I’m delighted to have debut author Rachel Burton in my hot seat today on tour with Neverland Blog Tours.
Rachel is sharing with us her inspiration for The Many Colours of Us, the scenes she found easy and hard to write, how her protagonist surprised her and much more!
Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk, prodigiously early. In 2013 she finally started making one up that was worth writing down.
She has a BA in Classics and an MA in English and has never really known what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a legal secretary, a yoga teacher and a paralegal. She never quite made it to law school.
She grew up in Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.
Connect with Rachel Burton
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
What was the idea/inspiration for The Many Colours of Us?
The idea originally came when I was re-reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens. It’s been a favourite book of mine since university and I’ve always loved the story of the orphaned Esther Summerson finding out who her parents really were and the scandal of her birth.
I was thinking about how that would play out in a contemporary novel where our moral stance is so different but our love of scandal remains. From there The Many Colours of Us was born!
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you?
Yes, the fact that Julia made all her own clothes and was talented enough to set up her own business was a complete surprise! I have absolutely no idea where that came from as I haven’t threaded a needle since school. Luckily my sister-in-law makes a lot of her own clothes so I had somebody on hand to ask questions of!
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Rachel?
The very last scene. I’d had that scene in my head since I wrote the first sentence. I don’t want to say why because it will give the ending away but if readers’ love it as much as I do it’ll be obvious why it was so much fun to write – although I did re-write it about fifteen times to get it spot on!
… and the hardest?
The hardest scene to write, and one I left until the very end, was the one where Edwin tells Julia about his brother. I felt the dialogue and the pace and the emotion in that had to be perfect because, to me, it is so pivotal. It explains so much about who Edwin is and it makes Julia realise that he is so much more than just a pretty face. I felt I needed to know Julia and Edwin and his brother really well before I could do that scene justice.
Next a fun question … who would you cast in the role of your characters if your novel were optioned for a movie?
I think about this sort of stuff way too much, but I also believe in dreaming big – and what could be bigger than selling the film rights!?
Bruce Baldwin – Sean Bean
Frank Baldwin – Robert Carlyle
Philadelphia Simmonds – Diane Keaton
Julia Simmonds – Emily Blunt
Edwin Jones – Max Irons
Rob Jones – Robert Pattinson
Johnny – Bill Nighy
Cedric Jones – Jeremy Irons
Marco di Palma – Paul Ritter
Pen – Sheridan Smith
Graeme – Steve Peacocke
Alec Chisholme – Sam Claflin
(Did you catch Diane Keaton on Graham Norton? 🙂 )
Panster or a plotter?
A pantser. I just start writing and see where it goes. Sometimes I don’t even write the scenes in the correct order!
That said I’ve had an idea for my third book which is definitely going to involve some serious planning. And to be honest that scares me half to death!
What are your thoughts on movie adaptations Rachel? Do they do books justice?
Some do and some don’t. The trick, I think, is to come to the movie adaptation with an open mind. Film is a very different media to a book, it doesn’t need the complexity of character and subplot that a book does – it goes without saying that sometimes your favourite scene has been cut.
Do you have a favourite adaptation?
Everyone says it, but the Harry Potter films were so true to the books and the casting was spot on. I also thought that the film adaptation of Me Before You was beautifully done. My favourite film adaptation though is The Time Traveler’s Wife which I actually like more than the book.
What are you reading now? Thoughts?
I’m currently re-reading Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner, which won the Booker Prize way back in 1984. I’ve read it a couple of times before at different stages in my life and reading it now it has a whole new meaning. It’s a very simple story about a woman who has been sent away by her friends to a hotel in Switzerland to learn how to be herself again after a “disgraceful episode”. The writing is exquisite and it’s funny, poignant and romantic.
I love revisiting books years later and realising that they can be a completely different story as you get older and your own experiences change.
Finally Rachel, what are you currently working on?
I’m currently deep into the first draft of my second book which is set on a yoga retreat in the middle of rural Suffolk in January and is told from three different perspectives. It’s a rather unwieldy beast at the moment but I’m loving the challenge! I think it’s due out in January 2018.
Thank you for being my guest.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1011 KB
Print Length: 209 pages
Publisher: HQ Digital (26 April 2017)
What if your life was built on lies?
Julia Simmonds had never been bothered about not knowing who her father was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.
Uncovering the secrets of a man she never knew, Julia discovers that Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday, urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.
Julia begins to dig deeper into the mysterious past of her parents, opening up a history she’d never have imagined, but as she discovers the truth she needs to decide if she is willing to forgive and forget…