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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight with Rachel Brimble

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight!

My guest today is Rachel Brimble. Rachel and I are sitting in the lily garden on this lovely summer day, chatting about her book

Sipping on a glass of perfectly chilled chardonnay at the umbrella table where Oliver has arranged a lovely vase of lilies,
Sharon waits for Rachel on the teakwood patio. Surrounded by a geometric sunken pool, cascading waterfall, lily pond and English rock garden, it’s a garden of paradise. Chaise longues with splashy colorful cushions encompassed the pool, and just beyond, fragrant eucalyptus trees landscape the lily arbor. Shrouded by lush evergreens, a Javanese bench offers a shady respite from the heat.  She by Elvis Costello softly plays in the background.

Oliver escorts Rachel onto the patio. Sharon hugs her guest and they make themselves comfortable while Oliver struts off to get refreshments, pumping his biceps.

Sharon: Hello, Rachel, how are you on this lovely summer day?

Rachel: Absolutely wonderful! Especially to be sitting in such a beautiful setting. I don’t know how you manage it.

Sharon: Thank you. While we wait for Oliver to bring out appetizers and cocktails, tell us about the setting of your book. I understand it’s in the UK.

Rachel: It is. Even though I write for the American market, I am British and have lived in South West England my entire life so all my books are set in the UK – which my readers seem to really like. This book is set in the fictional city of Foxton which is loosely based around my birthplace of Bristol. I tend to use real British places in my mind, but always give them fictional names to keep me out of trouble, lol! ; )

Oliver materializes, balancing a bottle of chardonnay and a platter of mini bruschettas above his head. Singing along to She, loudly and quite off key, he pours the wine in a glass and sets in front of Rachel, wildly winking. Plucking up a bite-size bruschetta, he plops it into her mouth, offering a bone-melting smile.

Rachel: Well, aren’t you just the charmer, Oliver? She smiles after savoring the tongue-tingling flavors of the bruschetta. Is he always this attentive to your guests, Sharon? Laughs.

Sharon: He kills himself trying.

With great ceremony, Oliver arranges cocktail plates and napkins.  Frowning, Sharon glares at her empty glass. Ignoring her, Oliver refills Rachel’s glass, madly winking the whole time.

Sharon: Do you have something in your eye, Oliver? Never mind, I’ll just pour my own wine. Run along, I’m sure you have things to do.  So, Rachel, do tell how the hero and heroine get it right this time.

Rachel: With a lot of problems in between! They overcome their own personal issues to make their relationship work but also find a way for both of them to be happy bearing in mind their totally different lives before they were reunited.

Kate is a widow, dedicated to the happiness of her child – Mark is a theatrical agent travelling all over the world for his rich and successful clients. But when love is the ultimate goal, anything is possible and these two work it out in a wonderfully united way.

Sharon As most of our fair ladies, I’m  dying to know what makes Mark Johnston, rumored by UK tabloids to be  one of their most eligible bachelors, Mr. Right for Kate?

Rachel: He’s always wanted her but when they knew each other before he was not the man he is today. Once laid-back, shy and happy to watch from afar, when his best friend disappeared half way around the world with Kate, the woman he loved, Mark changed. Now confident, determined and driven, he is exciting and masculine yet incredibly caring and considerate. It is a lethal combination and for Kate whose child looks at Mark like he’s the world, it is pretty damn hard not to accept he is her destiny.

Sharon: Sounds fabulous. Do you read tabloids, and if so, are you apt to believe it or not?

Rachel: I very rarely read tabloids or newspapers in general – there have been so many stories proven wrong over the years, so much unnecessary destruction to people and their families, that I tend to avoid them. Which is why I enjoyed writing the tabloid journalist so much in Getting It Right This Time. He’s a nasty, nasty piece of work!

Sharon: Good for you. Aside from drop dead gorgeous and a bod brimming with raw sexual energy, cause that’s a give in, grin, what character trait would be most attractive to you?

Rachel: I love vulnerability in a man, an easy way that they are able to laugh at themselves. I don’t like the serious, macho type at all. A man with an easy smile and easy laughter will get to me every time!

Oliver appears, pushing a caddy with coffee, mint ice tea and a decadent strawberry cheese cake. With the pizzazz of a French chef, he slices a huge hunk and feeds a bite to Rachel. As an after thought, he cuts a tiny smidgen for Sharon, muttering something about her putting on a few. Sharon shoots him a look to kill, turns to Rachel, beaming ever so brilliantly. Good help is so hard to find.

Rachel: He is certainly a character, isn’t he? He must really enjoy the attention of all the female romance writers you have come visit, lol!

Sharon: He’s one in a million.

A few minutes later, Oliver  struts out in his lime green Speedos and sunglasses, grinning broadly as he makes a beeline to the pool, James Bond martini in one hand, a hot off the press copy of Getting It Right This Time in the other.  Winks at Sharon." I’m through working for the day, boss lady, time to work on my tan whilst sitting poolside. I can’t wait to read Rachel’s book." Graces her with his most dazzling smile. "If I might so boldly have the honor of your autograph, love?"

Rachel: Laughs. Well, of course, Oliver. Why don’t you dive in and have a few lengths while I get to it. You look as though you need to cool off…

Sharon: Sadly, Rachel, this brings us to the end of our interview. Before we change into our bathing suits, my hobby is collecting legends and superstitions from my guests. Can you share one with me?

Rachel: There is a legend that back in the eighteenth century, an area not far from where I live called Cherill, was prone to highwaymen…with a difference. They would surprise their intended victims absolutely naked! They would approach the carriage and take as much as they could carry, with the knowledge that they would be harder to recognize with no clothing to speak of.

Not that I’m entirely convinced, they couldn’t have been identified in other ways…

Sharon: I love it! Where can readers buy this book and get in touch with you?

Rachel: Here is the buy link and all my links – I LOVE hearing from readers so please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

Sharon: Thank you, and thank you for a delightful interview. Best of luck with Getting It Right This Time, m’dear. While we take a dip in the pool, we’ll leave readers with a teaser, shall we.


She's back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.

Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.

A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.

Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work.  But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter?  Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?

Kate pushed open the door on the salon and cursed the jingling bell announcing her arrival. No doubt Jo was ready to kill her. She took three steps inside when Jo shot out the back room, lunged forward with the panache of an Olympic gymnast and grabbed Kate’s upper arms.

“He came back!” she cried.

“What? Who?” Kate stared at her, completely bewildered by the look of pure ecstasy on her assistant’s face.

“Sexy Mark Johnston.”

A rush of heat surged over Kate’s body--only to be replaced with ice-cold perspiration bursting onto her upper lip. “What? Why?”
Jo squealed and clapped her hands together. “He brought you something.”

Kate’s echo died on her lips when Jo dragged her over to the payment counter. “Look!”

Pale pink ribbons were tied around the handles of the biscuit-colored picnic basket and a wide pink and white gingham ribbon circled its center. Both of the dual lids were ajar, one revealing a dozen pink carnations, the other a bottle of white wine so chilled the perspiration slid in occasional rivulets down its neck.

“Why would he do this?” Kate whispered, taking another step closer as a smile tugged at her lips.
She smoothed her hand over the surface of one of the handles and inhaled the aroma of freshly baked bread seeping from inside. Her stolen Weightwatcher lunch groaned inside her stomach.
“Open it. Open it,” Jo said, bouncing from one foot to the other.

“Oh, for goodness sake,” Kate huffed, yet dismally failing to curb her stupidly insistent grin.
Sighing theatrically, she lifted one of the lids and her breath caught. He’d bought her favorite granary bread, along with delicate slices of Parma ham and a thick wedge of creamy brie. Tears stung at her eyes, and she swallowed the ball of emotion in her throat.

“Oh, Mark.” She said the words on an exhalation as she carefully lifted a crisp white napkin to reveal two of the most delectable mini strawberry and fresh cream tarts she’d ever seen. Her absolute weakness.

She slowly closed the lid and re-arranged her expression into what she hoped was careless nonchalance before turning around. “When did he leave?”

“About ten minutes ago,” Jo said breathlessly. “Can you believe this? Isn’t it lovely?”

“What did he say?”
Her assistant frowned. “Aren’t you happy? Don’t you think it’s romantic?”

“Jo, focus. What did he say?”

Her blue eyes clouded, clearly displaying her disproval of Kate’s seemingly unappreciative response to such a thoughtful gesture. Kate smiled inwardly, knowing full well she’d be the topic of conversation between Jo and her friends at the wine bar later. Finally averting her gaze, Jo feigned interest in the bottles of lotion lining the shelves behind the counter.

“He said he was sorry he’d missed you and put that basket on the counter and then asked if he could borrow a pen and some paper.”

Kate stared at her turned back. “What for?”

She swiveled round. “To write you a note. The guy is obviously love-struck and you’re standing there as though he looks like Shrek after a mud-bath.”


Deanna Jewel said...

*waving* Good morning, ladies!
*hugging Sharon* It is so good to see you again. I know, I've just been too busy and have to make time for the people in my life...I know. I should write more and stay in touch! I do hope life is good for you with the book sales and I trust you're working on another?

Rachel - It's so nice to meet you! I just love the cover of your book, it's gorgeous! Your story sounds like a wonderful read. I just got my Nook so I'll have to download it and also tell my friends about you! You should stop over to my blog also...Let's chat later and get you on the schedule, hon!

Oliver, you're a doll, thank you for the wine! Oh, Sharon loves you, don't pout, love! And the lime green speedo fits perfect! *wink*

Hywela Lyn said...

Good morning Sharon dear friend and Rachel. (Blows a kiss to Oliver and waves to Diana)

What a beautiful day for to relax by the pool. Rachel, your book sounds great, oh, and you like lilies to, I love 'em. Always nice to meet another UK author!

Sharon Donovan said...

A warm welcome to Rachel Brimble. Oliver, darling cabana boy, keep the wine coming!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hugs Deanna, dear friend. By all means, grab some wine and plop down on a chaise lounge so we can catch up. I'm so glad you dropped in to chat. I'm hard at work on another Oliver story and sequel to Mask. You must fill me in on your escapades. Rachel's book sounds enchanting and is on my tbr list.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hugs Lyn, darling girl. I'm sure Oliver can find a glass of mead for you. I love lillies too, thank you so much for planting them in the garden for our enjoyment. Doesn't Rachel's book sound great!

Oliver said...

Ladies ladies, how lovely y'all look in your swim suits. Kisses, Rachel, Deanna, Lyn and boss lady. Plenty of wine, mead and bruschetta. Enjoy, catch you later, must get to my poolside seat. Wink

Rachel Brimble said...

Hello ladies!!!

It is so great to be here in Sharon's wonderful garden and especially to make new friends! Thank you for all your lovely comments about my book and its cover. I was thrilled when it dropped into in my inbox - I even think there might have been a little dancing in the kitchen, lol!

Deanna, I would LOVE to visit with you, drop me an email. Nice to meet you too, Hywela - I'll look you both up on Twitter!

R x

Vonnie Davis said...

Poor Oliver, he's so overworked and abused. Rachel, loved the excerpt. A great read, I'm sure. Sharon, you have a fantastic way of making your guests feel very welcome. Much success to you both.

Oliver said...

Vonnie, love, how true Sharon overworks me, wink. A glass of wine perhaps

Oliver said...

Rachel my sweet, might I pour you another?

Rachel Brimble said...

Of course, Oliver! Mind you don't get me tipsy though, I imagine that gleam in your eye can get a bit too tempting under the influence...

R x

Rachel Brimble said...

Oops, forgot to say Hi, Vonne! Glad to see you here. You are such a sweetheart to follow me from place to place.

R x

Emma Lai said...

Always love visiting your blog Sharon. It really feels like I'm invited into your home, and Oliver is an amazing man. :)

Rachel, wonderful interview, as always!

Oliver said...

Emma my pretty, do join us in a glass of wine and a swim.

Oliver said...

Rachel my pet, I'm always the perfecct gentleman. Wink

Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome to the pool party, Vonnie and Emma Lai, thank you both for the compliments. Have a lounge chair, some wine and a swim while Rachel delights us with more about this interesting book. Who designed the gorgeous cover and isn't it fabulous when they just get it! Emma dear, how is the wee one?

Rachel Brimble said...

hi again, everyone!

Renee Rocco designed the cover and I LOVE it! It wasn't the first one she came up with and i hated to have to say it just wasn't right but as soon as I explained the feel of the book a bit more, she came back with this and I just about fell in love, lol!

Yes, Emma, how is the little one? I admire you so much for writing at all with yours so young. Mine are 12 & 10 now and things are SO much easier.

I have to go out for a RNA chapter meeting now but will be back to follow up tomorrow.

Thanks for being here!

R x

Kellie Kamryn said...

What a fun interview!

Kellie Kamryn said...

Hey Oliver - I'll have what she's having ;)

Oliver said...

Kellie love, a nice chardonnay, perfectly chilled, my dear.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Kellie, thanks for visiting. Do stay for a swim with us.

Sharon Donovan said...

Rachel, thank you for a delightful interview and lovely visit. Best of luck with your book. It sounds fabulous and is on my tbr list. Thank you to all for popping in to chat, and a special thank you to Hywela for decorating my garden. Thanks, Lyn sweetie.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life. Love and Blessings,
Sharon and Oliver

P.L. Parker said...

Enjoyed the interview. Wish I was sitting poolside with you. Congrats on the release, Rachel, sounds wonderful! (Loved the highwaymen tidbit.)

Caroline Clemmons said...

Rachel, that is one of my favorite covers of all time. Best of luck with sales.

Sharon, always good to see you and Oliver. Take care!

Debra St. John said...

Hello Rachel, Ladies, and Oliver,

Sorry I'm late to the party. The post didn't come through until today. But, hey, better late than never, right?! Let's just say I'm making a fashionably late entrance!

Rachel, congrats again on your new release!

Rachel Brimble said...

Thank you so much for looking after me so well, Sharon...and of course, the delectable Oliver ; ) I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and all the wonderful comments about my book and its cover.

You guys are truly the best and I hope I can come back with my next release, Paying The Piper in September.

Rachel xx

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks for visiting, Debra, Patsy and Caroline, always a pleasure.
Rachel, we would love to have you join us again in September!