The Long Walk Back
Here’s the blurb..!!
Does everyone deserve a second chance?
As an army trauma surgeon Kate knows how to keep her cool in the most high pressure of situations. Although back at home in England her marriage is falling apart, out in the desert she’s happy knowing that she’s saving lives.
Until she meets Cooper. It’s up to Kate to make a split-second decision to save Cooper’s life. Yet Cooper doesn’t want to be saved. Can Kate convince him to give his life a second chance even though its turning out dramatically different from how he planned?
Good morning Rachel, thank you for joining me for tea and scones and could I just say, congratulations on the release of your fantastic new book. I’ve already read the advanced copy that you sent me and all I can say is, WOW, your readers are in for a REAL treat…!! What an amazing book…!!
I just have one or two questions to ask, as I’m sure your readers will love to hear your answers..!!
1. I know you’ve wanted to write this book for a long time, so… what was your inspiration for The Long Walk Back?
In today’s political climate, I was always struck by the personal stories behind the war, and a story started to form. If I hadn’t gone into education and writing, I think I would have gone into medicine, as it has always intrigued me and I love medical dramas and reading journals etc. Part of my teaching job involves healthcare dealing with autism etc, and having two children with additional needs means that I always keep abreast of developments. One day, I had a notion of a wounded soldier, and it grew from there.
2. How and when do you find time to write?
I write every day, even if it’s just editing, researching or scribbling details down. I work every single day in some capacity, and I get antsy if I don’t. I write when the kids are at school normally, and when they are still in bed on a morning or late at night. I have been known to write in my car or at the side of a football pitch too, whenever I get chance really. I make time, although now I work from home full time it’s a lot easier. People who work full time and still write a book a year are my heroes. I couldn’t do it!
3. Which character in The Long Walk Back is your favourite?
Cooper without a doubt. I normally identify with my female characters more, but Cooper is a stubborn, sexy, pig headed alpha mate with a soft heart. I love him very much as a character.
4. Are any of the characters based on anyone you know?
Grace and Marlene, two of the lovely ladies from The Chic Boutique on Baker Street are real people, my grandmothers, but other than that, no not really. I try to create completely new people.
5. Do you ever become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them. Or, are you happy to let them go and move onto the next project?
Yes, definitely! Cooper is very special to me, and I could have written him forever. I am currently writing the last book in the Westfield series, and I will be very sorry to say goodbye to the village and its characters.
6. Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
Tricky, because it has been different for some of my books, but I definitely think characters are what comes to mind first. They have to be fully formed in my head before I write, and I use character profiles to keep track of them.
7. How long does it take you to write a book and what sort of research do you do?
On average from start to finish from idea to first draft I would say about 6 months, I have books planned which I haven’t started working on yet, but they will be percolating away in the background. I research by going to places, asking professionals, reading books, and talking to people who have been in similar situations. For The Long Walk Back I did the most research, in terms of medical conditions, dosages of medicines, asking professionals for advice. I wanted to get the story right and not glorify war or one side over the other. That’s not what the book is about.
8. What part of writing a novel do you find most challenging?
Deadlines! I am a terrible one for thinking ‘ah, it’ll be fine’ and playing around with things when really I should be applying bottom to chair and hammering the words out. I need to work on my self editing and do this better in 2018, although with deadlines I generally hit them give or take a few days! School holidays knock my work out of whack as we don’t pay for childcare now, and made a pact never to again for the sake of our boys.
9. Can you described the moment when you realised you were a ‘real’ author?
That’s a tricky one, as there have been many amazing things happening in the last couple of years. Stephen King says “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”
I got my first check for a magazine readers letter a good few years ago, after learning about them on an assignment with my writing course with the Writers Bureau, and I still have the letter. I never stopped, and now I have a folder full of letters like that. Writing is not about money, but the first acceptance does spur you on to the next. The best part for me now is saying ‘I am a writer’ proudly when someone asks what I do, rather than just saying teacher. I have my two dream jobs.
10. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read. Read about what is selling, read about the world, and devour books. Devour every genre you can stomach, and find out what you love, what speaks to you, and what makes you happy. Enter competitions too, and take that shot. I always enter competitions even now, because without them, I might never have been published. The practice alone is worth the fear!
If you would like to read ‘THE LONG WALK BACK’ here’s the buying link: