I'm thrilled to welcome a good friend, and terrific author, Rachel Leigh Smith to PNR Lovers today. You can find her books, To Save a Life, The King's Mistress, and My Name is A'Yen on Amazon.
Rachel is off shmoozing at RWA this weekend, but I'm sure she'll be around later to answer questions, so if you have any questions, or would like to make a comment, please feel free to do so. We love author/reader interaction here!
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Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a geek and a romantic. I proudly wear my Doctor Who and Star Trek pj’s while inhaling romance. My Star Trek pj’s say I’m a captain, but my dad refuses to acknowledge my rank because my hoodie has no rank.
I’m also the oldest of four, have lived in Louisiana almost my whole life, I have a half-crazed calico, and The Little Mermaid is my favorite movie. I also have a thing for Magnum, P.I. and Criminal Minds. I love all things 1940’s, have a massive crush on Acheron from Dark-Hunter, and I’m beyond excited Tatiana Maslany was FINALLY nominated for an Emmy for Orphan Black. (One of the best shows on TV right now, watch it!)
I write romance for the hero lover. I’m all about the hero, all the time. He’s always my favorite character. When you pick up a Rachel Leigh Smith novel, you’re getting a book focused on the hero. Every time.
What do you like to read in your free time? What are you reading now?
95% of what I read is romance. It’s my favorite everything. I’m slowly working my way through A Song of Ice And Fire because I love Game of Thrones and want to know what all was left out.
As I’m answering these, I’m between books. Finished Ghost Phoenix by Corrina Lawson this morning, in her Phoenix Institute series. Not the best book in the series, but the hero was awesome. As ya’ll are reading this, I’m in New York City for the RWA conference and I’m reading Acheron and Styxx back-to-back. Yeah, I know, glutton for punishment. It’ll be my fourth time through Acheron and second through Styxx.
Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
I recently discovered Kristen Callihan. Whoa man, can that woman write! She does the absolute best sexual tension I’ve ever encountered. She’s gone on my list of writers I want to be like when I grow up. I adore her Darkest London historical paranormal world so very much.
How did you begin writing? Have you always wanted to be an author?
I started writing when I was probably about nine. It was a stack of notebook paper I tied together with pretty ribbon, and I wrote what happened between the kiss on the beach and the wedding in The Little Mermaid. It was lost in a move, though, and I don’t even remember what I wrote. My parents always encouraged me to write, and my mom worked creative writing stuff into our homeschool curriculum.
I’ve always considered myself a writer, but haven’t always wanted to be an author. That started in late 2006, and I joined my first writers organization in 2007. I learned how to write romance and how to write a novel. It took several years to get that first novel finished, but once I’d done it, I was hooked. I went indie in May of 2014 and put my first book out 9/12/14.
What are your thoughts on receiving book reviews—the good and the bad?
They’re important to help readers decide if the book is for them. I know as a reader myself, I do look at reviews. They matter in helping me make decisions when I’m exploring new authors. As an author, I have yet to get my first really bad review. The only 1 star I have to date is totally incoherent and makes me laugh. I have a couple of readers who always give me the reviews every author dreams about, that I can go and read whenever I need an ego boost.
Although writing is a solitary endeavour, many authors have a community behind them that supports and encourages them. Do you have people in your back pocket who help you, or have mentored you along the way?
I do have people who’ve mentored me. I ended up in a great group of experienced authors, a mix of multipublished and on the submission trail. I was one of the youngest in the group, and everyone else took me under their wings, so to speak. It was awesome! I’m still friends with most of them, and they’re in awe of how far I’ve come and what I’ve managed to do.
Then there’s the other half of my brain, romantic thriller author Winter Austin. Our writing paths and decisions have been very similar the last few years. Our brains create and plot the exact same ways, and it’s so much fun. I can’t imagine being on this road without her at my side.
I’m also a member of RWA, the FF&P chapter, and the Science Fiction Romance Brigade.
There are so many aspects of writing that a lot of readers never think of. What is your least favorite part about the writing process?
Blurbs, aka back cover copy. It’s not my favorite thing to do, though when I sit down and do it I tend to get good stuff. I enjoy editing. Gives me a chance to really dig into my characters and make sure they’re consistent. I do my own formatting and like it. I have no desire to tackle covers, though. I have zero talent on that front, and I know it.
Now for something silly, if you were starring in a paranormal romance novel, would your ideal mate be a shifter (if so, which kind), a vampire, or something else?
A cat shifter! I’m a cat lady. For some reason, the thought of a purring man is enough to turn my knees to rubber. It’s no coincidence I’m moving into shifter paranormals and focusing on cats. I can’t get enough of cat shifters!
What are you working on now? How is this different from your past projects?
I just started my very first true shifter paranormal. I also have an SFR/PNR mashup with shifters in it almost done. Then I’m 35K into book six of A’yen’s Legacy, my SFR series. I can’t seem to stay focused on the mashup one, probably because I created it for a specific purpose I’m no longer pursuing. The true PNR is promising to be a LOT of fun!
The true PNR is different in that there’s no science anything. My A’yen’s Legacy series is SFR with paranormal elements, but I explain those elements with science. I love world building, so even though I’ve written historical romance, SFR, and now PNR, I’m still using the same skills and building worlds from scratch. There’s not much difference between recreating a world that no longer exists and creating a new one.
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or recently released one?
Ro traced his thumb across her bottom lip. He shouldn’t love her. After all, he had nothing to offer her. No home, no name, no future. Even if, by some miracle, he was found innocent, he had to kill Camden. And there was no guarantee he’d survive that.
But he did love Jasmyn. With parts of him he hadn’t known existed. She was every piece of sweet and light in his world. The embodiment of hope. Permission to dream again, to imagine a world where he was truly free.
They’d spent so much time together in the last year. She’d taught him how to live, for the first time. Helped him spread his wings and fly.
Doing this through bars wasn’t how he’d imagined sharing their first kiss. But here they were, trying to make the best of it. Wanting to make the best of it.
He cupped her face as best he could and touched his lips to hers. Unlike every other person he’d kissed—usually against his will—she didn’t use her teeth to hold him captive or inflict pain. Sweetness and light infused him, banishing, for a moment, the memories of every bruising kiss from Camden.
In the sweetness, he tasted everything he could have been. A thousand futures he’d never have. Nights of bliss in her arms. Days spent in her sweet company. All combined to make him forget, for a moment, that he was in jail for murder.
With Jasmyn at his side, he could fly forever. Her touch, her taste, the silk of her mouth. Life in all its abundance. Everything he’d been afraid to dream.
But Jasmyn couldn’t be at his side. Not anymore. Not with this cruel twist in his life. He broke all physical contact with her and slid back out of her reach. “It’s not fair.”
She touched the fingers of her left hand to her lips, making him want another taste. “What?”
“I finally find someone who wants me, and I can’t have you.”
Her knuckles turned white from her grip on the bars separating them. “I’ve finally found someone who wants me. I won’t let anyone take you from me.” The conviction in her voice should’ve made him feel better.
Twitter: twitter.com/rachelleighgeek, but you won’t ever find me there. I’ve discovered I hate Twitter. Best place to catch me is Facebook.
Thanks for your wonderful answers, Rachel. I enjoyed learning more about you and your work. 🙂