Q&A with Rachael Stewart
What inspired you to write your latest book Mr One Night Stand?
I started with my heroine, Jennifer Hayes. DARE wants that smart, sassy, empowered female lead and Jennifer encapsulates that. Having owned our own company in the past, I also wanted to explore the dynamic of business partners. It’s hard to believe the situation Jennifer finds herself in, confronted with a new business partner she knew nothing about. But it is entirely possible. And the forced proximity after their one-night of crazy as strangers seemed the perfect start to what proves to be a hot and emotional ride (at least I like to think it does!). Particularly as they both like, and are used to, coming out on top—Pun intended 🙂
If you had to sum up your book in 4 words, what would they be?
Can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer?
I’ve always written, ever since I was a child. I have stacks of scrawled on sheets in my loft as proof. But I never dreamed I would be signed by a publisher. And Mills & Boon were that unattainable dream, they first got me hooked on romance thirty years ago and I started trying to write an M&B novel from that very moment, before I’d even experienced the rush of falling in love for myself. They were always so well written that I fell in virtual love with every read.
I submitted my first M&B almost a decade ago, an historical. It was rejected but it was a very detailed rejection. I should have taken that detail as a positive and continued trying. Instead I took it as affirmation that I would never make it professionally and didn’t try again for a while. In fact, I actually self-published first. A short erotic novella that I had so much fun writing and releasing.
But my desire to write for M&B was still there and so I took a stab at an online competition: Tempted to Write. I didn’t come anywhere but it gave me a new found determination and I decided to submit to M&B Modern.
My book was picked up from the slush pile by the lovely Julia Williams. She spotted something that she felt would work for DARE, the as yet unreleased line. She asked if I would consider submitting to this new series instead and I jumped at the chance. Her feedback also coincided with the launch of the Dare To Write Submission Blitz, where you submit a synopsis and first chapter only and get feedback within a month. This is how I got signed and boy, has it been one amazing ride!
I still can’t truly believe it, and often find myself staring at my covers long and hard trying to convince myself 🙂
What was your experience of writing your first Mills & Boon DARE book like?
Hard. Fun. Hard.
DARE wasn’t even out yet so the usual “read the line” didn’t apply. I had the guidance notes of what was wanted but nothing to sink my teeth into and get a feel for. I was kind of writing blind.
But when the fabulous Flo Nicoll pulled my submission out of the Dare To Write blitz in July 2017 and asked if I would be willing to work with her on creating something that would fit, I was on cloud-9!
A few months later I was signed on three chapters and the rest as they say, is history. She worked closely with me on shaping the novel and then the lovely Sareeta Domingo took over to get it to the finish line. Happy days!
My second DARE was a breeze in comparison. I’d learned from the first, built up a fabulous relationship with my gorgeous editor and I really just relaxed into it. Definitely, fun, fun, fun! 🙂
What do you like the most about writing Mills & Boon DARE books?
Aside from the super sassy, empowered heroines 😉
I get to totally relax and go wherever the characters take me. If they swear, they swear; if they fancy experimenting at the taboo end of the spectrum in bed (or out of it!) they can. I love that there are no real limits to what you write.
So long as it’s safe, consensual and fun, you can write it. It’s so liberating and of course, makes for some seriously steamy writing sessions!
What do you love the most about writing romance stories?
The Happy Ever After. Knowing that when you start out, no matter what trauma you put your characters through, it will all come good in the end. And that every day I’m working, I get to fall in love over and over again. What’s not to love about that? I feel very lucky!
What would you like your readers to know about your characters?
Marcus is a self-made billionaire running from his damaged past, one that makes him turn his back on family and refuse to fall in love.
Jennifer is a career woman determined to hit the top before she dares to love. But she wants it, eventually. She has her work commitments and her family to care for, an ailing mother and a younger sister who depend on her. They all come first.
But of course, life has other ideas, taking them from strangers who share one night of passion to business partners, forced together in close proximity. It makes for a hot and emotional journey as they re-evaluate the rules they live by or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read, run around after children or cats (depending on who is being the most mischievous), exercise like a loon and if I have the time, take a walk. I love being outside, the world is a constant source of inspiration for the stories that are always evolving in my brain.
Who are your top 3 favourite authors and why?
Philippa Gregory, I love how she conjures up the past and the characters of that time so vividly. How she pieces together historical facts and builds her stories around them is just fabulous.
Julie Garwood, for her romantic historical tales that sweep me right off my feet.
Enid Blyton, because my childhood would not have been the same without her.
(And I’m adding a sweeping, every Mills & Boon author, because their books are the epitome of romance, the quality doesn’t get any better than their gorgeous little tales. I’m allowed to say that right? 🙂)
Can you give us 3 fun facts about yourself that we may not know?
I love to paint! My house is full of pale imitations of the real thing, I especially love Peter Smith and his Lubba Lubbas. I’m an exercise addict, I have to work out every morning, sad but true! I really wanted to be a detective when I was younger…and then I realised the sight of blood made me go woo-woo.
Get your hands on Mr One Night Stand here!