Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome, Rachel Brimble

But I can’t write that…can I?

When I started writing, I dreamed of having a romantic suspense novel published. That dream became a reality upon my first acceptance from The Wild Rose Press in 2007.

Searching For Sophie was my baby, my first attempt at a novel which I re-wrote and revised at least half a dozen times and my editor (God bless her!) worked on to make it the best it could be. The book was released in July the following year and I was ecstatic. After that? Another romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press. Reluctant Witness was released in 2009.

And then something strange happened. Something which threw a curve ball into my nice comfy writing future, something that surprised me as much as it scared me…

That something was actually a someone, Hannah…Hannah Boyd.

            This was the first character (and only one since!) who came to me fully formed and talking with a voice I could clearly hear whenever she chose to speak to me. I could hear her accent, her laugh, her derision, her mindset, everything. I wrote her story in three months which was the quickest ever for me and trust me, the quickest since since.

            A romantic comedy, The Sharp Points of a Triangle is set at a financial advisers’ seminar in rural England. Not the most natural setting for a romantic comedy you might say but Hannah told me her job from the first day she came unbidden into my mind, and then I just wrote what she told me. The book was accepted by Eternal Press and released in January this year to great review, thank goodness.

            So that was it – I thought I know my calling, I was a writer of contemporary fiction whether it be suspense or comedy, onwards and upwards - then came a visit with my mother to an historic stately home near where I live in South West England…

            We had been treated to afternoon tea at the beautiful estate of Lucknam Park in Colerne near Bath (www.lucknampark.co.uk) and the moment I walked inside I knew this would become the home to one of my hero’s. And then somewhere in between eating a teeny-weeny salmon sandwich and an even tinier chocolate éclair, it came to me…my very first historical! Ta da!

            But no, I wasn’t happy about this revelation, I was terrified!

            I couldn’t write an historical…could I??

            I went home, ran to my laptop and immediately found myself opening the preliminary plans I’d been drawing up over the previous two weeks about a heroine who I could not figure out. I didn’t get her story. Something wasn’t clicking. Her voice didn’t fit – and then I realized who she was.

            She was Lily, daughter to a wealthy Victorian gentleman on the run from an arranged marriage. She was the heroine for my hero of Lucknam Park, Cotswold Manor as it became.

            I started writing, I LOVED researching and before I knew it, I was actually doing it, I was writing my very first historical. Sick with nerves and self-doubt, I asked myself again and again who I thought I was that I could attempt an historical when all I’d written before was contemporary. But then I let myself off the hook, stopped beating myself up – yes, I wasn’t an historian, yes, I didn’t know or claim to know everything about the Victorian era but love was love in 1895 as it is in 2010 and that, I could write about.

            So ‘The Arrival of Lily Curtis’ is a romance set against a Victorian background – and I am eternally grateful to The Wild Rose Press for the huge surge of confidence they gave me when they offered me a contract straight away. Here’s a short excerpt. I’d love to know what you think!
            The clock ticked like a heartbeat behind him, the fire crackled and spat. Andrew unconsciously held his breath waiting to see what this unpredictable woman would do next. One minute she seemed so full of grace and intellect, the next full of fire and resentment. The two distinctions in her personality shouldn’t have fit but they did— inexplicitly so.
“Well, what do you say?” he pressed.
She dropped her gaze and curtsied, throwing him off-guard once again. He felt his jaw tighten as he looked at her bowed head.
“I thank you, sir,” she said. “But I know my place and to sit with you and your guests would be most unacceptable.”
He stared at her. “Unacceptable?”
“Yes, sir.”
Andrew watched her for a moment longer before slowly crossing his arms. “You have a very genteel way about you,” he said. “One would almost suspect you have been educated.”
She snapped her head up, another flash of color darkening her cheeks. “Not at all, sir. I…I try to
better myself and the way I speak, that is all.”
He smiled. “Really?”
“Yes, sir.” She paused, a sudden glint in her eyes. “Of course, if it is not to your liking, I can
always revert to common speech and bad manners. It comes easily to me either way.”
Andrew felt the burst of laughter bubbling beneath his diaphragm and could do nothing to stop it erupting. It burst from his mouth and reverberated around the room. Uneasy laughter
rippled around the table, joining him in his amusement. He ignored them, not caring about
anything else but this enigma in front of him. His friends clearly laughed because of who he was rather than their shared delight, Lily on the other hand didn’t seem to care who he was and would say just what she pleased.
“You are quite agreeable just the way you are.”  He grinned. “If you wish to continue with your
duties, then I will not stop you.”
He walked back to his chair and sat down. “Nicholas, another bottle of wine if you please. I have the distinct feeling a long night is ahead.”
“Of course, sir.”
Andrew tried and failed to wipe the smile from his face as Lily threw him a look of satisfaction
before obediently following Nicholas from the room.  He picked up his glass and took a long mouthful.
Lily Curtis may be just what Cotswold Manor needed right now.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Rachel,
Loved hearing your story of how Lilly popped into your head. I love historicals, that is why I write them. Great excerpt too.



Ciara Gold said...

Nice post and loved getting to know you a bit better. Enjoyed the excerpt. Best of luck with all writing endeavors!

Rachel Brimble said...

I am so sorry I have been so tardy with a response, ladies!! All I can say is kids!!! LOL ; )
Thank you for your kind comments, Lily was fun to write and hero even more so...


Rachel x

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