Today is publication day for Rachel K. Burke's latest novel Love Bites so I'm pleased to be able to welcome Rachel to the blog for a quick chat.
What do you do when you fall in love with your best friend’s boyfriend?
That is the question that twenty-six year-old Justine Sterling has been asking herself ever since the day she met David Whitman, her best friend Renee’s boyfriend. Justine is determined to ignore her growing feelings for the irresistibly charming David, until one night, when she finds herself in the bed of the one person she should stay away from.
When Justine and David’s affair ends in heartbreak, Justine is forced to repair the damaged friendship with her best friend. In doing so, she learns that right and wrong decisions aren’t always black and white, and sometimes you have to follow your heart to see where it leads.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel Love Bites?
Love Bites is the story of a 26-year-old girl who is searching for love, and she eventually finds it - the only problem is that the person she ends up falling for is her best friend’s boyfriend.
Reading the blurb, it sounds like Love Bites is a prequel to your previous book. Had you always intended to tell this story or did it develop whilst writing Sound Bites?
I hadn’t intended on a prequel at all, but when I finished Sound Bites, I realized that the story mainly focuses on the main character, Renee, and her new love interest, Dylan. Readers never get a chance to find out the true story of what transpired between Justine and David, so I thought it would be a good idea to share Justine’s story as well. Some readers even requested a sequel from Justine’s POV.
I'm sure we've all fallen for someone we shouldn't. Is any of the storyline based on your own experiences?
Oh, God yes -. I think practically everyone I’ve ever fallen for has been someone I shouldn’t! But I love controversial subjects because it gives readers the chance to weigh both sides of the story. I remember reading Something Borrowed years ago, and wondering why I was siding with the main character when she was having an affair with her best friend’s fiancé. I think a lot of readers felt that way. But when you find out the whole story, you realize that the main character is truly a good hearted person, and the best friend isn’t, and you find yourself rooting for the main character and the guy to be together, even though the situation is all sorts of wrong.
That was the objective for Love Bites – to make people think outside of traditional settings, and realize that a lot of times, even though someone does something that’s morally wrong, it’s not to intentionally hurt someone else. It’s simply because they’re putting their heart first.
If you could write in another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I actually self-published a literary fiction novel, Finding Mia, prior to signing with HarperCollins. It’s more of a family drama story about a 16-year-old girl who is reunited with her estranged father after her mother is hospitalized for bipolar disorder. I think the writing in Finding Mia is better than anything else I’ve ever written, and it’s an incredible story. I did a lot of research on mentally ill parents, family counselling and treatment programs, and it really dives into the subject of what happens to children with mentally ill parents. If you have any readers who like literary and women’s fiction, they’re more than welcome to grab a copy on Amazon. I read a lot of literary and women’s fiction novels by authors such as Jodi Picoult, and I always loved writing in that genre as well.
When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
Yes! I usually take a few months off from writing while the book is being edited by my publisher and go on a vacation. I actually just got back from a two-week trip to Thailand. It was beautiful.
If you could write collobratively with anyone else, who would it be and why?
Jen Sincero! She is A-MAZING. I've been a fan of hers ever since I read her semi-autobiographical novel, "Don't Sleep with Your Drummer," about a girl who quits her corporate job to start a rock band. She’s now a best-selling author and life coach and recently released a self-help book, “You Are a Bad-Ass,” and it’s an incredible, hysterical, life-changing book. I recommend it to everyone.
If you could go on a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Hmm, probably Bali. It looks so peaceful and relaxing. I have a bunch of places on my bucket list that I plan on visiting in the next year (Spain, Amsterdam, London and Hawaii – to name a few!) so I’ll know better next year. Travelling is another passion of mine, aside from writing. I keep a little travel blog of my journeys (www.worldwanderess.com) so if you have any travel loving readers, they’re welcome to follow my adventures there as well ☺
I discovered my passion for writing at the age of ten, when my love of R.L. Stine mystery novels inspired me to write my own. Over a decade later, I read my first music-themed novel, and decided to combine my music journalism experience and rock and roll obsession into a book.
I live in Santa Monica, California, a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean. When I’m not at the beach, I can usually be found perusing rock shows on Sunset Boulevard, shopping, at a yoga class, having drinks with friends, or sipping coffee at home and pondering my latest novel.