Cataromance is delighted to welcome new Harlequin Superromance author Rachel Brimble, who chats to us about romantic suspense, sexy heroes and writing category romance!
Thank you so much, Rachel for joining us here at Cataromance. It’s wonderful to have you here. Your debut novel for Harlequin Superromance, Finding Justice, was published earlier this year. Could you tell us what sparked off the original idea for the book?
Rather than the plot, it was the setting that inspired Finding Justice – in the UK, we have lots of tiny fishing villages that are also holiday resorts. One of my favorites is in Devon and while I was there, I was inspired to set a series of books in this beautiful coastal town. My family and I were holidaying with some very close friends whom my husband and I have known for over 30 years, both separately and as a couple.
It was our unending friendship that started me thinking about what tragedy could occur that would have the potential to divide and test us…
What is Finding Justice about?
Finding Justice is a romantic suspense about a trio of childhood friends – when one of them is murdered, another finds himself a suspect. He calls on the remaining friend, a detective sergeant in the UK police, to come to the town and help prove his innocence and find the true killer.
Attraction sparks once again when they are reunited but the heroine has to fight her emotions while investigating the murder…
What attracted you to writing for Harlequin and to Harlequin Superromance in particular?
It’s always been a goal of mine to write for Harlequin ever since The Wild Rose Press published my first book back in 2007. With each book, the stories I wrote became longer and more emotional. Once Finding Justice was completed, my agent started sending it out to various publishers––I suggested Harlequin Superromance as one to approach and they were the first to offer a contract.
I was thrilled my instinct was spot on!
What are the challenges of writing for Harlequin Superromance?
I couldn’t say specifically because Harlequin are just brilliant for considering all kinds of romance, plotlines, heroes and heroines – the one thing I know is paramount for every Harlequin line… emotion! Each story must have tons and tons of emotion – you want your readers to feel, laugh, cry, shout and love right along with your characters. If you, as a writer, make yourself feel these things as you tell the story, you’re onto a winner!
What sort of research did you have to do for Finding Justice?
Not much in the way of physical research because I know the town where it is set very well (even though I’ve made it fictional in the book). The majority of my research with my contemporary novels is emotional––for that, I dig deep into my memories to evoke each emotion onto the page.
When was I most afraid? How did I feel when I fell in love? What would I do to protect my children? What if I thought I might go to prison? You then take those emotions and write them!
Although Finding Justice is your first book for Harlequin, you’ve several other novels to your credit, including historicals. Do you prefer writing historicals or contemporaries? And do you find it easy to switch from one genre to the other?
I enjoy writing both for different reasons – my contemporaries provide me with the freedom of writing the world we live in today without the need for research or fear of getting something wrong. It means I can entirely throw myself into the emotions of the characters and apply the world I know to their stories.
The historicals give me a sense of another world, of time travel to a place of my own creation. I adore 18th and 19th century history – the clothes, the social etiquette, the phenomenal changes men and women made for the benefit of their children and, unbeknownst to them, the entire country. Historicals are more difficult to write because of the need to get things right and more often than not, I get two thirds the way through and wondered why I started! I get there in the end though!
What’s a typical day for Rachel Brimble like?
A typical week day is up with the kids at 6.30 – they are out of the door and on their way to school by 7.45. I run around getting myself ready and tidying the house before sitting at my laptop by 8.30. My favorite place to write is on the sofa with my big black Labrador snoring beside me.
Dog walk at 11.30 – 12.30pm, back at laptop until the kids come home at 3.30. Then its housework, shopping, taking the kids here, there and everywhere before I start preparing dinner. I steal moments at the laptop when I can until 7.30, then I close down for the night. Evening is family time – my rule!
Weekends I work as much as I’m can without my husband or kids noticing, lol!
What is your all time favourite romantic novel?
I’ll have to say Gone With The Wind because it’s the only book I’ve read four times so clearly I love it – my favorite all-time romance novelists are Nora Roberts and Robyn Carr.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep going! That’s number one – far, far too many would be writers give up before they’ve really begun. Enter contests, get feedback and really take on board what the judges are telling you. They are not there to ruin your careers…even though one judge told me to give up as I’d never be a writer. Lovely!
Second piece of advice – allow yourself to write a ‘crappy’ first draft. It’s the most freeing way to work EVER!
What’s next for Rachel Brimble?
I have an extremely busy year ahead – Finding Justice was released February 5th, then my first historical with Kensington was released in April, a romantic comedy with Omnific publishing in June, followed by the second book in the Templeton Cove series with Harlequin Superromance in August. Phew!!