Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi, my name is Rachel Brimble and I’m 44
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally from Bristol, but now live in a small market town near the famous Georgian city of Bath.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I live with my husband of 21 years and our two daughters, as well as a mad chocolate Labrador called Tyler. When I’m not working (which isn’t very often!), I like to read, knit, watch TV and walk the beautiful English countryside.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest book release is the first instalment in my brand new Edwardian series set in a Bath department store. The Mistress of Pennington’s was released in July 2018 with book 2 (A Rebel At Pennington’s), releasing February 2019.
The theme to the series is ‘female empowerment’ and each book tackles a women’s issue in the early 20th century. Book 1 covers women in business and book 2 is all about women’s suffrage.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have wanted to write since around the age of eight or nine and used to write short stories for my own entertainment. When my youngest daughter started school full-time in 2005, I had a ‘now or never’ moment and started writing my first novel. Searching For Sophie was published in 2007 and I’ve had at least one book per year published ever since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first book was published – I knew I had found what I wanted to do and haven’t stopped writing since. I absolutely love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My husband was adopted from birth and (at the time) would often mention finding his birth mum one day. He went on to be reunited with her about three years ago. I realised the issue of where he came from was never far from his mind and adoption became something I wanted to write about. I love romantic suspense books, so the genre was an automatic first choice for me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I didn’t – I can’t remember what my working title was but, as is often the case with publishers, they usually decide the titles, write the blurbs and have a final say on the cover.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write contemporary romance, romantic suspense and historical romance and, although I approach each sub-genre a different way, I think my overall style is much the same. I’d like to think when readers pick up one of my books they immediately recognise my voice.
Fiona: How much of The Mistress of Pennington’s is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I always aim to make my books as realistic as possible, but very rarely base content on my experiences or people I know. As this is an historical, I spent a lot of time researching Edwardian department stores, trends, social etiquette and issues of the day as well as researching some fascinating women who ‘broke the mould’.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
All of my historical work is based in Bath and I’m lucky enough to live just a short 30 minute drive away. Bath is a wonderful, historical city that has thrived through the Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian periods so I have plenty of inspiration! For my contemporary work, I don’t really research very much unless there is a specific occupation I need to learn about. As I write romance, the majority of my novels are steeped in the characters’ emotions.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publishers, always. At the moment, I am writing for Aria Fiction and I’m thrilled with the covers so far.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For my Pennington’s series, every book is about women and their struggles. The fights that went before us and how far (or little) we have come. I’d like to think readers will finish my books with a sense of female unity and strength.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Even though she’s written MANY books, I recently discovered Kristin Hannah and I’m just loving her work. For historical, I love Alex Grecian’s Victorian crime series. SO good! My favourite authors are Nora Roberts, Phillipa Gregory and Jodi Picoult. I admire their styles, output and the ability to write engaging stories time and time again.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Myself! I’ve always believed I’m supposed to write and when my first book was published, I was hooked. I am lucky enough to have had every book I’ve ever written published and this gives me the boost I need to keep going. The publishing industry is tough and sometimes it’s hard for an author to keep going. The trouble is, writing has become more of a compulsion to me and I can’t NOT do it!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely – I want to write bigger and better with every book. I’m in this for the long haul.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I am a ‘never look back’ type of author – I write the best book I possibly can, review, tweak and polish until I know I can do no more. Then it’s over to my editor and I work with him or her to make it even better. Once a book is done, I am always excited to start the next.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That writing never gets any easier! A Rebel At Pennington’s is my twenty-second book and was as much of a challenge as the second, the tenth, the thirteenth…you get the picture! Writing is hard, but so worth it.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I love this question because I start every book trawling the internet for pictures of my hero and heroine so I know exactly who I’d like to play the leads. For The Mistress of Pennington’s, Elizabeth would be played by Niamh Walsh and for A Rebel At Pennington’s, Esther would be played by Haydn Panettiere.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write, write and write some more! So many people want to write but give up before they’ve written The End. Get to the end and then you have pages and pages to tweak and polish – a blank page can’t be edited.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
That I love them! I have readers who have read everything I’ve ever written and that means the world to me. I love that I have a fan base that talk to me on social media and continue to enjoy my books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading The Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah and a biography of Marie Antionette by Antonia Fraser
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not the first, but I do remember the first books that inspired me to write and that was the Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton. I was obsessed!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I am very much a crier! I love films that make me laugh or cry and my children can always make me laugh or cry (and often do), too!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Oprah Winfrey – she really is a fabulous spiritual mentor for me and has been since I was about fourteen. I think her success, outlook and integrity are inspiring and I would love to sit down for a long chat with her over a glass of wine.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Knitting – it’s my second obsession next to writing. I absolutely love it – I can’t watch TV without having my needles in my hands. I always have one project or another on the go.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love UK period dramas and US crime dramas as well as watching a lot of films and documentaries about famous people from the past or British royalty, present and past.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite Food: Scallops
Music: Country Rock
Drink: White wine
Book: Gone With The Wind
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Knit! And possibly be the most miserable person on the planet…
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family without question – I’d love for us to go somewhere in the countryside, go for a long walk with the dog, take lunch in a riverside pub and just be.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She loved, she laughed, she inspired
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/2SvRcqp
Amazon US: http://a.co/3OFh9JK