Join me in getting to know the lovely and talented Rachel de Vine. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ms. de Vine recently as a friend and an author. She is insightful, intelligent, and her warmth radiates in everything she does. Would love to sit down and have a cup of tea with her someday. I just started her novel The Artist, and I'm enjoying the historical backdrop and the strength of her protagonist, Lizzie. It's been a while since I've done these interviews, and this one will be hard to beat. Read on to see how effortlessly, Rachel answered my questions.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
I never thought I was creative, until about 15 years ago when I started writing, and discovered to my surprise that I could actually write a book. I’m not a gifted writer, or even a particularly talented one, but that’s all right. I recognise my limitations and am content with that, although I try to improve all the time. I can’t write great literature, but I am a storyteller who enjoys entertaining people.
I’m not very spiritual. I decided in my early twenties that religion was not for me. I couldn’t reconcile the disconnect between the suffering of many people on Earth and the religion I had grown up with. I have the greatest respect for anyone who believes in God, but I cannot find anything in it for me. Although I have to be honest and say that I still live by many of the Christian ideals I learned as a child. But now I see them as simply sensible rules to live by; that benefit us all.
I’m quite an emotional person. I cry when I see starving children on the television, or when some great disaster befalls a community. I’ve hated injustice and bullying since I was a small child, wading in to protect other children from being tormented by their classmates. I can’t stand idly by and allow other people to suffer when I can do something to help. I also cry when I read sad stories, or watch a sad film. So yes, I am definitely emotional, and I’ve a feeling that this comes over in my writing.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
As I’ve already said, I don’t believe in Heaven or God, but let’s, for the sake of this discussion, pretend that I do. I would want God to say, “What kept you?” Because I don’t intend to get there until I’m good and ready – round about the age of 95 will do. I’ll also add “And because I was kept busy down there, doing all the things you should have been doing!” That will give God pause for thought.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Although I love my family dearly, and have a few very good friends, my idea of bliss is being alone, so a cabin on a deserted beach would suit me just fine. At present I live with my aging father, but I have my own apartment within a large country house, and it’s bliss when I retreat to my place, surrounded by my books, music, laptop and all the paintings and objects I have gathered from a lifetime of travelling around the world. That is heaven to me. When my Dad leaves me, as I know he must, I’ll pick up my laptop and spend half the year travelling and writing. Heaven!
Who are your favorite fictional heroes/heroines?
I’d have to be self-indulgent here, and say that my favourite fictional heroes/heroines are my own—the ones I write about. They don’t have to be perfect (in fact I like some imperfections in them). But they have to be innately good, and if they make mistakes, they have to be redeemable. They can be dominating in the bedroom (and why not?) but they have to have a soft, squishy centre—to be honest and upright and not afraid to show love and compassion. I fall a little in love with all my male heroes as I am writing the book, but I’m a fickle woman and easily move on to another hero when the book is finished. If they fall off the hero’s plinth occasionally, they are allowed to recognise their own failings and redeem themselves. The heroines I write about have to be intelligent, brave and unafraid. No wimps allowed in my books. They often have to overcome great odds to achieve their goals, and their struggles can be immense. But they become better people because of it. I suppose I believe in fairy stories really. I probably watched too many Disney films as a child. I sometimes have ‘baddies’ in my books, but they usually come to a suitably sticky end.
If you were reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be?
If I came back as a plant, I’d be a snowdrop. The delicate and pretty flower is the first to peek through the cold earth or snow. It’s a plant that signifies that winter is nearly ended, and a fresh new spring is on its way. As I am a fairly positive, optimistic person, the snowdrop suits my personality
If I came back as an animal, I would have to be a big, majestic elephant—even though it’s now a precarious existence due to the poachers. I saw a herd in Africa, about forty of them, with the matriarchs standing so bold and proud, and the baby elephants weaving through their legs. It was a magical time, and a privilege to be able to see them so close. In India, where often a solitary elephant is manacled outside a temple, it breaks my heart to see them. For the elephant is an intelligent, family-orientated animal, that needs freedom and companionship, as we do. Mankind has a lot to answer for in the way it treats its fellow Earth inhabitants.
Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in real life?
For me, the heroes/heroines in real life are the carers of the world. Everywhere there are men and women taking care of the frail, the sick, the old in our society, whether it’s in Care Homes, or in private homes. They’re often undervalued and underpaid, and yet they continue to do this valuable job, allowing everyone else to live their lives without having to worry about elderly or disabled relatives. Old age can be isolating and lonely for many people. Some can go days or even weeks without visitors. So the appearance of a carer is a lifesaver for them. They should all be given a pay rise and a medal, in my opinion.
What is your present state of mind?
I would have to say ‘happy’. On the whole I am a positive, optimistic person. That’s not to say that I don’t get depressed occasionally. I think that everyone does from time to time. But I would say that I am at a time in my life when I have a lot to be grateful for. I’ve done many of the things I most wanted to do, and I am reasonably content with my life. One of the nice things about getting older (and there are several, believe me!) is that you cease to care as much about what you come to see as the trivia of life. Not everyone will like you. Tough! That’s their loss. You will never regain that youthful figure or energy. But wisdom and experience are valuable commodities. I no longer have to impress anyone, or be anyone I don’t want to be. I may no longer be the happy seventeen years old, starting her first job. Or the twenty five year old who could dance all-night and then go straight to work in the morning. But I don’t want to go there again. I’ve been there, done that, and thoroughly enjoyed the party. But now I enjoy different things. Besides, that seventeen year old is still there inside me. And she’s happy.
More from Rachel:
I am quite a private person and prefer to let my characters do the talking. But here are a few facts: I am British, but I have travelled around the world for many years and have been privileged to visit some wonderful places. I hope I will continue to do this for many years to come. When I am not writing, I love to be in my garden or enjoying the beautiful British countryside.
I write about sensual, romantic, passionate people, because I like to think that I am a sensual, romantic and passionate person. I love to write about strong, intelligent, characters, who lead interesting lives. Some of my stories are contemporary, while others are historical. I like to explore the sexuality and sensuality that lurks beneath the surface of most of us. Some of my lead characters face many challenges throughout their journey, but I always try to end my stories on a positive, happy note. I am an optimist and prefer happy endings.
I write as both Rachel de Vine, and also Juliette Banks (it’s a long story!) and I’ve published about ten books so far.
My avi pic (again because of my wish for privacy) is that of the character, Pascale, in my book SONGBIRD. But I also use the picture of a rather fetching, naked woman, with long red hair on my websites, because she is rather sexy. The book I would like to promote today is in fact one I wrote a couple of years ago, and which, despite receiving great reviews, didn’t get the recognition I hoped it would. It is SONGBIRD. It still means a lot to me, and I hope that more people will take a look at it.
The Amazon US link for SONGBIRD is
Find me at: (The perils of having two names…!)
Websites: www.racheldevineauthor.com and www.racheldevineauthor.wordpress.com
Rachel’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/racheldevinewriter
Juliette’s Facebook: http://facebook.com/juliettebanksauthor
Amazon (Rachel): https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-de-Vine/e/B00N58ULQW
Amazon (Juliette): https://www.amazon.com/Juliette-Banks/e/B01K0EIMNW
Twitter (Rachel): www.twitter.com/racheldevineuk
Twitter (Juliette): www.twitter.com/juliettebanksuk
You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCir2sFxzULwKUsu31tXuCRw