Today it's my pleasure to welcome Rachel Brimble back to the blog to talk about her latest book in her Ladies of Carson Street series, Trouble for the Leading Lady.
Of course! I live in a small market town near the wonderful city of Bath. My husband and I will be celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary on 5th June and we have two beautiful daughters who are 22 and almost 20. Oh, and my third child is a chocolate Labrador called Tyler!
My dream to be a published author started when I was around eight or nine and devoured Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series. I did not seriously pursue my dream until 2005 when my youngest daughter started school full-time. I spent just over a year writing and polishing my first novel which was accepted by the Wild Rose Press in 2007. Since then, I have had over 25 contemporary and historical romance novels published and haven’t looked back!
If you had to give an elevator pitch for your latest novel Trouble for the Leading Lady, what would it be?
When good time girl Nancy Bloom meets theatre manager Francis Carlyle sparks fly, but as they work side by side towards a shared goal, what they thought impossible becomes entirely possible… I like to think of this trilogy as being a little like the Harlots TV series but with a bigger dose of humour and romance.
Bath, 1852.As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath's Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him.
His lie and betrayal led to her ruin.
Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he'd find her standing on a table in one of Bath's bawdiest pubs.
Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact?
Where did the inspiration for your Ladies of Carson Street series come from?
I am an author who loves writing about the poorer classes rather than the gentry or high society and when I read The Five by Hallie Rubenhold, inspiration struck to write about a brothel. I wanted to take three strong, independent women who had been through hell and back and give them their deserved happily ever after.
How do you go about researching to make sure that your historical facts are accurate?
I love reading everything and anything, so research is as enjoyable to me as writing… sometimes more so! I am very much a plotter so I will scope out a book chapter by chapter, deciding on my central themes, where events are going to take place and then list what I need to research. I tend to read a lot of non-fiction, visit places like those I wish to write about if I can’t get to the actual place. We also have an amazing archive centre where I live which is fabulous.
Over the years you have written and published books in a variety of genres, if you could only write in a single genre which would you choose and why?
Definitely historical – I love writing contemporary, but history is where my heart lies. I swear I was born in the wrong century sometimes! There are so many eras I am interested in from Tudor, to Georgian to Edwardian. Being a true romantic, I will never give up on everlasting love or run out of ideas to explore.
If you could give some advice to your younger self about writing, what would it be?
The best advice I ever received was when I was writing my sixth novel – ‘Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft.’
This is what I wish I had told my younger self – it has served me well ever since. I write every novel from start to finish without looking back and worry about cleaning it up after I’ve written The End. Ever since I started working this way my productivity has quadrupled and I never get bored.
What would you say is the best thing about writing? And on the flip side, what is the hardest?
The best thing is when the novel is done, and you press send to your editor – such a fabulous feeling! Although I must admit once the first round of edits arrive I am not always feeling quite so accomplished, haha!
The worse for me is the plotting – I struggle every time I sit down to start a new book. Oh, and the ‘sagging middle’. I am not a nice wife or mother around the 45,000 word mark – my family always know when I have reached this stage of a book…
And finally, what can we expect from you next?
Next will be the final instalment in the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy – I haven’t been given a title or release date yet, but I am expecting is to be released in the Autumn.
As for what I am working on right now… I have just finished the first draft of the first book in a brand new historical series. Fingers crossed, once it is polished and ready to go, I will find a shiny new publisher for it. Wish me luck!
Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 25 published novels including the Ladies of Carson Street series, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.
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