Thanks for taking the time to visit with Manic Readers,Rachel.
Your first 2 books, Searching for Sophie and Reluctant Witness, are mystery/romances featuring Detectives. You seem to have broken away from that with your other works. Why?
I took a break from featuring Detectives simply because a new detective didn’t come knocking on my imagination for a LONG time. I’m happy to say though, one reappeared during 2012 and she’s now my strongest ongoing character. Cat Forrester makes her debut appearance as the heroine in Finding Justice, my first book in an ongoing series with Harlequin Superromance. She has also made cameo appearances in A Man Like Him (coming Aug) and again in book three which will be released in 2014 🙂
You’ve also written some historicals as well. The Arrival of Lily Curtis, Love’s Debt, and The Seduction ofEmily. Is the process different for you with each genre or fairly the same?
It’s much the same with regard to characterization and plotting, but obviously I have to spend additional time on research. All of my historicals are about the characters and their emotions rather than an historical event of the time, which makes the process much the same as my contemporary work. Love, hatred, joy, loss and every other emotion are universal and timeless, so getting inside a character’s heart and soul in the 1800s is much the same as it would be for a character on a journey today.
16 Marsden Placeis your latest. Can you tell us a bit about it, please?
16 Marsden Place s the first romantic comedy I have written since 2010 (The Sharp Points of a Triangle) and my writing process started in the exact same way. In both my comedies, the heroines came to me fully formed and ready to play. In comedy, the voice is paramount and Sienna (my heroine) spoke so clearly to me it was as though I was taking dictation when I was writing. Adore it when that happens!
The story is set in the fictional English town of Potterford and opens with Sienna about to lose her lingerie/sex shop due to an astronomical rent increase. Her only option is to move the shop to her home address––much to the distress of her new neighbor, single father Jack Beaton…
Having read 16 Marsden Place I can share that there’s plenty of humor and some great lines and zingers. Do you have a book in mind for the dueling lawyers,Kelsey Morgan and Mike Scott? Talk about combustible…I wouldn’t have minded a bit more from them.
I have had SO many readers and reviewers asking me to write a sequel for Kelsey and Mike, lol! I love that people are connecting with them so enthusiastically and want to see what happens between them. My editor has also asked me to write their story so the pressure is on! I am fully committed to Harlequin and Kensington for the rest of the year but who knows what will happen in 2014. 🙂
Was writing always your goal?
Yes! I loved telling and writing stories as a child and by the time I was 12, I wanted to be a journalist. That aspiration slowly faded and I ended up working in a bank for 10 years. Once I became pregnant with my first daughter, I had a ‘now or never’ moment and started writing short stories. The rest is history!
Do you write what you’d like to read?
I read widely and voraciously so I never really think about my writing as something I can’t find on the shelf and so write myself. My stories are a product of my imagination mixed with experiences from my own life or articles I’ve seen in the paper or on TV. I love romance and can’t imagine writing another genre right now, but who knows? Relationships are at the center of every story in books, movies or TV and I love digging deep into my main characters to find out what made them who they are today and what decisions they make for the future.
Do you want to write or have to write?
Have to write – which isn’t always a good thing! I become quite savage when I haven’t written for even as little as two days. My husband and kids know exactly when I’ve been away from the computer for too long or if I am getting frustrated and can’t move a scene forward. Just picture a cartoon character with the bulging eyes and pumping vein at the temple – that’s me during these ‘dry’ times, lol!
I’m not fit for public consumption when I can’t read.
Is there anything special your muse requires?
Silence – I can’t create with noise or music or anything distracting going on around me. However, I can edit with noise. Once the story is down, I love playing around with it, tweaking and deleting. For that, I am happy for my kids to be coming in and out of the room and the TV blaring downstairs 🙂
Who’s in control, you or the characters?
I’d love to say me, but that is very rarely the case – with each book I write, I plot less and less and instead, allow my characters their freedom. This can get frustrating and I usually hit a roadblock around the 40,000 word mark (my latest books are around 85,000). When that happens, I make myself write through it and hope when it comes to the following drafts there’s something I can use. In fact, I tend to write the entire book this way – crappy first draft is the future!
Do you have a favorite hero and heroine that you’ve written?
My favorite heroine by far is Cat Forrester (Finding Justice/A Man Like Him) so I would have to say her hero is pretty much up there on my ‘favorites’ list too. Jay Garrett is just perfect for this fiery, impulsive and impassioned red-head 🙂
That someone else has written?
I am a huge Nora Roberts fan and have so many favorite hero/heroine couplings of hers that I couldn’t even begin to list them. If I were forced to name a favorite, I would say Cameron Quinn and AnnaS pinelli from Seaswept (book1 in the Chesapeakes eries) and of course,Eve Dallas and Roarke from Nora’s In Death series (writing as J D Robb).
Do you currently have a WIP you can share bits of or no?
I can’t share any ‘bits’ but I have just completed and sent off book three in my ongoing Templeton Cove series for Harlequin Superromance. The book is set mainly at the Funland fairground in the Cove and follows the journey of Sasha Todd and John Jordon. They are initially brought together fighting over the fair, but soon realize they have to work together if either of them are ever going to move on from their parents mistakes…
England and Scotland are on my bucket list to visit. There’s so much history, so many things I’ve read about I’d like to experience. What’s it like living so near Bath, or is it really no big deal for you?
You would think after living so close to Bathf or over 12 years that I might be complacent about it by now, but I’m not at all. I feel blessed that I live so close to such an historical city and go there as much as possible. Bath is continually buzzing with locals as well as foreign visitors and I recommend spending at least three nights there to see everything. It’s a wonderful place––and thankfully rich with story inspiration!
Do you have a favorite book?
It’s extremely hard to name a favorite book, just because I love books! The only book I’ve read three times is Gone With The Wind, but love almost everything by Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, Jean Fullerton, Philippa Gregory, Robyn Carr, Dorothy Koomson……
I never made it through Gone with the Wind. Scarlett got on my nerves too bad.
Anything by Richard Curtis– Four Weddings and A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually. Fabulous movies!
I enjoyed those too, especially Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually.
Have you read anything lately that you’d highly recommend to others?
Me Before You –Jojo Moyes. A fabulous tear-jerker of a story. Pure genius…
Thanks so much for visiting,Rachel. I’ve enjoyed it.
Thanks to Enn and Omnific Publishing we have an ecopy of 16 Marsden Place to give away. What do y’all think about retail & residential side by side? I don’t mean someone living over their store in a downtown area, I’m talking cul-de-sac. Giveaway ends @12 am est on 7-3-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!
My Manic Readers review of 16 MARSDEN PLACE.
Rachel on Twitter