Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Interview with Robyn Carr, Author of The Life She Wants + Giveaway (continental US only)

I'd like to welcome Robyn Carr to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of The Life She Wants from Harlequin MIRA!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Robyn! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Robyn Carr was a young mother of two in the mid-1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, that she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction, that 11 of her novels would earn the #1 berth on the New York Times bestselling books list.

Proof of Robyn’s international popularity is also in the numbers. Over the past 17 years, 41 Robyn Carr titles, with collectively 27 million copies in print, have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries.

Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hits shelves tomorrow:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr creates an emotional and uplifting ensemble of characters in this rags-to-riches-to-rags novel about women, friendship and the complex path to happiness

In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients’ life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband’s crimes. She is left with nothing. Only one friend stands by her, a friend she’s known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn’t easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she’d rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.

Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can’t escape her husband’s reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she’d ever ask for help—her former best friend. It’s an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they’ve made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.

After losing her husband and washing her hands of his sullied fortune, Emma returns home to California to rebuild her life and start over from scratch. Part of this involves reconnecting with old places and people she has not seen in over a decade. What inspired this idea of reconnection, of a prodigal returning home after a long absence?

I’m fascinated by relationships and one of the stickier ones we grapple with is women’s relationships with other women. There is no way to describe the heartache when best friends split up—it’s almost as bad as a divorce. I wanted a close look at that—both Emma and her former best friend, Riley, did unforgiveable things. Can they overcome it? Should they? Sometimes we pass our time with a friend and have to move on; sometimes it’s not too late. I never know how these issues will be worked out until I write about it. I have to spend some time with the characters, find out what they need, what kind of people they are, what they need.

Women behaving badly fascinates me, also. We’ve all experienced deep hurt from a friend and we all know how hard that is to overcome. How would Emma and Riley deal with their betrayal? That’s what I wanted to know.

The concept of forgiveness is important throughout the book, and several of the characters struggle to find ways to forgive each other and themselves for past mistakes. Why do you think forgiveness is so crucial to happiness, and why do you think it sometimes takes people such a long time to forgive?

I think the idea of forgiving is not only crucial, asking for forgiveness is even more so! Who among us won’t forgive if someone makes sincere amends? Most of what has to happen to patch up a tattered relationship is admitting you’re wrong and asking to be forgiven. Forgiving in a vacuum doesn’t change much but what everyone wants to hear from someone we think wronged us is a real apology. We can say we forgive a hateful person, we can say that gives us peace of mind, but if that person goes on being hateful, we’ll keep experiencing the pain of it.

In the case of Emma and Riley, they both made serious mistakes. I knew what it was going to take for them to get each other back. What I didn’t know until the whole story played out was whether they would do it.

Family is another important theme in this book: Riley is a single mother but has a strong family support system around her, while Emma is largely alone in the world after being orphaned as a teenager. What made you want to set up that kind of contrast between the two characters?

I wanted to establish how Emma and Riley needed each other from the start—there’s wonderful balance in that. They each had something the other needed. Emma needed that family connection and Riley needed to see Emma making it on her own. They were role models for each other without quite realizing it.

Throughout your career, you’ve written both romance novels and women’s fiction—The Life She Wants falls into the latter category. Are there any challenges that come with moving back and forth between those two genres, and does your writing process change depending on what kind of book you’re working on?

It’s a gift to be able to move back and forth between the two genres; the differences between them are very subtle. There are always women’s issues in my romances and romance in my women’s fiction. In romance we’re searching for perfect, enduring love and in women’s fiction we’re searching for ourselves. My process doesn’t change at all—only the guts of the story change.

What’s next for you?

I’m at work on the second Sullivan’s Crossing novel, no title yet. It should be ready soon and out the beginning of April 2017.

Where can you be found on the web?

It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Robyn! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Life She Wants—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Last week, I asked everyone about their most-visited websites. What is your favorite website, something you'd recommend to everyone either for entertainment or just to make their lives easier?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Robyn and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

I suppose this is one of my most frequently visited websites as well, but Netflix! Or any other streaming service that has a wide range of TV shows and movies to watch on-demand. It's not only a great and inexpensive way to keep up with your favorite shows (compared to cable or network costs), it's also a great way to entertain affordably. Movie nights have never been easier :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends October 19th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to continental US residents only—sorry, everyone else!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!