Hey guys. Thank you for joining us at the Coffee Time Romance & More. Today I bring you the lovely Ms. Rachel Brimble to discuss her upcoming release, The Temptation of Laura.
So let us begin the interview. Ms. Brimble, thank you so much for taking time out and joining us. Please first help yourself to the yummy sweet and salty goodies in front of you and with your favorite beverage ranging from coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to delicious shakes and smoothies; sit back and make yourself comfortable before I bombard you with questions.
Please tell our readers about The Temptation of Laura and the lead characters?
The Temptation of Laura is book two in my ongoing series with eKensington. Laura Robinson was a secondary character in the first book, The Seduction of Emily. The moment she came onto the page, I knew I would write her story for the next book. Every time she was in a scene, it was like taking dictation. Every writer’s dream!
The book is set in Bath and Laura is a prostitute with a passionate love of the theatre. She is struggling for a better life for her and her ailing friend. At the start of the book, she meets stage star, Adam Lacey (the hero). Unbeknownst to her, Adam has written a play in which Lucinda, the leading lady, is the image of Laura. He has to persuade her she was born to play the role. What ensues is a journey of struggle, self-doubt, poverty, fear and ultimately, love.
What made you write a book with the lead, a prostitute with no regrets and an uprising actor? Was it risk? Did you face any sort of problems etc. when you first put forward this idea?
No problems at all! In fact, my editor suggested Laura for the sequel after I’d already decided I wanted to write her story. Luckily, John (my editor) and I seem to be on the same wavelength, lol! I love writing a cast of characters in my books and several readers who enjoyed Emily have suggested other characters as a future hero or heroine. I have lots to choose from for the following books!
*That’s the best thing if you and your editor are on the same wavelength*
Are the characters of Laura and Adam based on someone you know? Any inspiration or backstory about them?
They’re not based on anyone I know but all of my characters have a little of myself in them – Laura definitely has my spirit for fighting back and Adam has my ‘dreamer’ quality. They are conflicting personalities yet great for each other when they come together. The setting of the theatre was more the inspiration than anything else. I live just a short 30-mile drive from Bath and often go to the theatre there. It is a 19th century building and one of the oldest and most beautiful working theatres in the world. How could I not write a story with Bath Theater Royal as its backdrop?
There were times during the story where I felt Laura was very confident about what she wanted in life and yet when the opportunity came to her, she fought it every step of the way along with putting herself down regardless of her friends encouraging her. When she is alone she believes in herself, yet when with others, she does not believe her self-worth. Why is that? Can you explain her character?
Laura is a determined person but has been put down constantly throughout life by those around her, worse, by those who are supposed to look after her – it was her mother who first put her to work as a prostitute. She has a raging fire inside, but when it comes to actually grabbing life by the throat, she second guesses her decisions. She is also fiercely loyal to her friend, Bette. Their friendship is the most precious thing in her life and she would never leave her. Laura’s loyalty is unshakeable, but often leads to her missing opportunities to improve her life.
*Exactly what I noticed too.. Wanted to shake her at times to see the big picture.. lol*
To be honest, I did not really like Adam. From the feeling I got from him was that he has too much pride, impatience to get what he wanted immediately and no confidence in his abilities. Even he knew the above flaws about himself and that taking a shortcut is not rewarding and yet he did not do anything to correct them even towards the end. It was all because of Laura that he got what he wanted. While he did have many good qualities but these I felt got overridden by his flaws because he failed where it counted. Did you deliberately make him that way or was he being too stubborn? *winks* Did you try redeeming him?
Oh, no! What a shame you didn’t like my man, lol! Adam is a complex character and a superb actor, but it is his writing that means more to him than his stage success. He fears he will never be good enough, but at the same time, is not averse to taking risks. True, Laura does help him get to where he wants to be, but what I hope that illustrates to the reader is they are better, happier people, and more successful when they are together, than apart.
Will there be a short story or sequel to their story? The ending felt incomplete; that there is so much more their journey yet to be told especially the notorious play which was the cause of all their sufferings to begin with. Or are you happy with where it ended?
I am happy with where it ended – it felt a very natural ending when I was writing their story. They fought for what they wanted – liberty from their circumstances and a chance for a better, happier future. Laura and Adam will make cameo appearances in following books so readers will be able to catch up with them along the way.
Hopefully, it’s not necessarily a bad sign you felt there should be a more to The Temptation of Laura – maybe it means you wanted to keep reading??? ;-)
*Hehe.. Definitely not.. Am looking forward to seeing a bit more of them actually..*
Normally whenever I have read a Regency novel, it usually involves at least one character to belong to aristocracy and focus on the society about relations between unmarried men & women. You went for the working class and focused on their issues apart from the norms of society. Was it difficult to write? How much research did it involve? Was the information easily available?
This is actually a Victorian novel rather than Regency and it’s the working class of Victorian society that fascinates me. From Dickens novels to the fantastic non-fiction volumes by Judith Flanders, I LOVE reading everything and anything about the period…but it is the working class heroes and heroines of the time that I’m fascinated by and want to give a voice. The changes for women and industry in the latter part of the 19th century inspire and excite me.
My novels are steeped in emotion so the research on that side of things is minimal because love, hate, hope, loss, revenge and desire would have been felt the same in the 1800s as they are today. For setting I use Bath and the surrounding countryside because it is on my doorstep and easily accessible. For anything else, I read, read and read some more!
*My bad.. I admit I do not really know a lot about the Victorian times so this was definitely an eye opener for me..*
Up till now you have written Victorian romance, contemporary and if I am not wrong, romantic suspense. So which of these do you find easier and fun to write or are all the same in terms of research and language?
I don’t prefer one sub-genre over the other, which is infuriating because it would be so much easier if I could just stick to one, lol! I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian for Kensington. At the moment, it is working out that I can alternate contemporary with Victorian, which is fantastic. I hope it keeps my stories as fresh and exciting for my readers as it does for me writing them.
The basis of the stories aren’t dissimilar in that I love to write stories where I get to root for the underdog, but the language is different. I watch a lot of Victorian documentaries and dramas to get the pattern and use of language clear in my mind while writing a Kensington book. It’s terrible having to sit on the sofa in the name of research….
But interesting nevertheless.. eh? *winks*
What sort of environment do you require for writing? Music, quiet, chaos, dim lights etc or does not matter?
Silence all the way – I can’t concentrate with background noise, music or chaos. When my kids were younger (they are 15 & 13 now), I used to be able to write while they were causing anarchy all around me. Not anymore!
*lol* You live in Bath and Temptation of Laura is also partially based there. How different do you think Bath is now from those times?
Many, many buildings in Bath are unchanged from the Georgian period. I challenge anyone to visit the city and now feel encapsulated by the history. From the Roman baths, to the fantastic Georgian architecture of Royal Crescent to the Pump Rooms and breathtaking Abbey. All these buildings are standing as they were in the past. Add the costume of the time and my imagination is off and running :)
*Wow.. sounds like a walk in past..*
How do you manage between family, home and writing? Does anyone from your family read and provide input to your stories? Any of your daughters inherited the talent of storytelling and interests similar to yours?
I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home and write around my family. I am usually at the laptop by 8.30am during the week, work through to 11am when I walk the dog and then back at the laptop until 3.30pm until the kids come home. Then it’s chores, shopping or running the kids where they need to be. I grab time after that as and when I can but always turn the laptop of at 7pm. It is then family time…or maybe TV time.
My eldest daughter recently read my Harlequin debut, Finding Justice, and couldn’t put it down…although she was a little distraught by the love scenes, lol! My mum and mum in-law read everything I write and are a great support. My husband hasn’t read my work but supports my dream one hundred percent. I consider myself very lucky.
*Sweet.. And very organized.. I usually lose track of time doing anything.. lol*
Tell us a bit about your private life, routine, recreational activities, favorite things etc.
I love spending my spare time reading, knitting or walking the beautiful English countryside with my family and beloved black Lab, Max. I also spend far too much time watching TV. My favorite shows are US crime dramas and British period dramas like Downton Abbey and Ripper Street.
Good food and wine, socializing with friends is always very high on my list of priorities too!
*Same here minus the wine..* :)
Out of all the characters and books you have written which one is your favorite or close to your heart and why?
One of my favorite characters is actually a secondary character in my series with Harlequin Superromance! All the books are set in the same fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove. Marian Cohen is the wise oracle of the community and the person the characters come to for help, advice and a shoulder to cry on.
She is bubbly, funny and has a protective streak that is downright terrifying – she’s featured in every book but one (A Man Like Him) and I ADORE her. I have just sent book four to my editor and Marian cracked me up again with her pearls of wisdom. Got to love a matriarch!
*hehehe.. Sounds loads of fun.. Matriarchs are the best..*
What is the funniest scene you have written unintentionally?
See above – I hope all my scenes with Marian are funny. They always are to me, anyway!
What can readers expect from your books with respect to sexual content and sexuality?
I would rate the sexual content in my books as sensual to steamy – everything is on the page rather than behind the closed bedroom door, but the language is sensual rather than explicit. I aim to convey the emotion of the lovemaking as much as the physicality. Sex is an important part of a romantic relationship; it changes everything once the characters take that leap.
Have you ever had to write a book all over again or more than half after you almost finished it? If yes, please tell us about it.
My process is to write the entire book from start to finish without looking back – the hard part comes in the following drafts. Having said that, I always hit a brick wall around the 40-45,000 word mark. I always have a cry and huge spell of self-doubt, then brush myself off and force myself to write through it.
*Yay for your determination!! Rewarding for us..* :D
Any other writing projects you are currently working on?
I am currently working on my fourteenth novel, which will be the third Victorian romance in my series with eKensington. The heroine, Monica Danes, is a secondary character in The Temptation of Laura. My editor specifically asked me to tell Monica’s story because he liked her so much and felt there was more to be told about her life and backstory.
The majority of her story takes place in a small town outside Bath – the hero is her family’s groom, Thomas Ashby. He is sublime…just my opinion, but still…
*Ooooo.. I really liked her too.. She got grit!! Can’t wait..*
You have mentioned in your bio that to kick-start your career as a writer, after lots of rejections for short stories, you took up some distance learning courses, writer groups etc. to basically learn your craft. I commend you for not giving up where so many others might have and instead revamping yourself. That takes courage and determination. Can you guide the other newbie authors to these places and how it helped you? Do courses really make a difference in the writing of someone who wants to but have never written a short story or novel apart from some articles, maybe?
I truly believe writing is a craft and can be taught to anyone with the determination to learn and succeed. The writing industry is tough – not only does it take blood, sweat and tears to write a novel, you then have to send your baby out into the big wide world. If you get a contract, you celebrate and then all the nerves return as you wait for readers and reviewers comments. It never gets any easier so to be an author, a thick skin is part of the requirement.
One of the places I would recommend aspiring authors look first for courses is the Low country RWA chapter. They offer varied and affordable courses on all aspects of the business:
As well as courses, there are some great ‘how to’ books on the market. To start your journey, I recommend:
Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation & Conflict
Alan Watt’s The 90 Day Novel
*Wow.. Thank you so much for the guidance.. Will look into these myself..*
What is writing process? Do you outline first or go with the flow or combination of both? Did your style change after you took the courses or just got more refined and clear?
I start each book trawling the internet for images of my main characters and pictures to represent my setting. Once I have those, I write a two-three page synopsis and character sketches for my hero, hero and villain (if I have one). After that, I write. The first draft is done without looking back and then there are usually two or three subsequent drafts.
The courses and learning over the years have taught me how to structure a novel, how to use dialogue, the senses and characterization to add depth, color and believability. The story and characters must come from deep within the author though – nobody can teach you about your characters. You should know them inside and out.
Over the years I have heard a lot about the beauty and peace of the English countryside. Can you describe it for the readers and must visit places for anyone planning a trip?
As I have already said, I am lucky to live near Bath which is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world. For anyone visiting Bath, I recommend the Roman Baths, Royal Crescent, The Assembly Rooms and Bath Abbey. There is so, so much more than these places to see so I recommended a good three or four day stay!
If I drive from my home in the opposite direction, I come to the beautiful villages and hamlets of the Cotswolds. Visitors come to the Cotswolds from all over the world––my favorite of the villages is Bourton-on-the-Water. You walk around feeling as though you are part of a classic landscape painting. Just beautiful.
*Lovely.. On my to-visit places list..*
Any last comments or message for all your readers out there and us, here at Coffee Time Romance and More?
I want to thank you for having me and providing such an intense interview, lol! I need a lie down…:)
LoL.. I try.. *evil grin*
For my readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know a little more about me and my writing and I have inspired you to try one of my books, or if not that, try writing for yourself if it is something you’ve always dreamed of. I promise you, the journey is worth every minute of angst. I wouldn’t want to do anything else in the world!
Thank you so much for taking time out to spend time with us here at Coffee Time Romance & More and giving us more insight to your life, books, writing and amazing advice for the newbies. I hope you will join us again. Best of luck and success to you. Readers I hope you also enjoyed as much as I did. Thank you for your time. We would love to hear your feedback. See you next time with another great author.