Name I write as both Rachel de Vine and Juliette Banks
Age is just a number
Where are you from England
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Because I write erotica, I prefer to keep myself a little secretive, as it is possible to attract the wrong kind of attention. Also, some of my family members don’t know that I write this genre.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m just about to publish my 11th book with Blushing Books.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote stories as a child, and even came a runner-up in a national newspaper competition. I started writing properly about 12 years ago, and self-published, but I didn’t know how to promote myself and stopped. Then, three years ago, I started writing erotica, and my first book was accepted by Blushing Books.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think that it was only after my second book was published that I first thought of myself as a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first, self-published, books were inspired by some of the travelling I have done throughout my life. I began writing erotica when I read Fifty Shades of Grey, and realized that I could write at least as well.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I am what other authors describe as a “pantser”. In other words I don’t plan out my books, I simply sit down and start writing. I have no idea what is going to happen until I write the book. The thoughts just pour straight from my brain on to the laptop.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
With my new book, The Russian Bride, it came to me when I was part way through the book, and the lead female character was married to a Russian gangster. The title then seemed obvious to me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t consciously write books with messages, but simply to entertain. However, many of my female characters survive difficult beginnings and achieve their success or happy ending after a struggle. So I suppose I’m subconsciously saying, don’t give up. You will get there in the end, no matter how difficult your start in life.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In this book almost none at all. It is quite a powerful tale (and a little dark in places) involving gangsters and people who live on the edge. It is almost all the product of my vivid imagination, and the only similarity to my life is that I have visited St. Petersburg and Moscow, where much of the story is based. There is, however, a romance running through the book. I’m quite a romantic person.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I suppose that the many books I read as a child stayed with me for a long time – Jane Austen novels, Charles Dickens, Little Women, Heidi, all the classics. More recently, since I have been writing erotica, I admire Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Adrea Kore, Chloe Thurlow, in particular. They all have such a lovely writing style. In non-erotic writing, one of the most memorable books I have read was ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden. ‘Testament of Youth’ by Vera Brittain was also a book that moved me – seeing the tragedy of the First World War through the eyes of a young woman who lived through it all.
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?
She is not a new author, but is only in her thirties, and that is Chloe Thurlow. Her book, ‘Katie in Love’ is amazing, in my opinion. She is a very talented young writer.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I am in a group of very supportive writers through Facebook. They are scattered all over the world, but I have found them to be kind and supportive, and endlessly helpful to other writers. My publishers, Blushing Books, are also very supportive, especially my Editor. They offer a lot of help and guidance.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Not particularly. I enjoy fitting it in with a lot of other interesting things, and only have to write when I feel like it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. Once a story is told I tend to file it away in my mind and move on to the next book. I always say that I am a fickle woman, because even if I fall in love with my male hero, I soon forget him and move on to the next one.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was young I used to share a room with my sister. I was about six or seven, and I was frightened of the dark. We were allowed to read for a while and then switch out the light, which meant getting out in the cold of winter sometimes and running to the light switch by the door. Because I was afraid of coming back in the dark, I used to bribe my sister to switch off the light, in return for a story that I made up in my head. I think my enthusiasm for writing stories stems from that time.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes, I would be happy to do so. As I said, the book is an erotic romance, but I will choose a PG-rated excerpt, from The Russian Bride, which comes out on March 8, and is being released under my writing name of Juliette Banks.
She looked stunning, with the sun reflecting a few streaks of blonde in her light brown hair, and her broad smile made her look simply amazing. James, being a very wealthy and good-looking man, was not short of attractive dates, but Natasha was simply beautiful, and he had to admit to himself that being the presence of this mysterious young woman boosted his libido hugely. So far he had restrained himself, telling himself that he must not take advantage of a woman in so fragile a state as Natasha seemed to be, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain his composure, especially looking as good as she did now.
He reached out and touched her hand, noting that, although she looked a little panicked at his movement, she made no attempt to withdraw it.
“You look lovely in the dress.”
She smiled a little hesitantly and looked puzzled.
“Has no one ever told you how beautiful you are?”
“No, I…well, I…”
She seemed lost for words. He wondered if the mysterious ‘he’ of whom she had spoken earlier, was a man who was not given to express such feelings towards her.
Suddenly, with no warning, Natasha’s face registered sheer panic and she rose out of her chair, as though about to take flight. James couldn’t understand how anything he had said might cause such a reaction, and he held more tightly on to her hand, to prevent her running away from the table.
“Natasha, what’s the matter?”
She didn’t need to explain, for, at that moment, a large man loomed next to them. James looked up to see a stern-faced man of about fifty, elegantly dressed in a tailored three-piece suit, and with a neat grey moustache and short, trimmed beard. His chiselled face was set as hard as granite and his dark eyes seemed to James to be the eyes of an evil man.
Natasha, half standing and with her hand still in James’ firm grasp, was shaking like a leaf. He’d never seen such an expression of terror in anyone’s face before, other than at the cinema.
The large man spoke at last, his accent coming over as possibly Russian or Ukrainian to James’s ear. Not that James claimed to be an expert on accents, but there had been a big increase in the population of Russian and Eastern European people in London over the previous few years, and such accents were becoming more common.
“So there you are my little runaway.”
James felt compelled to speak at this point.
“Can we help you? What do you want?”
The man laughed briefly, but it was not a laugh that indicated joy or pleasure. It seemed much too sinister for that.
“I don’t believe that you can help me at all, sir. But this woman most certainly can. She belongs to me and I lost her for a while, but it seems that I have now found her.”
He leaned over and spoke quietly to Natasha, who had now sunk back on to her chair.
“You will come with me now, immediately, or the consequences will be even more severe than they are already.”
Both the words, and the tone of his voice, were menacing and James had a good idea of the consequences to which he referred. He had to act, and act now, to get Natasha away from this man as quickly as possible, and back to a place of safety.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant, but I really do find writing fairly easy. The stories just seem to pour out of my brain. Keeping my house tidy is much more challenging!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t usually travel because of my books, although my travels have often featured in the books. So, for example, when I wrote a book called The Artist, I remembered a wonderful trip to Florence, Italy of some years ago, and featured it in the book.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The Blushing Books art department come up with all my lovely covers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I tend to write late at night, but this isn’t always conducive to when I have early morning appointments. I feel I should have a sign on the door, saying ‘Do not disturb. Writer in residence’, so that people will make allowances for me not being up early!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
It was interesting learning a little about Russia, a country that fascinates me. I hope that anyone Russian who reads the book is not upset that my Russian characters are mainly gangsters or corrupt politicians. The ones I have met in real life are warm and generous people.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Oh gosh, my knowledge of actors isn’t great. I guess someone like Brie Larson would be good for the young woman, and perhaps Jake Gyllenhaal as James and Tom Hardy as Viktor. (I’ve been Googling like mad!)
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would only say that practice makes perfect, so keep writing. And also do a lot of reading by authors you admire.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
It is very humbling to know that people spend their hard-earned money on something I have written, and I’m grateful for their loyalty. I would also put in a small plea here for people to leave a review when they have read the book. It affects the way the book is shown on the bookseller’s website, and can make a huge difference to sales. Even a couple of line is welcome.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have just read a lovely book called ‘Highland Pursuits’ by Emmanuelle de Maupassant. It is a delightful 1920’s romantic romp, and so well written that I am envious of her talent.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My memory is not great, but I would guess that it would be something by Enid Blyton. I loved her Famous Five books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Some of the funny videos of their pets that people post on Facebook often make me laugh. The mistreatment of children around the world often makes me cry. On the News tonight was a 2-year-old child, who had been badly injured and lost his parents in a bomb attack in Syria. It is heart-rending.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would like to meet the Dalai Llama. He seems such an inspirational man. I have been to Llasa, Tibet and seen the Potala Palace, from where he was exiled as a young man, now living in India. He has reason to hate, and yet he preaches peace and forgiveness.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I rather like Spike Milligan’s idea “I told you I was ill” because it appeals to my sense of humour. In reality, I don’t want a tombstone, but to be cremated and have my ashes scattered in a beautiful part of England.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Travel has always been a passion, and I have been to many countries, and all continents except Antarctica (there’s still time!) I also love reading, music, being in my lovely garden, and spending time with my wonderful family.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I watch very little TV because I write such a lot, but I have recently watched a BBC series called Taboo, which I enjoyed. I also like House of Cards and Poldark, which are not currently being shown.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
cheese / fuchsia pink/ soul, classical, opera, most music, in fact.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Perhaps a journalist – a foreign correspondent, so I could work and travel at the same time.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, I have two websites actually. They are:
www.racheldevineauthor.com (I blogs on this site, mainly in the form of short stories)
Thank you, Fiona. This is quite an extensive questionnaire. I hope I have answered the questions to your satisfaction.
Amazon Author Page for Rachel de Vine https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-de-Vine/e/B00N58ULQW/
Amazon Author Page forJuliette Banks https://www.amazon.com/Juliette-Banks/e/B01K0EIMNW/
Rachel de Vine
Review on Amazon of my book Songbird:
“Raw, brilliant, steamy and engrossing.”