Interview With Author Rachel McMillan

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hi! I am Rachel McMillan! I write in a few genres! Currently, I write historical romance for Harper Collins, the most recent being The London Restoration. I have also written non-fiction including Dream, Plan and Go: A Travel Guide to Inspire Independent Adventures and A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide (which is my my love letter to made-for-TV Christmas movies). I also write contemporary romances set in Vienna that are part of the Three Quarter Time series. My next book will be The Mozart Code which publishes in January with Harper Collins. I love to read and to travel (especially for research). When I am not writing, I work as a literary agent. I live in Toronto, Canada.

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

As a voracious reader, I truly believe that reviews are for readers and not for writers. So I try to avoid the negative ones but also the positive ones as much as I can. Neither, I find, really help my own writing anxiety so unless a friend or my publicist sends me a review, I am most likely to try and avoid them. I feel that there is a REALLY special and cherished space that allows readers to discuss books they love and loathe within a free space. As a voracious reader, that privilege is important to me. At the end of the day, I always try to remember that I don’t love every book I read—so why should everyone love mine? Moreover, the internet is one snapshot of a reader. There are many, many readers who never share their feelings online. We sometimes assume Goodreads or Instagram is a full snapshot of a book’s influence—but we will never completely know all of the corners that our books reach.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I consider myself a piece of Velcro and whether intentionally or not, a lot sticks to me and shows up whether consciously or not in the books that I write—sometimes years after the first kernel of thought. For my historical romances which take the most research on location and in book form, I often draw from a sweeping range of my own influences. I read a lot. A lot in many genres. I also am a huge classical music buff and somehow music always finds its way into my books: whether in the popular Swing dance tunes of the 30s or Mozart’s compositions in my upcoming The Mozart Code. But most often, it is a visit to some place or a kernel of something I read, really gets my brain going.

For The London Restoration, it was when I was on vacation in London: with no plans on writing that city at all. I happened to wander into a church—St Bartholomew the Great—and knew immediately that I had to write it. The rebuilding of the churches after the Blitz was a perfect place to start .

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

This is always a team event because I work with my publishers. So, usually, I have an idea or a working title and fill out questionnaires that include descriptions of the locations and themes and characters (in fiction). I am often invited to provide ideas of already-published covers that I love or that reflect my story. One thing I think pre-published authors might want to know is that cover design and titling meetings are often driven by the sales department. They are a huge part of the package of the book. So it works best when my editor and I are definitely part of the conversation but when I relinquish control and trust that all of the nuanced areas of a cover and title are going to be considered by a sales team. This can include titles that will help a book’s online (ie., Amazon) searchability, as well as a cover scheme and look that fits the zeitgeist of the genre. I have been very fortunate in my cover designs. As for titles, it can mean biting back my own ideas for the good of the

A lot of publishing is about trust: trust in your editor, trust in the process and, in this case, trust that your team has the success of every facet of your book’s package at heart.