Rachel Brimble lives with her husband, two young daughters and their beloved black Labrador, Max in a small market town near the famous Georgian City of Bath. Having always ‘played’ with writing, she didn’t seriously sit down and write toward publication until she became pregnant with her second daughter – then she told myself to get her butt in the chair and get on with it before she grew up and had to get a real job! Although she works part time for at her husband’s financial adviser’s firm, she writes at every opportunity. And when she's not writing you'll find her with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused.
Q. Hi Rachel. Welcome to TwoLips Reviews Interviews. I see you've recently hired an agent. So many authors represent themselves these days, especially in the epub world. How does having an agent benefit an author?
Rachel: My agent has benefited me hugely already! She has taught me so much about my writing and skills to improve and polish my work to really make it shine. I know we are going to be a great team and I can leave her to fight my corner while I concentrate on the creative side of things. A good agent helps you write better, supports you and flies your flag. Writers are introverts and it’s hard for some of us to do that ourselves!
Q. How long have you been a writer and what inspired you to become one?
Rachel: I have written seriously (for publication) for six years and have had six novels and one novella published. I'm very proud of that. As for inspiration, I have always wanted to write but never pursued it until my youngest daughter was in school full-time. I have made up stories and entertained my friends since I was six or seven.
Q. What genres do you write in? What do you think makes a good story in these genres?
Rachel: I write romance – but in various sub-genres of that. I am published in romantic suspense, comedy, contemporary and Victorian historical. For all these genres or any romance, the most important aspect is the emotion, the deep characterization – these are the reasons readers stay loyal to romance and always will.
Q. When writing, do you start at the beginning, middle or end and work your way backwards and why?
Rachel: I start at the beginning and work forward. I write a rough three page synopsis and then write the first draft from beginning to end, making changes to the synopsis as the story evolves. By the end of the first draft, I have a completed book and synopsis – but then in draft two the real work starts to make them saleable, lol!
Q. When and where do you prefer to do your writing? Laptop or desktop for writing?
Rachel: Laptop either in my office at the bottom of the garden or on my lap on the sofa – both locations include a big black Labrador sleeping beside me!
Q. If you could get trapped in any book or series, which one would it be and why?
Rachel: Any Nora Roberts series traps me – but my favorite is still her Chesapeake Series. I have heard a lot about the Bride quartet too and that is waiting on my shelf to be read.
Q. Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or your books on real events in your own life?
Rachel: I haven’t consciously based any of my characters on anyone I know, but I am sure there are aspects of other people in all my characters as there are aspects of me in each one too. As for real events, I have just outlined a new book for my agent which involves my experience being rescued by helicopter from the French Floods last year. Watch this space!
Q. What's your most recent book, and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what is the most significant thing about it?
Rachel: The Arrival of Lily Curtis. It’s a different kind of romance – intense, gritty, humorous and real.
Q. If you could chat with any character from your books, who would it be and what would a day with him or her be like?
Rachel: Andrew from The Arrival of Lily Curtis, definitely! This is my latest Victorian historical and I would love to travel back in time and spend the day with him. He is aristocratic but funny, kind and fair. A lovely man, a romantic man and a true hero. Yes, I am in love!
Q. With the ever expanding use of ereaders and personal tablets, do you think people are reading more or less these days? Do you think the traditional paper and hardbacks will be a thing of the past within the next 20 years?
Rachel: I think people are reading more and I hope paper and hardbacks won’t become a thing of the past. If the ereaders expand reading then that can only be a good thing. But I LOVE books, love holding and smelling them – and they are a great way to decorate your home. Nothing beats a wall of books to make a room looked lived in – that’s what I tell my husband anyway ;)
Q. Do you prefer reading ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers? Have you ever read a book or series more than once and why?
Rachel: Paperbacks for when I’m on the move and hardbacks for home – I have a Kindle on my Christmas list so that may well change very soon. The only books I have read more than once is Gone With The Wind (three times) and The Lovely Bones (twice). Both are great books that I get immersed in because of the world the authors have created. It is an amazing thing when an author makes something so real, you completely lose yourself in it.
Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? Please tell us about it and what prompted you to write it.
Rachel: My newest book came out last week – Paying The Piper is available Lyrical Press, Inc. I wanted to write something about homelessness. My best friend is a social worker and often gets frustrated by the red tape preventing her from helping more people. This inspired me to get something down on paper and out into the world about that very thing. The book became Jimmy’s story…
Q. Almost every romance author writes a series these days. Have you ever considered writing one and if so, what would it be about?
Rachel: I have just outlined an idea for a series to my agent – the first book is written and I have firm ideas for books 2 and 3. It is a series of romantic suspense books set in the seaside town of Templeton Cove on the edge of Southwest England.
Q. What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Rachel: Allow yourself to write a ‘crappy’ first draft. A full page can be edited, a blank page can’t.
Q. What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)? What book will you never read and why?
Rachel: Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella – Hardback. Never say never, but I can never imagine me reading War & Peace – just because the size of it puts me off and I know the content is intense. I like to enjoy my reading rather than have to wade through it.
Q. What books, either fiction or technical, have most influenced your writing style and why?
Rachel: Anything by Jodi Picoult, Nora Roberts or Jean Fullerton makes me want to be a better writer, but my style is my own. They are great writers who keep me turning the pages and that’s the kind of writer I want to be for my readers.
Q. Who is your favorite author? Is there an Author that you would really like to meet and why?
Rachel: See above, lol! I’ve met Jean several times and consider her one of my writing friends and mentors, I have been to two of Jodi’s book signings when she was here in the UK so I just have Nora left to stalk now… ;)
Q. Are there any new authors who've grasped your interest and why?
Rachel: There are several new UK crime writers that have caught my interest lately, but I always scan the smaller publishers for up and coming talent too. I haven’t anyone new I am intending to follow religiously at the moment but I do download at least two new names to my laptop every month to give them a try.
Q. What is your favorite quote and why do you like it so much?
Rachel: “Set it up the way you want it to be.” – Iylana Vanzant. I love this quote because of its simplicity. If we set things up the way we want them to be, we should be happy – if we let other people rule us or dictate the way we live our lives, we can expect to be unhappy.
Q. Where can readers stalk you without getting arrested?
Q. What is your favorite movie and TV show? What actor do you secretly have a crush on?
Rachel: Loving Rizzoli & Isles right now – Favorite crush is Matthew Mcconaughey ;)
Q. What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Rachel: Not much, I need to shop, lol! Bacon, eggs, white wine, milk, orange juice, yogurt and cheese.
Q. What are your pet peeves?
Rachel: Ignorance and prejudice
Q. Since you're British, I just have to ask this. Coffee or tea? And seriously, what do you think of Americans?
Rachel: Coffee – and I LOVE Americans! A lot of the time I feel more American than I do British, lol! I read more American fiction and watch more American TV than I do British. The only way I know I am truly British is because of my love of British history. Can’t beat it!
Q. If you were stranded in the desert, what 3 famous people you would want with you and why?
Rachel: Oprah – Inspiration
Iylana Vanzant – Wisdom
Cam from Modern Family – Laughter ;)