Interview with Rachel Pierson

What's the story behind your latest book?
This book is basically what happens when I allow myself to scribble about all of my favorite things. There's a strong-willed heroine, an intellectual male lead, guys in breeches, ladies misbehaving, murder, mystery, and mayhem. I started brainstorming it with the vague idea of a castle (because OF COURSE there has to be a castle) and themes of ruination. What would it be like to live in the upper class of early 19th century England and be considered fast or scandalous? Even better, what if the young lady in question doesn't particularly care? Eventually, the story of the Bellamy and Bouchard families started to take shape, and the darker mystery took hold. I wanted to do this epic HR novel that spanned years like romances of couple decades ago.

Then it happened, the internal sound of brakes screeching on the pavement.

I had too many words. It became clear that the story of Amy and Lucas and the colorful cast of characters around them could not experience a proper beginning, middle, and end in a hundred thousand words. It was impossible. I mean, I suppose I could have tamed the verbose beast in me and turned the events in Ruined by Nature into a squeaky-clean standalone with a happy conclusion all tied up with a bow.

But the verbose beast in me won. Maybe HR serials aren't done anymore, but who's to say we can't make them happen again? With the support of some book loving friends, whose opinions I trust practically more than my own, I decided to go ahead and do the unthinkable. For science. And also because the story in my head is far too much fun not to share.
When did you first start writing?
Is it trite to say that I can't remember? I wrote on and off throughout childhood, but writing didn't become a huge passion for me until I was a teenager. My first complete story was a Star Wars fan fic that is embarrassing and will never resurface no matter how much anyone begs. Fortunately, I had some friends who humored me by reading it and didn't even judge me for it. From there, I've been dabbling in original fiction for pretty much half of my life now. Ruined by Nature is the first story I've ever had the nerve to publish, so we'll see if all those years of practicing were worth it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom! Do you think a traditional publisher would allow me to do a trilogy about ONE couple for a Regency HR? Going the indie route allows me so much creative control over my product, and as a working mother, I adore the liberty of not having deadlines.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Dialogue. When I reach a certain rhythm with the dialogue between characters, it's the best feeling. Forging chemistry and affection, anger and rivalry, teasing and tension - that's what it's all about.

Also, there's a certain seduction to escaping into a world of your own making and controlling it like a sadistic god who enjoys putting her characters through hell. In real life, I quietly avoid drama. In my writing, I gravitate to it. The escapism can be intoxicating.
Who are your favorite authors?
When I'm asked this question, I'm always tempted to come up with some lies about all the classic authors I just adore and read all the time. But I can't do that. You would see right through me and decide, "That Rachel Pierson is liar. I can't abide liars."

So, in the spirit of truth, I'll list them (in no particular order): Gail Ranstrom, Louise Allen, Christine Merrill, Bronwyn Scott, old school Julia Quinn, Ken Follett, Mary Roach
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yeah, the Star Wars fan fic. We don't talk about this, remember? :P

Also, I recall an uncompleted manuscript I started as a kid about one of Santa's elves. Really edgy stuff.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My family. I have an amazing husband and a two-year-old son who is so full of life that he makes me want to embrace everything more fully. Writing, of course, makes every day easier for me. Who knows what I'd be like if I had all these stories trapped in my head with no means of escape?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Ha! I'm not sure if anyone's really interested in a rundown of my work and home life. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time chasing around a toddler and just trying to keep my house from becoming an unmitigated disaster to varying levels of success. I also have a professional career that isn't particularly exciting or glamorous but keeps my mind as sharp as possible. Music is one of my great loves. I've been singing (for audiences!) even longer than I've been writing, and I can play the piano passably well. If you ever make the decision to visit my blog, you'll find that I shamelessly post You Tube videos of my favorite songs just because I can.
What do your fans mean to you?
Oh, wow. Fans? I would be overwhelmed to have just a handful. If I gain any fans from this venture, I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to express my gratitude properly. I just want to write books and maybe sell a few of them. Having fans would mean the world to me, and I won't lie, I'd probably be really anxious to continue making them happy.
What is your writing process?
Write, write, write. When I think I can't write anything else, I keep writing. Rewrite. Edit. Edit, edit, edit. It's a painstaking and involved process that I can't really put into words. And I call myself a writer! One thing I've found is that writer's block can't be coddled. If I want to finish something, I have to write through that pain and go back to clean up the awkward stuff later. It's the only way, and it isn't fun, but it works for me.
What are you working on next?
Ruined by Fortune, the second book in The Ruined Trilogy. It's going to be even more insane than the first, surprising, and several questions will be answered. The romance will take some unexpected and delicious turns. Oh, and there will be opera. Wonderful, dramatic opera!
Published 2015-06-12.
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