Today on Getting To Know... I have the very lovely Rachel Dove, author of The Chic Boutique On Baker St.
You mainly write contemporary romance, what is it that draws you to this genre?
The happy ever after. I want to know that after all the drama, the kissing of frogs, the bad blind dates, the heartbreak, that the characters will fall in love and run off into the sunset for lots of sex and nights under the stars. I have no time for gits, romantic love rats, or cheaters, so it's a lot of fun to write them and see them get their comeuppance. Whenever I read a book in this genre, I know I am in for a good read, and a taste of someone's life. I love the genre so much, and I never get bored.
What was the inspiration behind The Chic Boutique on Baker St?
I was helping my husband at work, and was based on a small row of shops, with a dog groomers next door. I was flicking through my Prima mag, and saw the Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition. From then, the pad and pen were out and Amanda and Ben popped into my head. My husband actually helps me a lot with ideas, whether he knows it or not!
You contributed stories for the three volumes of Tortured Hearts, how different is the process writing a short story to writing a novel and do you prefer writing one over the other?
Writing a novel is harder because it takes longer, and you are constantly engrossed in it, whether at your desk or not. A short story can be a burst of passion, a nugget of an idea that can be written in a day and worked on the day after. Both are hard, but I think that short stories are harder to write personally, as you only have a limited space to tell your story, to evoke the feelings. The Tortured Hearts series was fabulous to work on, and we have raised over £2,000 so far for cancer charities, which is very close to my heart.
The stories in Tortured Hearts are not your typical love story, they show the darker side of love. Did you enjoy this kind of writing and will we see more of it in the future?
I think I definitely have two sides to my writing persona, and I love this kind of writing as well. I'm a bit of a Jeykll and Hyde in that respect! I have written two other short stories, which are out in ebook from Bayou Brew Publishing, and I do plan to explore more of the stories I have in my head at some point. I think working in two genres is tricky, but you have to write what you want to write. If people like it, then all the better, but with the dark writing it's purely for the love of something different, of suspending belief.
When you're writing, do you have a set routine you like to follow?
I wish! I have a young family at home, and now write full time, but I tend to grab time whenever I can. When the children are older, I plan to treat myself to a few writing retreats, to really crack on and work, but for now, I work around school runs, shopping errands, hospital appointments and loading the dishwasher. I try to write at least 500 words a day, and then with promotion and reading for pleasure and research, it does add up to a few hours a day.
When you're not reading or writing, what would we find you doing?
Hanging out with my kids and our dog and cat, cleaning (snore), going to the gym, planning the next story in my head. I live a pretty quiet life now, much quieter than when I was juggling studying and teaching adults too. I took a year off in January to concentrate on writing and my family, so this year is all about the calm. I complete my degree next year, so then I want to undertake a Masters Degree and perhaps head back to teaching, so I am making the most of the quiet life for now! I used to work 7 days a week, so this year has been a blessing.
I have also been doing library talks and events since my book came out in April, appearing on radio, in magazines etc so I have been pretty busy.
Other than writing do you have any other talents?
I am a qualified beauty therapist (again, to help my husband's business), a qualified post 16 teacher in family learning, and I have qualifications in sign language and working with SEN children.
I am a perpetual student, and am also currently studying a Writers Bureau course in writing for children, and I won their Writer of the Year award in January this year.
I am awful at cooking, and despise it, but I can bake well, and I like to do cross stitch or make handmade cards for a hobby on an evening.
Do you have a favourite author?
I have many! My favourite book is Wuthering Heights, but I read pretty much any genre. The Hunger Games is a fantastic trilogy, and I always have a Mills & Boon handy. The new genre, NA, is capturing my attention too. So many engaging and hot reads out there! Jamie McGuire led the way with Beautiful Disaster, and I always buy her books when they come out. I am just going through Colleen Hoover's books too, they are breathtaking in places.
Do you have a favourite character that you have written so far?
Agatha Mayweather is so real to me that I wish she existed. I loved creating her, and I plan for her to be heard from again too. Marcus has a soft spot too, even though he is a total douche bag. Writing him was very therapeutic.
What can we look forward to following The Chic Boutique on Baker St?
I recently sold a short story to Australian That's Life, and plan to submit more for publication in magazines. I am writing a new romance at the moment, which will be completed this summer, and I have plans for 2 more books set in Westfield, like Chic Boutique too. I still enter competitions too, so I am always writing something! At the moment the only thing I suffer from is the lack of time to write it all down!
Thank you so much to Rachel for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Chic Boutique On Baker St. synopsis
Amanda is making the idyllic escape to the countryside to find a new life. Ben is picking up the pieces of his life after his wife left. Could a chance encounter outside Amanda's 'chic boutique' set them on the road to renewed happiness? Shop owner Amanda leaves London behind for life in the country and finds love with local vet Ben in this fun, addictive winner of the Prima Flirty Fiction competition.
To buy a copy of The Chic Boutique On Baker St click HERE.
To Connect with Rachel Dove
Twitter - @WriterDove