Saturday, April 6, 2013

Author: Robyn Carr Interview and Giveaway!

Brought to you by the fabulous Little Bird Publicity...

It's my pleasure to welcome one of the biggest names in the romance genre, Robyn Carr, to the blog today to celebrate the release of her brand new series—the first located out of Virgin River (the setting of her massively popular series) in 20 books! Welcome to Books à la Mode, Robyn! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief bio with us?

Because I published my first novel at the age of twenty-seven, it might seem as though I fulfilled a childhood ambition, or at least pursued a career I prepared for in college, but neither was the case. I was an average high school student with greater interest in cheerleading and boys than academics and for a college endeavor I chose nursing. But then I come from the tip of the baby boomer generation; our mothers were usually more concerned with whether we'd get married than whether we'd have successful careers. Many of us chose from the Big Three—nurses, teachers, and secretaries. Writing for me came later, but not much later.

I spent the first decade and a half of my writing career on romance, historical and contemporary. Then, needing a change, I wrote a suspense novel, a non-fiction, and several brilliant but as yet unsold screenplays. I wrote articles and even short stories, jumping all over the place, not really aware that I was working on reinventing myself, redesigning my craft. During the course of this transition, which was by no means short, I had a great piece of good luck. I went to San Diego State University to teach a novel writing workshop and met a woman who was the editorial director for a publisher who focused on women's fiction. The range in this genre is remarkably broad—from pure romance to adventure to political intrigue to girlfriend books to small town fiction.

This was a good place for me to develop my own brand of women's fiction, a style that most closely resembles my take on real life. I want to laugh through a book, but I don't want a book that's a big laugh—and that's a tall order. As a reader I want to have a genuinely good time, but not a joke. I want real women's issues, real humor, and real teeth in the story. This is a genre with lots of room for growth.

In the meantime, with all this writing and reinventing going on, I was raising a family. My son and daughter are adults now, reading my fiction and making snide remarks about how I have used family scenarios to my advantage.

The greatest compliment I have ever received came from one of my readers who labeled me "a woman's woman." She told me I wrote as knowingly about being single as being married, about being old as young, about the happily married and someone suffering from spousal abuse. In short—my goal achieved according to one reader—I can cover all women's concerns. And my women laugh as often as they cry.

I've found my new home.

It's really incredible to feature you—and to hear about your journey as a writer—today! What is your new series about?

Sometimes a man has to accept certain things about himself, and for Hank Cooper, his reality was that he’d never stayed in one place for long. In fact, since leaving home at the age of nineteen, his longest stint in one place was with the Army as a helicopter pilot, and that was saying something, given the fact that the brass in the Army seemed to stay up nights looking for excuses to transfer people. But Cooper never minded that—he usually felt restless about a week after getting to a new place. He wasn’t the settling down type; he even pulled a fifth wheel so his very life was lived on wheels.

Cooper liked being flexible and ready to roll. It’s with exactly that philosophy that he went to attend to the unfinished business of a recently deceased friend and found himself camping out on the ridge above a still, dark bay on the Oregon coast. From where he sat outside his trailer he could see a small, ordinary town, a long and peaceful beach, a little marina filled mostly with fishing boats and beyond the bay peppered with tall, haystack rock formations, the crashing, frothing Pacific ocean. Picturesque, but nothing spectacular. Until storms over the Pacific rolled into the bay, then it was like one of the seven wonders.

Cooper had traveled the world. He’d seen beauty in every corner, and it had only inspired him to look further. He was a rolling stone and had reached the age of thirty-seven without putting down roots. He had no bills or obligations and life was easy, just as he liked it.

Cooper met a deputy who was the law of the town, a man driven to keep a quiet place safe and peaceful. There was a young, single mother who served him his breakfast at a little diner, who knew everyone and how each one of them liked their eggs. A search and rescue pilot who looked more suited for a modeling career and a teenage boy who was too alone. The town, so ordinary and unaffected, was populated by people who seemed to fit together like the last two pieces of a puzzle. And something bizarre began to happen, something that had never happened to him before. They began to draw him in despite the fact that he was ready to move on.

Something snagged his heart, something he was more than ready to resist. A kind-hearted town, a beautiful woman, a fatherless boy. A heart-stopping view. Feelings of responsibility, feelings of desire. In his mind he heard, Run Cooper, run. And he thought—Tomorrow I leave. He knew he couldn’t stay because he never had. But that little town and its people tugged at him.

The town is called Thunder Point, and you’d never know to look at it that dreams are built there.

See you there. Bring your dreams.

Could you tell us a bit about the first book in the series, The Wanderer, which was released last week?
From Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Virgin River novels, comes Thunder Point-the highly anticipated new series that will make you laugh, make you sigh, and make you fall in love with a small town filled with people you'll never forget.

Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

What made you choose the Oregon Coast as the setting for your new trilogy? Did you travel to the area to do research before you starting writing The Wanderer?

At first the location was purely logical. This is my third series. The first, Grace Valley, was a valley town in the mountains. The second was a mountain town, Virgin River. It only made sense to head for the ocean. Also, Thunder Point isn’t terribly far from Northern California, with many of the same issues but plenty of new ones. I understand that part of the world.

And yes, I went there. I spent a good deal of time with the local Coast Guard, conducted interviews, took pictures. Mainly, I stood on the high, rocky coast and let it soak into my skin, my head, my heart. I pictured people there, conducting their day-to-day lives, falling in love, rubbing up against crisis, relying on each other.

Seems like your logical decision turned out to me a completely sentimental one in the end, and the landscape you visited must have been amazing! How much of yourself do you write into your female characters?

Every female character I write about will have some of my traits, but no character will be like me because I’m not that interesting. To understand them they have to have qualities I get—maybe their hopes and dreams. But to be interesting to me and thus to the reader, they have to have qualities I admire but have always felt out of my reach somehow. I usually can’t fully understand a character or situation until I’ve written about them or their dilemma. I like starting with a problem or issue I can’t figure out; writing about it helps me understand it better.

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known 15 or 20 years ago.

I wish I’d have stopped worrying about the “market” so much and concentrated on writing the books I was driven and inspired to write—series romance. They might have been harder to sell at the time, but in the long run they’re usually the better and often more successful books.

That's very helpful! Given your success, you know better now! Where can you be found on the web?

It was absolutely delightful getting to know you and your marvelous new series, Robyn! Thank you so much for joining us, and a BIG congrats on the books x


We've a terrific giveaway for you readers! Thanks to the publicist, there's one print copy of The Wanderer up for grabs—I know y'all are just dying to try this series! To enter, tell me what kind of setting you like in romance novels. Small, charming towns like Robyn's? Big metropolitan cities with bright neon lights? Coast settings, mountain settings, valley settings? Let me know! While I do love fictional towns like Thunder Point—they're so cozy and feel so much like home—I'm a fan of contemporary suburbia stories. I grew up in (and still live in) towns that are fairly large, but not big enough to be urban, so I guess backdrops like those are easiest to relate to.

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL—comments only consisting of "I like that small towns, great interview" or "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry!!!! I really want to hear you guys' preferences! :)
Rules and Disclosure:
Giveaway ends 21 April 2013 at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, international! Check my sidebar for international giveaways.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
Although I will be selecting winners via Rafflecopter (, 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 ❤ Plus you get extra entries ;)
Good luck!