Jen: Please share a short bio and links to where you can be found online.
Rachel: Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage 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. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. 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.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Rachel: My latest release, HER ONE TRUE LOVE is the fourth Victorian romance I’ve written for eKensington/Lyrical Press and was a result of the third book, WHAT A WOMAN DESIRES. Although all the books can be read stand-alone, Jane and Matthew (the hero and heroine in Her One True Love) featured as secondary characters in book three. Pretty much as soon as Jane appeared on the page, I knew she needed her own story. She’s a fascinating and complex character and I loved writing a story from her point of view.
Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”
She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”
“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”
“No, I do not need your––”
“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”
“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”
“My offer still stands.”
She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”
“You are being stubborn.”
She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”
The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”
The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.
She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”
He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”
Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”
Empathy and passion swirled in her eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.
He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all.
Jen: What age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Rachel: I wanted to write from around the age of eight or nine when I discovered Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series. I would write stories and bound the pages together with ribbon. Memories! I started to seriously pursue my dream of becoming a published author in 2006 when my youngest daughter started school full-time. The Wild Rose Press published my first book, Searching For Sophie, in 2007. These days, I write mainstream romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington/Lyrical Press. The fact I get to write full-time is a dream come true.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Rachel: No, but my late grandmother was an avid reader and told the most fantastic stories, albeit verbally. I like to think she’d be super proud of me if she were still alive today.
Jen :Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Rachel: Part of me always hankers to write a crime novel, or maybe a women’s fiction novel along the lines of Jodi Picoult. I’m sure I will try one day when I don’t have existing contracts piling up! A genre I will always avoid is any sub-genre of science fiction or paranormal…even romance. My imagination just doesn’t stretch far enough to believe in vampires or shapeshifters!
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Rachel: For me, the most challenging aspect is always the plotting – I am definitely a plotter and begin each book with a 3-4 page synopsis which I then break down into chapters with a short summary of what will happen in each chapter. The brick walls I used to hit are getting fewer the more books I write, but I still dread the 50,000 word mark.
The easiest aspect is polishing the final draft before I send it to my agent – I love the tweaking process and adding more color to words that are already there. The most rewarding is holding the finished product in my hands. I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of holding a book I’ve written.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Rachel: My first book I literally screamed my way through the house telling my long-suffering husband and children that the hours I’d spent away from them had finally been worth it. These days, I celebrate the end of each written first draft by treating myself to a Pandora charm for my bracelet. I also celebrate each contract AND release with a meal and a few glasses of wine with family and friends. Writing is hard and I believe every achievement should be duly marked!
Jen: What’s next for you?
Rachel: I’m currently polishing the final draft of what I hope will be the first book in a new Edwardian saga, as well as writing the first draft of the seventh book in my Harlequin Templeton Cove series.
As for upcoming releases, book six in the series, Saved By The Firefighter is scheduled for release in November 2016.