. We work really well together and I hope we continue to do so for years to come. We met online and have never met in person so maybe one day I’ll fly to the States just to meet them. Why not??
What advice would you give to someone thinking of writing their first novel?
Write! That’s it – so many people want to write but don’t actually do it. Write your novel, attend as much workshops as you can and listen to people who have made their way through the writing gauntlet. I enrolled in many affordable, online writing classes when I started out and they were invaluable. Also, join a writers group and/or association like the Romantic Novelists Association. Talking to other writers is really, really important. Good luck!
Rachel’s latest book is A Man Like Him (book 2 in her Harlequin series) and available now. Here’s the blurb and buy links:
Changing her life...again
After two years in hiding, Angela Taylor knows her independence is worth it. As long as she can escape her past, she has everything under control. Until a flash flood hits the park where she works, and hot Chris Forrester shows up the exact moment she needs a hero.
Chris proves he can save lives-and weaken a girl's knees. But how can she make him understand that she's off-limits, that getting close to her will endanger his life? Her happiness or his safety: it shouldn't even be a choice.
Because when you love someone, you protect them, no matter the cost. At least, that's what Angela keeps telling herself....
A Man Like his is available from:
Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington--her debut was released in April 2013 and she has since signed for three more.
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 and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!