Interview with Rachel Kenley

Jen: Readers, help me welcome Rachel Kenley to Book Talk this week. Rachel, will you please share a short bio with us?
Rachel: Absolutely, Jen, and thanks for this great opportunity. I’m just your average wife, mother and erotic romance writer. I grew up in New Jersey and now live in Massachusetts with my husband and sons. I’ve loved the romance genre since I was fourteen and my mom gave me a copy of The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiweiss. I found a lot of hope and comfort in these books as I went through my own romantic trials and I try to give that back to other women.

Jen: Tell us about The Glass Stiletto and where it’s available.
Rachel: As you might guess from the title, The Glass Stiletto is a retelling of the Cinderella story. We go quickly though the balls with Mariella, my heroine, and Teodor, her prince, but most of the story takes place after she leaves her family’s home and heads to his castle. She’s not about to serve anyone again or be under their control, so when he proposes – she says no. And then the fun begins. You can download the e-book at www.ravenousromance.com or buy a print version on amazon.com. My next release for Ravenous will be another re-imagined fairy tale – THE FAIREST SEDUCTION. I’m taking on Snow White.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Rachel: I can’t remember when I didn’t write, but I was first published in August 2007. I submitted a query and a partial of the novel in Dec 2006. It was the first I’d ever completed and polished until it was truly ready for submission. Before then, I’d started a lot and finished almost nothing. Six weeks later, the editor asked for the complete manuscript and about seven weeks after that I got “The Email” telling me they wanted to buy it. I screamed.

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Rachel: Yes. My mother is published in both fiction and nonfiction. In fact, she wrote short stories for the two anthologies I edited for Ravenous – SPELLBOUND and FANTASTICA. She writes as Holly East. My husband is working on a non-fiction book and my sons write picture books based on their favorite characters.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Rachel: Coffee. Chocolate within reach. Music without words – usually movie soundtracks, Midori, Tim Janis, folks like that. I can’t write with other people’s words around me. And as Virginia Woolf said, a room of my own. I have my Muse Salon (our garage, converted) where I can go and be with my computer, books and files. It’s my favorite space in the house.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Rachel: I’m a morning writer and an evening editor. I love doing Morning Pages as suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way to wake up my muse and quiet my inner critic. I focus on writing 500-1000 words every day and try to leave off almost mid scene so I can pick up the next day more easily.

Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Rachel: That’s a great question. Sometime the character comes with a name and I know it right away. Other times I look online or in baby books to see if there’s one that clicks for me. Or, finally, I translate an English word into another language and modify it. For example, in THE FAIREST SEDUCTION, since I’m working with the Snow White characters, I found the Portuguese word for snow is “neve” so my heroine is now Aneva.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Rachel: I love the romance genre, always have, and really enjoy spicing it up. I also have notes and pages on some women’s fiction novels as well as an urban fantasy series I’d like to do. I love that so many authors do more than one genre. I tend not to read dark fiction/horror, so I’m not likely to write it.

Jen: If The Glass Stiletto was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Rachel: When I wrote the book I pictured a dark haired Rachel McAdams as Mariella and Hugh Jackman for Teodor. I admit… I picture him a lot.

Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Rachel: There was lots of screaming and breathless phone calls when I got the email. On the books release date, my mom surprised me by coming up from New Jersey and we had a big feast and champagne. It was wonderful.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Rachel: I had a reviewer who had the same name as my heroine in Destiny’s Jewel and she loved feeling like the story was about her. Holly Black, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, told me she thought it was wonderful that I’d given Cinderella an improved happily ever after and made her a strong character.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Rachel: After managing the responsibilities of motherhood (my sons are 10 and 7) I love to read, play computer games and watch someone else’s drama on television.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Rachel: THE FAIREST SEDUCTION is on the top of my to-write list along with an older woman/younger man story called PEAK EXPERIENCE. I hope to write more in my PASSIONATE series, but that will depend on reader response to the first book, an erotic romantic suspense called Passionate Heat, also available at Ravenous and Amazon.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Rachel: www.rachelkenley.com and on Facebook as well. I admit – I adore FB, I’m a bit of an addict.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Rachel: What do you love in a hero… and what makes a heroine memorable to you?

Jen: Thank you Rachel for being our guest this week. Readers, we have 2 prizes up for grabs this week: a CD audio version of SPELLBOUND and an ecopy of JUST DESSERTS which is from the Ambrosia anthology. To enter the drawing, you first must leave a comment for Rachel. Then you need answer one (or both, use 2 messages) of the following questions (the answers can be found on her website):

For the CD – What was the first romance novel Rachel read and how old was she?
For the short story – What is the title of the story I contributed to the “Sex and Taxes Anthology”?

Send your answers to contests.bookblog@gmail.com and use the prize name as the subject line. The contest will end on Sunday, October 4.