Monday, 15 August 2016

Review of "The Artist"

As promised in my blog interview, I've read Juliette Bank's novella "The Artist". 

My conclusion? Sweet and steamy!

I’ve just finished reading it and still have a smile on my face. I genuinely enjoyed it. 

It's told from the POV of the two main characters, alternating slowly enough to avoid "head-hopping", and I thought it rattled along very nicely. The premise was an interesting one to build a story around, and Juliette has produced an entertaining story with a developing romantic relationship and steamy love-making scenes. And eventually a fair bit of mutually-enjoyed spanking! It started gently, then the pace built up. The crisis in the later part of the story added some drama, and was nicely resolved.

I also liked the little details on life in the mid 19th century, with household water still coming from pumps, and railways being a real novelty. The writing also reflects the period a little, enough to give a flavour, but thankfully not a mid-19th century narrative style.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Guest interview with Juliette Banks about her new book 'The Artist'.

Absolutely delighted to have Juliette Banks as my guest today, and to talk about her new book, The Artist.

Hello Ian, and thank you so much for inviting me along today to talk about my new book, The Artist. Many of you will know me as Rachel de Vine, but this is the first book I have written under my new pen name.

You’re most welcome. Can you tell us about your new book?

The Artist is a historical, erotic romance, and is a tale of lust, murder and love.

Here’s the “blurb”.

Lizzie is a pretty, but quite simple village girl when circumstances lead her to the artist, Theo. She made a bad marriage to Lionel, a man who mistreated her, and who then threw her out when she refused to sell her body on the streets for him. Now she is trying to make her way alone.

Theo is the rebellious son of a Viscount, who left his privileged background to pursue his chosen career as an artist. His favorite subjects are pretty young women whom he paints in the nude. He is delighted, therefore, when the beautiful Lizzie knocks on his door one day and offers her services as a model.

It is only a matter of days before the mutual attraction ignites between them and they become lovers. Despite village gossip, they are happy. Until Lionel, hearing that his wife is now living with the artist, erupts in a jealous rage and snatches her back while Theo is away and unable to protect her.

Upon finding Lizzie gone, Theo sets off in hot pursuit, determined to find the model for whom his feelings are growing daily. He soon catches up with Lizzie and Lionel, but during the hot-headed rescue, things take a tricky turn with an unexpected consequence.

Lionel is dead.

Unwilling to be charged with murder, and possibly hanged, Theo and Lizzie flee to Italy, where they try to start a new life together. But the past has a way of catching up with everyone, and they are no exception.

Can the love between a son of a Viscount and an illiterate country girl survive after such a troubled start? And will they have to face justice for the murder of Lizzie’s husband?

This is an erotic tale of a young couple in mid-nineteenth century England and Italy, with some explicit themes, including spanking.

A short excerpt from the book:

He wanted to get back in the studio and look again at Lizzie's soft, luscious body, even if it did send him mad with desire. The sooner the painting was finished, the sooner he could make an attempt on her virtue.

He prepared his palette while Lizzie disrobed behind the screen. She modestly tucked her undergarments beneath the dress, which was flung over the screen, so that they were not on view. Theo smiled to himself, as just the day before she had spread her drying clothes on the bushes behind the house. He found her idiosyncrasies rather sweet and appealing.

He watched as she removed her robe and placed it on the end of the couch on which she lay to pose. He caught a glimpse of her beautifully rounded bottom before she lay down on her side, facing him. He went, as usual, to slightly move her legs so that they were in the required position and longed to run his fingers through the soft curls that nestled between her soft, white thighs. He almost groaned in frustration. The girl was driving him insane. He was a man to whom sex was an essential part of who he was, and celibacy had never been something he would ever consider. He was becoming frustrated with the act of self-pleasuring. Being tormented like this was the cruelest of punishments for a man such as him. The time for action was fast approaching.

He wanted to do more than paint his flame-haired model.

It’s habit of mine to ask my guests a few questions, so that readers can learn a little more about you. Are you game?

Of course, Ian, fire away.

Do you have a day job as well as writing?

Yes, I’m actually a farmer in the UK, and also look after my elderly father. I’m slowly winding down the farming business, though. We no longer keep cattle, and are now purely arable farmers, so I’m able to devote more time to my writing.

Passion by Irena Jablonski (USA)
reproduced courtesy of the artist, 
What does your writing process look like? What’s your writer’s routine? Do you write whenever or at certain times? Where do you like to write? Are you a plotter or do you just write and see where it goes?

I’m one of those writers called (I believe) a ‘seat of the pants’ author. I never jot down a plot or make many notes. An idea will come into my head, and once I think of my opening line I am away. The story will somehow unfold out of my brain, and I have no idea at the beginning where it will take me. Although I will occasionally go back and insert new paragraphs, on the whole I simply start at the beginning and keep going until I reach the end.

Most of my writing is done at night, after I have seen my Dad to bed and everything is quiet. Some of my best work seems to come in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately my routine plays havoc in my interactions with people who work ‘normal’ hours!

Tell us about the genre you write in. Why does this particularly appeal and how did you get into it? Do you think your take on the genre is distinctive in any particular ways?

I’ve written romantic stories for some years, but I started writing erotic romances a couple of years ago. Like a lot of people I read Fifty Shades of Grey, and thought that I could write at least as well, so I thought I would give it a try. I have published eight books now through Blushing Books (all as Rachel de Vine until now) and the stories have varied, in the sense that some are what I think of as ‘spanking-light’ novels, where the romance is the main theme, with fun spanking between the two characters, while the others are more BDSM oriented, incorporating more intense sexual and kinky play between the characters. Despite the fact that my characters often have to overcome many problems throughout the story, I like a happy ending, because I’m a romantic at heart, and I like my main characters to walk off into the sunset together. However, one or two of my less salubrious characters have been known to come to a sticky end!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Writing is my main passion now, and takes up a lot of my spare time. However I’m a lifelong and addicted traveller to exotic places and have been lucky enough to have made many trips throughout my life. I travel with a friend, and we have been to China, Tibet, South America, Namibia, Vietnam, India – just to name a few. My brother or sister step in to look after my father for a few weeks, and we set off to discover new places. When not travelling, or thinking about travelling, or planning a trip – I enjoy reading, music and my garden. I’m also lucky to have a wonderful family of brothers, sister, nieces and nephews, and I love spending time with them whenever I can. I am a lucky woman!

If you only had one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why?

The one word I would use, and I hope others would agree, is kind. Kindness is sometimes an under-rated attribute, but it is essential in the turmoil of modern life that we try to be kind to each other. The kindness of others helps us over the trials and tribulations of our lives, and a kind word or gesture can make the difference between feeling neglected and unloved, and feeling wanted and cared for. I try to be kind always.

If you could pick a past life, what time period would appeal to you and why? Would you be male or female? Rich or poor?

To be honest, I’m not sure I’d pick a past life, because for most of the population throughout history, life has been hard for many people, and women, in particular. No, what I would like would be to jump into the future, because I have a tremendous curiosity to see how mankind develops (assuming we survive, of course – I’m an optimist, so I will say yes, they will). So I would like to come back in 1,000 years and see how the world has changed. I hope it will have changed for the better. Will we have discovered the origin and secrets of the Universe? Will we have defeated diseases? What will life be like for our descendants? I’d prefer to remain a female, and neither rich nor poor, but somewhere in the middle. I’d be very disappointed if we haven’t all learned to get along with each other.

Why the change to Juliette Banks?

For two years I have been writing as Rachel de Vine, but my publishers feel that possible mis-spellings of my name (De Vine, Devine, DeVine) may have affected Amazon’s algorithms due to my name being spelled incorrectly at the beginning, and they recommended that I change my writing pen name. I have become rather attached to Rachel, so I have decided to continue to use both names for the time being. My back catalogue will continue to be available as Rachel’s work, as well as my free short stories on my blog. (You can see these at  In time I will probably produce a separate website for each name.

Many thanks for visiting, Juliette, and I hope a lot of people enjoy reading The Artist. I’m looking forward to reading it myself in the very near future and will post my own reviews.

Please contact Juliette at

Or visit her Facebook page at

Or see herTwitter page at

If your interest has been piqued, here are some Amazon buy links: