Friday, July 30, 2010

Rachel Brimble Interview

Please welcome author Rachel Brimble here today, from the picturesque town of Bath, England. (Lucky thing.)

Tell us a bit about yourself, and why you decided to write romance.
I am married with two young daughters and live near the beautiful city of Bath, England. I started writing once I became pregnant with my youngest daughter although it was always a passion of mine. Romance became my genre of choice organically. Every story I wrote centered around a romantic relationship even if I didn’t plan it that way! I knew it was a calling.

Tell us about your new release, The Arrival of Lily Curtis, and how long it took you to write it.
This is my first historical and the story behind ‘Lily’ is different than any of my other novels. Up until now I have only written contemporary and Lily came to me fully-formed and talking. I had no idea who she was but I know she hated her current life and wanted to completely change her identity. But try as I might, I could not fit her into any of the contemporary scenarios flying around in my head.
Then while I was watching a Victorian drama on TV, I knew exactly why I was struggling with her… She was Victorian! The rest was easy and I wrote the first draft in four months.

Do you plot, or let the characters take you through the book?
I’m a plotter. Once I have the idea, I write a synopsis and then a chapter plan. Very often things change along the way but I love having a framework, something I can refer back to if I’m struggling.

I knew I liked you :) While writing, did you identify the most with Lily or Viscount Westrop?
Lily, definitely! She is like me in many ways – I don’t like constraints, I don’t like being unable to express my opinion and I certainly don’t like bolshy men! Lily is a fighter and I think she’s pretty damn fantastic.

What sort of research did you do for the book? What little treasures did you unearth about that period in history?
I carried out most of my research on the internet but as this is my first historical, I must admit I was wary of steeping myself too deeply in the details. ‘Lily’ is most definitely a romance set against a Victorian background rather than a Victorian novel with romantic elements. I was careful with costume, transport, food etc and hope this adds to the richness of the setting but didn’t delve too deeply into the intricacies of the period. I wanted the reader to ‘feel’ the time but focus their attention on Lily and the delicious Viscount Westrop.

How do you make sure the dialogue is correct for the period without it sounding stilted to a modern audience?
This was a challenge but I truly hope I have managed it well enough for the readers to have an enjoyable and unstilted read. I tended to only add the easily recognizable ‘old english’ phrases and left the rest alone.

What advice would you give to new authors about the drafting phase?
My good friend and author, Julie Cohen, gives the best advice in the world regarding the first draft – ‘Allow yourself to write crap!’
This is it in a nutshell – get the words on the page and then you can play around with them until they shine. There’s no other way to get a book written.

I'm so with you on that! Any advice on editing?
The best advice I can give, is once your manuscript is complete, go through and delete as many ‘seemed to’, ‘tried to’ and ‘began to’ – make it active!

What about promotion? What have you found that works the best?
Ah, the wonderful promotion question! I have no idea what works best but I do love interviews and I do love having guests on my blog. I think if writers share their forums and get to know each other, it reaches the readers that we are all keen to help each other and offer good products for them to enjoy.

Is there anything you know now that you wished you'd known before you became published?
That one book does not sate the craving! I thought I only had one book in me but once ‘Searching For Sophie’ was published, another idea popped into my head, then another, then another…now I have accept my writing is a compulsion and I will undoubtedly do this for the rest of my life.

Has anything about the process of publishing surprised you along the way?
How nice everyone is! I have heard many horror stories from other writers but I have not experience anything negative and I have been writing and publishing stories for over six years now. If a writer is willing to bend a little on their work, be polite and open to criticism, this is a wonderful industry to work in.

What are you working on now?
I have just finished plotting my second Victorian romance, tentatively entitled Jewel of His Heart but in the meantime, I have another contemporary romance due for release in January 2011 from Lyrical Press called Getting It Right This Time. Set in the fictional town of Foxton, England, it is the story of a young mother reunited with her first love and the struggles they face to make it work second time around.

Where can readers find you?
Thanks Rachel!

Bio: Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Having always believed there’s someone for everyone, Rachel started writing her own tales of love once her children were at school. Since then, she’s had several books published with The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press and Lyrical Press. She aspires to secure an agent in the near future. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, Rachel cannot imagine her life without romance or writing!

When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…


Sonya Natalia said...

Oooh, my first visit to Bath was a few days after Christmas some years ago and the whole place was covered in snow (I've never seen it like that since!). It was like being in a Jane Austen book, or maybe an old Christmas card!

I'm so envious of anybody living around there.

Writing historical stories seems terrifying. I'm not sure I'd ever be brave enough to try. It's hard enough coming up with the characters and the plot, let alone worrying about the research!

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Sonya and Rachel. I was in Bath years ago, back when I was about 12 or so. I remember seeing some of Hadrian's Wall, and that's about it. Would love to go back to the UK, and plan to just as soon as I can get over my fear of flying :)

Savannah Stuart said...

Great interview!! I've never been to Bath but it's on my list of places to visit :) I agree on how nice writers are (at least romance writers)!

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Rachel. I've heard Bath is beautiful and would love visit the spa.

Margaret Tanner said...

Lovely interview Rachel. You certainly do live in a beautiful and historical part of England.
I find writing historicals much easier than contemporaries. I only have one contemporary published yet I have eight historicals.


Rachel Brimble said...


I am so sorry to be so late visiting Kaylea's blog (Hi, Kaylea!!). My husband decided it would be a good idea to leave for our holiday a day early so I spent most of yesterday travelling to Wales!

Thank you for your comments! Bath is indeed a beautiful place and I m lucky to live so close by.

I find historicals a lot more of a challenge to write than contemporaries but when Lily popped into my head fully formed, I knew she was Victorian and that was it!

I'll visit gain later,


Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Jane!

Margaret, how do you pump out all those manuscripts?

Rachel, I hope you're having a good holiday in Wales. Working on anything new?

Rachel Brimble said...

Hi again everyone,

Kaylea, I'm just finishing the final edits on my next contemporary romance and then I will start writing my next historical tentatively Jewel of His Heart which I have already plotted and is waiting to be written!

Holiday going fine so far although the weather isn't very good. We're making the best of it!

Rachel x