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Indie Support Sunday: Rachel LaBerge

With a new year comes new books and even new authors! Rachel’s debut A Lodge Affair is at the top of my most anticipated reads for 2024; everything from the title to the blurb and cover has me excited to dive into this book when it releases in two days!


Like myself, Rachel is a fan of daydreaming. Isn’t that the best way to let our stories grow and marinate? As someone who also listens to music to sometimes get the words flowing, I appreciate Rachel’s love for dance parties as well. Her tips for aspiring authors and things that romance books should include more of are things that I believe in and agree with as well. And if that’s not enough, Rachel’s even got 10 great recommendations of books that you must pick up.


Preorder A Lodge Affair today, it releases January 16th and is a grumpy sunshine, opposites attract rom-com that you don’t want to miss!


BEING AN AUTHOR

Who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve always been interested in writing and stories. Daydreaming is one of my favorite hobbies… It feels like I’m always asking myself what if questions. 


What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author? 

Best part is being able to set my own deadlines. I also really like being in control of the entire project. It’s overwhelming but it’s a blast. Worst part… I think it’s that if you have questions, there’s not necessarily a go-to place for correct information. It takes a lot of research, and connections with other authors, to figure out what you need. 


Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?

In all honesty, the thought of querying made my stomach hurt. I wanted to give self-publishing a try and see if I could find a reader base. I needed some validation that other people thought my writing was worth reading… it sounds silly but it’s ridiculously true. 


When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

I listen to a lot of music and have a ton of dance parties. I’ve also found that walking the same loop around my home helps me think through plot points and things I need to fix. 


If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?

  1. The Fault In Our Stars, John Green

  2. The Plus One, Mazey Eddings

  3. Speechless, Lindsey Lanza

  4. Viaticum, Patrick Morgan

  5. They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera

  6. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab

  7. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

  8. It, Stephen King 

  9. Boys of Lake Chapel series, Abby Millsaps

  10. You First, Caitlin Moss


What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?

  1. Don’t rush it. I feel like there’s this weird thing happening in publishing where some authors are racing to put out books. As an author, I owe it to my readers, myself, and my story, to take the time and go through each step in order to deliver the best possible outcome. This is not a race. (There are some authors who operate the best this way and they’ve done a great job with it… but I see so many first time indie authors doing it and I truly don’t understand the point). Give yourself enough time. 

  2. Don’t force it. If the words aren’t there, they’re certainly not going to show up with force. Take a break.  

  3. Read indie books. I think this is such a key part of my indie journey. As a book reviewer, I made friends with some authors, both indie and trad published, who were key in my debut. It also gives you something to really shoot for when it comes to quality and expectations. 

  4. There’s room for everyone to win! Don’t be discouraged if an indie author is doing better than you. There’s so much room for everyone to be successful. Cheer each other on, make friends, be genuine. 

  5. Celebrate the little victories!


ROMANCE AS A GENRE

Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?

I think the romance genre is so powerful and reaches many different readers. My favorite thing about romance is how we can see how a happy ever after can differ from one character, culture, story to the next. I just also love reading and writing about love. 


If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?

Horror or thriller. I think I could pull off something super creepy, dark, and twisty. 


What are your most and least favorite tropes?

I’m a sucker for enemies to lovers, second chance romance, only one bed. My least favorite trope is probably accidental pregnancy ONLY BECAUSE I have a strong stance on that doesn’t have to be included for someone to have a happily ever after. I feel like there’s so many books where it feels like it’s thrown in, the automatic next step, and it’s not true. As a woman without children, I like the idea of leaving that open, and looking at a HEA where it doesn’t end with a baby or marriage.  


I will say, the best pregnancy trope I’ve ever read is Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake by Mazey Eddings. That book is LOVELY. 


What are some tropes you want to write in the future?

I’m waiting to dream up a solid enemies to lovers story. I won’t do it until I have the right one though. 


What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?

  • Characters that are older than 24. It’s not really a topic, but I feel a good chunk of adult contemporary romance is in this 20’s age range. 

  • Realistic everyday struggles: things like anxiety, depression, and OCD. I’ve struggled with OCD since I was young and I’m surprised by the lack of characters with true OCD (it’s more than just I like to be neat and tidy). I really want to write a character with my OCD details in the future. 

  • Happily Ever Afters that don’t always include babies or marriage. 


If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?

I let the story make the decision… in regards to open/closed door. I read both, loved both, and it just so happened that A Lodge Affair has open door romance. We all know sex is a powerful thing, and there’s something so exhilarating about writing it and putting the control where you see it in the scene. I think it allows us, as readers, to talk more openly about sex and intimacy. 


YOUR BOOKS

What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?

For A Lodge Affair, I was on a work trip in the fall of 2022. Something that happens in the book, pretty much happened to me, and the whole time I was thinking… “wow, this would be a great meet cute!”. 


How much of yourself do you put into these characters?

Too much to be honest. There is so much of me in Ivy, the FMC in A Lodge Affair, and it made me really nervous. Not only are you saying…I hope you like my book BUT DO YOU LIKE ME?! LOL! Joking but… really it’s something I had to consider. 


What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?

I have a poetry collection which touches on friendship, self-love, and what it means to be accepted and accept yourself. My next book is a celebrity romance and I’m lovinggggg how it’s coming along so far. Not a ton to share at this point… still drafting. 


AUTHOR’S CHOICE

  • Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks - Paperback 

  • Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense

  • Single or Dual POV

  • Standalones, series or standalones in a series

  • Open door, ajar door and closed door romances

  • Music or silence when writing

  • Plotter, pantser or plantser

  • Water, tea, coffee or….wine?

  • Cold or warm weather

  • Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?

  • Illustrated or photo cover?


Follow Rachel on Instagram to stay updated on her author journey. Also sign up for her newsletter and make sure to visit her website as well!

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