Interview With Author Rachel Fordham

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hello, hello! Thanks for having me. I’m Rachel Fordham, busy wife and mom (foster and biological kids), road tripper, Pacific Northwest girl and lover of all things bookish. I started writing a few years ago in a busy season of life when I found myself in need of a creative outlet and haven’t stopped since.

I have four published historical romance novels (and more in the works). My most recent book is A Lady in Attendance. I love diving deep into characters’ lives and walking their journeys with them. It’s my goal to leave readers with a happy sigh!

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

Every book I’ve written has a story of its own!

My most current book, A Lady in Attendance, features a dentist in the late 1800’s and a woman who recently left a reformatory. The inspiration for this story comes from sitting beside my husband, who is a dentist, and watching movies and noticing that dentists are never the hero. It became a goal to write a romantic, swoony dentist. I am pleased that the character was born out of this idea!!!

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

All it takes for me to feel inspired is for me to look at the world around me and ask, “what if?” I was giving blood the other day and watched two people talking as they donated blood and I thought, what if two people came in every few weeks to give blood and they talked a little more each time. Could giving blood bring two people together? I don’t even write contemporary and I was ready to run home and find out what would happen! Life is inspiring.

# How do you deal with creative block?

The only time I have struggled with creative block has been if I am going through a stressful, real-life issue. For example, when we took in our first foster daughter, her needs were so high, that all of my extra energy went into trying to learn how to help her. I didn’t write for a very long time (thankfully, I had no deadlines). In those seasons, I have tried to give myself the space to set writing aside and not feel guilty for that. I think knowing how to adapt is the secret. Then you come back ready to go and tackle it with gusto!

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Often on my first draft I make the mistake of not trusting my reader enough. I reiterate things that don’t need to be rehashed and then on a second run through I end up deleting a lot of that, because I realize the reader is smart enough to know what I am trying to say without me having to repeat it so many times.

Another mistake I see often has to do with romance. Writers want there to be chemistry so they up the physical tension (which is important), but they forget to touch on all the other ways we show love. Letting your characters show their affection in a variety of ways will actually help more readers believe the relationship.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

My publisher gets the final say in cover and title choice, but they are fantastic and include their authors in the process. I think the best covers are high quality and speak to the readership that will most enjoy the novel. A cover is like a movie poster, it combines as many of the entry points into the novel as possible. If the book is historical romance with a touch of mystery, then give the book a historic setting, proper costuming and use color and light to add the mystery element. There is no one size fits all for covers other than making it fit your book.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Negative reviews used to weigh on me. I would want to go back and rebuttal them (especially if they had their facts wrong) and at times I was even tempted to change my story so everyone would like it. And then I realized that negative reviews were part of the writing journey. No book is for everyone and understanding that makes a negative review easier to swallow—that reader, wasn’t your audience! Plus, some people love hating (sad, but true), so rolling with it is the key to not being stalled by it.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I don’t know that my process has improved, so much as adapted. Covid and my children being home more has made it harder to have large chunks of time free of interruption. This has been a challenge, but it has forced me to learn to write in smaller doses and to think through my plots more than I used to.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

Best- I’ll give you two. I LOVE it when characters surprise me and do something I didn’t expect. It makes the whole process thrilling! But my favorite thing about writing is that it connects me to people all over the world.

Worst- I am grammatically challenged! The last read through is always the worst, my eyes do not see typos or grammar mistakes (thank goodness for editors).

Surprising- Prior to writing, I did not know many authors. I was completely surprised by how warm and welcoming the writing community is. It’s truly a community that knows that being colleagues is better than being competition. Everyone supports and cheers each other on!

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

That’s a tricky question! I try to write the story that is right for the characters and to not think too hard about anything else on the first draft. During editing I try to ask a lot of questions to make sure the reader will be able to see the story, understand the characters choices and make sure they will ultimately be satisfied by the outcome.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

They play a huge role! I often joke with one of my writing friends about this. I’ll text her and say, “today was such a stressful day, I just want to go and write a good fight scene.”

Luckily, if I let myself dive into my fictional world, I can set my own personal life aside. The fun thing about that is depending on what my characters are going through I might come out of the writing world in a better mood than I started off in.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

One trick that works really well for me is to write very quickly without editing until I am sure there is a story there. My rough drafts are awful! But for me this sequence of writing a sloppy quick rough draft and editing later works wonderfully.

# What are your plans for future books?

Now that A Lady in Attendance is on bookshelves, I am spending more time working on my next historical romance that is currently unnamed but scheduled to release June of 2022. It opens with a woman ready to marry for the practical reason of saving her family’s farm. A couple weeks prior to her wedding she finds an injured man on her land and it sends her life in directions she could never have imagined.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

Ten Quick facts about me-

  1. I’m a foster parent
  2. I live on an island
  3. My husband and I had a goal to go to all fifty states together. We have three left.
  4. I love having music on (and will stop what I am doing to sing to my favorites)
  5. I love road trips (my husband is the most fun to travel with).
  6. I am obsessed with the Hallmark show Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
  7. I can quote almost all of While You Were Sleeping
  8. I once wrote a book in three weeks (wish I could do that every time).
  9. I won a food eating contest once (ate a two-pound burger with all the toppings before the time limit)
  10. And finally, I have potty trained 8 children and feel like there should be a special place for me in heaven because of it!