Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Leigh whose latest book Hot Summer Sands has just been released. Rachel is giving one lucky commenter a download of any of her books.
I asked Rachel if she used a pseudonym.
"Yes – It is my real first name but the ‘Leigh’ came from my husband’s middle name of ‘Lee’. I wanted to use his first name but it just didn’t seem to fit. The ‘Rachel’ had to stay so I didn’t ignore people who called out to me at conferences or writers’ groups," she said with a laugh.
Rachel also writes under another name so at any one time she has a book under submission, one being edited, and one being promoted. She loves being busy and having different things to work on. She told me that she's fortunate enough to be at home full time, so she works while the kids are at school. Her work day starts at 9 AM and she works through lunch until 2:30 when it's time to pick up the kids. Her black Lab gets a walk sometime in there. Once the kids come home, she concentrates on the house and family.
She seldom works at a desk, finding it hard to concentrate.
"I like to be relaxed and comfortable and have access to a window for a lot of thought-induced staring," she said. "More often than not I write either with my laptop on the sofa or in the conservatory. My black Labrador will be right beside me snoring and fidgeting."
Her conservatory is known as "Mom's room." It's bright and airy, decorated with cream sofas and teal cushions and rug. Dried flowers, ornaments, and candles add extra color, while big coffee table books and magazines give it a relaxing atmosphere. It is also her favorite place to read.
Rachel always wanted to be a writer, even though she didn't know in what capacity.
"When I started reading Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. From there I read Sweet Dreams books and on it went until today where I read anything and everything. At about eleven I thought I wanted to be a journalist but real life took over and it wasn’t until my youngest daughter was at school that I got serious about my career."
Rachel is currently working on her fourth novella which is set in England in the glamourous, scandalous world of British show jumping. Things heat up between a sexy, ambitious journalist and the target of her next story—the mysterious son of an infamous show jumping family.
She is also playing with the idea of writing a historical erotic romance series next.
"So far I have only written contemporary stories but the idea of a group of sisters in Victorian England or maybe the ‘upstairs/downstairs’ goings on in an upper class country estate/manor house in Georgian Bath…Yep, I definitely have some ideas percolating in the ol’ brain."
And, that's how she develops her stories--she will have the germ of an idea or maybe a line of dialogue from a hero or heroine with no of idea of who they are.
"I tend to write the first draft completely on instinct and then go back and see what I have to work with on draft two," she told me. "More often than not, the story is not half as bad as I expected and there is often structure and character growth I didn’t even realized had evolved. Writing gets easier the more you practice – promise!"
"Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?" I asked. "If so, what do you do about it?"
"No, I don’t believe in writer’s block – of course, every author gets stuck. In most cases, with every story there comes a point that a writer thinks ‘what next?’ but you don’t allow yourself to stop. My advice is to write straight through it. That’s what second, third and fourth drafts are there for. A blank page can’t be edited!"
Rachel admitted that titles are her nemesis—she's terrible at them.
"Just once I would love a title to jump out at me but they never do. So far, each of my working titles have been quickly discarded and my wonderful editor has found the perfect fit instead," she said with a laugh.
"What is your favorite food?" I asked.
"I love the richness of Italian foods – anything from lasagna to pollo pesto to ravioli, all washed down with Italian white wine. Would you believe I’ve never been to Italy?? If I like Italian food in the UK, lord only knows how good it is there! Hubby and I are planning a city break to Rome in June 2013 – can’t wait."
Rachel thinks that, for erotic romance, ebooks works better.
"Even in this day and age of internet, Ipads and smartphones, people are still conscious of reading erotic fiction in public. Ebooks take away the embarrassment and give readers the freedom to enjoy stories on the train, bus or plane. Three cheers for ebooks!"
"What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?" I wondered.
"That I’m a stay-at-home mum and for the most part spend my time alone, indoors. I’m a nervous, introvert person…until I have a glass of wine or two and then my friends will say I’m the life and soul of the party." She winked. "Yes, the hangovers are a killer!"
Rachel told me that she can't get enough of US crime dramas—she loves Bones, Rizzoli & Isles, and Castle. She also enjoys British historical dramas such as Downton Abbeyand Larkrise to Candleford.
"In fact, I watch far too much TV when I should be writing," she admitted.
"What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?" I asked.
"To keep a clean house – from my perspective that is a talent!" She laughed. "I have no idea how some of my friends do it. I walk into their houses and it’s like I’ve stepped into a show home. I just do not enjoy household chores enough to make them a priority. My house is tidish but by no means ‘shines’ – I suppose you could pretty much guess a writer lives there."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give an author who wants to write erotica?"
"A great research book to start is with Shoshanna Evers' How To Write Hot Sex – this is a collection of ‘best advice’ snippets from published erotic romance authors with examples of some great scenes for an aspiring writer to study," she told me. "Write with a clear thought in mind that your mother/grandmother/neighbor is never going to read it. Your internal editor will hold you back if you think of your story being discussed over Sunday lunch. Everyone enjoys sex, it’s nothing to be afraid of – it’s a romantic and wonderfully intimate thing. Write it with love!"
About the Author:
When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, watching American TV dramas. running around after her two daughters….or playing with her husband.
Find Rachel online at
Chef Michelle Hutton flees her controlling mother in the UK for the sun and freedom of Greece, longing for a new beginning and maybe just a bit of Zante’s local heat. Sexy, pro-bono lawyer Sam Clarke might just be the one to teach her to let go. He's sexy, capable, and totally in control. And too damn hard to resist.
Sam Clarke and his best friend had once been the baddest boys to hit the local party scene— sex, booze, and more sex—until his friend is killed. Sam turned his back on the blatant sexuality of the island years ago, but can’t resist Michelle’s desire to bask in the sun and explore the need that grows between them.