Rachel Brimble is in the Lair!

Rachel Brimble 2Today, I’m excited to welcome friend, fellow Brit and Supers sister Rachel Brimble to the Lair! Rachel’s here to talk about her latest release A Man Like Him from Harlequin Superromance.

Welcome Rachel! Pull up a seat and make yourself comfortable. Sven, bring Rachel a drink please.

So, tell the Banditas and BBs a bit about yourself.

I live in South West England, near the famous Georgian city of Bath. Lucky enough to write full-time around my husband, two teenage daughters and black Lab, I am never happier than at the laptop. Well, if things are progressing as they should with the work in progress, of course! In my spare time I like to read, knit, walk the countryside or relax in front of the TV.

In my experience, there is little that can’t be fixed by good food and wine. Just saying…

I agree wholeheartedly! We love call stories in the Lair – please share yours.

Finding Justice coverThe Wild Rose Press published my first book in 2007 – I had received countless rejections from agents and couldn’t find a UK publisher taking romantic stories around 65,000 words. Now, of course, there are quite a few! An online friend told me to try The Wild Rose Press and the rest was history. When I read the acceptance email, I screamed and danced around the kitchen. My husband knew what had happened before I even managed to get the words out!

My second ‘call story’ came after another deluge of UK agent rejections! I pitched a book to an editor at a conference in 2010 and she recommended I try some US agents as I have a very ‘global voice’. The rest is history! My agent sold Finding Justice to Harlequin and things have gone really well ever since.

A Man Like HimHow lovely to have two call stories <happy sigh>. Now, please tell us about A Man Like Him.

This is the second book in my ongoing series with Harlequin Superromance. The books are set in a fictional UK seaside town called Templeton Cove. A Man Like Him was inspired by what happened to my family and me when we were caught up in the 2010 French floods and ultimately rescued by helicopter from the hotel roof. The first three chapters are an almost hour-by-hour account of what happened to us. Here’s the blurb:

Changing her life…again 

After two years in hiding, Angela Taylor knows her independence is worth it. As long as she can escape her past, she has everything under control. Until a flash flood hits the park where she works, and hot Chris Forrester shows up the exact moment she needs a hero. 

 Chris proves he can save lives-and weaken a girl’s knees. But how can she make him understand that she’s off-limits, that getting close to her will endanger his life? Her happiness or his safety: it shouldn’t even be a choice.

Because when you love someone, you protect them, no matter the cost. At least, that’s what Angela keeps telling herself….

Oooh – sounds fab! What inspired you to write about Chris and Angela?

Chris was a secondary character in the first book in the series (Finding Justice) and I enjoyed writing his scenes so much, I wanted to give him his own story. When the flood story came to me and I knew it was romantic suspense, Chris was the perfect hero for the story because he had a lot of changes to make and the flood would give him the foundation to start the process.

Angela is an independent woman running from someone in her past – she likes her life and living alone. When she is thrust into the media spotlight, no one better could be there to protect her than Chris.

I’m sold! Would you share a sneak peek with us?

I’d love to :).

Their eyes locked and Chris’ gaze dropped to her mouth. It fell ajar and her tongue poked out to wet her bottom lip. He snatched his gaze back to the sky. They were in the middle of a disaster situation. They were reaching out to each other for support. Nothing more. Nothing less. So why the hell was his heart beating like a damn jackhammer?

He shielded his eyes against the sun and prayed to God she hadn’t seen his need to kiss her. He focused on the helicopters. “Damn it.”

She shifted beside him and he felt her gaze on him once more. “What is it?”

“They’re not going to be any help to the people stranded in the trees.”

“Of course–”

“Those vultures aren’t going to do a damn bit of good. Where are the rescue teams?”

“What are you talking about? What vultures?”

“Can’t you see?” He shot his arm toward the sky as frustration hummed along his nerve endings. “They’re TV helicopters. A fat lot of bloody help–”

“TV cameras? Oh, my God.”

Chris turned. Her face grew ashen and she swayed back on her heels, her eyes wide with terror. She gripped his forearm. “Help me. Don’t let them see me. You have to do something.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Chris, please. Help me.”

Without thinking, he pulled her into his arms and she buried her face into his chest. He brought one hand to the back of her head, the other to the small of her back and pulled her close. She fit the contours of his body like she was meant to be there.

He held her tight. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

She shook her head against his chest. “It’s over. It’s all over.”

The helicopters circled one more time and then flew away, disappearing over the horizon once more. “They’ve gone. Angela? Look at me. What is it?”

She pulled back and tears slipped over her lower lids and down her cheeks. “I’m dead. He’s coming. He’s coming and this time he’ll kill me.”

He gripped her forearms, adrenaline filling his blood on a protective wave. “Who will? What are you talking about?”

She closed her eyes. “My husband.”

Oh no! Can’t wait to read this and see what happens.

You also write for several other publishers – tell us a little about some of your other books.

Cover (3)I currently write Victorian romance for eKensington as well as my Superromance series. I try to alternate the two because it keeps the writing fresh for me, and hopefully, my readers. Secondary characters becoming protagonists in the following books link the Kensington books. I love working this way and deepening existing characters with each succeeding book. It’s proving popular with readers too!

My second book with Kensington, The Temptation of Laura is out Feb 20th.

What’s next for you?

After the release of The Temptation of Laura, I have another Superromance out two weeks later – the beginning of 2014 is going to be super busy, lol! What Belongs To Her is the third book in the series and features two brand new characters as the hero and heroine as well as lots of cameo appearances from existing characters. Set at Templeton Cove’s fairground, it’s the first mainstream romance, rather than romantic suspense, of the series. Fun!

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Rachel. I know you have a prize to give away and a question to ask our BB’s, so fire away!

I’d love to ask your readers what is their favourite fictional town?

One lucky commenter with win either a signed paperback copy of either of Rachel’s Superromance titles or a PDF of either of her Victorian Kensington titles. Winner’s choice.

You can find out more about Rachel on her website and her blog, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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  • Jane says:

    Welcome Rachel,
    Looking forward to “visiting” Templeton Cove. Is Templeton Cove similar to another fictional town of Broadchurch? One of my favorite fictional settings is Barbara Freethy’s Angels Bay on the California coast.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Rachel

    I do love the sound of this book and I love historicals they sound great and I do love books in a series as well love catching up with characters from past stories.

    I have read a few stories that are set in towns around the world not sure whether I have a favourite I love them all 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Helen!

      I really love writing both historical and contemporary because I have twice the fun while getting paid to do what I love. The Victorian era is my favorite because of shows like Ripper Street and The Paradise. I love the clothes and the changes with regards to women putting themselves forward. Lots of story opportunities 🙂

      Rachel x

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Helen. How’s your hubby doing? It’s hard to choose, isn’t it? There are some fabulous small town series around right now. Funny to think that a few years ago you couldn’t sell a small town series, except in category!

      • Helen says:

        Hi Anna

        He is doing really good now just about back to normal in time for Christmas 🙂 and yes I do have a hard time choosing I have read some awesome books this year 🙂

        Have Fun

  • Barb says:

    Hi Rachel
    Congratulation on your books … I like the sound of your new one but I also love historicals.. I don’t know whether I have a favourite town but when reading historical I picture all the old towns around Coventry where I was bought up Although I was born in the Cotswolds as my mother was evacuated there during the war…we were only there for a couple of weeks .. Showing my age lol. I live in Australia now

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey stranger! How’s the sewing going? Good to see you here 🙂

      How fascinating that your mum was evacuated to the Cotswolds during the war! I must admit, that’s one of my favourite ‘historical’ periods – maybe one day I’ll find the time to write a WW2 romance.

      • Barb says:

        Thanks Anna …I have been busy sewing things for Christmas and helping with charity quilts for the bush fire victims…
        A lot of mothers were evacuated from Coventry during the war because of all the bombing there

        • Anna Sugden says:

          Wow – you have been busy! I wish I knew how to quilt. Then again, perhaps it’s best I don’t LOL I make enough mistakes with my cross-stich projects!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Barb, thanks for stopping by! I live very close to the Cotswolds and adore Bourton-on-the-Water. Have you written any books set around the WII era? I bet you’ve a few ideas if nothing else 🙂

      I’d love to branch out in my historical writing but as I’m contracted for two more books with eKensington, it won’t be happening anytime soon!

      Rachel x

  • Sandyg265 says:

    Sugar Maple from Barbara Bretton’s series.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey Sandy – I haven’t read Barbara Bretton for years! Which series is this and do you know the first book?

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Sandy!

      I’m loving all these new book recommendations…not sure my husband will though. Tell me more about Barbara’s books 🙂

      Rachel x

  • Mozette says:

    I’m a Stephen King reader and he’s created a lot of fictional towns over his time of writing and terrifying us around the globe. Two places I love that he created – which I think could change from being horrible places – are Derry and Castle Rock.

    However now I think about it, I think Castle Rock is a real place but he’s extended on it a bit. 😀

    • Anna Sugden says:

      LOL Mozette – I’d have thought anywhere Stephen King created would be awful! *shudder*. Then again, he’s such a clever writer, perhaps if he wrote about them nicely, they’d be okay.

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Mozette!

      i am a huge King fan and just recently finished 11.22.63 where he very cleverly linked Derry into the story. Have you read it? It’s superb!

      Rachel x

      • Mozette says:

        Yeah… I tried to, but he got 3/4 through it and backtracked on himself to extend the book (which I found frustrating) so ended up putting it down. But I didn’t give the book away or sell it. So it’s sitting on my bookcase to see if I’ll read it again.

        When he linked ‘It’ and the town of Derry within ‘11.22.63’, I was amazed he thought to do that. But then, he does that with characters in his books anyway… and it pulls his books and characters together and makes them more real to us because then they all get to be in their own world – kind of like ours really where we have 6 degrees of separation; where we know somebody by knowing somebody else who knows somebody else. 😀

  • Deb says:

    Thanks for the interview today, Rachel and Anna. The books all sound good. I agree with Helen that I like books in a series because then you can catch up with previous characters and still visit the village or town to see what events are occurring.

    For the longest time, I thought Port Orchard was a fictional town in Washington state where Debbie Macomber set her Port Orchard trilogy. It’s a real town, but zany and fun enough to be fictional Hmmm, truth is stranger than fiction! 🙂

    Congratulations on all of your books. I think they sound very good!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I love series too, Deb – I’m a terrible glommer! My latest is the KGI series by Maya Banks, featuring the Kelly family. Hot guys, strong family ties, great action and strong emotions *happy sigh*

      Oh, Debbie is a master, isn’t she. I love all her books. I have the full set of her single title books with addresses in the titles to start reading over Christmas. Perfect for this time of year too are her Shirley, Goodness and Mercy books – love those angels!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Deb!

      I am so glad that so many other readers love series books – I’m addicted to them and it’s a dream come true to be writing linked books for Harlequin. I’m ashamed to say I have never read any Debbie Macomber…shame on me!

      Maybe I should head over to Amazon…my list is growing 🙂

      Rachel x

      • Anna Sugden says:

        You should definitely check out Debbie, Rachel – sh’es wonderful! Years ago, she used to write for Special Edition. She’s also a wonderful person in real life – if you ever get a chance to hear her inspirational talk about how she got published, do. It makes me cry every time I hear it!

  • Quantum says:

    Hi Rachel and Anna

    I read so many American authors that I sometimes forget that England, my homeland and the home of the romance novel, also has some pretty talented writers!

    I actually have a preference for real places used in novels, much as Lexi Revellian locates her romantic suspense in London. But fictional locations are good as well. One of my favourites is Robyn Carr’s Virgin River.

    When you created Templeton Cove, did you base it on memories of real places? It must be very tempting to stitch together favourite facets of old holiday locations.

    Must try one of both of your novels soon! 🙂

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Quantam!

      Yes, I do base parts of Templeton Cove on a mix of real places I have visited or been on holiday. There are inspirations from Torquay, Bude, St Ives, I could go on, LOL! I have now drawn a map to keep track where everything is.

      Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series is one of my absolute favorites!

      Now adding Lexi Revellian to my list – how come I haven’t read any of these authors?!

      Rachel x

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Quantum – I never realised you were a fellow Brit! 🙂

      Some of my favourite books are those set in places I know well and I love them – like New York. But some writers do small towns so well – especially some of the Harlequin writers. 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    Pennyroyal Green by Julie Anne Long.

    I love a story about a woman in danger and a strong man to rescue her, especially when it involves “justice.” Now just finding room on the long TBR.

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Shannon!

      Hope you enjoy either (or both) of my Templeton books – both feature women in danger of some shape or form. Books three and four are mainstream romance but I plan on another romantic suspense for book 5. Enjoy!

      Rachel x

    • Anna Sugden says:

      You and me both, Shannon! The great thing about Rachel’s books are the combination of romantic suspense and an English setting. 🙂 A perfect mix for those who love both individually!

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I love the SuperRomance line, and love the sound of this book. Some of the most deeply moving stories I’ve read are about women on the run from abusive husbands/ex-husbands.

    It’s hard to name my favorite fictional town. I’m inclined to say Lucky Harbor–the setting for Jill Shalvis’s bestselling series, but that’s probably because I’ve just read those books. I also think our Nancy Northcott did a fantastic job with Wayfarer, the small town in her Light Mage Wars series. I love those characters and she makes the town feel so real to me.

    Creating a fictional town is a hard thing, and I admire authors who do it well.

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Cassandra!

      Writing A Man Like Him and exploring the issue of domestic abuse was a risk I had to take – this story and its message matters and I was so happy when my editor loved the book and wanted to take it forward. It’s given me courage to explore tough issues in future books which I think is a great thing to do in romance novels when so many women read them.

      I, too, LOVE Lucky Harbor – such a fantastic series. I’m in awe of Jill Shalvis!

      Rachel x

    • Anna Sugden says:

      They are indeed, Cassondra. Writing them is a little like playing truth or dare – how much of the truth do you dare to write?! LOL I’m always being told to tone it down, as you know!

      I have Jill’s books to read next. I’m trying not to start because I know there are a whole bunch and I have writing to do!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Totally with you on Lucky Harbor, Cassondra. I love Jill Shalvis’ little world there on the coast!

  • catslady says:

    Loved the excerpt. I’m afraid I really don’t have a favorite. I love variety so I seem to enjoy them all lol.

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi, Catslady!

      Thanks for stopping by – I must admit I have favorites but love so many books and series, it’s tough when people ask you to choose one, lol!

      Rachel x

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I can never remember when anyone asks me, either, catslady! I usually come up with a great answer the next day!

  • I am such a sucker for a good setting in a book. I can overcome a lot of other character and plot issues if I connect to the surroundings. I really like the small towns that Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis create for their characters. I love coastal towns that have an authentic feel, probably because I live inland and long for a house near the ocean (the closest I have is Lake Michigan, which is rather sea-like).

    I just wrote my Nano novel in a fictional Oregon coastal town after taking a trip there. I’ve been to Bath and would love to read a romance set there!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Welcome, Stephanie! Jill and Kristan do a great job, don’t they?! I keep meaning to try out Brenda Novak’s new series too.

      Rachel would be the perfect person to write a book set in Bath! 🙂

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Stephanie!

      You’ll be pleased to know my Kensington historicals are set in and around Bath 🙂 If you ever visit again, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to show you around!

      Rachel x

  • Minna says:

    It’s impossible to choose one, but it would one of the fictional towns Nora Roberts has created.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Oh yes, Minna – Nora does a fabulous job of writing great small towns. Like Three Sisters Island!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Nora is my all-time favorite! Such a ridiculously sad, stalker fan – I’d love to meet her at the RWA conference one day. Hope to make it there in 2015!

      Rachel x

  • Anna Sugden says:

    One of my favourites, Rachel, is Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold. But then I love anything Susan writes.

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Read and loved it too, Anna – all these great writers. Makes me wonder why I’m doing what I do, LOL!

      Rachel x

  • Hey Rachel! Welcome to the Lair and thanks Anna for bringing her to visit.

    I love the fact that you’re doing two different series. It’s nice to have a change of pace between them, isn’t it?

    Well, my favorite fictional town there days is Westen, Ohio, the small town I created for my series. Lots of fun characters to keep me on my toes! 🙂

    • Anna Sugden says:

      And it’s a Lair favourite too, Suz! Keep ’em coming!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Suzanne! I am getting overwhelmed with all these new books people are mentioning/suggesting. I really think US readers are such bigger fans than readers here in the UK. I often get asked why I write for the US markets – it’s because I LOVE US romance 🙂

      Rachel x

  • Rachel, welcome! Your new release sounds terrific, and I love the excerpt.

    Fictional towns, eh? Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor, Ilona Andrews’ post-apocalyptic Atlanta, Nora Roberts’ Lunacy and Hawkins Hollow…I know there are others I enjoy a lot, but I can’t think of them just now.

    I hope to see Bath someday. I hear it’s gorgeous.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Jill’s getting a lot of love on the blog today. You all need to stop tempting me to read, when I have writing to do!

      I haven’t been to Bath in years, but will soon, I hope!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Lunacy! How could I forget? I LOVED Northern Lights, one of my favorites from Miss Nora. I haven’t got to the Sign of Seven trilogy yet. Is it good?

      Rachel x

  • Hi Anna! Hi Rachel! Rachel, huge congratulations on all your success. Wow, I’m so impressed at your productivity! I’m always in such envy of people who can write like the wind!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      You and me both, Anna! I wish I could write shorter and faster … but then I wish I looked like Audrey Hepburn too 😉 LOL

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Anna!

      I’m a huge fan of your work and it’s great to talk to you 🙂 My productivity has slowed down significantly in the last year, LOL! It was a case of having more than one book ready to sell – now it’s a case of the books being sold before I’ve written them…not that I’m complaining 😉

      Rachel x

  • bn100 says:

    Rosemary Beach

  • Connie Fischer says:

    Hi, Rachel! I’m really intrigued by “The Temptation of Laura.” It sounds just like my kind of read!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Connie – it does sound delicious, doesn’t it?!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Connie!

      THe Temptation of Laura is the sequel to The Seduction of Emily but can be read as a stand alone too. It’s set in beautiful Bath and centers around Bath’s theater world. Laura was a joy to write as I just fell in love with her passion and fortitude. Adam is her surprising but perfect match…


      Rachel x

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, Rachel, welcome to the Lair!

    Not a fictional town, but fictional in the “setting” sense, is JD Robb’s In Death New York. I love how she’s used that fabulous city and added the particulars of the future.

    I enjoy my own fictional county (Bigler) and towns based on the county where I live.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      JD Robb’s New York is wonderful – I love the city anyway, but I love the way she has created her own version of it. Plus there’s Roarke!

      We love your Bigler County series too!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Jo!

      Yep, I love JD Robb too – and Roarke…I have no words 😉 Adding your books to my growing list. THis is getting very, very bad…

      Rachel x

  • Becke Turner says:


    This story has totally intrigued me, especially the real flood background and the suspense element.

    I was raised in a small town so I’m not too much on them. However, I loved the “Snowman” books by Dean Koontz. They also included the golden retriever that Koontz modeled after his pet.

    Like Stephen King he can produce scary pros, but the California coast town intrigued me. Of course it’s always about the characters and your excerpt did the trick with the sudden acknowledgment of danger.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      My sister is a huge Dean Koontz fan, Becke!

      I know how you feel – that’s why I didn’t read a lot of historical romances until recently. I was worried it would be like a history lesson. Of course, the Banditas made sure they set me straight!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Becke!

      Glad my excerpt intrigued you – when we were trapped on the hotel roof during the 2010 French floods, I kept on thinking if I get out of here, I’ll include this in a book one day. It took me two years to be able to go back in my mind and revisit that terrifying time. The first three chapters are more or less exactly what happened to me and my family…

      Rachel x

  • Caren Crane says:

    Rachel, welcome to the Lair! I, too, adore SuperRomance and I can’t wait to read your new series. I am a sucker for small town romances and especially British ones!

    A new favorite fictional town is Patrick Taylor’s Irish village of Ballybucklebo. Best. Name. Ever! My mother gave me one of his books to read almost a year ago, but I didn’t read it then because it’s a Christmas book. Now that it’s getting to be Christmas season again, I dusted it off to read. All small town hijinks, all the time. Great fun and lots of quirky townspeople! 😀

    • Anna Sugden says:

      I think that’s why I love category romances, Caren – wherever they’re set, there is a fabulous cast of characters and you always feel like you can step into the town!

    • Rachel Brimble says:

      Hi Caron!

      I really hope you like Templeton Cove – it started out as one book set there and now I am contracted to write at least five. Fingers crossed, my editor agrees there is space for a few more because I haven’t finished with this town yet!

      Rachel x

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    It’s a toss up between Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor and Susan Mallory’s Fool’s Gold. I’m a sucker for small town romances.