Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Interview with RaeAnne Thayne, Author of Serenity Harbor + Giveaway (US only)

I'd like to welcome RaeAnne Thayne to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Serenity Harbor from Harlequin Books!

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

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

I’m not one of those people who knew from birth she was destined to become a writer. I always loved to read and throughout my childhood I could usually be found with a book in my hands. To the disgust of my friends, I even enjoyed creative writing assignments that made them all groan. But I had other dreams besides writing. I wanted to be an actress or a teacher or a lawyer.

Life took a different turn for me, though, when my mother made me take a journalism elective in high school (thanks, Mom!). I knew the first day that this was where I belonged.

After I graduated from college in journalism, I took a job at the local daily newspaper and I reveled in the challenge and the diversity of it. One day I could be interviewing the latest country music star, the next day I was writing about local motorcycle gangs or interviewing an award-winning scientist.

Through it all—through the natural progression of my career from reporter to editor—I wrote stories in my head. Not just any stories, either, but romances, the kind of books I have devoured since junior high school, with tales about real people going through the trials and tribulations of life until they find deep and lasting love.

I had no idea how to put these people on paper, but knew I had to try—their stories were too compelling for me to ignore. I sold my first book in 1995 and now, more than 40 books later, I’ve come to love everything about writing, from the click of the computer keys under my fingers to the “that’s-it!” feeling I get when a story is flowing.

I write full-time now (well, as full-time as I can manage juggling my kids!) amid the raw beauty of the northern Utah mountains.

Even though I might not have dreamed of being a writer when I was younger, now I simply can’t imagine my life any other way.


It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, the sixth installment in the Haven Point series, which hit shelves yesterday:

In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish—and one magical kiss—away...

Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he's arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there's more to sexy, wary Bo than she'd ever realized.

Bo never imagined he'd be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn't know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he's ready to make her dream of family come true... and hoping there's room in it for him, too.

The town of Haven Point is such a perfect setting for romance. Is there anything about this place that continues to surprise you with each new book?

I love discovering the backstories of people I may have mentioned rather casually in earlier stories. It’s like having good friends you think you know but they can still continually surprise you! I also love having the chance to catch up with previous characters to find out what’s been happening with them since I finished their book. The town itself has become somewhat of a character in the series, full of rich, delicious secrets. I’m always uncovering something new!

Can you tell us a little about Bowie Callahan? Where did the idea for his character come from, and in what ways does he break the “handsome millionaire hero” stereotypes?

In order to make it harder for Katrina to resist him, Bowie had to represent everything she once thought she wanted—a guy who is rich, sexy, successful. He is also brilliant enough to completely intimidate Katrina, who struggled in school with learning disabilities. As she (and the reader!) begins to learn more about Bowie, she finds out there’s so much more to him than his outward layers. His childhood was tumultuous and uncertain, and everything he’s earned came from his own determination to be more. Bowie has this deep core of goodness and a hard-won sense of responsibility that make it impossible for him to turn his back on the young, needy half-brother he has just discovered. All those things make him perfect for Katrina!

Bowie’s young half-brother, Milo, has moderate to severe autism, Kat has epilepsy, and Gabi, the young girl she hopes to adopt, has Down Syndrome. What about these specific conditions were you trying to portray?

I wanted to show that all children with disabilities deserve a safe, warm, loving home with people who want to help them grow and thrive. In Kat’s case, I wanted to show that even though she no longer suffers seizures and outgrew them around puberty—something that happens to many children—the impact of that really shaped the person she became. As a teacher, it made her more empathetic to her students who struggle academically and also more willing to open her heart to children like Milo and Gabi. As tough as it was for her to go through as a child, she grew into a stronger, more resilient person because of it.

Which character in this book was the most fun for you to write?

I felt deeply connected to every character in this book but if I had to choose one, I would have to say Gabi, the little girl Katrina wants to adopt. Though she provides a strong motivation for every choice Kat makes in the story, Gabi only actually shows up in person (spoiler alert!) during the epilogue. That doesn’t stop her from stealing the scene! She was absolutely adorable, and the moment she stepped onto the page, I wanted to give her a giant hug!

What’s next for you? Are you planning more Haven Point novels? If so, can you give us some hints about what readers can look forward to next?

I just finished the next book in the series, which is the long-awaited (and frequently requested) story of Jamie Caine! He is a sibling to many characters who appeared in my earlier Hope’s Crossing series and it was so much fun to once more bridge the two series. For some reason, readers really connected with him, and I’ve had many people ask me to write his book. It’s been on my mind for a long time, but I had to wait until I found the perfect heroine for him. I never would have expected quiet Julia Winston to be the perfect one for this sexy pilot but, as always, my characters love to prove me wrong. Sugar Pine Trail comes out in October, and I really hope readers adore them together because I loved writing their book!

Where can you be found on the web?


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

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Serenity Harbor—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
How would you describe you and your romantic partner? Are you a likely pair, or is it more of an "opposites attract" situation?
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. RaeAnne and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

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 July 12th 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!