Rachel Van Dyken is a USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. She lives in Idaho with her husband. She loves to hear from readers! We learned more about Rachel and you, too, but first, an excerpt from The Devil Duke Takes A Bride:

“That is quite enough!” She pointed a gloved finger at his face and poked him in the chest with her hand. “He is sweet, and kind, and doesn’t scowl. At least he knows how to smile!”
“I blasted well know how to smile.” Banbury winced.
“Were you trying just now?” she asked sweetly.
His answer was to curse and run a gloved hand through his dark locks. “We cannot allow this to happen. You must cry off.”
“Me?” Katherine tightened her hands into fists, but Banbury quickly pulled her aside, shielding her from whomever just passed by. Quickly, he pushed her away, as if she were diseased.
“I cannot simply cry off,” she whispered, her voice wavering with emotion. “I would be ruined! Who would want me?”
Banbury rolled his eyes. “It isn’t as if you’re the belle of the ball currently, is it? What does it matter if you simply cry off? Tell everyone I scared you, that I barked or growled, or simply glared and you fell to your knees in horrified hysterics?”
“Yes, because you’re simply terrifying when you’re unconscious.”
“Apparently it’s the only way you can get me on my back, now isn’t it?” His hot breath fanned her neck as he stepped closer. Instinctively she moved in, undeterred. “Oh believe me, Banbury. If I wanted you on your back I could get you on your back without any sort of violence.” What the devil was she saying? Was she carrying on a flirtation with the Devil Duke? And to say such things aloud! But he was so provoking!
His eyes took on a lazy look as they appeared to darken and almost close completely. And then, he smiled. All white teeth and dimples on either side of his face. Katherine felt her face heat even more as her eyes widened to take in the male beauty in front of her.
“Are you quite sure?”
“Positive.” Clenching her teeth, she nearly touched his lips when she breathed out the word. Never would she back down from such a ridiculous man.
His amusement faded as he grabbed her arm and pulled her flush against his body. “Then I would have to say I agree.” His lips curved into a devilish smile as they tentatively touched hers. It was a question of a kiss, almost as if he was shocked he was participating. And then as their breaths mingled, he groaned and his lips pushed against hers, molded across her mouth. Need shot through her.
This was how girls were ruined.
This was what her instructors had warned her about.
Dark corners, virile smelling men, and the wet heat of a scorching kiss.
Not knowing what else to do, she held on to the lapels of his coat, but it forced her to lean completely into him. Banbury’s arms came around her, his hands slowly moved down her back. With a gasp she prepared to scold him, but the hot invasion of his tongue made her lose all thought. It was wicked and delicious. He groaned and she, in purely unladylike behavior, pushed him further into the alcove against the wall.
“I, ahem, do hope I’m not interrupting anything,” a clearly masculine voice said from behind them. With a shriek, Katherine pulled away. Banbury was smiling from ear to ear, his breathing ragged as his dilated eyes looked up. Cursing, he pushed Katherine behind him.
“When did you arrive?”
Katherine lifted her eyes, her stomach dropped at the same time. In horror, she looked into the eyes of the same man she had minutes ago told Banbury she had set her cap for. With a sob, she ran off, away from Devil himself and the man she hoped to marry.

MTAR: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Rachel Van Dyken: I always struggle with questions like this;) I’m a full time author who is a little obsessed with Starbucks and all things Christmas. I have trouble sleeping sometimes because I always have dialogue running around in my head for my characters. I love to read. I hates spiders, and one day I hope to rule the world….one book at a time 😉

MTAR: What do you do when you are not writing?
Rachel Van Dyken: I don’t think I understand the question? Haha, okay kidding. When I’m not writing I’m usually reading or researching. It’s very rare that I don’t have my computer or at least a notepad with me when I’m out and about. I love spending time with my husband and family. I also have a slight obsession with Starbucks and Christmas, so during the holiday season you can find me in the Christmas section at Wal-Mart cheering.

MTAR: What inspired you to write your first book?
Rachel Van Dyken:I wanted my sister to laugh. She had just gone through a rough time in her life. I also was going through a rough patch, my fiancé was working thousands of miles away from me and work had burnt me out completely. It was my escape and my way to keep myself sane.

MTAR: What inspired you to write paranormal?
Rachel Van Dyken: I have a very short attention span. I blame the fact that I used to work with middle schoolers and they somehow rubbed off of me! I love writing every type of genre, so switching between them keeps my interest and also provides a fun challenge.

MTAR: How did you choose the genre you write in?
Rachel Van Dyken:
I LOVE historicals. I actually started writing contemporary but after my first contemporary book, I switched over. Historicals take me back to a time where men bowed in the presence of ladies, and danced with them at balls. I get so caught up in the era. It’s beautiful and different then what we are used to in this day and age.

MTAR: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Rachel Van Dyken: When I was younger I didn’t read romance. When I went into high school and college I needed a distraction. I started reading a lot of Christian inspirational romance and then later on switched over to historical romance. I’ve been hooked ever since.

MTAR: What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Rachel Van Dyken:
Julia Quinn. Hands down. The first minute I read one of her regencies I went, okay I have to do that. Her books are all about fast paced dialogue and as a reader that’s what I’m attracted to, so I try to implement that in my writing as well. I want people to walk away laughing and smiling, not depressed.

MTAR: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Rachel Van Dyken: I submitted to a lot of agents and never heard anything back. To be fair, the manuscript I was sending in was horrible! I had no idea how to edit my own stuff or even write a synopsis let alone a query letter. It was an act of God that Astraea Press took a chance on me. I submitted to them back in January of 2011 and was accepted in February that same year. My first book came out in May of 2011. The rest is kind of history. I’ve been having books release almost every three months since then.

MTAR: Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Rachel Van Dyken:
My newest release, The Devil Duke Takes A Bride, is the fourth book in the House of Renwick series. I had a lot of readers asking if I was going to continue the series and I thought it would be fun to write about a devil duke rather than the angel duke in the second book of the series. It was supposed to be a really short novella but ended up being almost full length! I really enjoy the character of Benedict. He’s an unapologetic rake who doesn’t understand why Katherine wouldn’t be thrilled to marry him. Nevermind that he’s rumored to be the devil himself. I loved their interactions and had a lot of fun with the dialogue.

MTAR: What was your favorite chapter (or scene) to write and why?
Rachel Van Dyken: My favorite scene was when Benedict and Katherine just arrived at the house party. She gets angry and throws a snowball at him, and he chases her, which of course Dukes are not supposed to do. They fall into the snow and it’s one of those moments where, when I wrote it. I could see time stand still as he watched the snowflakes float across her cheeks and get caught in her hair. When he leans in and kisses her with his warm mouth it was almost like I was watching this private moment. I loved it.

MTAR: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Rachel Van Dyken:I really wish I could re-work The Ugly Duckling Debutante. I read it now and cringe a bit, even though it was my first regency and will always have a special place in my heart, I now realize how many things I could have made better.

MTAR: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Rachel Van Dyken:It’s always the reviewers that get me. One day a person will love your book and you walk around with a giant grin on your face. And then, the next day, you get a review where someone says that their first grader could write a better story. It’s all part of the job and you just have to develop a tough skin and know that what people say can’t define how you do your job. Instead, I try to take the bad criticism and make my books better.

MTAR: What has been the best compliment?
Rachel Van Dyken:
That I made someone cry, or impacted their life somehow with what I wrote.

MTAR: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Rachel Van Dyken: YES, just keep writing. If it was easy, everyone would do it. If your passion is writing, don’t stop because doors don’t open, eventually, they will. Just keep doing what you love.

MTAR: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Rachel Van Dyken: I love you. Seriously. I would not be here without the readers and fans. In fact, I think I get more excited when I see them at book signings. I’m like “YOU BOUGHT MY BOOK YOU ROCK!” Seriously though, I’m sure some of my fans think I’m slightly insane because I really do get that excited. I’m so thankful.

MTAR: Dogs or Cats?
Rachel Van Dyken: DOGS

MTAR: Do you have a specific writing style?
Rachel Van Dyken: Yes. I’m sure it drives some readers crazy but I tend to write run on sentenes a lot. I like to write how I hear people talk and it’s hard to do that when you keep everything grammatically correct. I break a lot of grammatical rules, but it’s part of the way I write. I’d like to think that it’s easier for people to read because the dialogue makes sense.

MTAR: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Rachel Van Dyken: Redemption. I’m sure people have picked up on it by now. But most of my books deal with redemption and forgiveness.

MTAR: What books have most influenced your life most?
Rachel Van Dyken: Ones where people who seem to have no hope and no future, suddenly see their potential and chase it.

MTAR: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Rachel Van Dyken:
I would say Julia Quinn or Lisa Kleypas. They have no idea who I am haha but I love them both and really look up to them as an author.

MTAR: What are your current projects?
Rachel Van Dyken: Right now I’m working on a New Adult series that takes place in Seaside, Oregon. I’m also finishing up The Wolf’s Pursuit which follows Whispered Music and is book 3 in The London Fairy Tales series. I have a mythology/contemp novel coming out in March and am also working on three side projects.

MTAR: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Rachel Van Dyken: When I wrote my first book, one of my best friends, Stephanie Morrison kept telling me that she knew I was going to do well. She had so much faith in me, especially when I doubted myself.

MTAR: Do you see writing as a career?
Rachel Van Dyken:
Yes, absolutely.

MTAR: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Rachel Van Dyken:
Criticism. But that’s how the world works .

MTAR: Do you have to travel much for your books?
Rachel Van Dyken: I have traveled more this year than I have in the past four years combined! It felt like once a month I was jetting somewhere for a book signing or a conference. A writer’s work is never done. I want to get better and better so I love attending conferences where I can learn from others.

MTAR: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Rachel Van Dyken: The middle. Seriously. I’m sure authors say that all the time, but Im a big dot person. I have these huge ideas and hate connecting them to finish the story haha.

MTAR: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Rachel Van Dyken: Yes, but I try to write anyways and if it’s horrible I just delete it and start over.

MTAR: Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Rachel Van Dyken: I just write. I never outline. I may know whats going to happen at first, but I let the characters take me where they want to go.