Name Rachel Louise Dove
Age 34 (just)
Where are you from
I was born and bred in Wakefield, West Yorkshire
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am a qualified adult education teacher, though I decided to write full time from January 2016. I am in my final year of a degree in Arts too, undertaking creative writing, so I work and study from home. I am married to Pete, and we have been together for ten years. we have two sons together, who are eight and seven, and Max the dog and Tilly the cat. I aim to add more family members in the form of chickens!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am currently writing a new book and recently sold a short story to an Australian magazine. The Chic Boutique on Baker Street is currently only 99p in the Amazon Summer Sale till 31st August.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written little stories, back when I was a child. I decided to start seriously in my twenties, and I started submitting and learning all about writing and markets, and fitted it in around my day job.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t sometimes! I would say that winning the Prima competition was the turning point. It gave me the confidence to take the leap to writing full time, which is a dream and much better for my family too.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book is still stuffed in a drawer, half finished. I just started planning some characters out and had the idea for a romantic storyline, but I soon lost faith in my ability and consigned it to the drawer.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write in other genres, so my writing style changes but I do like to use humour in my words. I think making people laugh and get the warm fuzzies from your work is hard to do, but amazing when pulled off.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I thought of two warring shop owners, and I love the little boutiques that pop up in villages, like the ones in Haworth. Traditional and unique. I wanted to convey that with chic, and Baker Street just seemed to fit perfectly.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That life is short. We have the power to take that leap, to change our situations – e have to live for us, no one else. Regrets are a powerful thing, and I would rather regret the things I did, rather than the chances I let slip through my fingers.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book is realistic as in it could happen in real life, but the events and characters are entirely fictional. I did take inspiration from my grandmothers for Grace and Marlene though, even using their real names!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Austen and Bronte are big influences, and I read a lot of Hans Christian Anderson and Roald Dahl as a child, along with books I was too young for! I read a lot and devour pretty much any genre. Wuthering Heights is my favourite book.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Jamie McGuire books, the Beautiful series is trail blazing in the NA genre. I love big swooning romances, which is why I am such a good fit for Mills & Boon, regularly devouring them myself, and Liz Fielding is an absolute dream to read.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Mills & Boon and Prima have been amazing, and everyone I encounter is lovely. Aside from them, The RNA (Romantic Novelist’s Association) is a great body to be part of, more like a family and they have cheered me on every step of the way.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes I do, when the children are older I may teach again part time, as I miss the student interaction, but for now, I have a notebook full of ideas and I intend to write many more books and stories.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change a thing, I am very proud of it and I am looking forward to reading it again when I am an old woman and pondering my journey. The characters are all tucked into my heart.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
From reading Boy, I think. Reading his journey and so many other books, it amazed me how he survived so much and wrote such magical stories. It was then I thought, why not me?
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am writing about a doctor and an army officer. Both suffer tragedies and are thrown together. They are similar, but they hate each other and their journeys take shape over the course of the book. It is a love story, with a twist of redemption and starting again.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping it going. Writing a book is hard, solitary and slow at times. You have to keep going, take regular breaks, ignore the laundry and just dive in.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have so far done a number of library talks, and was on the New Voices Panel at Beaconlit on 2nd July. I took my husband and kids with me and we had a fab long weekend together. I have met some lovely people.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lovely isn’t it? A very talented cover designer on the design team at Mills & Boon has that honour.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Self doubt. I wanted to make it the best book possible.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I can do it! I can write a book, stick to a deadline, and still have ideas for more.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Tricky one! I am partial to Gerard Butler, but I would love a Yorkshire actor. James from Happy Valley fame would be perfect!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read a lot. Learn your craft, research your genre and write. You can’t send out a blank page. Keep writing every day.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just to say a huge thank you to everyone who bought the book, tweeted about it, shared it on FB, reviewed it, passed it on to a friend. Thanks so much for your kind wishes and support.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading a few, I like a few on the go. One is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas, and I reread Wuthering Heights every year.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember reading Sleeping Beauty in Ladybird form. My mother used to buy me a book every week and read it with me.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything! I love to laugh, and adverts always make me cry. My husband laughs me laugh every day, and my kids are hilarious!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Roald Dahl. I recently saw his writing hut in the museum in Great Missenden, and I would have loved to have spoken to him.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
That’s a dark question! I would have:
Rachel Dove, beloved wife and mother. Lived life till the chute failed. Rock on!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I read a lot, hang with my kids, go to the gym and cross stitch. I also collect elephant ornaments.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like crime shows, romcoms, family films with my kids. Boxsets are brilliant too, especially character driven plots. I love how people react in different situations.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I am on Slimming World at the moment, so pretty much all fruit and veg! My favourite colour is blue, and I love pop and rock.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I always wanted to be a teacher and a writer, so I have pretty much achieved my goals! Anything else is bonus, although I would like to add to my animals and have a farmhouse when I am older.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Twitter handle is @writerdove