Rachel Dove is joining me today for an author interview and I’m super duper excited! Not only is she one of my favourite authors, but she’s super lovely too! I first met her properly at the Harper Collins Summer Party in 2018 and she was so kind to me because I didn’t know anyone! She’s lovely and you should definitely read ALL her books!
Anyway, hi Rachel, can you tell me a bit about you and your latest work.
I am an author, short story writer, tutor and student living in Yorkshire with my family. I won the Prima Magazine/Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition in 2015, with my entry The Chic Boutique on Baker Street. I have written 10 books now, and am currently writing a secret project! The Fire House on Honeysuckle Street is the fourth in the Westfield series, and is out in ebook in May followed by paperback later in the summer.
The character Xander in this book is autistic, and he has my heart. My sons both have needs, and I really wanted to write about these amazing children out there, who have such a different way of looking at the world, and showing readers diversity in my books. It’s really important to me as an author, teacher and parent, and having Xander in the book cements all three together. I learn so much from my own children, and I wanted to reflect the successes and the struggles in Xander.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
passionate, fiery and bookish.
How would you Twitter pitch your novel?
Oooo – good one!
Quiet, unassuming gentle giant Samuel heads to a Yorkshire village in search of answers, his family and a new life. Meeting Lucy and her son Xander wasn’t part of the plan, but it takes a meddling village to raise a man.
What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
1. Read. Read books on writing, read books you want to write, read anything and everything that takes your fancy. Learn from others and get the inspiration firing.
2. Enter competitions – some are costly, but pick the best ones, look for freebies and keep submitting!
3. Write. Bums on seats. No one will write the story for you. Get the first draft done, and then the hard work begins.
Are you a panster or plotter?
A Plotster! I mark out the plot, one or three pivotal scenes, and make character profiles for each character, minor and major. The rest is often seat of my pants!
What does success look like to you?
I think that in this business, writers are always yearning for the next thing, the next milestone. I am lucky that I get to do two jobs that I desired since childhood, so for me now, I just want to write a book that people will enjoy. If I can make people, think, or be happy, or laugh, fall in love a little, that’s success to me. The rest is hard work and dreams.
How do you choose your character names?
I use a baby names book to keep track, but I usually have meaning behind my names, and pick them very carefully.
Do you ever Google yourself?
When I go hunting pirates! Yarrr!
What do you do when you get stuck with your writing?
Cry usually, declare on social media that my current book is the worst book ever, or threaten to blow the whole set of characters up in a fictional fireball. Then I go walk the dog, read a book, come back to it with a fresh, clear head.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Depends very much on home life and deadlines! On average, 6 months from idea to first draft being finished, but each book is a different story time wise.
What’s your main weakness as a writer eg. SPaG, continuity etc?
Feeling the pressure I think, and deadline induced fireball threats.
What do you find hardest/easiest about writing?
The muddy middle is a real pain sometimes, and getting to the end when you are so close. The easiest thing is the writing community. I have met some wonderful friends and had such good times.
Describe your writing process in 3 words.
Lightbulb, frenzy, polish.
If your book/one of your books got made into a film, who would play the main roles?
Gerard Butler. He would play all roles in all projects, because I lurrve him. (see also Idris Elba and Zac Efron.) For the female lead, I would love some Northern talent – Michelle Keegan et al. We have some fabulous, gorgeous feisty females in these parts!
What’s been your biggest learning curve?
I feel like I am still very much learning my craft, but I would say that writing is very lonely, and you need support. Find your people. I am a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, and working from home and talking to the dog and cat all day isn’t half as boring as it sounds, when you can chat online to a friend, work through a plot hole or two together. It’s not all glamour, and I don’t think many people realise just how hard the job is.
Do you prefer pen and paper, or is everything on the computer?
I like to write straight onto the laptop, but I have a million notepads and pens in my office, and always keep one in my bag so I can write on the move. Happy either way really, but posture can be a problem! Best to have a proper desk and office set up however and wherever you can.
Who’s your favourite author and why?
I can’t pick one definitively because they change so much, but Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, Mills & Boon books in general, and Jane Sims are always auto buys for me.
What’s your favourite book?
Wuthering Heights, of course. Love it, and have done forever. Not a romance as such, but always my favourite. More modern favourites would be the Hunger Games books. Love those too.
How do you relax?
Er…I live quite a hectic life really, working, studying various courses and an MA, raising a family, etc as we all do, but I love to be at home with a book, or exploring new places with my family. Simple pleasures really make me happy. Premature middle age, I’m sure! I stitch, read, bake, hang out with my family, see films, go to concerts and the theatre. Life is short, so I just try and be happy, make the most of my time. I also love box sets and anything paranormal/supernatural.
And now for some silly questions just for fun…
Tea or coffee?
Coffee is required daily, but I love a good herbal tea.
Beer or wine?
Chips or curly fries?
Puppies or kittens?
Summer or winter?
Summer, I love the warmth and the fresh air, hanging in the garden or going to the beach. In winter I hibernate.
Lucy is looking for a fresh start.
Sam is in search of his past.
But what they both need most might turn out to be each other.
The picturesque village of Westfield is about to welcome some new residents.
Sam has transferred from London to the local Fire Brigade, but his move has more to it than a desire to escape city life. There are answers Sam needs to find and the village is the place to look.
Lucy is at the end of her tether. Between her marriage falling apart and single-handedly dealing with her son’s special needs, Lucy knows something needs to change. Westfield might just be the new beginning she needs.
Rachel is a writer and teacher, living in West Yorkshire
with her husband, two sons, and furry pets.
In July 2015, she won the Prima magazine and Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition, with my entry, The Chic Boutique on Baker Street, out now in ebook and paperback. The Flower Shop on Foxley Street followed this in 2017 and both books hit the Amazon top 200. Chic Boutique got to #2 in the rural life humour chart and is regularly in the top 100 of that chart. The Wedding Shop on Wexley Street came out in ebook on 10th August and the paperback 1st November 2018.
She is the winner of the Writers Bureau Writer of the Year Award in 2016 and has had work published in the UK and overseas in various magazines.
Her standalone soldier book, The Long Walk Back, came out in January 2018 and is currently writing the next book in the Westfield series. Her first book with Manatee Books, Nice Guys Finish Lonely, came out in April 2018 in ebook and paperback. She loves to write romantic fiction, both rom-com and harder hitting women’s fiction.
She is also a post 16 teacher and is undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at Teesside University.
Readers love Rachel Dove:
‘such an entertaining and wonderful story!’
‘A fun, heartfelt and well paced story that kept me entertained all the way through.’
‘a happy, bubbly and entertaining read’
‘I adored this book, it was such a lovely story and it had me reminiscing at times about my own wedding day!’
‘Laughter and joy interspersed with disappointment and grief weave together to make a heart warming, engaging story about friendship and love.’
‘A wonderful emotionally charged read…’ Taurus Girl
‘Captured my heart’ – Welsh Annie
See! Isn’t she lovely?! Thanks so much for joining us Rachel! I really can’t recommend her books enough so make sure you nip over and get one now!