Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Author Spotlight: Rachel Bailey

Harlequin Desire author Rachel Bailey steps into the spotlight with news about her Oct release, what inspires her, and a giveaway too!

Rachel Bailey developed a serious book addiction at a young age (via Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck) and has never recovered. Just how she likes it. She went on to gain degrees in psychology and social work but is now living her dream—writing romance for a living.

She lives on a piece of paradise on Australia’s east coast with her hero and four dogs, and loves to sit with a dog or two, overlooking the trees and read books from her ever-growing to-be-read pile.

Welcome Rachel! Diving right in, can you tell us a little about your latest DESIRE? What inspired it?
Return of the Secret Heir is the story of JT Hartley, the half-brother to the heroes in At The Billionaire’s Beck & Call? and Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal (though it easily stands alone). When I was originally planning this series, I knew I wanted the last brother’s story to be a reunion story, but didn’t know the details.

Then one night when I was still writing the first brother’s story, I was lying in bed in that almost-asleep state, and the whole story of JT and Pia’s teenage affair came to me. I could vividly see her bright red hair and a seventeen-year-old JT on the motorbike he’d rebuilt from scrap parts. Could feel the forces against the town princess dating the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and the tragedy when it falls apart.

I jumped out of bed and started writing notes. I had about 4 pages of handwritten notes before I went back to bed and none of that history changed between then and their book being finished. It was as if I’d got to the heart of it that one night, half asleep. It usually takes me more planning to get a backstory right, but this one just flowed.

I'm all envy with that kind of writing magic! And the story sounds fantastic. Let's have a look at the blurb...
Return of the Secret Heir

He's returned for a fortune and is confronted by memories. Though tycoon JT Hartley is a success in his own right, he's set on claiming his share of his late father's legacy. But first he has to get past the estate executor - none other than Pia Baxter, a woman he's never forgotten.

Theirs had been a fast-and-furious union that ended all too suddenly. And though desire still courses between them, JT knows starting anything with Pia again is just asking for trouble. His future is set in stone. But even the best-laid plans are no match for true passion.

For those readers as tempted as I am, here are the buy links...
Harlequin Barnes & Noble Book Depository Amazon

What’s in your TBR pile and why?
Frederica by Georgette Heyer, because I’m on a mission to read all Heyer’s books and this is next one.
The Secretary’s Secret by Michelle Douglas, because it’s her latest and I love her writing.
The free books from because I’m hoping to find a new-to-me author I can glom.
A Kiss to Seal the Deal by Nikki Logan. She gave me a copy (lucky me!) of this a while ago and I’ve been dying to get to it.

When the writing is done, how do you kick back to relax?
Usually the first thing I do when I hand a book in is lie back and watch a DVD. I’m pretty exhausted when I submit a book, so DVDs are perfect. I like something that will take all day – like the BBC miniseries of Pride & Prejudice, or North & South.

But for more regular relaxing, one of my favourites is to sit on my verandah (which overlooks gum trees filled with native birds, and hills in the distance), with my dogs at my feet, and a book by a fave author in one hand and chocolate in the other. Bliss!

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Can you tell us which ones? Were you surprised to find yourself there or was it intentional?
In Return of the Secret Heir JT has my taste in penthouses!

But more seriously, Pia is the third daughter in her family, and feels like she needs to live up to her sisters. I’m also a third daughter, and when I was a teenager, I had that same sense of needing to be as good as them. It was something I intentionally gave Pia to add depth to her turmoil as a teenager when she’s deciding between keeping the boy she loves or doing what she thinks is the right thing. Also, she has my cat, Winston. Winnie died about five years ago, so it was beautiful to see him living in Pia’s apartment.

Are any of your heroes (physically) inspired from actors? If so who?
All of them! I make a collage before I start a story, and actors are great to use for the heroes and heroines because I can get photos with a range of expressions. Musicians and models, for example, are harder to get with that range.
For my latest three books, I used:
Ryder Bramson: Clive Owen (At The Billionaire’s Beck & Call?)
Seth Kentrell: Richard Armitage (Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal)
James Marsden: JT Hartley (Return of the Secret Heir)

When you write, how many projects do you generally have going at once?
Usually only one main project. But, like other authors, I also will have line edits or other work that needs doing on books already handed in. And I always have some preliminary work going on future books. So, I might be writing book A, thinking about book B in my downtime, and collaging book C when I have a break. That way, when I come to writing a book, the characters are more like old friends and I know them well.

How do you manage your ideas for new stories before you’re able to really sit down and work on them?
I make notes in my “Ideas” file. I try to get down as much of the detail as I have in my head, then I let it go and focus back on the story I’m writing. Though, I’ll probably think about it when I’m in the shower, or driving – then I add those new bits to the pages in the ideas file. When I come to work on the book, I’ll have lots of details and probably have done a collage by then too.

What appeals to you most about writing Category?
To me, category novels are like a piece of dark chocolate. An intense shot of deliciousness. I love reading single title as well, but they’re for a different mood – more like a steamed chocolate pudding: warm and gooey and yummy and I just want to sink into it.

In terms of writing, I love category because the intensity is fun to play with.

What inspires you?
Masterfully written books or movies.
Beauty – a gorgeous sunset, the brilliant blue sky behind the gum trees around my house, a sublime painting.
Being happy. You know those moments when you feel full of peace and happiness? I find them really inspiring.

What’s the best piece of advice you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Join a writing organization like RWAustralia, RWNew Zealand or RWAmerica. Without a doubt, the best thing I did for my writing. If you’re already a member, then make sure you take advantage of the services they offer. Eg., RWAust and RWNZ have a critique partner scheme so you can get feedback on your writing. RWAust has back issues of its newsletter available on the website full of craft articles. RWNZ and RWAust have face to face groups. All three have contests to get feedback on your work and maybe land it on an editor’s desk in the final judging. And the best part is meeting like-minded people!

Rachel, thank you so much for chatting with us today. Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?
To celebrate the release of Return of the Secret Heir, I’ll give away one book to a random commenter. It can be Return of the Secret Heir, or one of the connected books: At The Billionaire’s Beck & Call? or Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal if you’d prefer.

Thanks for having me visit at the PHS!

Contact links to keep up with Rachel Bailey:



  1. Hi, Rachel! Great blog! It's always fascinating to read about other authors' processes.

  2. Great post! That blurb makes me want to read the rest of the story!

  3. Hi Sarah, thanks for dropping by! I know exactly what you mean - I never get tired of reading about other writers' processes.

    Looking forward to reading A Man of His Word!

  4. Chey, glad you liked the blurb! I definitely enjoyed spending time with JT and Pia. :)

  5. Hi Rachel,
    Love the fact that you have so much on the go. Collaging helped me enormously with my current book. I was randomly flipping through magazines and the minute I came across an article I knew it was right. Provided back-story and conflict plus lovely visuals all in one fell-swoop. Couldn't wait to get it on my collage board! Looking forward to reading JT and Pia's story.

  6. Louise, aren't those moments fabulous? Like all the stars have aligned for that story. I bet that collage rocks!

  7. Hi Rachel,

    I am really looking forward to reading JT's story. I have read both Seth and Ryder's and loved them. Apart from the chemistry and sexual tension between the lead characters in both stories there is an underlying emotional tension running between the brothers and I'd love to see what happens to it in JT's story.

  8. Sonali, I'm so glad you liked Ryder and Seth's stories! These three brothers have been my favourite heroes so far and I was quite sad to let them go. :)

  9. Hi Rachel,

    I love your "real life" inspiration for your heroes. I'm probably showing my age but I didn't know who James Marsden was. What a perfect look for JT- the Rebel Heir.

  10. Dear Rachel,

    What a super interview - thank you for sharing so much. I especially love knowing that moments of happiness inspire you. Thanks too for a chance to win one of your books.
    Another third daughter,

  11. Barb, I saw James Marsden in a few movies and he caught my eye for a future hero: 27 dresses, X-Men (he plays cyclops), and Enchanted (the prince).

    The actress I used on my collage for Pia was Christina Hendricks - so gorgeous and curvy and the same fab red hair as Pia. And when I put the photos of these two side by side, they looked great. (Movie casting directors take note: James Marsden and Christina Hendricks would be an excellent pairing for a movie together!)

  12. Hi Louise - fellow third-daughter!

    Those moments of pure happiness where you feel like you can do anything are priceless, aren't they?

  13. Great interview! Your answers are so eloquent, particularly regarding category versus single title... I've never known how to explain the difference. Now, I do. : )
    Enjoy all your Harlequin Desires. Can't wait to read the newest.
    Take care.

  14. Oooh, I love the dark piece of chocolate comparison - and your latest story!!

  15. Love the blog. i enjoy series books . it allows some continuity of characters.

  16. sounds like a good set to read, thanks for the interview and answers, gives me an idea of whats going on.

  17. Tina, glad you liked my analogy about category and single title - because it's me, it *had* to involve chocolate! ;)

  18. Hi, Rachel!
    Thanks for sharing so much with us today. I too enjoyed the blurb and look forward to reading that book and others of yours.
    I read MILLION-DOLLAR AMNESIA SCANDAL recently and just loved it! I liked the pace you set: I didn't feel rushed and I never felt bored. You definitely left me with sweet dreams and Seth will not be forgotten quickly, let me tell you!

  19. Hi Robyn - you know the thing about a piece of dark chocolate, of course? You can never stop and one. :)

  20. Lori, I'm totally the same with a series of characters that I can be with over a longer period of time - love them! Thanks for dropping by!

  21. Julie, glad you liked the interview - though lots of the credit has to go to the Pink Heart Society. Great questions and fab interview style!

  22. Hi Laney! Thanks *so* much for telling me you liked Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal. Spending all those months with Seth in my head was no hardship. ;)

  23. Hi Rachel ~ Great interview! I have JT's and Pia's story on it's way to me. I love your writing style,Rachel. I'm looking forward to reading book number 5. I love the name of your book to be released in 2012 What Happens in Charleston...

  24. Great looking books congrats and greatvreview whoo
    Kim h

  25. Kaelee, thank you for such sweet words!

    I love the title, What Happens in Charleston... too - my fabulous editor came up with it. In fact, I'm reading the AAs / galleys of that book today (and eating just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies as I do :)).

  26. Kim, thanks for the congrats! It's been fun to visit here at the Pink Heart Society. :)

  27. And the winner of the giveaway is:


    Louise, email your snail mail address to rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com and I'll get it in the mail!