Friday, January 8, 2010

January Featured Author - Rachel Bailey

Silhouette Desire Author Rachel Bailey...Please give her a warm welcome!

As a teenager, I was a voracious reader of science fiction, until one day when I was 16, I saw Pride and Prejudice on television. The old version with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. I adored it. I’d seen it in the TV guide and, since I had a crush on Laurence Olivier after seeing him in Henry V, I’d taped it.

I watched that tape so often I can still recite most of the dialogue by heart. I sought out the book, devoured it, then found every other Jane Austen book and read and reread them frequently. I only discovered romance as a genre about four years ago. Imagine my delight when I first read modern versions of Jane Austen!

Now I read most subgenres of romance, from category to historical to romantic comedy. Such a banquet!

I live with my own personal hero and four dogs on the east coast of Australia. Our house is on my dream property – 10 acres of native trees on the side of a hill, within driving distance to the beach.

At school, I wasn’t particularly interested in writing or English. Science was my favourite subject and I took chemistry, physics and biology. My mother still teases me that I’d take my science textbooks away on holidays with us.

After school, I enrolled in a science degree (of course) but impulsively changed to an arts degree on the first day. I double majored in psychology and went on to do a second degree, this time in social work.

I loved practicing social work, but now have the perfect job – I spend my days in the peace and quiet of my trees, surrounded by my dogs, making up stories for a living.

I would like to welcome To Romance Author Buzz, debut author Rachel Bailey who writes for Harlequin Silhouette Desire. January 2010 Rachel’s Claiming His Bought Bride will debut in North America. Rachel can you tell us about the book?

Rachel:  Thanks for having me, Marilyn!

Claiming His Bought Bride is a reunion story – which is always one of my favourite types to read. Damon and Lily have tried the relationship thing, but it didn’t work for Lily when Damon kept prioritizing work over her, so she left. What she didn’t realize at the time was that she was pregnant. When she finds Damon to tell him, he has some news of his own, and they strike a deal for a marriage of convenience.

Tell us about your Call story.

Rachel:   My husband saw the ‘call’ email—from my agent, Jenn Schober—when he booted up the computer in the morning (because I’m in Australia, the email had come in overnight). He came racing up to the bedroom to wake me up and dragged me down, still groggy, to see the offer. I woke up pretty quickly.  I emailed my critique partners and friends and we opened a bottle of champagne that night.

One of the best parts was the timing – the Romance Writers of Australia conference was only a couple of weeks away so I was able to celebrate with my writing friends, go to the published author workshops and also the Harlequin dinner. Joy!

What is your writing style like?

Rachel:   I like to think that my stories are emotional, intense and fast paced. But I’m probably not the best person to ask because it’s hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes!

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you?

Rachel:  I do plot them, but I know my characters very well before I start writing, so the plot is created with them front and centre in my mind—they don’t have to lead me because I’ve written the plot to suit them.

Describe a day in the life of Rachel Bailey.

Rachel:   I begin my days with a round of dog-tennis—I have four dogs and the excitement level in the house is very high until dog-tennis has been completed for the morning. Then I have breakfast with my husband and get stuck into my writing for the day (aka: spend the day dreaming about heroes and heroines and write all that down.  Then it ends up with another round of dog-tennis before dinner.

What are you currently working on?

Rachel:   A story set in a chocolate company. I had to do a lot of research by eating much chocolate, as you can imagine. It’s tentatively scheduled for late in 2010 and I can’t wait to share it.

What suggestions would you have for beginning writers as far as "breaking into the business”?

Rachel:   Write, write and write some more. Read the genre you want to be published in. Network with other writers. Seek feedback on your writing (either from contests or crit partners). And keep writing. 

Who is your favorite author?

Rachel:   A tie between Jenny Crusie and Jane Austen. Both are fun and witty and I can read their books over and over.

What are you reading?

Rachel:   Nikki Logan’s ‘Lights, Camera… Kiss the Boss’. It’s a Harlequin Romance set in the world of television and the heroine is a gardener. It’s fun, witty and surprising. I’m loving it.

What is the best part for you of being an author?

Rachel:   Holding my very own book in my hands. They’re my words in there, filling the pages! And it looks so pretty after all the work the art department did on the cover and the production department did in making it a book. I can’t imagine that feeling ever getting old!

When using a locale in your books which you’ve never visited, how much research to you do?

Rachel:   Claiming His Bought Bride is set in Melbourne, a city I’ve visited and love. And the fabulous Sharon Archer (Mills and Boon Medical author) is one of my critique partners and she knows Melbourne intimately, so she checked the setting for me as she read it.

The Blackmailed Bride’s Secret Child is set in the winery region of New Zealand. I’ve visited the Marlborough region but I also have a critique partner who lives there and she read the manuscript and pointed out any inaccuracies with the setting. That was invaluable.

So far I haven’t had to do that much research because I’ve had knowledgeable crit partners to back up my memories!

Tell us something about yourself that we might not know

Rachel:   I can’t tell my left from my right, and have trouble telling the time. But I always know where north is, and I never get lost. I think I had an internal map installed where most people have the left/right and clock things in their brain.

Rachel, thanks so much for spending time at Romance Author Buzz and giving us a chance to get to know you!

Rachel:   Thanks so much for having me here, Marilyn! That was a really interesting list of questions!!


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