Please welcome author Rachel Brimble to Coffee Time Romance & More! We are so delighted to have you Rachel. Rachel is going to tell us a little more about her new book The Mistress of Penningtons, a romance set during the Edwardian era. Take it away, Rachel!
What made you decide to tackle the Edwardian era for a romance book series?
I’ve always loved the clothes and sense of change of the Edwardian era and have been keen to set a series in that period for a long time. I absolutely loved Mr Selfridge, but something was always missing for me and I soon realised I wanted more focus on female progression and empowerment. Women began to exert their power through work and suffrage in the early 20th century and I concluded there was enough going on for me to write a series.
Who was your inspiration for Elizabeth the female lead?
There wasn’t a particular person, but there were a lot of articles on women who made small victorious breakthroughs at the time that inspired me to create a woman who was ambitious in business. I took a risk deciding on a department store series as I worried people would think it too much like Mr Selfridge. Hopefully, I’ve shown the Pennington’s series to be much more about female empowerment than the store.
What was your favorite part of doing research for this series?
I loved it all! It was fascinating to see how much change women made at this time, what they endured and overcame in order to tip the power balance…albeit a little. It was progress that women today have a lot to be inspired and grateful for through the courage and tenacity of so many extraordinary women that went before us.
What is your favorite thing about the Edwardian era, the thing that calls to you when you’re writing characters in this era?
See above! It’s the women through and through. The Mistress of Pennington’s covers the issue of women try to make a mark in the business world. Book 2, A Rebel At Pennington’s (coming March 2019), is all about women’s suffrage and the fight for the vote and book 3, which I am writing as we speak, covers the issue of divorce and women’s rights to keep their children.
The issues are emotional, celebratory and inspiring – as a feminist at heart, I am having so much fun!
What was the most difficult thing about writing about this time period?
Making sure I get the intricacies of the era right. From the legal to social aspects, there are many things I could get wrong or inaccurate. I try my best to ensure I research certain things in as much depth as possible to portray the time period, but the main focus of a romance writer is to get the characters’ emotions conveyed and felt deeply by the reader. To my mind, pain and joy were felt no differently in 1910 than they were in 2010 and it’s my job to evoke the characters’ feelings in the reader.
What do you think will appeal to readers the most about the first book The Mistress of Penningtons? Why would a new to your books reader want to read this book?
I think a new reader will find the strong theme of female empowerment one that they can relate to on every level. Even though equality has come a long way since 1910, there are still issues that arise on a regular basis today. I hope a reader would finish the book feeling inspired and keen to follow their own dreams and ambitions, whether they are known to others or something they’ve kept to themselves until now. When women support other women in their dreams and desires, anything is possible!
Did you run into roadblocks when writing The Mistress of Penningtons? If so, what were they? If not, why do you think it was easy to write?
I run into roadblocks with EVERY book I write! The Mistress of Pennington’s is my twenty-first novel and I still hit a brick wall around the middle of the book just as I have with every other. I think, as a novelist, you have an idea and then a plan and you’re off like a bullet out of a gun in the beginning. Then, you hit the 30,000-40,000 word mark and the idea seems to lose a little steam, you begin to doubt you have a strong enough story to go the distance. So…what happens next? You continue to write. There’s no other way through it than to get to the end and clean up that middle mess in the next draft.
At least, that’s what works for me!
What did you find yourself not liking about the Edwardian era? Assuming there were things that were not so much fun to write about, how did you deal with that when writing the book?
The archaic views by some people (men and women) that were hard for progressive women to even chip away at, let alone destroy. It’s difficult to illustrate the sort of resistance a woman had to face if she wanted to progress and grow. I hope I’ve done this well enough through Elizabeth’s father, Edward, that people dislike him but understand him, too. It’s usually as much fun for me to write a villain as it is the hero and heroine J
Where can readers buy their copy of The Mistress of Penningtons?
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/2SvRcqp
Amazon US: http://a.co/3OFh9JK
And finally, if you had to choose between chocolate and coffee, which would you choose and why?
Coffee – I am not really a chocolate eater at all. I sometimes have the odd bar, but deny me coffee when I want it and watch out, lol!
Thank you so much for sharing your latest release, The Mistress of Pennington’s Rachel! I look forward to reading this and more books in this new enticing series.