Interview with Rachel Kenley
A Jersey Girl trapped without good diners or boardwalks in New England, Rachel Kenley, is the author of eight romance novels, most recently the Melusine's Daughters trilogy.
She started reading romances at 14 and credits them with her lifelong fascination with relationships and how they contribute to our ability to live emotionally empowered.
When she is not writing, she is homeschooling her sons, trying unsuccessfully to keep up with laundry, and laughing as much as possible. She believes in shameless flirting, never missing the chance to watch The Wizard of Oz and the emotional and economic power of retail therapy.
When did you first start writing?
I started keeping a journal back in high school and started my first novel when I was in college. It was *terrible* and I didn’t finish it, but it was part of the process and practice I needed. Strangely, even though I think I knew I wanted to be a writer back in college, I didn’t major in writing or English.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love the freedom that comes with being an indie author. Sort of like being in an independent film, I don’t have to think quite as much about trends and what is currently most popular. I can write what I am most drawn to, what truly compels me and allow that to find its readers. Also, things can happen faster with independent publishing where their schedule isn’t locked 12-18 months out. Patience? Not one of my virtues. I also appreciate the close relationship I’m able to have with my editor and publisher.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I recently discovered Alisha Rai’s Hate to Want You, a contemporary romance, which is the first of a three book series. I was immediately hooked and went straight on to the second novel when I was finished, something that hasn’t happened in a while.
What is the first book that made you cry?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, which I read as a freshman in high school, one of the first books I was ever assigned that, I actually liked. There was something about Frances and her family that really got to me. I’ve read it several times over the years and at different times in my life I love different parts of the book.
Who’s your book boyfriend or secret book crush?
I’m one of those authors who “cast” their characters which means I use (usually) actors or other celebrities and imagine them in the roles in my books. It’s one of my favorite parts of the process. I keep a computer file of lots of “hot guys” which I can look through when I do this. Hugh Jackman has been featured more than any other actor. My current hero bears a striking resemblance to Chris Pine.
Describe your desk.
It’s big, it’s usually cluttered, and it’s easily one of my favorite places in the house. My husband and sons converted our garage into a home office for me and having a room of my own is a very important part of my writing process. I do try to clear it at the end of the day so that it’s fresh and welcoming when I sit down every day, but while I’m working there tends to be files, note pads, post-its and pens everywhere. I may have a bit of a pen fetish. I seem to have an awful lot of them.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Oh I hate to admit this–online games and social media. I can get so easily distracted and fall down that rabbit hole. When I come back up for air… I’m usually appalled by how much time has disappeared. I’ve learned to turn off the internet for certain periods of the day otherwise nothing (or at least a lot less) will get done)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I’m a Jersey girl and grew up not only near the ocean but less than an hour drive from New York City and I love both places completely. I am grateful that I grew up in an area where I could see farms and orchards but also world-class theater and museums. I think this shows up in my books with the varied locations they cover. And, of course, in the first book in the Melusine’s Daughters series, Waves of Pleasure, my heroine does come on land on the Jersey Shore.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a small town contemporary series. I can’t believe I’m writing in that trope! But… I have put my own spin on it. All the books, which will take place in the fictional town of Fable Notch, are retold fairy tales.
What drives you to keep on writing?
There are two parts to this answer. The first is that there are always new ideas and new characters popping into my head and I love being able to dive into those stories and bring them to life on the page. I just can’t stop. The other thing is that I believe most of us learn more about ourselves–what we like, desire, dream of–from novels than from nonfiction books. I write to show the emotional journeys that women can and do take to reach their dreams. With each book I write, I hope some of my reader will see themselves in my heroines and be inspired to take some risks in their own lives to have more of what they want.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep going! No matter how exciting the idea for your next project may be, finish what you’re working on, polish it and submit it. Then learn from any feedback and start the process again. It took me a very long time to finish a novel to the point where I could submit it.
Lazy, hazy summer days lie before us! Don’t get too comfortable, there’s work to be done! Work on yourself! July brings a lunar eclipse and mercury goes direct, so it’s the perfect time to set new goals and to begin new habits, learn a new skill, and make new friends
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Check out my brand new book, Taurus: A Hearse of a Different Color available in both eBook and print for your enjoyment!
Toni was having the worst Christmas in her life. Her grandfather had just died, and her so-called boyfriend had wiped her out of her savings, not to mention had gotten her evicted. She had had to move out to the wilderness home her grandfather had left her, where not only did she find a new car, but two Christmas ghosts who had promised her grandfather they would look after her…and so much more.
In this novella sequel to the Magic University series, Christmas Magic picks up the tale a few months after the end of The Poet and the Prophecy, at Christmas time. And who better to tell a Christmas tale than Frost? After the cataclysmic events that shook the magical world, it's time for Frost to come to grips with the changes in his magic and his body--with the help of the people who love him most.
Who doesn’t love some holiday smut? It’s one of the greatest pleasures of the season. There’s just something about the season that turns me on, and makes me think wicked good thoughts. I don’t know – maybe it’s the metaphoric possibilities – Santa’s lap, stockings filled with goodies, naughty or nice? Christmas just makes me feel giddy and nasty in a wholesomely bad way.