I’ve said this so many times and I love saying it again and again: I LOVELOVELOVE when one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs comes for a visit, especially when they tell me about one of their new books. Today I have sistah RACHEL BRIMBLE here for the very first time. YAY! She was kind enough to answer all my interview questions then give me a little peek into her newest WRP book VICTORIA AND VIOLET (THE ROYAL MAIDS BOOK 1) available now.
Victoria…the floor is yours!
Rachel, the Author:
- What drives you to write?
Because I love it so much! I have wanted to write since I was very young and once I started writing toward publication in 2015, it became a huge part of my life. These days, if I go more than three days without writing, I become a very difficult person to live with, haha! It’s a compulsion…
- What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
I have been concentrating on historical romance for the last four years or so, but I also have contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels published with Harlequin and the Wild Rose Press. Writing historical romance gives me a wonderful outlet for my history obsession and an excuse to read lots and lots of non-fiction books and watching numerous documentaries! However, I definitely write romance because I love LOVE!
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?
I read historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense – I think if I had to choose one as a favorite, I would have to say historical 😊
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?
I am lucky enough to be able to write full-time so I tend to write from 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday with a lunch break and dog walk in between as well as a couple of hours on Saturday. I try to take Sunday off completely!
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
I started on the kitchen table, but for the last four years, I have written from my home office which is the spare bedroom of my house. This room is my haven and I appreciate the space so much. I have a beautiful white desk with my planning boards in front of me, a window looking out onto our back garden and two walls with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves containing research books and novels.
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel vision?
I need total quiet to write but can edit and do my admin and/or social media content work with background noise. I need the silence to actually create.
7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
No – I have just never felt the need. Lots of my writer friends have playlists for their different books, but it has never been a thing for me.
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
My current work in progress is the second book in my Royal Maids series and is set in the court of the Prince and Princess of Wales who go on to become King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The idea for the plotline came to me when I read about Alexandra’s love of clothes and how she had been admired for her looks and style in the early 20th century the same way Princess Diana was admired in the late 20th century.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
It’s usually plot – I am often inspired by a historical building or a period drama I have seen on TV that I would have written differently. A plot will slowly form in my mind and then I have to wait for the characters to come forward and claim their spots in the book! I really enjoy getting to know my characters, but it isn’t until about a third way, or even halfway, through the first draft that I feel I know them well.
- What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Hardworking, passionate, ambitious (Peggy here: I LOVELOVLOVE those descriptions!!!)
Rachel, The Person:
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
I have naturally curly hair and have not had my hair professionally cut since my wedding day in 1998 – my daughters or husband give it a quick trim whenever needed!
- Who was your first love and what age were you?
Apart from childhood crushes, I would have to say my husband! We started dating when we were 18 😊
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
Ooh, I have been blessed with many fabulous days in my life, but one that I will never forget and treasure forever was when my husband surprised me with a flight to Ireland and a two-night stay at Ashford Castle where romance writer Nora Roberts was hosting an afternoon tea and book signing.
I ADORE her books and it was a dream come true to talk to her and have her say hello again to me in the evening at the castle where she was staying, too.
- What’s one thing you love about your significant other?
His generosity – he is such a generous person in every way and would help anyone who needed it. He has a very good heart.
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it item, what would it be?
My laptop, of course! 😊
- What three words describe you, the person?
Funny (I hope!), kind, conscientious (AWWW!)
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any timeline, who would it be, why, and what would you do together?
The Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist – he would take me around all the dark, seedier places of Victorian London and teach me the art of survival. I love his character so much. He has always been an example of resilience to me rather than a petty criminal!
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound : A running bath!
- Least favorite sound: My children crying
- Best song ever written :I Have Nothing (Whitney Houston)
- Worst song ever written: Mr Blobby by Mr Blobby
- Favorite actor and actress: Tom Hanks
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Oprah Winfrey – I follow her on Instagram and her ranch looks amazing. I’d love to sit on her porch for breakfast and then contemplate my day/friends/family etc and then choose which famous person I’m going to call up to come over for dinner…
- What turns you on? Books!
- What turns you off? Housework…
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)
Can I have 6? “How much do you love football?” hahah – yes, you can!!!!
- What’s your version of a perfect day?
Writing in the morning, a long dog walk in the English countryside followed by dinner in an old pub, preferably Tudor.
It should be a dream come true to serve the Queen of England…
When Violet Parker is told she will be Queen Victoria’s personal housemaid, she cannot believe her good fortune. She finally has the chance to escape her overbearing mother, a servant to the Duchess of Kent.
Violet hopes to explore who she is and what the world has to offer without her mother’s schemes overshadowing her every thought and action.
Then she meets James Greene, assistant to the queen’s chief political adviser, Lord Melbourne. From entirely different backgrounds and social class, Violet and James should have neither need nor desire to speak to one another, yet through their service, their paths cross and their lives merge—as do their feelings.
Only Victoria’s court is not always the place for romance, but rather secrets, scandals, and conspiracies…
Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of 29 novels including the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin). Her latest novel, Victoria & Violet is the first book in her new Royal Maids series with the Wild Rose Press and released 17th October 2022.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.
Peggy here – I can’t thank you, Rachel, enough for coming to visit me today. I loved your interview and I’ve got my own pic of me with Nora, as well!!!! It was a top 5 day in my life when I met her and got to speak with her privately!!!! Good luck with Victoria and Violet – it sounds fabulous!!!)