Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rachel Brimble and The Arrival of Lily Curtis

My guest today is the very versatile Rachel Brimble. Rachel, whose new release is historical romance, 'The Arrival of Lily Curtis', lives in Chippenham, a small town near the famous city of Bath in England.

The New Rachel Brimble Website is Stunning
One of the first things we talked about was Rachel's stunning new website. "I love my new site and have had endless compliments about it," said Rachel. "The web designer is Rae Monet who has designed sites for many of my fellow The Wild Rose Press authors. Rae went way beyond what I expected and I will be eternally grateful." Although she has no way of being certain, Rachel is sure the traffic to her website has increased. The feedback has been amazing, she says.

Rachel's Favourite Genre is Romantic Suspense
Rachel is an exceptionally versatile writer, crossing the genres from historical to contemporary romantic comedy and romantic suspense. "My favourite genre to read is romantic suspense. I love reading all genres of romance, but it's the suspense that keeps me up all night. How I decide what subgenre of book I will write next, totally depends on the characters or plot which comes into my head at any given time. What tends to happen is when I am about half way through a work in progress, a character will start talking to me who is destined for my next book…and then it’s up to me to figure out his or her story and where it belongs.

"A character usually pops into my head and I hear them talking. Weird but true! They may have a problem, they may be scared, they may be excited or even turned on, LOL! After that, I start to write down snippets of dialogue, what they are thinking etc until a plot starts to form. Then comes the synopsis which can change several times until I decide I’ve got the right journey for my hero and heroine. After that? I write and things often end up completely different than I planned anyway."

Home is the Best Place to Write
Fitting a writing routine into family and work responsibilities isn't always easy. "I aim to write something every day even if it’s only a page (250 words," says Rachel. "The best advice I was given by another busy writer is give yourself permission to write a ‘crappy’ first draft. Just get the words down, don’t go back until you’ve typed The End, you’ll be surprised how quickly those words add up. When you’re done with the first draft, you have loads to play with, polish and delete. It works, trust me!

With regard to my surroundings, I write best at home. Whether that be in my office, at the kitchen table or on the sofa with my kids beside me watching Spongebob Squarepants! Home is best. People I know or come in contact with often seep into my writing in unexpected, (hopefully!) unrecognizable ways… Home is all that really matters to me although I have written in cafes, on the beach and waiting for my kids when I’m picking them up from different events. I have no set routine but I prefer quiet, if possible!"

I wondered whether anyone else in Rachel's family enjoyed writing. "No one else in my family writes," she said.  "My nan played with the idea every now and then when she was alive, but never actually did it, so I know she’s looking down on me, very proud right now. My family are REALLY supportive, especially my husband who keeps saying my success will be our pension…hmm, no pressure then!"

Writers are the Most Generous People in the World
Rachel said that one of the  most important things she's learned on her writing journey is that writers are the most generous people in the world with their advice, knowledge and support. "I also learned editors know what they are talking about, listen to them. They are not there to sabotage your work, they’re there to make it the best it can be and most of all…get you lots of sales!! My best personal advice? Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft!"

Future Goals for Rachel Brimble
"My most pressing and ambitious goal right now is to land an agent here in the UK. I feel as though my writing is improving with each book I write and I now feel ready to move onto the next level and having an agent will help me make that happen. I want to do this for the rest of my life and the only way that is going to happen is if I get out there and make do it for myself."

The Arrival of Lily Curtis

Read the blurb and this enticing excerpt from 'The Arrival of Lily Curtis'.

At the mention of an arranged marriage, Elizabeth Caughley feels her life is over at the age of three and twenty….so she hatches an escape plan. She will reinvent herself as a housemaid. Overnight, Elizabeth becomes Lily

Viscount Westrop wants nothing more than his legacy to be passed to his own son one day. Even though he feels insurmountable pity for the unborn child already, he knows how much pain a broken promise can cause and will do what is right. But with the arrival of his new housemaid, his plans are thrown into disarray. Lily is funny, feisty and the most beautiful creature on earth – Andrew is thunderstruck. But if anyone suspects how much he wants to ravish her and endlessly love her, Andrew’s lineage will be in peril. And he cannot let that happen…

Lily lifted her head and met eyes as blue as a crisp winter sky. He said nothing as he continued to study her. His eyes hungrily brushed over her hair, her neck, her breasts. Lily flicked a glance left and right as her body traitorously heated beneath his gaze. The other gentlemen were carefully watching the exchange. Their curious eyes darted back and forth between the two, undeniable amusement twitching their lips.

“Are you ready to be seated in the dining room, my lord?” Lily said, standing a little straighter.

“I’m sorry?”

“Your meal, sir?”

He blinked and the tension broke. He hastily threw a look at his friends before turning to meet her eyes once more. He straightened his spine and regally lifted his chin. Lily held his gaze, noticed that his eyes now burned with something she couldn’t quite decipher but whatever it was triggered her natural defences to high alert. The curiosity when he had looked at her not a moment before had vanished, only to be replaced with mischief - or was it guilt?

His smile turned wolverine. “Oh, I’m more than ready to eat, Lily. I’m positively salivating.”

Lily smarted as his friends burst into a flurry of mocking laughter. She gritted her teeth but kept her eyes locked on his. The tone of his voice had disguised neither the implication nor his obvious enjoyment at her expense. A flame of indignation ignited inside of her.

Her smile was slow and intentionally provocative. “I am so pleased, sir. For I would hate for you to have to endure cold soup.” Her gaze lingered down to his crotch. “After all, you and your guests are quite obviously still chilled from an afternoon of riding.”

The gentlemen’s sniggers instantly halted and the lord’s smile dissolved. He looked from her face to his crotch and back again. His eyes widened.

“Why, you….”

Visit Rachel's website:
Purchase 'The Arrival of Lily Curtis' and Rachel's other books from The Wild Rose Press.

Thanks so much for being my guest and good luck, Rachel!


  1. This book sounds fascinating! I look forward to reading it.

  2. Hi Leigh. Thanks for stopping by my blog :-)

    I love Rachel's excerpt. The arrival of Lily Curtis seems like it would be an interesting book (and my TBR pile gets even bigger :-) )

    RE: writing … I also have the experience of ending up with something quite different from what I’d initially planned. For that reason (or maybe because I haven’t mastered the art to the point of being completely comfortable) I tend to leave the synopsis till the end of the first draft.

    But I'll take one thing from this post - I’ll try to allow myself to write a crappy first draft (yikes!). So far, shutting down my internal editor has been hard. The positive thing about that is, my first draft is usually quite clean and close to what I want. The negative thing is that it slows down the process of completing the story. (decisions, trade-offs, decisions)


  3. This book sounds great! I love historical romance. And you're right, Rachel's web site is amazing.

  4. Thank you for your comments, ladies!

    Hi Jane (waving!!), great to meet you at the conference, still think about your Choc Lit speech! x

    Empi, you need to take my advice! I was just like you with the first draft and it seemed to take me forever to complete a book or story. Now, I whizz through, loving every minute and then when it comes to the second draft I enjoy it because I've got so much to play with.

    Glad you like the website, Julie! When Rae 'delivered' it to me, I literally screamed out loud, LOL!!

    Rachel x

  5. Hi Leigh and Rachel,
    Great interview. I have never heard of the village where you live Rachel, but I have visited Bath on a bus tour once when we were visiting the UK. Lovely,place. I was going to say historical, but all of England is historical that is why I love it so much.
    Rae designed my website too, she does awesome work.
    The Arrival of Lily Curtis sounds a very interesting read, loved the excerpt and you ended it on a high, or rather I should say a "low" note.

  6. Hi all - thanks for visiting my blog!
    Empi - I'm working hard to write that 'crappy' first draft too - I write so painstakingly slowly it's torture and it's got to stop!
    Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day/evening.

  7. Love the excerpt and blurb! Gotta have it!
    Good luck Leigh! My sister spells her name the same as you.

  8. Hi Leigh! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    I actually referred someone to you about a week ago. They were wondering how to connect with other romance authors to form a critique group, but I didn't know anything about that genre. I forget who it was, but I'm sure they'll find their way over here.

  9. Hi Julie, yes, Jessica found her way - hope I could be of some help!