Monday, January 28, 2013

About Us: Rachel Lyndhurst

It’s great to be here on The Hot Pink Typewriter as a brand new contributor from the UK, and now it’s my turn to sink into The Hot Seat and answer a few probing questions. Here we go ...

How and why did you get involved with The Hot Pink Typewriter?
I was very flattered to be asked if I’d like to contribute to The Hot Pink Typewriter by Victoria James, who I ‘met’ through Entangled Publishing.  I’d been enjoying reading the blog for a while anyway and Victoria is SO nice, it was a no-brainer. I’m so happy to be part of something that has so many talented authors contributing. And it has such a cool name!  

What sub-genre of romance do you write and why?

I write contemporary category-length romances, because that’s what I read mostly and it’s the genre I feel most comfortable with right now. I quite often find myself drawn to wanting to write something historical, but I don’t think I’m experienced enough yet to get everything right with the core romance and also get the historical facts spot on as well. It would seriously lengthen the time it would take to write and time isn’t on my side as it is!  So for now it’s ‘write what you know’ with lots of superyachts, billionaires and glittering lifestyles. Maybe someday I’ll throw caution to the wind and write that sexy 1920s flapper story though … 

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? What prompted this interest?

Not consciously, I spent my childhood wanting to be many things, including a Concorde pilot. My great grandmother taught me to read before I’d even started school, so I think my love of all things bookish started then. I was a voracious reader but I think the writing bug was there somewhere all along even if I didn’t realise it. I wrote silly stories including my friends and our imaginary adventures in the Maggot Club (don’t ask!), and angsty teenage poems ridiculing boys that I fancied rotten. In my twenties the boring old office job improved when a subversive Viz-style comic came into being – it featured a character that looked like my boss quite heavily. I left that job soon after … During a decade working in as an accountant, I began to think how wonderful it would be to become an author instead. Haven’t I been lucky?!

Did contests play a role in your writing journey? If so, in what ways did you find them beneficial? And what, if any, were the drawbacks?

They did in that I entered a number of them along the way, but none of the entries came to anything in the contests. However, after one of the Mills & Boon annual competitions  I was asked to submit something fresh and was sent a signed compliment slip for my next submission. Those were the days before you could send you submission in by email! I wrote the whole book in seven weeks and they hated it, frankly. Undeterred (after excessive weeping and bouts of self-pity), I wrote another book following their guidelines closely and got a generic rejection a long, long time later. That last book had quite a journey itself in the end, but Entangled Publishing turned it into a bestseller: Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire.
So, I’d say contests are a great way to motivate yourself into actually getting the words down and submitting, but I found them a huge distraction.  I’m easily drawn into obsessions, and contests consume me for the entire duration.  In retrospect if I’d spent the time writing and submitting that I did on checking forums, scouring for news and reading endless commentary on the entire process, I’d have a lot more books published by now.

What point are you currently at in your writing journey?
I’m only at the beginning, but my confidence is growing now that I've had three books published in the last year. I can’t be a total fluke – I can write!

Describe what makes a perfect hero for you. And what makes a perfect heroine?

Now that’s a toughie. There’s not a definitive hero for me, but he’s got to be an alpha male. This means he’s in a position powerful enough to take charge of a situation if necessary and do the right thing. He will be honorable and decent, and for this reason I will allow him the odd moment to be grumpy and even a bit of a jerk, but he always redeems himself.  He must be ridiculously good looking. He will never have a full bushy beard, roll his own cigarettes, or live off welfare.

My perfect heroine must be likeable and have some gumption about her. She won’t be treated like a doormat and it would take a lot to make her cry. She needs to be independent in all respects and isn't afraid to say what she thinks. She is also kind, honest, loyal and hardworking. She will have a vulnerability of some sort though, she’s only human!

What does HEA mean to you?

It means two people  finally recognise that they’re in love and fully intend to spend the rest of their lives together. Obstacles to their happiness have been swept aside and all the nasties they've encountered on their journey to this point have been overcome. Marriage and procreation optional. 

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

So many places. An overheard conversation, news article, photograph, lyric from a song, a vivid dream … Too many places to mention really.

Name your five favorite movies/books, or those that have influenced you the most and how.

The Magic Faraway tree and Famous Five books by Enid Blyton (I’ll count that as two books but there were tons of them!). I devoured these as a child – a proper torch under the bed clothes obsession.  Not only did these books inspire many outdoor adventures in real life, they kicked off a lifelong appreciation of books and love of reading. My own children love them too
Reading 1984 by George Orwell changed the way I looked at the world forever.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.  I read this when it was first published and I was a pseudy teenager . You just had to, because everybody else was reading it. It taught me that life is too short to spend reading something that you neither enjoy or understand. Perhaps I should give it another go? Nah!

The Sound of Music . How perfect is this film? Romance between a nun and a count, snowy mountains, evil Nazis, evil new ‘stepmother’  and it’s based on a true story! I still know all the words to all the songs and watch it every time it’s on the telly. It brings back so many happy childhood memories (I’m sure it was on every Christmas when I was growing up). Lovely.

Monty Python's Life of Brian. Possibly a controversial choice but, for me, this is one of the funniest films EVER. And laughing is good for you.

Tell us about your greatest writing challenges and how you work through them.

The promotion side of writing is the most challenging for me. I enjoy it and I know it’s an essential part of the job, but it’s extremely time consuming. The most rewarding thing is when people get in touch and say how much they enjoyed reading my book – that’s simply brilliant.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Leave your ego at the door.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your career?

Lots and lots more books being published, please! And enough royalties to by a villa in Amalfi. :0)

Want to know more? Then please feel free to leave a question in the comments section or visit my website and blog at my website and blog. I love to chat, so don’t be shy!
Thanks once again for visiting The Hot Pink Typewriter today. :0)


  1. Loved the interview. Ooh, a flapper novel.

    I envy writers who can write modern romances. I live in the past, and would love to produce a sexy modern man who sails a yacht but my brain drifts to the past, (not that I am that old!). Aren't we fickle? Stick with what we know is safe ground when time is valuable.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. I think fickle is definitely one of my middle names, Glynis. And wouldn't it be dull if we all wrote the same things? Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. :0)

  3. Hi Rachel! :)

    I really enjoyed this interview and getting to know more about you.

    We should all strive to read and write "proper torch under the bed clothes obsession" novels! :) And I absolutely love The Sound of Music.

    Congratulations on your success. I truly love your writing and can't wait to read more from you.

  4. Tina, how very lovely and kind of you to say such smashing things. I'm blushing. But I'm grinning too! You've inspired me to type a little faster. Thank you. :0)

  5. What a wonderful interview, Rachel! It was so great getting to know you a bit better - we're so thrilled to have you on board! :-)

  6. Great interview Rachel. You give all us writers still struggling out there,new hope. Are all your books published by Entangled?

  7. Hi Rachel-great interview!! I'm so thrilled you've joined us ladies at HPT. Congratulations on all your success-you are the Queen of Billionaire's ;-) You're a talented lady and a great friend, so glad we're working together! xo

  8. Hi, Rachel. Loved your interview. So nice getting to know more about you. Hope you get to write that flapper story soon. :-)

  9. Hi, Olivia! I'm so thrilled to be here too!

  10. Hi Jolliffe. Never, ever give up hope. I made it with no agent and with barely spending a penny (except on buying great books!). Just keep going and keep learning. Anything is possible. Two of my books are published by Entangled and The Devil to Pay is published by the Wild Rose Press. I recently signed a three book deal with Entangled too, so I'm a very happy bunny. :0)

  11. Queen of Billionaire's?I like that, Victoria, thank you! It's amazing to be your friend and partner in crime as well. Lucky ladies,both of us! x

  12. Temptress, Jennifer! I'd so love to do a flapper story. There's a scene in my head inspired by the real life Bright Young Things that I'd love to use. Somewhere in London, the sun rises on an outdoor lido swimming pool and it's full of champagne corks ...

  13. Great to 'meet' you here, Rachel. I'm very much like you when it comes to contests - obsessive to the point of being unable to write until it's over, and then wallowing in feelings of failure. Never again!

    I adore the 'Bright Young Things' exploits - bath parties and treasure hunts. I'mso going to use those in one of my books. Speaking of, have you read my 20s flapper story, or my 20s story set on the Amalfi coast? If not, let me know and I'll gift you the one of your choice.

  14. Gasp! 20s story set on the Amalfi?!!!! Romy, that just sounds utterly brilliant - two of my most favourite things. Yes,please!

  15. Thanks for taking the time to share something about your writing journey. How long did it take you from completed ms to Entangled contract? Just curious!

  16. Hmmm, depends how you look at it, Cathy! From typing the last word of my first finished MS to signing with Entangled it was about five years. HOWEVER, submission to contract with Entangled (Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire)only took a matter of weeks. If there's anything to be learned from that, it would be to just keep going however many rejections you get and finish off those manuscripts. Once you get signed by someone things get a whole lot easier. And you suddenly have a lot less time!

  17. Fabulous interview, Rachel! I could easily as a Concorde pilot (well, apart from the fact they don't fly anymore whereas you totally are!! I mean that in a good way... Errr... dig, dig, move on swiftly, Nicky). I share your love of all things Enid Blyton ~ that's what inspired me to write first of all! Congrats again on your contract with Entangled and wishing you every success. XX

  18. It's so nice to get to know more about you, Rachel. Anyone who loves Monty Python's Life of Brian is okay with me! :-) You are proof that perseverence pays off--congratulations on all of your success. We're so pleased to have you join us on the Hot Pink Typewriter!

  19. What a fantastic interview Rachel! I'm really looking forward to reading your posts here on the Hot Pink Typewriter (it really IS a fantastic name.) I would LOVE to read a 1920's flapper romance by you - get to it! :)

  20. Hi Rachel. It's so great to have you aboard! And another UK rep!! Yay! It was terrific reading more about you - huge congrats on all your recent successes. I look forwards to your posts here. :-)