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 tryharlequin.com 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: