Rachel Van Dyken is a number one New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal best-selling author. She writes contemporary romance as well as new adult, romantic comedy, and even paranormal. With more than forty romance novels in her catalogue, Van Dyken is a prolific and versatile novelist whose love and enthusiasm for the romance genre are contagious. Her latest novel, The Bachelor Auction, releases this week.
MW: When you started publishing were you Indie or did you work with a publisher? How did you end up becoming a hybrid author and how does that work?
RVD: It seems like it was yesterday that I started writing! I actually had my first indie book published in 2011 (typing this is making me feel really old). Soon after that book released I started self publishing. In 2013 I signed my first traditional contract with Grand Central Publishing, but wanted to stick to my roots and still keep a margin of control over my other books. My agent was really encouraging and in a world where lots of agents weren't wanting authors who had their feet in both worlds, she totally "got it" and had a few other authors that were doing the same thing, she made sure that I would still be able to self publish as long as I wasn't competing against myself, and that's basically how it's been ever since! Right now I write for Grand Central as well as Skyscape and self publish the rest of the year. The only down side is I have to plan ahead! I can't just sit at my computer, pump out a book and hit publish on Amazon, but that's probably a good thing because if I was given that type of freedom I'd probably drive my agent and publishers insane. The publish button would be my kryptonite and I'd just release everything all at once. Can you tell I've had to learn patience in this industry?
MW: You write across a few different genres. Which is your favorite and which comes most naturally to you?
RVD: I'd like to think I write like I read. As I reader I'm hungry for books in general and I love all genres so I let that cross over into my writing. I love writing mafia romance and contemporary romance, but as I'm typing this I'm working on a paranormal. Typically I tell people my favorite genre is the one I'm currently working on because I'm so immersed in the story.
MW: When you start a new project, what are the most important elements that you need to get started? Do you plot ahead of time or do you plot as you work?
RVD: I'm horrible at plotting. The last few books I plotted out turned into complete disasters. I typically write a more streamlined book if I'm allowed free reign on a manuscript. A lot of times a book will start out one way only to end up completely different, I like to give characters freedom to be real people, because to me, they are. For me to control them by plotting or outlining doesn't feel natural even though it would probably help the chaos that is my writing process. Whenever I have a new project, I sit down, put on my headphones and start typing. If I'm not inspired, I'll work on something else or go for a walk with my little guy to get my creativity flowing.
MW: Can you tell us a little bit about The Bachelor Auction (The Bachelors of Arizona) and what inspired the novel?
RVD: It's probably no secret to anyone that I'm obsessed with The Bachelor. I actually came up with the title first and then kind of panicked going, okay so how am I going to auction off a millionaire bachelor? How is this going to work? I wanted to do a contemporary romance loosely based off Cinderella. The entire premise circles around a Grandfather who forces his grandson to get auctioned off to breathe new life into their company and remind their board members why they are relevant. He agrees and naturally falls for the one girl he can't have. I don't want to say much more, but what follows is a really fun and at times emotional journey for the main characters. There is also a cameo appearance from one of my readers all time favorite characters, Nadine Titus (The Bet Series, also Grand Central Publishing). If you like matchmaking books, with a lot of humor, some angst, loads of romance, and meddling family members, you'll love The Bachelor Auction.
MW: You're a very prolific writer with a constant stream of books. You're also a mother and a wife and an active participant in many book world events, do you ever have any downtime? What are some of your other hobbies besides writing? Do you have any hidden talents that would surprise your fans?
RVD: I don't really know what downtime is, haha. I'm also one of those people that basically has to have my computer locked in a safe when I'm on vacation so I'll actually relax and not get on social media or start a new project. I love drinking wine, who doesn't? And since writing is such a sedentary job, I'm really in love with cross fit. It helps keep me sane. I love baking and if I need to relax and shut down, I read. I probably read up to 5 books a week.
MW: You are often outspoken on social media, in defense of authors or the romance industry and equally in defense of readers as well. You're not afraid to speak your mind or share your opinions. Why is having a voice in the romance community important to you?
RVD: I think I'm just in favor of everyone getting along. I know that's basically impossible, but it's so important to stand up for what you believe in. I'm so proud of what I do and I want readers to know that they are VITAL for authors in this industry. Whenever I see authors rant on facebook I want to pull my hair out...This industry is big enough for everyone and life is too short to be petty about the little things.
MW: What's next? Do you have anything coming down the pike that you can share with us?
RVD: I'm working on the third book in The Bachelors of Arizona series and writing paranormal! Bentley's story is up next and I think once everyone reads Brocks, they'll be rushing to snatch up Bentley too!
MW: If you had to choose one novel, for new readers who might be unfamiliar with your work, which one would you choose and why?
RVD: AH! It's like asking me to pick a favorite child! If you like romantic comedy I always suggest The Bet. If you want something a bit more YA then Keep is a great option!
You can read more about Rachel and her work at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/about/ or on her Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Van-Dyken/e/B0054TW5AA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1474923193&sr=1-1