We caught up with Mills & Boon author Rachael Stewart to chat about her debut True Love book, Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal. Read on to find out how the story originally started off as an idea for our DARE series and how Rachael almost died conducting research for the book!
I’d love to be all professional and say that my journey into publication with True Love stemmed from my desire to broaden my skillset, to write romance with all the sensuality of DARE but without the explicitness, only it didn’t. It’s certainly a great benefit and who doesn’t love to mix it up by writing stories with a different tone to stop things becoming stale.
But the initial spark is much more sentimental. It came from a story idea I actually pitched for DARE(!). I loved the idea, but it was way off track for the line. And I mean waaaay off. DARE is all about provocative romance with sexual fantasies coming alive on the page and True Love is all about the emotional intimacy of falling in love.
So, what was this idea…
It featured a single dad (who doesn’t love a gorgeous single dad with all the intelligence, strength and broodiness of his tycoon stature, but with the soft heart of a doting father, right?!) and a heroine who’s suffered so much in the past that she needs someone to “gently” sweep her off her feet.
Hence, Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal was born.
It’s a heart-warming story of love and loss, of the challenges of parenthood, of protecting your child as much as learning to let go a little, and forgiveness of yourself as much as others. It is deeply emotional and heartfelt, and there was no question about which line it belonged in. It had True Love stamped all over it. Only I didn’t believe I could do it. Not at first.
It took encouragement from my wonderful editor Carly to believe I could, because although I was already part of Mills & Boon, writing under DARE, it was like putting my work out into the unknown again. Would my voice work? Would I be able to slow the heat level down? And ultimately, would I do both the series line and its long-established readership justice?
When I look back now, of all my books, it’s the one that required the least revision and flowed from the off. I had a smile on my face for the entirety…ok, there were some tears, but the ending…even now my heart warms.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to be part of True Love. To be among authors who are so very talented and super friendly too! It’s like a little family and I can’t wait to write many more True Loves in the future. Though I’ll let you into a secret, I almost died in the extra research I did after writing this one! My husband will say I exaggerate but let me tell you, it didn’t feel like it at the time…
We took a family trip to Iceland and visited many of the places Sophia, Jack and Lily do in the book, including Reynisfjara, which is considered the Black Sand Beach in Iceland. It is known for sneaker waves that wash unsuspecting tourists to their death. We were fully warned by our guide and very careful, but I wanted to get a picture of the amazing basalt columns. There were tourists closer to the water than me, the line in the sand showing how far the waves had come was obvious and far away. I took out my phone to take the perfect picture and concentrated, it wasn’t until I heard a tourist squeal close by that I realised one was coming – too late! I was surrounded by water and had to drop to the sand to bury myself in it and hold myself in place as the water rushed through me. It was terrifying and cold. Waterproofs are great, until they get soaked from the inside out, snow boots especially!
So little lesson there, my friends, if ever you go, stay well well away from the water! But I lived to tell the tale and I did get the perfect shot as you can see…
The things authors do for research, hey?! Ha!
I highly recommend a visit, if you’ve never been, and as for the northern lights, sheer magic in the sky! Hands down our best holiday ever, and that’s coming from the kids.
I hope you love the book as much I loved writing it, do get in touch and let me know.