The Backstreets of the Victorian England – what is the reality?? by Rachel Brimble – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel Brimble will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Backstreets of the Victorian England – what is the reality??

As an author of historical fiction and romance, it is important to me that I convey the reality of the story setting, the characters, and the societal expectancy of the time period I am writing.
My stories tend to be about the lives of the more common people, even the poorer people of Victorian and Edwardian society rather than the aristocracy or upper classes. So instead of ballrooms, palaces and stately homes, you are more likely to find backstreet taverns, modest tearooms and two up/two down houses in my novels. It is this level of society that I find myself drawn to, who I want to explore and uncover the hardships they faced on a daily basis.

It is these people that I research and inevitably come to admire. They often survive the reality of violence, vice and viciousness amid the filthy streets of the inner city through bravery, tenacity and cunning. There is no one waiting with a helping hand or an inheritance to save the day, these people live hand to mouth, day by day in the hope of salvation, or else, by their own instincts.

Conveying the hardships of my characters, the emotional strain of survival, disappointment and those beautiful moments of success is what keeps me writing. I LOVE writing about strength of the human spirit despite the odds. Victorian England was once among the worse places to live in the world. Slums abounded, begging, prostitution and child death commonplace. So, how on earth can I convey this reality in historical romance and not entirely lose my reader?

The answer is simple.

I describe enough that the reader is grounded in time and place. I convey enough that they understand the characters’ circumstances are not by choice but from the outside. And finally, I spend more time ensuring I have expressed the emotions of the characters through every good and bad thing that happens to them that the reader comes to care so much for them that they are vying for their happy ending, no matter what.

It is this commitment from author to reader to character that makes a story a good one, regardless of the dire reality of the living conditions or hard circumstances. Emotion is everything in fiction and, indeed romance, and I will continue to bring happiness and possibility to those characters less written about for as long as I can and, in turn, I hope my readers come along for the journey with me, too!

He needs a wife…
Manchester industrialist William Rose was a poor lad from the slums who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, but in order to achieve his greatest ambitions he must become the epitome of Victorian respectability: a family man.

She has a plan…
But the only woman who’s caught his eye is sophisticated beauty Octavia Marshall, one of the notorious ladies of Carson Street. Though she was once born to great wealth and privilege, she’s hardly respectable, but she’s determined to invest her hard-earned fortune in Mr Rose’s mills and forge a new life as an entirely proper businesswoman.

They strike a deal that promises them both what they desire the most, but William’s a fool if he thinks Octavia will be a conventional married woman, and she’s very much mistaken if she thinks the lives they once led won’t follow them wherever they go.

In the third instalment of Rachel Brimble’s exciting Victorian saga series, The Ladies of Carson Street will open the doors on a thoroughly modern marriage – and William is about to get a lot more than he bargained for…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Louisa and Jacob’s conversation dimmed as Mr Rose slowly turned his gaze to Octavia. She barely resisted the urge to flinch. His eyes were as dark as his hair, their gaze so intense it was as though he looked to read her thoughts, desires and dreams. The notion was bizarrely unnerving, intoxicating and a frisson of trepidation – or maybe shameful anticipation – shivered through her. Suddenly it didn’t seem such a bad idea to allow Mr Rose’s unexpected visit to play out. Yet, impromptu admittance was not the Carson Street way…

As Louisa and Jacob seemed too imbedded in debate to address Mr Rose and his companions, Octavia raised her chin and held Mr Rose’s unwavering stare. ‘I’m sorry, Mr Rose, but it’s house policy that no girl spends time alone with a man we do not know. Therefore, I kindly ask that you leave for the time being. However, if you wish—’

‘Now, now, Octavia,’ Louisa said firmly as she brushed past her. ‘I don’t think it’s necessary to toss Mr Rose so unceremoniously out of our establishment on such a cold and dreary night, do you?’

‘Louisa…’ Octavia looked pointedly at her friend, her eyebrows raised. ‘Jacob is right. Mr Fairham should not have taken it upon himself to offer his friend’s unkept appointment to Mr Rose. Therefore, Mr Rose should leave.’

Octavia faced Mr Rose and, once again, fought the urge to flinch when she found herself the object of his intense study a second time. She pulled back her shoulders. He had better think again if he thought for one minute she might be intimidated by him.

About the Author:Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 25 published novels including the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy, 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.

Newsletter | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Interview and Giveaway: Rachel Brimble

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Brimble. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win $15 Amazon gift certificate.

Rachel started writing seriously towards publication once her youngest daughter started school full-time in 2005 and her first book was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007. Since then, she’s had at least two novels published per year. She’s working on her 30th book, a historical romance. She’s also written contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

She told me that she never suffers from writer’s block because she doesn’t allow herself to give into it, no matter how much she might want to shut her laptop.

“I make myself write,” she explains. “Anything I write can be edited or deleted, but as long as I don’t stop altogether, the block loses! There will also be something a writer can use no matter how bad they think the work is when they are struggling.”

I asked Rachel what came first – the plot or the characters. She said that more often it would be the setting.

“I often see a building or a picture, and it sparks something inside of me telling me a story is on the way,” she laughed. “I then work to find the characters who live there, what they do, what they want… this is an exciting part of the process. The problem is making that nugget of an idea stretch to 90,000 words!”

Rachel has her own home office that she loves. I asked her to tell us about it.

“It was once a small spare bedroom but it now entirely mine! The walls are a pale blue (apparently good for concentration) with two big corkboards in front of me covered with pics of my latest hero and heroine, where they live and the building where most of the action takes place.

“On my desk are a set of three trays containing my planner, notebooks, magazines and usually a self-development book of some sort that I dip into. As well as that, I have my laptop, a separate monitor, printer, candle and a pic of my daughters.”

When she’s not writing, her main hobby is knitting.

“I am somewhat obsessed and spend hours working on my latest project in front of the TV,” she said. “Watching TV is the other thing I tend to do a lot of when I’m not working – I especially like crime and period dramas. Outside activities including long country walks with my husband and our chocolate Labrador, Tyler, as well as visiting stately homes and places of historical interest.”

Rachel was born in Bristol, England and lived there for 27 years but since 2001, she’s lived in a small market town just a short 30 minute drive from the famous historical city of Bath. She absolutely loves where she lives mainly due to its proximity to Bath.

“All my historicals are set there because of how easily I can spend time there soaking up the atmosphere and imagining my characters working and living there during the 19th or 20th centuries,” she told me. “The architecture and history of Bath is immense and I encourage your visitors to take some time there if they are ever in the UK.”

“What are you passionate about these days?” I wondered.

“What I have always been passionate about… the fight against prejudice. I cannot stand it in any form – I will never understand why some people cannot just live and let live. Is it really that difficult to focus on your own life and stay out of others? I think not… Is it so hard so live in a world where people are of every race, creed, sexual orientation? I think not…”

Finally, I asked, “What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?”

“I would love to get an Amazon bestseller flag in the States – I have managed it in the UK and Canada so America would be the cherry on the cake! I’d also like to finish books 2 and 3 in my latest trilogy – book 1 is done and currently under consideration so a contract offer would be nice, too!”

From grieving widow…

1851. After her merchant husband saved her from a life of prostitution, Louisa Hill was briefly happy as a housewife in Bristol. But then a constable arrives at her door. Her husband has been found hanged in a Bath hotel room, a note and a key to a property in Bath the only things she has left of him. And now the debt collectors will come calling.

To a new life as a madam.

Forced to leave everything she knows behind, Louisa finds more painful betrayals waiting for her in the house in Bath. Left with no means of income, Louisa knows she has nothing to turn to but her old way of life. But this time, she’ll do it on her own terms – by turning her home into a brothel for upper class gentleman. And she’s determined to spare the girls she saves from the street the horrors she endured in the past.

Enlisting the help of Jacob Jackson, a quiet but feared boxer, to watch over the house, Louisa is about to embark on a life she never envisaged. Can she find the courage to forge this new path?

A Widow’s Vow is the first in a gripping and gritty new Victorian saga series from Rachel Brimble. You won’t be able to put it down.

About the Author: 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.

Newsletter | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Interview and Giveaway: Rachel Brimble

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Brimble who is celebrating the release of A Rebel at Pennington’s, the second book in her Pennington’s Department Store series. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a £15/$15 Amazon GC.

The inspiration for the series grew out of Rachel’s love for the TV series Mr. Selfridge and The Paradise.

“I absolutely loved these shows,” she told me, “but something was always missing for me and I realised it was because I wanted to explore the female characters in more depth. Once I decided on a series theme of ‘female empowerment’, the rest was history.

“The inspiration behind A Rebel At Pennington’s was my years-old fascination and admiration of the fight for women’s suffrage. This is a book I have wanted to write for years, but the female protagonist who would tell the story I wanted to write always eluded me. Then Esther Stanbury appeared in book 1 (The Mistress of Pennington’s) and I knew I had found the heroine of my suffrage book.”

I asked Rachel what three words she would use to describe Esther and, also, if she shared any personality traits with her. She chose strong, loving, and brave as the three words.

And, as for personality traits, “Definitely! I literally lived out how I imagine I would have been if I had been a woman living in the changing times of the early 20th century. I definitely consider myself a feminist and some of the Edwardian conventions and restrictions towards women would have been incredibly hard for me to adhere to. I definitely would’ve been at the forefront for the vote and in A Rebel At Pennington’s, I had the opportunity to live vicariously through Esther.”

Rachel has recently submitted the third book in the Pennington series to her editor and hopes it will be released this fall.

“I am continuing the theme of ‘female empowerment’ and tackling the stigma of divorce in the early 20th century. The heroine of the novel made her debut in A Rebel At Pennington’s and I immediately knew she had more to say so the next book started to take shape in my mind quite a few months ago!”

She’s currently working on plotting the fourth book in the series.

“Once I’m happy with what I have in mind to write, I’ll start thinking what I want to write next. I can’t be certain at the moment that the series will end with four books but, if it does, I would like to either write a Georgian trilogy or, possibly, a new contemporary romance series set in Manhattan,” she said. “There’s something about three female characters, living in New York, that keeps bugging me so I know there’s definitely a story to be told there somewhere.”

When she’s not writing, she loves to knit, admitting that she was almost as obsessed with knitting as she is with writing.

“My mum was a professional hand-knitter and taught me when I was very young,” she explained, “but it wasn’t until my mid-30s that I really started knitting with a vengeance. It’s got to the stage now that I can’t sit in front of the TV without picking up my needles.”

Rachel told me that she’s always wanted to write, but it wasn’t until her youngest daughter started school full-time that she had a “now or never” moment. That was in 2005 and The Wild Rose Press published her first novel in 2007. Since that time, she’s had over twenty novels published with small presses, Harlequin, Kensington, and Aria Fiction.

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“This continual horror strikes around the 45,000 word mark with every book I’ve ever written,” she said. “I wouldn’t say I’ve overcome these obstacles because they happen with every new book, BUT I do know how to get through them – Answer: Keep writing!”

Finally, I asked her, “What message do you hope readers take away from the book?”

“I hope that my readers are inspired equally as much as being entertained – the fight for the vote was arduous, emotionally draining and dangerous. Women risked their lives and families for something that was just and right but held out of reach. Their stories of strength and tenacity transcend time and era and I hope readers are moved to look at the empowering changes they could make in their own lives after finishing the book.”

One woman’s journey to find herself and help secure the vote. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

1911 Bath. Banished from her ancestral home, passionate suffrage campaigner, Esther Stanbury works as a window dresser in Pennington’s Department Store. She has hopes and dreams for women’s progression and will do anything to help secure the vote.

Owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel, Lawrence Culford has what most would view as a successful life. But Lawrence is harbouring shame, resentment and an anger that threatens his future happiness.

When Esther and Lawrence meet their mutual understanding of life’s challenges unites them and they are drawn to the possibility of a life of love that neither thought existed.

With the Coronation of King-Emperor George V looming, the atmosphere in Bath is building to fever pitch, as is the suffragists’ determination to secure the vote.

Will Esther’s rebellious nature lead her to ruin or can they overcome their pasts and look to build a future together?

About the Author: Short Bio (100-200 words): Rachel Brimble lives in a small market town near Bath, England with her husband, two daughters and their mad chocolate Labrador, Tyler. When Rachel isn’t writing, she likes to read, knit and walk the beautiful English countryside. As well as historical romance, Rachel also writes mainstream contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Amazon | Instagram

Buy the book at Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Google Play.

LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble


Thanks for joining us on our anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon/BN GC. Follow and visit authors social media pages on the second rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC!

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.

Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

Buy the book at Amazon UK, Amazon US, or Barnes & Noble.

Scavenger Hunt:

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Rachel Brimble: Interview and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Brimble whose newest book, The Mistress of Pennington’s, releases on July 1. Leave a comment for a chance to win a £20/$20 Amazon Gift Certificate.

Rachel said the best advice she was even given, which helped her enormously, was to “give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft.” She now embraces this mentality with every book she writes and her output has quadrupled.

“A filled page can be edited after all. A blank page, on the other hand…,” she said.

The difficulty of writing for her is when she has a germ of an idea for a book or series, but can’t think about how to sustain it for 90,000 words. Then, she tends to get writers’ block about the halfway point when she starts to think that the entire story is rubbish or her characters go off in a direction she hadn’t planned on. I asked her what she did when that happened.

“Write, write and write some more! The only way through writers’ block is to keep working. The solution will come in the end and, if not during the first draft, it most definitely will in a later draft. Trust me!” she assured me.

Even though starting a series can be hard for her, it’s also her favorite thing.

“I think series writing allows the writer and reader to really get to know the setting and characters in a way that isn’t possible with a single-title. Whenever I start planning a new book, I am always thinking how it could pertain to a series. My Harlequin series, the Templeton Cove Stories runs to eight books and is very special to me.”

“How do you come up with the titles to your books?” I wondered.

“With supreme difficulty! Titles are my nemesis and I’m most definitely not a writer who gets precious over her titles. I love it when the marketing team of a publisher have precedence on titles – totally gets me off the hook,” she said with a laugh.

Rachel told me that she’s lucky to have a home office. For many years, she wrote at the kitchen table or on the sofa with her laptop on her knees. But, about three years ago, she commandeered an upstairs bedroom as her office.

“I have a huge white, antique-look desk and bookshelves, the walls are painted a pale blue and I have two corkboards above my desk which house pictures from my work in progress and ideas for my next book,” she explained. “I am a very visual writer and pics of my hero, heroine, villain and where they live is vital to my creativity.”

The most surprising thing she has discovered about writing her 23 novels is that it never gets any easier.

“Each time I start a new one, I cannot remember how I started the others,” she told me. “I literally freeze. I also do the same thing when editors’ revisions arrive in my inbox – I have this complete mental stand off, ‘what now??’ The only way through these times are to attack and hope you get it right!”

I asked Rachel about the scariest moment of her life.

“My family and I were caught up in the 2010 French floods – we were on holiday in a caravan park when the flood hit. We had to be evacuated and rushed to the clubhouse roof. We were there for 16 hours before we were rescued by helicopter. We were cold, then sunburned, hungry and tired. It was definitely the scariest time in my life so far.”
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“Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book,” I said, “where would you most likely want to go?”

“Italy,” she answered promptly. “I’ve been to Venice and Verona, but would love to explore Rome, Florence and Tuscany. I’m really keen to write an Italian set series but don’t feel I’m qualified enough until I’ve explored the country, eaten the food, drank the wine and spoke to the people. Yes, Italy is most definitely on my wishlist!”

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.

Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

About the Author: Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s, will release in July 2018.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Website | Blog |
Twitter |
Facebook | Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers |
Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon UK, Amazon US, or Kobo.

LASR Anniversary: Rachel Brimble – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!

Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize – a signed paperback, bookmark, postcard and tote bag. Open internationally.

Family Brimble - aug 2013 (2)This summer will be one of the best ever for me! My family and I have so much fun stuff planned…one of which is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

From July 23rd to August 6th, we will be spending a glorious two weeks on the Greek island of Rhodes. This will be my first visit to Greece and I cannot wait to discover its beauty and culture. My friends have told me to visit Old Town but refuse to say what it is about the town that has their eyes lighting up with excitement. I am looking forward to experiencing it myself.

Whenever I go on holiday, I always pack my notebook because I know that apart from using the destination in a future book, there will undoubtedly be plenty of characters, situations and sights to fuel ideas and maybe even a series of ideas. I live in hope 🙂

Of course, my suitcase will be packed with half a dozen paperbacks as well as my faithful Kindle. If holidays aren’t for catching up on some much-loved reading, what are they for?

As for the once in a lifetime opportunity? On August 17th, I am going to Ireland to have afternoon tea with Nora Roberts. Eekk! Unfortunately, it won’t be just the two of us but a room full of dedicated readers and fans. The afternoon takes place in the stunning Ashford Castle and my wonderful husband has booked us a room there for the night too. I can barely believe this will be happening––Nora Roberts is my biggest inspiration as a writer and my favorite author as a reader. I am beside myself with excitement!

So happy summer, lovely people – I hope you enjoy yours as much as I will mine!

brimble Cover (2)She’s ready to take back what’s hers

Since the moment a local crime boss claimed ownership of her family’s fairground, Sasha Todd has dreamed of righting the wrong. Now it’s time to act, and backing down from the man’s estranged son is definitely not an option. After all, giving up her legacy to hot-blooded John Jordon means losing the chance to finally heal the wounds in her past.

Stopping John in his tracks—and resisting the sizzle between them—is Sasha’s best defense. But there’s more to him than she thought, which changes everything. With what matters most at stake, she’ll have to risk a brand-new future with John, or walk away from the man whose heart belongs to her.

About the Author: Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington–her debut was released in April 2013 and she has since signed for three more.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

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INTERVIEW: RACHEL BRIMBLE

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Brimble, who has written ten novels and two novellas. Her latest release, Finding Justice, is her seventh book and the first book in her Templeton Cove series , and Rachel will send one random commenter an autographed paperback copy of the book (international shipping available). She also has a book due for release from Kensington in April, one from Omnific Publishing in June and and the second book in the Templeton Cover series from Harlequin Superromance in August.

“I have a VERY busy year ahead,” she said with a laugh. “As for my favorite…it’s truly impossible to choose! I have learnt something from each book and the characters have all stayed with me as the years have gone on. I think the Harlequin books are going to be very special to me because they are the first two books of what I hope to be an ongoing series. I would like to keep revisiting each couple from each book in the subsequent stories. They will all be set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove. I’m writing number three now and hopefully will contract a fourth soon—it’s will be a Christmas book, which is a first for me. I’ve never written a Christmas story before, so I’m very excited. I am very keen to write an historical series set in an upper class British home during the Edwardian period. This will be a new venture for me as I usually write Victorian. It’s something I need to discuss with my Kensington editor in the not too distant future…”

Rachel had wanted to write since she was six or seven and devoured Enid Blyton’s books, reading everything from The Faraway Tree to the Famous Five to Mallory Towers. She then progressed to the Sweet Dreams books and became inspired to write romance. She discovered Harlequin in her early teens and knew that’s what she wanted to write.

“The need for instant money, marriage and kids came along and my desire to write faded – until my youngest started school full-time and then I had a ‘now or never’ moment,” she told me. “Luckily, two years later The Wild Rose Press published my first novel and I haven’t looked back. Long may it continue!”

Rachel is currently working on the second Victorian historical she’s contracted with Kensington as part of a two-book deal. The two are linked through the heroine who appeared as a secondary character in the first book.

“As soon as she started talking and her character developed, I knew she deserved a story of her own,” Rachel said. “I briefly discussed the idea with my editor and he was as excited about it as me, yay! It is almost finished and I hope to submit it very shortly – wish me luck!”

Rachel has a lovely log cabin in the garden which serves as her office.

“I am very guilty of sinking onto the sofa with my laptop and staying there,” she confessed. “Blame the British weather! When it’s cold, dank and gray, the cabin doesn’t hold much appeal. I tend to only use the cabin in the middle of the summer…. Much to my husband’s annoyance seeing as I begged for him to have one built for years!”

She laughed, then continued, “I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home as a full time mom, so during the week I work from 8.30 to 3.30 religiously. Then I grab snatches of time at the laptop in between sorting out fights, helping with homework and being a taxi service. The evenings and weekends are for family time… but if everyone else is distracted, I grab the laptop and disappear before they start hollering for me again.”

“How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?” I asked.
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“I think my stories are different in that I create British characters in a British setting but write for a primarily for the US market. I think that makes my stories intriguing and interesting to my target audience. As far as know (and my editor can tell me), I am the first author to write British characters in a British setting for Harlequin Superromance. I am very proud of that and hope they continue to want more,” she said with a smile. “I am praying my readers and the dreaded reviewers like Finding Justice and look forward to the following books in the series. I plan to write as many as I can along the lines of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series. I just love the idea of the same characters growing and developing along with me as a writer.”

About the Author: 2_6 Rachel Brimble copyRachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. She started writing short stories about eight years ago but once her children were at school, embarked on her first novel. It was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published with small presses as well as securing agent representation. Her first contract with signed with Harlequin Superromance in May 2012, with another following in September. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…

Find the author online at:

www.RachelBrimble.com
http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Brimble/181873201887441?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/RachelBrimble

2_6 Finding Justice coverOld friends, new secrets

Sergeant Cat Forrester lives by her own set of rules. When her childhood friend is murdered, Cat’s world is thrown into chaos. Especially because Jay Garrett-a man from her past-is a suspect, and he needs her help to prove he’s innocent. After all they once shared, how can she say no?

The attraction flares between them, and getting involved with a suspect is a huge risk. But the more time Cat spends with Jay, the stronger the tug on her heart. He is the same caring, irresistible man she remembers. Yet she can’t let her emotions interfere with the case-solving it is top priority. And as she digs deeper, she discovers Jay has secrets that may jeopardize any possible future together.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: RACHEL BRIMBLE

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Brimble whose latest Victorian romance Love’s Debt has just been released. Rachel will give one randomly drawn commenter on today’s interview a copy of the book.

Rachel has written ten novels and two novellas, stretching over three genres of mainstream contemporary, contemporary romantic suspense, and Victorian historical.

“My characters dictate where and when their story will be told – I have no control over that! For a long time, my favorite was The Arrival of Lily Curtis because it was my first historical and my best received book. Plus an absolute joy to write! Lily came to me fully formed; she’s fantastic. Having said that, my new favorite is the romantic suspense that I recently signed with Harlequin Superromance – this book gave me SUCH trouble when I was writing it but clearly the angst paid off!”

Rachel has just finished book two in what she hopes will follow her recent signing with Harlequin and is now working on book three. It’s a romantic suspense trilogy which is set in a fictional UK seaside town called Templetopn Grove.

The second book was inspired by Rachel’s own life—when she and her family were caught up in the French floods in 2010—they were rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof.

Rachel always wanted to be a writer. Her first influence was Enid Blyton whose books she devoured, then she moved on to Judy Blume.

“I wrote lots of stories that were abandoned and forgotten and then when I was sixteen I thought I would be a journalist but I just never committed myself to it as I should have. Oh, the regrets!,” she exclaimed. “I moved on to work in a bank for the next ten years until I married and got pregnant with my eldest daughter. When daughter number two came along, that’s when I decided to get serious. By the time she started school in 2006, I had finished Searching For Sophie and it was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007. The rest is history!”

She’s a stay-at-home mom so she has to work around the kids, but as they are getting older she has more and more time to call her own. She’s at the computer by 9 AM, Monday to Friday, and works straight through with lunch at her desk until 2:30 PM. After she picks up the kids from school, her time is spent on chores and running the kids places before she starts dinner.

“I tend to sneak back and forth to the computer in between and until 7pm, then I switch off. Family time is reserved for the evenings,” she told me. “How much I work on the weekends depends on the kids and any plans we have as a family – if nothing is planned, hubby and the kids know where to find me!”

Rachel’s favorite author is Nora Roberts.

“I know some say her books are very much alike but I don’t agree with that at all. Every time I pick up one of her books I know I am in for a great story and memorable characters. Her style is what I love and the fact her characters feel so real – no matter how many I read, I still can’t work out how she brings everything together so well and seemingly effortlessly. She is a huge inspiration to me—and so damn prolific!”

In her own writing, Rachel usually starts with a premise—an idea, or more often then not, she’ll hear a character’s voice in her head.

“They tell me their problem or I imagine a situation and I go from there. The first thing I do is write a two to three page synopsis to get the idea clear in my head. Then I write character sketches for my hero and heroine – that usually establishes the plot conflict and the romantic conflict. Then I write! The first draft is written from start to finish – draft two is sorting out the problems and inconsistencies. The initial synopsis is tweaked throughout draft one so when I finish the novel, my synopsis is pretty much ready. It works for me!”

It’s very hard for Rachel to come up with her titles, and it always surprises when she’s complimented on them because they are such a struggle for her. She’s only had two of her titles changed by her publisher out of eight releases–Searching for Sophie was originally “Saving Sophie” and Reluctant Witness was “Witnesses to Murder”—her first two novels.

“What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?” I wondered.

“That it’s hard to write books,” she answered with a laugh. “I’m serious. Lots of people say they want to write but never actually finish a novel…or even a novella. Every story is a challenge. For me, it doesn’t get any easier the more I write. Plotting is my weakness and I usually hit the ‘sagging middle’ around 35,000 words and wondered what I’m going to do because the whole story seems rubbish! Writing is hard – that’s what I’ve discovered BUT I have to do it. Writing is a compulsion. I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.” When it comes to research, for her contemporary novels there’s not much involved.

“I think the advantage of writing romance over other genres like crime, is the stories are based in emotion. As a writer, I only need to dig deep inside myself to get that emotion the romance reader expects onto the page,” she explained. “We’ve all experienced heartbreak, disappointment, betrayal or helplessness, just as we have joy, hope, love and happiness. The plots tend to come from something I need to say or something I have seen or heard that I know will touch people.”

For her historical, she uses the internet and her ever-growing shelf of Victorian non-fiction to get ideas flowing. She’s fortunate enough to live in the UK, so for her Victorian romances, she sets them in Bath, Bristol, or—for her next one—the Cotswolds.

“I live within an hour drive of all of these gorgeous, richly historical places and take huge advantage that they are right on my doorstep. As I write for the US market, a lot of my fellow romance writers have to use internet/book research for their settings and its history – whereas I can take a notebook and pen, disappear for the day and the time be completely validated. I hope that I’ve actually been to the places comes across in my stories. I’m a lucky girl!” she admitted with a smile.

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“Write—and keep writing! The only way to learn this craft is by practice and discovering what you love and what works for you. Join as many of the fabulous online groups as you can and talk to other writers. Money is tight for everyone, so choose one or two online courses every six months or so and learn an aspect of the craft. Point of view, plot, dialogue – they all need to be studied because until you master these things, you are going to receive rejections no matter how good your idea. Most important of all – believe in yourself! So many people view writing as ‘a hobby’ or ‘a dream’. If you want this, treat it as a job and put the hours in – there is no other way.”

About the Author:

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Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. She started writing short stories about eight years ago but once her children were at school, she embarked on her first novel. It was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published with The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press and Lyrical Press. She acquired a US agent in March 2011. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, Rachel hopes to have a further three novels, one mainstream contemporary, one romantic suspense and one Victorian contracted in 2012.

When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…

Find Rachel online at

www.RachelBrimble.com
http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Brimble/181873201887441
Twitter: @rachelbrimble

To keep herself from the depths of poverty, Milly Shepherd needs to be appointed manager of the Red Lion Tavern. The elderly owner is in failing health and has promised her the job permanently if no one more suitable applies. Milly will fight with her entire being to make the job her own.

Joseph Jacobs needs to supplement his income to pay off his father’s creditors and save him from debtor’s prison. Though the job as manager of the local tavern looks promising, Milly is favored by both the owner and customers. Instead, Joseph swallows his pride and agrees to tend bar.

As they work together, their attraction grows, their goals cross, and both Millie and Joseph find they must face their fears …the question is whether they face them alone or together?