I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for Rachael Featherstone’s debut, Puzzle Girl, which published 16th March (Accent Press).
Today Rachael is chatting to us about her inspiration, how her characters come into existence and much more. Don’t miss the book trailers … my favourite is the first one. Love it!
Keep an eye on your inbox if you’re a newsletter subscriber for an exclusive giveaway coming soon too!
Rachael Featherstone was born and raised in Woodford. After reading Mathematics at New College, Oxford university, Rachael went to work in research. When Rachael’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Rachael decided to take a chance, quit her job, and fulfil a life time ambition to write a novel. She went back to university and completed a Masters in English Literature and had several short stories published. Rachael now lives in Hampshire with her Husband, Tim. Puzzle Girl is Rachael’s debut novel.
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Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Puzzle Girl in 20 words or less.
When Cassy finds a cryptic message in a crossword magazine, she goes in search of the mysterious Puzzle-man behind it.
Did you travel to any places? Have any new experiences?
I did have to do some research for the book. Cassy is a Digital Marketing Manager, a field I knew nothing about. By pure fluke a good family friend happens to work in the industry and so I did a long interview to really get to know how the industry works. Cassy commutes on the DLR and underground so I did the route several times as well as walked around the City.
How do your characters come into existence Rachael? Do they have a bio?
After I get an initial idea for a book, it’s as though I see the novel play like a movie in my head. The characters come to me almost fully formed. Before I start writing the book, I make a plot outline and write up bios of each character, however minor their role in the book. Most of the info in the bio doesn’t make it into the novel but it helps the character feel like a real person to me as I write.
Do you have a book trailer for Puzzle Girl?
Yes. In fact, Accent and I made two!
Which one do you like best?
I’m visual and love book trailers.
What do you think book trailers achieve Rachael?
I think trailers are a lot of fun and can be engaging for potential readers.
What inspired you to write?
My mum. When she was diagnosed with cancer she didn’t let it get her down. In fact, she started living life to the full, travelling, making new friends and raising awareness of Ovarian Cancer. She inspired many people, including me. I realised how short life can be and I decided to make my dream of writing a reality.
What about a most creative time of day? Is there a time that works best for you Rachael?
I always start a writing day around 9am but I usually don’t get any words down until the afternoon and sometimes work late into the evening (which is when I seem to be at my most creative). Still, those hours of procrastination in the morning are important (and not just for my social media accounts). They give me a chance to think about how the story will carry on and get me ready for a productive afternoon.
Do you have a favourite book?
The Domestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. It’s fair to say I love anything by Sophie but this book is my favourite. It’s about a highly organised, highly intelligent girl who has absolutely no idea about domestic things. She can’t even work an oven. She quits her high-powered career and takes a job as a housekeeper and well, you can imagine… I think I related to this character because she is good at maths and I had just finished my Maths degree and was doing a high-flying city job, living mainly off ready meals (though I did know how to work an oven… just)! It’s typical Sophie style: funny, clever and pure escapism.
Have you joined any writing groups?
I am a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) and I go to a lot of their events in London and the Reading Chapter’s writing events. I also have an informal writing group with a couple of writing friends I met at a festival several years ago. We meet up fairly often and give each other feedback and writing advice.
Finally Rachael, have you done any writing courses that you would recommend to others?
I am addicted to writing courses, retreats and festivals. I think any course where you can interact with other writers is great. For me, I would say, try to also go to festivals like The York Festival of Writing and The Winchester Writer’s Festival. They are great opportunities to go to talks on all the different stages of the writing and publishing process. And you never know, you may just secure an agent!
Thank you for being my guest today.
Good luck with your tour and wishing you success with all your writing projects Rachael.
Love is a riddle waiting to be solved…
Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything.
When she finds herself stuck in a doctor’s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious ‘puzzle-man’ behind it.
Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin.
Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on the Puzzle Girl tour.
Accent Press is a feisty, independent publishing company.
Founded by Hazel Cushion in 2003, Accent Press is an award-winning independent publisher which has become a major name for dynamic trade publishing. The company publishes a range of fiction and non-fiction titles across four imprints. Accent Press was named Specialist Publisher of the Year and was shortlisted for Independent Publisher of the Year at the IPG Awards.