Check out Rachel Bowdler’s books!
1. Paperback, hardback, audiobook?
I’m a lover of all three but I do enjoy a nice floppy paperback that’s comfortable to hold (without breaking the spine!).
2. Pick a genre, any genre!
3. What is the first book you remember reading?
The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson. My mum hated me for it and said she made me cocky, oops!
4. What book shaped your childhood most?
I’m not sure if there was ever just one. I was always so interested in discovering new stories, especially when I was old enough to really enjoy them, so I went through a lot of different phases with different books and genres. The first one I really remember connecting with writing-wise was A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. It was like jumping into a new dimension and the writing style was just magical – and not something I’d ever noticed in books before.
5. When did you first start writing?
I think I might have been twelve or thirteen, but I realised I enjoyed it a year or two before that when I had to do creative writing for my SATs at the end of primary school. I started off with Glee fanfiction that is better left hidden somewhere on fanfiction.net.
6. What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?
I’m still not completely sure what makes me want to write, only that it feels right when I do. I just love that words on a page can take you somewhere else. I love playing with them, and I love creating people and worlds, and it all stems from my love of reading. I’ve always lived in my head, and that’s never changed, so getting to put it all on paper is freeing in a way.
7. What book/poem are you most proud of creating?
Honeymoon for One. It isn’t published yet, but it’s the book that got me my agent and a two-book deal, and it’s also my first full-length, completed novel ever. I really hope people love it as much as I do!
8. Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?
I published it … on Wattpad. It was high fantasy with a Magnus Bane-style character, and I wrote it from the ages of 16-19 I think. It may or may not still be there … but I shan’t tell you the name because it’s not great.
9. How many books/collections have you published so far?
I think I’m up to thirteen-ish, but they’re all novellas and not all of them are available outside of Scribd!
10. What genres do you write in (or hope to)?
Currently, I write contemporary romance, usually with a sub-genre like comedy or suspense, but when I’m writing for myself, my go-to has always been fantasy. My goal is to one day actually complete one of my many fantasy WIPs and maybe be a published fantasy author, but it’s difficult to juggle that with romance, a genre I sort of fell into when I became a freelancer.
11. Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?
I research bits and bobs, not nearly enough as I should. It always depends on the subject matter and the setting. I try to base settings on the places I’ve visited.
12. To plan, or not to plan your plot?
Planning is relatively new for me, but as a freelancer, I have to come up with pitches before I start writing, so outlines are now my friend. I still end up veering in new directions as I write, but it’s definitely helpful to have the foundations already built when I begin. When I write for myself, though, I don’t plan nearly enough and end up completely lost halfway through.
13. What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?
Both, all! I started out freelancing for Scribd, which isn’t really traditional publishing, and then I moved to self-publishing as the rights to my works became available, and I’m about to announce a traditional publishing deal this month! Honestly, I don’t mind which route I end up on, but I would love the chance at having my work on bookshelves in Waterstones one day, so I’m definitely hoping to continue with traditional as well as remaining a freelancer.
14. If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)
I always wanted to live in the Shadowhunter universe as a teenager, but that was mostly because I wanted a Will Herondale. I’m not sure where I’d choose now: Sarah J. Maas’s Crescent City maybe!
15. Do you currently have a WIP?
Always. I’m working on a full-length novel under my pen name, Bryony Rosehurst. It’s a contemporary romance set around St. Patrick’s Day. I’m also between fantasy projects when I have time.
16. Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.
Her name is Nora and she’s the protagonist of Dance With Me. She goes on a major journey of self-love and acceptance as a plus-size dancer, and I really cherished every moment I had with her when I was writing her. I grew up in the dance world and always felt out of place in the same ways, so it was a joy to give her the growth I never really found.
17. What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?
It’s definitely not been written yet, but I poured a lot of my heart into Dance With Me and I hope it shows.
18. Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!
All of my books are romance so I can’t choose! I always enjoy the bodyguard trope, though, so Beck and Atlanta’s romance in Saving the Star was one of many favourites to write.
19. Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.
I usually listen before I write – I can only listen to instrumental when I’m concentrating. I’d recommend anything by Audiomachine but one of my absolute favourites is “This Place is a Shelter” by Olafur Arnolds.
20. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Write what you love and listen to your gut. If it doesn’t inspire you and you don’t enjoy writing it, don’t be afraid to move on to something else. Also, feedback and workshops played a huge part in my growth and confidence, so if you get the chance to show off your work and get constructive criticism, make sure to take it! It isn’t easy to put yourself out there, but it definitely pays off.
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