Welcome Rachel! We are happy to have you on Genuine Jenn.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and why/what inspired you to write? When did you start writing?
Thank you for having me on your blog, Jennifer!
Me in a nutshell: I currently live in beautiful Sunny California with Teddy, my goofy Polish Lowland sheepdog, and my high school sweetheart twelve years. Richard and I began dating during our freshman year and have been together ever since. He’s truly my soul mate and greatest inspiration. I’m so grateful to have found him at such a young age—and he recently popped the big question!
Our little family at a Howlloween Paw-ty!
I graduated from Chapman University’s film school with a B.A. in Screenwriting. Even though I’m primarily a novelist, film school deepened my love for crafting fiction tenfold; it taught me to concentrate on plotting, dynamic characters, and effective pacing, as well as the importance of visual storytelling. I wouldn’t trade my college education for anything in the world. Writing is my life’s blood, my passion, and my greatest obsession. It has always been and always will be. I’ve actually been a writer before I physically learned to write. As a child, one of my favorite pastimes was imagining stories and characters while my mom would record them for me, Now, at the ripe age of twenty-seven, my passion for creating dynamic worlds is stronger than ever before. :-)
Honestly, I could be nothing else but a writer.
2. What was your inspiration for A Kindled Winter?
A Kindled Winter is my first contemporary romance and beta hero. Before this story, I had primarily written dark, Gothic historical romances that featured alpha males—so I was definitely looking for a change of pace and something new to offer my beloved readers.
But writing A Kindled Winter was an incredibly personal experience that touched home in a profound way. The hero of the story, Dr. David Drake, is a cardiovascular surgeon. I was born with a congenital heart defect (Transposition of the Great Arteries—a condition that is mentioned in the story). I underwent two major surgeries while writing A Kindled Winter, and completed the majority of the work during my recoveries. In hindsight, I realize that the subject matter was therapeutic and my personal way of working through this time in my life. :-)
3. What three words would you use to best describe A Kindled Winter?
Heartfelt, steamy, tender. :-)
4. Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?
Many things! My muse has been kind to me recently. I’m thrilled to say that I have several stories in the works, including a historical romance/horror hybrid set in a Victorian asylum, a medieval historical romance, some contemporary romances, and a horror novel.
It’s a very exciting (and busy) time!
5. What was your very first book that you wrote?
The Frost of Springtime was the first book I ever wrote, though I had developed numerous screenplays and pilots.
6. Other than your own, what are your favorite books?
Can I name favorite authors instead? :-) Gaelen Foley, Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Lisa Kleypas, George R. R. Martin, Amy Harmon, J.K. Rowling … the list goes on and on.
7. When you are writing to you like to listen to music? What is on your playlist?
To help get you in the holiday spirit, here’s a fun playlist for A Kindled Winter.
But definitely! Playing evocative background music is an excellent technique to get those creative juices flowing. I choose pieces that complement the mood I’m trying to accomplish. For example, if I’m writing a horror scene, I’ll listen to something spooky. If I’m writing an action scene, however, I’ll op for something more fast-paced—something that will get my blood pumping and adrenaline charged.
I’ve designed several playlists, categorizing each one by mood/tone. I’ve personally found that instrumentals work best for writing, since lyrics can be intrusive and distracting. You can find good material on YouTube (for example, you might search “spooky ambiance” or “sad violin music”). Movie soundtracks also work very well. Here are a few of my go to soundtracks: Fluke, Game of Thrones, Dragon Heart, and music from the Final Fantasy videogame series.
8. Who is your favorite character in your books?
I’d have to say Ariah Larochelle, the heroine of Finding Gabriel. She is molded after my mom (who is my personal heroine). She is the strongest, most loyal, compassionate, independent, and sincere person I know—and I worked hard to incorporate these traits into Ariah’s characterization. Like Ariah, my mom protects the ones she loves at all costs and is willing to sacrifice everything for her family and what she believes is right.
9. Do you ever take characteristics or nuances from close friends or family when working on character development and if so has that friend or family member noticed and what was their response to it?
All the time. As I mentioned above, Ariah Larochelle was inspired by my mom. Dr. David Drake, the hero of A Kindled Winter, has many of my dad’s quirks (he’s a surgeon, he used to threaten to flush me down the toilet, etc.), and Jeseca Reed’s backstory and characterization is actually based off my own life/personality quite a bit.
Oh, and Brody—David’s Old English sheepdog mix—was very much inspired by my own fur baby!
I’m going to cheat and give you a list. As you’ll see, my favorite foods are highly diverse: French fries, yellow squash, broccoli, baby carrots, donuts, chunky almond butter, tuna, avocados, and chocolate, chocolate … and then some more chocolate. Did I mention I love chocolate?
11. What’s your favorite place to read/write?
Hmmm … snuggled up in bed with my Kindle Paperwhite, MacBook Pro (I recently converted from PC to Macs … and, outside of gaming, I’m never going back!), iPad, or a good old fashion notebook and fountain pen. Strangely enough, I often think of my strongest story ideas while driving or in the shower. (I’ve heard this isn’t uncommon for writers.) I actually have a magnetic, waterproof notepad hanging on my shower wall just for this purpose! It’s awesome and prevents good ideas “go down the drain.” ;-)
12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’m going to cheat once more and name three fictional gems: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, and Westeros!
Thank you Rachel for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us here on Genuine Jenn! We really appreciate it.
Purchase a copy of A Kindled Winter on Amazon.
~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~