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. www.robyncarr.com
Q. … and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?
RC. It’s complicated yet simple. There’s an idea. I usually talk to my editor and agent about the idea and it’s barely an embryo. Then I start typing. I let them peek at it at about 100 pages and at this stage it barely has arms and legs. We discuss it to death – and frankly I hate that part. I don’t want to talk about it, I want to write. I have never had a good pitch. I can’t even pitch a book that’s finished! I’d much rather you read it than have me tell you what it’s about.
During the writing of that book, other writing business interferes. The line edit on the previous book. The copy-edits on the previous book. The release of a book. Q&A’s you don’t have time for (she says, blushing). Book tours. Cover art. Cover copy. Blogs. Meetings. Etc.
And life interferes. Hair color, car insurance, food, children, grandchildren, head colds, clothes shopping so you can be seen leaving the house, teeth cleaning, the annual doctor check up which really seems like it comes more than once a year, a run to the veterinarian, a sick friend who needs you, a library chat you agreed to nine months ago when you weren’t in the middle of a book. Stuff.
Meanwhile, I’m writing and writing and writing. Sometimes I show drafts to a specifically collected group of readers I trust. Eventually I have a book I like and I send it to the agent and the editor, we talk some more, we discuss changes and revisions. But while I’m waiting for their verdict, I start a new book. There’s no time to sit around and ponder – getting pages written is a priority.
RC. I don’t know how you could help it. Yes, is the answer. But let me draw you a picture – I write women’s fiction. Women’s fiction deals specifically with women’s issues – everything from child raising to women’s health to battery domestic and sexual assault. Marriage and friendship. Family issues. Women’s issues are those issues that compromise a woman’s happiness and peace of mind because she’s a woman. I’m a woman. If it hasn’t happened to me it’s happened to a woman I know.
Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?
RC. I started writing historical romance and burned out. I think I have a strong contemporary voice and that’s where I’ve always wanted to be – contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I have no desire to write in another place. I’m very content.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
RC. I write in two genres and the difference is subtle. There are women’s issues in the romances I write and romance in the women’s fiction. Here’s how I see them: Romance is the search for perfect, enduring love and women’s fiction is the search for ourselves.
TS: As a sign of the significant contributions Robyn has made to the genre, the Romance Writers of America, the trade association representing 10,200 members who write romance and live in 35 countries, has announced Robyn as the winner of the 2016 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.
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