Today, we have an interview with author Rachel Leigh Smith, a relative newcomer to the world of paranormal romance fiction with a growing fan base. She currently has two series, A’yen’s Legacy, a mixture of sci-fi and paranormal, and Redemption’s Price, her current shifter series.
We talk to Rachel about her inspirations, her life as a paranormal romance author, and about her two series. Enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background.
The most important thing about me is that I love the hero’s point of view best in a romance. Everything I write is focused on the hero, and he drives the story. It’s probably not a surprise to you that I’m a daddy’s girl.
I’m owned by a half-crazed calico named Zoe, have one younger sister, two younger brothers, and two adorable nephews, and I live in Louisiana. I like my food spicy, my seafood fresh, and my biscuits from scratch. And I’m a country girl. Cities are nice places to visit, but I don’t want to live in them.
Fun fact: I live on seventeen acres with my parents, and we have bobcats in our woods. I’ve seen them twice. There’s also a cougar roaming the area right now. I know a couple people who have heard it, and one who’s seen it, but I haven’t. There’s also a Louisiana black bear family a couple miles up the highway.
Shifters in residence? Maybe. 🙂
When you’re not writing or doing work related to writing, what do you do that’s fun and just for you?
Just for me? I’m always reading, and have a Criminal Minds and BBC/PBS costume drama problem. The main thing I find fun is counted cross-stitch. The more complex the pattern, the better I like it. Some of the things I’m working on make people look at me either in awe of my bravery, or like I’ve lost my mind.
What type of author would you categorize yourself as, a plotter (one who plots the story from beginning to end), or a pantser (one who lets the story take shape without meticulous planning)?
I’m a pantser. Total pantser. I go into a novel knowing my characters fairly well, which of them will have scenes, how it begins, a vague idea of the middle, and how it ends. Getting from place to place is always an adventure. I never know how it’ll happen, and that’s the fun of it for me. The one time I tried to plot something out, I abandoned the manuscript and have never gone back to it.
Are you planning to attend any reader conferences in the next year? If so, which ones?
Not reader conferences, exactly. I will be at RWA in Orlando at the end of July.
What do you do when your well of inspiration runs dry to get it flowing again?
To date, it’s never run dry. I tend to have more rattling around than I know what to do with. If I get too tired creatively, a couple days break or watching some of my favorite movies will get things going again.
We all know that in order to be a successful author, a great deal of time has to go toward self-promotion. What is your favorite type of promotion, and why?
I’m not very good at the whole promotion thing. But I do like sharing stuff in newsletters and introducing my readers to new authors. And by extension, discovering new authors for me to love.
What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome to become a successful author? Is writing easier, or harder than you expected it would be?
I’m still working on the successful part. Writing is easy for me. I’ve been doing it all my life, and have probably millions of words hand-written on notebook paper. When I decided to learn how to write novels, instead of scenes, I jumped right in. That was a little harder than I expected, but totally worth it.
Learning how to edit was the hard part for me. It’s an ongoing thing, learning more about that.
Can you tell us a little bit about the hero, an heroine for an upcoming release? What is it about them that will draw us into their story?
My next release is in May, and it’s an A’yen’s Legacy novel. The hero and heroine are Lorin and Sunny. It’s a continuation of their story, which started in Hidden In Ashes. Lorin is my alien hero in this one, and Sunny is human. Their positions in their world make a relationship almost impossible. Yet they’re fighting for it anyway. She’s a high noble on their planet, and he’s a daro. Think pre-WW2 geisha to get a sense of what that is. It was a world I had a lot of fun discovering.
Lorin is made of kindness, and Sunny is all hard edges. He’s determined to make everyone else see his Sunny the way he does—as a woman worth something more than her title.
And now for the silly… Do you see yourself as more of an alpha, beta, or omega? Why?
None of the above. I’m the pack loner who prefers to do it my way, and comes back every now and then to reconnect.
And now before you go, how about a snippet from one of your books that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
It’s from my shifter debut, To Hold A Siren’s Heart:
He pulled her flush to his body. The scent of her arousal set fire to his blood. The soft warmth of her brought back the memories of their night together—memories he dreamed about as often as he’d confessed a moment ago, and woke up aching to bury every part of him in her. “You’ve no idea.”
Hands inched up his back, stopped over his shoulder blades. “Kiss me before I combust.”
David claimed her mouth before she could change her mind or get away from him. He swept into the sweetness of her mouth. The fire in his blood heated to unbearable. Something about her reached into his soul and tugged on it. It was at once terrifying and incredible, like the whole universe opened up in front of him and said welcome home.
She met him push for push, tips of her claws pressing into his shoulders, keeping him trapped in the only place he wanted to be. Forever.
He drew her bottom lip between his teeth and nibbled on it. She purred. Purred. For him. He broke the kiss and shoved her away from him. Her eyes went to slits. “What the hell, David? I wasn’t done.”
His ragged breathing echoed in his head as his siren pounded to get out. “If I don’t get away from you for a bit, I’m going to strip you here and now and take you up against the wall. I like the idea of pissing your dad off, but I want to live to do it again.”
Last but not least, where can our readers find you online?