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  • Writer's pictureJessica Cantwell

A Grim Affair by Rachel Stanley

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

Wait! What? The Grim Reaper’s real? I most definitely did not believe in the supernatural. Until the Grim Reaper showed up in my bedroom demanding to know why I’d been controlling him. Which of course I hadn’t. He also said that I’m the only one who’s seen him in around about a thousand years. Which of course can’t possibly be true. Something peculiar is most definitely going on.

Do I have your attention now? Good. I hate to burst your bubble but that wasn’t me who was channeling the Grim Reaper and summoning him to her bedroom. No, that was Emma. The main character in A Grim Affair. A supernatural romance by the talented Rachel Stanley. Before we start, let’s read the synopsis!

Emma lives a normal life, so normal that even her own mother has been known to accuse her of being boring. But then she sees a mysterious stranger, one that no-one else admits to seeing, and her life changes forever. Emma becomes convinced that she’s been stalked but the Grim Reaper says it’s not him. And if it’s not him, who is it? Unbeknownst to Emma her life is in danger. Can she find the answers she so desperately needs before it is too late?

For my first Indie Author interview, I simply had to interview Rachel. We met via Instagram in the springs of 2020 and became fast friends. Her book was one of my first Indie Author reads. We have similar writing styles and her main character’s inner monologue cracked me up. I knew right away that we were kindred spirits! Over the last several months, Rachel and I have partnered up to host the #aroundtheworldinindieauthors challenge on Instagram. Every month that we host, we have several prompts that encourage writers, readers and book lovers to support the Indie Author Community. Including, recommending a book, reading a book and posting a review. We’ve had a lot of success this year and hope to continue in 2021. J.C. - Welcome Rachel! Please, introduce yourself. R.S. - Hi, my name is Rachel Stanley, its lovely to meet you all. I’m a U.K. based author living in the Northwest of England. I live with my husband and our two cats – Cooper and Watson, who actually feature in my first series of books. I’ve always been an avid reader. It’s not unheard of for me to read two books a day when I’m on holiday! I’ve tried almost every genre possible, when I was younger I went through the romance and the horror sections of the bookshop but now I’m older (although not old!) I tend to prefer anything supernatural. I usually joke that if it hasn’t got a vampire, werewolf, witch, wizard or fae in it then it probably isn’t for me. Ironically my first novel has none of those in it, but it is a supernatural. What else do you want to know? I love animals, in particular cats and most especially leopards, and I love to travel. I want to see as much of the world as possible in my lifetime. I’ve been to some amazing places already and I’m hoping to go to more in the near future. J.C. - Where did you come up with the idea to write A Grim Affair? R.S. - Believe it or not I actually dreamt the first scene of A Grim Affair (the one where Blake is watching over a diner in a restaurant) and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. To be honest, when I started writing I was writing as a way to get the idea out of my head so that it would stop annoying me! Actually, all I did though was fall deeper into the world I’d created. It took me three years to finish A Grim Affair because I have a day job and because I agonised over every single word and every single comma. In the end I set myself a target of publishing and just got on with it. J.C. - What I love most about your book is that it features The Grim Reaper (a.k.a – The Keeper of Souls) which you don’t often read about in supernatural fantasy. The way you have written the character makes the reader empathize with him and his purpose in life. What is your favorite thing about this book? R.S. - Blimey Jessica, you ask some tough questions! I love the fact that I was able to incorporate Cooper and Watson into the book as their true selves. If you’ve read the book and you think their behaviour in incongruous at any point in time, blame them not me because what they do in the book is what they do in real life. But my favourite ‘thing’ is probably Emma. I was getting a little tired of reading about gorgeous, slim, blondes who are able to kick ass in heels. I love books where the heroine is as I’ve described, and I still find them comfortable reads, but there’s no way I can relate! I wanted to write about someone who was authentic in a real world way, someone who felt themselves to be too short/tall/fat/thin, someone with a normal job and a normal family, someone who sometimes acts like a child when they should know better!

J.C. - Emma is a fiery red-head who loves the color purple. Do you share any character traits with Emma? R.S. - Well, I’m not a red-head but I do like purple (although I probably lean towards the blue end of the colour spectrum). The truth is Emma and I are a lot alike though. Emma is probably the version of me that would have existed if I hadn’t met my husband, although I have consciously made Emma into someone I would never have been because Emma is a bit of a slob and I have a terrible need to tidy things away! So, we do share a lot of traits, yes. I’d like to think I’m more balanced than she is but I am stubborn and I do like to get my own way (and okay, I’ll admit it, I have been known to sulk when I don’t!). Add in sleep deprivation and constant fear and I think I would react much like Emma does in A Grim Affair.

J.C. - Blake (a.k.a The Grim Reaper) is able to experience a lot of things for the first time since meeting Emma. Food is amongst those things. If you were Blake, what is the one thing you would want to taste first? R.S. - Chocolate! I have a terrible sweet tooth and I could happily live on chocolate. Why isn’t it good for us? It’s so not fair!

J.C. - Your two cats, Cooper and Watson, feature in the book. What prompted you to write them in? R.S. - I adore my fur babies and I wanted to immortalise them. It’s really that simple. I have nightmares about what might happen to them as they grow older and I wanted a way to keep them with me forever. I am aware that I sound a little bit like a crazy person does right now, but I don’t care.

J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure? R.S. - There are probably two or three people I need to credit here. My husband is the one who’s suffered the most ever since I decided to write. He’s the one who has had to put up with me talking him through the story on a very regular basis. Bear in mind, he doesn’t like supernatural romantic thrillers. He’s very good at poking holes in the story, which is really useful because it means I don’t write myself into a corner. He’s ace at spotting where I’ve written in something that we would both roll our eyes at during movies. You know the kind of things... the good guy has a gun pointed at the bad guys head but let’s the bad guy tell his story so that the audience has definitely caught up, which also gives the bad guy time to free himself... just shoot the guy already and then he won’t get away, but oh yes that’s right, that would make for a short movie!! My mum is the second person I need to credit, not especially because she’s supported my writing but because she’s helped me believe I can do anything I want to do. And lastly, you Jessica. Ever since we met on Instagram you’ve been one of my biggest supporters and have become one of my best friends. It’s soothing to have someone in my life who just ‘gets it’, someone who doesn’t get bored of talking about books, stories, cover designs, marketing strategies... the list goes on. You’re also one of the kindest, and most talented people I know (side note to the reader, no Jessica didn’t pay me to add in that last bit, it’s just true).

J.C. - Aw! I'm blushing. I feel the same about you!

J.C. - Finish the sentence. In ten years I’d like to… R.S. - In ten year’s time I’d like to be making enough money as an author to be able to quit my day job. As it is, I like my day job but the life of an author would be one that I could get behind. I like the idea of having more time to dedicate to writing and being able to set my own schedule. Of course, I’d also love it if Hollywood or Netflix came knocking but I’d be happy just to have a source of income that was enough to live my life the way I want to.

J.C. - I know the answer to this but...when can we expect a sequel? R.S. - That is coming very soon. I’ve been busy working on A Grim Haunt ever since I published A Grim Affair and its currently in the final throes of being edited. I haven’t set an official publication date for it yet but I expect it to be March some time. I’m currently editing it based on the feedback I received from beta readers (at the time of writing I’m about half-way through, but I am a slow editor) and then it needs to be proof read (which I think will take 3-4 weeks) so March feels about right. And then I’ll start writing A Grim Ending, which I’m very excited about because there are some twists in the ending that tie right back to the first book and I think (hope) they will make people sit up in surprise.

J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work? R.S. - If they want to get to know me better hop over to Instagram and follow me. My handle is @rachel21stanley. I try and chat with everyone who’s willing! And my books are all available on Amazon. They’re even free to read for those with a Kindle Unlimited account.

Thank you for reading about Rachel Stanley and A Grim Affair! I've added links so you can easily access her on Instagram on Amazon! She is definitely someone you want to follow! I had the privilege of reading her second book, A Grim Haunt, and am eagerly awaiting its release. Be sure to check back for more Indie Author Interviews!

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