Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Author Spotlight - Rachel Bailey

Today we welcome Harlequin Desire author Rachel Bailey into our spotlight. Rachel lives in Australia with a handful of dogs (you can meet them on her website).

She's giving away a copy of Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal to one (non-Minxy) commenter, so don't forget to leave comments when you get to the end of this post to stand a chance to win.

What is your writing process?
Slower than I’d like! :) I need to give my editor a synopsis of the book for approval, so I always know where the story is going before I write it. Then I break the plot down into quarters from the synopsis and write one section at a time. By the time I move onto the next quarter, I’ve edited and polished the one before it then sent it out to my critique partners who are pretty ruthless with telling me what’s not working. Then when I have the four quarters done, I do some more editing on the book as a whole. I’d love a simpler process, but this one seems to be working for me so I don’t want to mess with it!

Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
Deadlines. No question. Which is why, when I was unpublished, I found the contest circuit invaluable – not only for feedback, for to keep me writing to deadlines.

Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counter balance all those hours sitting at a computer?
I play dog tennis twice a day (I hit the ball with a tennis racquet and the dogs retrieve it), but that exercises the dogs more than me, so I also have a walking machine in the lounge room.

Do you believe in writer's block?
Yes and no. I think lots of things can get in the way of writing, from stress to tiredness to fear to burnout. What you need to do about it depends on what the ‘writer’s block’ really is.

Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?
I’d find it hard to stay in the character’s head if I knew the incident had really happened to me or someone I knew, so it’s not something I’ve ever done.

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
I had a few friends who were published before me, so I was already aware of most aspects of the life of a published author, but it’s still amazing how much writing time gets lost in non-writing activities aspects of the job.

Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?
I blog at the LoveCats DownUnder and eHarlequin, have Facebook and twitter accounts as well as a website. But I’m also wary that promotion doesn’t take over too much of the time and brain-space I need for writing.

What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Pick the promo methods you enjoy the most and do those ones well.

What did you learn while writing this book?
I researched New York and New Jersey pretty thoroughly to give me a feel for the setting, and I had pictures of random NY and NJ scenes on corkboards around my walls. I *love* immersing myself in new settings and learning about other places!

What was the most fun part of writing this book?
I really enjoyed the spark these two have – part of that comes from them having known each other so well as teenagers, and part from their personalities.

And I loved writing the little appearances of Winston, Pia’s cat. :)

And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?
JT spent most of his childhood and youth moving around, so going away somewhere wouldn’t appeal as much as it would for other heroes. JT simply wants to be alone with Pia – anywhere that’s possible is good with him. :)

Book Blurb:

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.

* * *

You can find Return of the Secret Heir at Amazon, Amazon UK, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Harlequin.

You can find Rachel at her website, LoveCats DownUnder, on Twitter and on Facebook.


Lacey Devlin said...

Fantastic interview :-) I love the sound of your writing process and thanks for the promo tips!

Kathy Bosman said...

Love your idea for researching setting for your latest book - putting pictures up so you can see the place while you write. I'm going to try that next.

Sally Clements said...

Like you, Rachel, I really find the fact of being part of a great crit group useful, I'd be lost without the Minxes! And I think your point about writing to a dealine is key too, even a self-imposed one helps keep the focus on writing, rather than non-writing tasks!
Great interview, and I love the sound of your book - thanks for being minxy for the day!

Rachel Bailey said...

Lacey, my writing process isn't the one I'd choose if I had options but the processes seem to choose us, don't they?

Rachel Bailey said...

Hi Kathleen! Photos of the setting are definitely useful to me - hope they help you too.

I also play a lot of music to get me into the mood. Return of the Secret Heir is set in New York and a bit in New Jersey (and JT and Pia had their teenage romance in New Jersey) so I had lots of Bruce Springsteen and other music that made me think of those areas.

Anything that can help me get my head in the right space, I grab!

Rachel Bailey said...

Sally, good critique partners / groups are worth their weight in gold, aren't they?

Thanks so much for having me visit at the Minxes - it's been fun. :)

Rachael Johns said...

Absolutely LOVE that cover Rachel. I totally agree with you about the contest circuit being an awesome way to give yourself deadlines. Loved learning more about you :)
Oh and thanks for the promo tip - I think that's a REALLY good one!

Nas said...

Hi Rachel, Hello Minxes!

Thanks for Spotlighting Desire Author Rachel Bailey today!

Rachel, reading JT's story in the RETURN OF THE SECRET HEIR was like meeting friends and watching them fall in love! I loved reading JT's other brothers' Ryder and Seth's stories in AT THE BILLIONAIRE' BECK AND CALL and MILLION-DOLLAR AMNESIA SCANDAL!

Thank you for sharing with us your writing processes!

roro said...

Absolutely LOVE that cover

Lorraine said...

Terrific interview, Minxes!
Rachel, I love the cover. Your answers and story are so interesting. Enjoy hearing about the writing life of others.

I've done a lot of promo on blogs, facebook and twitter and even designed a website in honor of my debut release. Loved it all! So fascinating! People used to talk about blog tours and I was like 'What!' Now I know. lol

Please enter me in your draw.

thebewitchinghour said...

Great interview and great tips.

BrooklynShoeBabe said...

I like your exercise routine. I throw stuffed mice down the hallway for my cat to retrieve. I'm sensing a worldwide exercise phenom in the making. :-) rakisha.white @ gmail .com

Annie West said...

Rachel, I'm fascinated by the idea of breaking a story into quarters before writing. So simple, but I've never thought of it. I'm going to spend a bit of time pondering the possibilities... Thanks for sharing.

Also, I have to say, I do like the sound of this book!

Rachel Bailey said...

Hi Rach! Yes, isn't that cover purdy? But I've seen my Feb '12 cover already and it's gorgeous too - in a totally different way. H. O. t. :)

Rachel Bailey said...

Nas, thanks for the kind words about the Bramson brothers - I loved spending time in their worlds and with them!

Rachel Bailey said...

Roro, I love it too! After a book is written, we fill out an Art Fact Sheet with heaps of info about the characters and plot, then we give 3 suggestions of scenes that would make a good cover. For this book, I suggested the city skyline at night from JT's penthouse apartment, or the beach at night, or this garden scene. *So* glad they chose this one now I've seen it!

Rachel Bailey said...

Lorraine, it's funny how we're all so fascinated with each others' writing processes, isn't it? Good luck with the promo for your cowboy book - it looks fab!

Rachel Bailey said...

Hi thebewitchinghour! Thanks for dropping in. :)

Rachel Bailey said...

BrooklynShoeBabe - I see I've met a kindred spirit!

>>>"I like your exercise routine. I throw stuffed mice down the hallway for my cat to retrieve. I'm sensing a worldwide exercise phenom in the making. :-)"<<<

We should give it a cool name, like, The Pet Retrieval Technique. Or The Throw Method.

Rachel Bailey said...

Annie, I'm not necessarily recommending it as a process, though - it doesn't seem as effective as other people's processes (the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!).

I think another reason it works for me is writing a book is such a huge undertaking and this breaks it down into more manageable segments for me.

Xandra James said...

Great post!

And that's an interesting way of writing, in sections. I'm not sure I could do that as it sounds too much like being organised ;D

Can't wait to check out your book, sounds fab x

Rachel Bailey said...

Xandra, it's probably not as organised as it sounds, lol. It might even be a procrastination technique... :)