Interview: Rachel Brimble

Rachel Brimble

British author Rachel Brimble writes both contemporary romance/suspense and Victorian romances. It’s always great to find an author who can write across subgenres.

Notable and unique about Brimble’s contemporary books is that they are in Harlequin’s Superromance line, where the vast majority of authors and settings are American (with the odd Australian or Kiwi tossed in).

I remember when the Templeton Cove series first began I was excited about a change of location.

I also have a bit of an obsession with the Victorian era, and am always glad to find authors of historical romance who choose to use it!

Rachel Brimble’s latest book in the Templeton Cove series is Ethan’s Daughter, which I will be reviewing here tomorrow.

What is the inspiration for your Templeton Cove books? Is it difficult to keep all the characters in order?

I’ve wanted to write a small-town series since I started writing novels in 2006 and it was a dream come true when Harlequin contracted the first book, Finding Justice, and then went on to contract 8 more! The setting is inspired by my childhood holidays in various UK seaside towns. I’ve combined aspects of Torquay, Bognor Regis, Lyme Regis, the list goes on…

The series is a mix of mainstream romance and romantic suspense stories so I hope the series is kept fresh for even the most devoted of fans of the series.

As for keeping track of all the characters… Yes! It’s very difficult, lol! I think my cast list is close to 40 now and one or more of them are always pushing themselves forward to ‘star’ in the next book.

Do you find it easier to write one romance subgenre or another? I know of authors who write historical AND contemporary romance, but say they feel more comfortable writing one of those subgenres. Is this the case with you?

I write both historical and contemporary and don’t really find one easier to write than the other – the difference for me is the time spent on research for the historical books. I tend to find a social issue I want to explore and need to read up as much as I can to make sure I have enough knowledge that the setting for the central romance is reflected accurately.

I don’t spend hours torturing myself with making sure everything is absolutely indisputable as it is the romance and emotions that my books really focus on. I just like to feel I’ve done my best to create the atmosphere and environment of the period.

What made you choose the Victorian era for your historical romances? I LOVE the Victorian era (it’s my favourite!), but most authors write Regency books.

I love the Victorian era, too! I like that it was a time of such massive change – from the industrial revolution, to the very beginnings of feminism, to medical discoveries and the huge poverty/wealth divide. All these things provide great beginnings of theme which I can go back to time and time again.

I’m just revising my first venture into the Edwardian era – wish me luck!

How much research do you have to do for your books? E.g. I wouldn’t know the first thing about police procedure.

Haha! See above – I definitely spend more time researching the historical books, but as for the romantic suspense stories, I have the most AMAZING detective contact who helps me a LOT. He’s a godsend! I don’t tend to dig too much into the forensic side of things, I leave that to the crime writers, lol 😀

What is coming up next?

Next up is a new romantic suspense, If I Want You, which is a stand-alone title set in a small UK town. It is fast-paced and gripping, combining a new crime with an old. I absolutely loved writing it! It’s out November 8th and up for pre-order on Amazon right now.

After that, it’s the eighth and final book in my Templeton Cove series (boo!) – A Stranger In The Cove is a mainstream romance and I hope it brings the entire series to a satisfying end. All books can be read stand-alone, though! Out January 2018.

Biography from Rachel Brimble’s site:

I live with my husband, our two teenage daughters in a small market town near the famous Georgian City of Bath. I have been writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance since 2012, and also have four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

When I’m not writing, you’ll find me with my head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with my family. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and agent represented in the US.

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Pursued for the Viscount’s Vengeance by Sarah Mallory

Pursued for the Viscount's Vengeance by Sarah Mallory

Beneath that puritanical dress she was quite beautiful

Viscount Gilmorton had never seduced a woman before but, as the only way to avenge himself on her deceitful brother, he was prepared to disgrace the buttoned-up Deborah Meltham.

He was planning nothing more than to shame her, but not beyond repair. Gil would ensure that she came to him willingly, because if Deborah was as lonely as he thought, she should be receptive to him. Only Gil hadn’t counted on his feelings for her changing—nor her reaction when she realised he’d been deceiving her from the start…

Pursued for the Viscount’s Vengeance by Sarah Mallory

The tropes in Pursued for the Viscount’s Vengeance are pretty common in historical romance, and the main theme is one I am not very comfortable with. However this book came with excellent reviews, and I am very glad I gave it a chance.

The idea of a man seeking to avenge the death(s) of a family member(s) by ruining his enemy’s sister is a popular one, but a difficult one to pull off. As much as I enjoy a bit of dark drama, and as much as I enjoyed this book, there’s still such a level of sexism and viciousness to it in most cases.

On the other hand, this WAS very good read. The author created realistic historical characters who came across as very “Regency England” to me. I was never bored, and I put aside some review books for this one – one I actually bought for myself.

I loved that hero and heroine take their time getting to know each other, much more than in most romances these days, and even though the hero was doing it under false pretences.

Another bonus was that the revenge plot wasn’t the entire plot. This meant that the deception wasn’t drawn out for the whole book. There is also a secondary story involving counterfeiting and crime that the heroine is inadvertently caught up in.

An interesting take on a much-used trope.

It’s just a pity none of the character’s distinctive marks (scars, way of dress etc.) made it onto the cover!

A Baby for Christmas (Sweet Home Montana Book 2) by Joan Kilby

A Baby for Christmas (Sweet Home Montana Book 2) by Joan Kilby

When Mia Tempesta goes into labour during a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, she stumbles into Will Jackson’s cherry packing shed. As a war widow, she’s lost everything–her husband, her home, and her job. But when Will, a caring stranger, delivers her beautiful baby boy into her arms, she has hope for a brighter future.

After being betrayed and dumped by his long-time girlfriend, Will’s dreading the holidays, but when he helps deliver Mia’s son on Christmas morning, he gains a renewed purpose in life. The beautiful Mia and her child tug on his protective heart strings and he finds himself longing to help. They fight their growing attraction–Will’s on the rebound and Mia is still grieving. Will their reckless passion end in heartbreak?

Can two damaged hearts find healing and happiness? One Christmas baby might just be the miracle they need to love again.

A Baby for Christmas (Sweet Home Montana Book 2) by Joan Kilby

Funny to think I’d enjoy a book so much when it starts with childbirth (I am NOT a baby person), but Joan Kilby is – as I already knew – a very talented author, and I knew in advance this would be good.

A Baby for Christmas starts over the night of Christmas Eve/Christmas morning with a heroine going into labour after being in a car crash. There’s only one person in sight, and he is our hero, who ends up with no choice but to deliver the baby.

Now… this could have been an odd read for me. However, the author found the perfect balance of seriousness and humour that made the opening scenes a great read.

From there, our hero feels he is connected to this mother and her baby, despite her half-hearted attempts to brush him off. What she doesn’t admit at first is that her (dead) husband was a gambler and a cheater, and this isn’t about getting over him, but finding her feet again.

I don’t always love the “ex is a bastard” trope, but it seemed really well done here.

Also well done was the hero’s ex. When she first came onto the page I was worried she’d be a misogynistic cliché, but instead the author made her into a real human being. This is literally the only time I can think of that “posh, pretty blonde” wasn’t a sexist stereotype. I appreciated that so much.

In fact, there’s another similar character, and she isn’t negatively stereotyped either. Way to go, romance genre!

One other thing I liked: the casually “ethnic” heroine. As someone who grew up in a so-called “ethnic” community, seeing it represented as just a normal part of life instead of some comedy show was special for me.

Yes, this book is a Christmas book, but Christmas is only part of it. I thought the author put in just enough of snow and fairy lights for the season, but had so much more in there, too.

Apparently this is the second in a series; it’s a complete book on its own.

I really enjoyed this one. I loved how “modern” it was. So many of my issues with contemporary romance were turned around here.

A good choice for a Christmas read.

 

Review copy provided by the author.

The Week: 2nd – 8th October

Floriade in Canberra over the weekend.

Canberra Australia Blue Sky Sunshine Sunny Afternoon Sonya Heaney Spring 2nd October 2017 Pink Flower Garden Nature

Monday sunshine for Labour Day in Canberra.

Well. What an awful week in the news.

The rest of the world looks on in horror at America’s out-of-control gun problem, and shakes their heads in bewilderment at why nobody will do anything about it.

My review of Montana Bride by Christmas (Montana Cowboys #4) by Linda Ford

My review of Christmas Amnesia (Callahan Confidential #3) by Laura Scott

Mills and Boon Woos New Readers

The Overwhelming Gender Bias in “New York Times Book Reviews

Trump and Romance Book Sales

 

Trump and Romance Book Sales

A great article from a few days ago:

Welcome to the Romance Resistance

Sales of romance books are soaring, and the article points out something we knew already: women are the biggest producers and consumers of books.

‘We have not seen a significant decrease in sales. In fact we have seen more readers turning to romance than ever before, especially those who are new to the genre. Interest in politically minded heroes and heroines is on the rise and we expect to see an entire wave of books featuring characters who are fighting back and resisting in their communities. Ultimately, we feel that in this time when so many people feel downtrodden and personally attacked by this president, romance, the literature of hope and happiness, is more important than ever — and our sales back that up.’

It was feared that a Trump presidency was going to kill non-political book sales (I didn’t know this, but then I’m not American).

‘People often speak poorly about romance for being an ‘escapist’ genre,” she added. “But what is so terrible about escaping from a world that has suddenly turned upside down, where a new horror happens every day? Taking time to recharge your batteries is essential if you mean to go on fighting against injustices, and romance can provide that.’