Today I'm delighted to be welcoming prolific romance author Rachel Brimble to my blog. Based near the beautiful city of Bath, where I studied for my MA, Rachel has written a number of books for The Wild Rose Press and is now also published by romance giants Harlequin. I'm in awe of Rachel's diligence and versatility, and excited to be finding out more about how she does it!
Rachel, you write both historicals and contemporaries – do you find the process of writing varies depending on what kind of story you’re writing?
Interestingly, not for me – I write character sketches for my hero, heroine and villain, followed by a two to three page synopsis. Throughout this process this tends to reveal the goal, motivation and conflict of the three main characters, which gives me the basis of the story. I write the first draft from start to finish, without looking back and then the hard work comes in drafts two and three.
The only difference with my historicals is the research – I stop and research as I go along when something I need to check crops up. However, even with my historicals, I am focusing on the emotions of the characters more than anything else.
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Harlequin Enterprises Limited
I am so thrilled to be working with Harlequin Superromance! My editor is fantastic and I am absolutely ecstatic to announce that they have just offered me a new three-book contract so the Templeton Cove series will continue!! I’m having such a great time with Harlequin. :-)
Finding Justice is the first in the series set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove. It was the setting that inspired the story. It is based on a childhood holiday destination and while I was on a visit there a few years ago, I had the image of a murder…soon afterwards, I knew the victim was a past friend of both the hero and heroine. I then had to work out what brought them to the point of both tracking the killer…
Your latest historical is, ‘The Seduction of Emily’, which I’m looking forward to as I loved ‘The Arrival of Lily Curtis’. What should we expect from Emily’s story?
Emily’s story is the first in a two-book contract I signed last year with Kensington. This is the story of a woman betrothed to a man through a contract drawn up between their fathers years before. Emily accepts her fate because if she refuses, her father’s legacy will be lost to any future children. Then she meets confidence trickster, Will Samson…
Will is on a mission to avenge the beating of his mother a few years before, he tracks down the man responsible and soon learns he is engaged to the beautiful Emily Darson. His first point of revenge is to seduce his nemesis’ intended…
|The Seduction of Emily|
Do you have to do a lot more research for the historical stories than the contemporaries?
My primary focus with my historicals is the emotions of the hero and heroine, I think this is the difference between historical fiction and historical romance. People often don’t appreciate there is a big difference between the two. Love, hate, anger, disappointment, grief and joy are universal and timeless emotions that characters would feel the same in the 1700 or 1800s as a young person would today.
I research settings and etiquette, maybe the Royal family at the time and any social issues that I want to focus on but it is really all about the characters. So yes, a little more time but not hours and hours.
Do you have a favourite hero and heroine from your books, and who would you like to see them played by in a film of the book?
Cat Forrester from my Harlequin Superromance is one of my favorite characters, I just loved writing her story and it was such a thrill when Harlequin wanted book two. When I was writing Cat, I had British actress Kelly Reilly, who played DS Anna Travis in the TV series, Above Suspicion in the forefront of my mind.
How would you sum up the philosophy, or message, behind your books?
Several readers have told me there is a strong theme of trust in my books and I totally agree. I love exploring characters getting over their childhood issues or past heartbreak and realizing it’s worth taking another risk in order to find their happily ever after. Sacrifice, and more often than not, surrender, is the key obstacle each of my characters has to face before they can move on and be truly happy.
What have you found most useful in learning your craft, and what would you recommend for new writers?
Writing a ‘crappy first draft’ is my mantra and once I allowed myself just to write and worry about cleaning it up later, my daily word count tripled. I find once the words are there, I have something to work on and can strengthen my story and characterization with a lot more ease once the first draft is done and I know exactly what I want to say.
Do you mainly read romance, or do you get ideas from other genres too?
I read anything and everything apart from paranormal or sci-fi––my imagination just doesn’t stretch that far! I am a huge fan of historical fiction as well as historical romance and in complete awe of writers like Philippa Gregory, and my recent discovery, Nancy Bilyeau.
I also read quite a few biographies of famous people from the past, with the majority being royalty or actresses from stage and screen. Famous people have influenced a lot of my story ideas…but I’m not naming names!
You lead a very busy life – have you any tips about how to find time for writing, or make the most of writing time?
Biggest tip is the ‘crappy first draft’ for getting the words on the page––also, treat your writing as a job, not a hobby. I am very lucky to be a stay at home mum but once my kids are at school, I write…all day.
I rarely do any housework in this time and even more rarely see friends or family. If I was going out to work I wouldn’t be able to do these things so I don’t do them. Socialising is for the evenings or weekends and as for the housework…that just happens when it happens, LOL! :D
It’s so easy for writers to spend more time on social media than on writing. Which is your favourite online distraction – facebook, twitter, or something else? And where should we go to find out more about your books?
Twitter and Facebook are my biggest distraction! It is so difficult not to keep going in and chatting but I try to resist as much as possible. I do my best to write at least 500 words before I’m allowed to check for updates. I keep telling myself to stretch this to 1,000 but it’s not happening!
Here are my links – for my daily madness, Twitter is best!
Thanks, Rachel. It's been a pleasure, as always!