Interview (conclusion) with Author, Robyn Carr

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.

Q. …579655_439735352717582_234453917_n 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. Continue reading “Interview (conclusion) with Author, Robyn Carr”

Interview (part 2) with Author, Robyn Carr

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?RobynCarr_06_hi-res-150x150

RC. I begin with a vague idea of who they are but I have to write about them, put them in scenes, watch them interact with other characters for at least 100 pages before they become real to me. Sometimes it’s longer.  Once I know them I can go back and revise and rewrite.  I love revision.  When the editor says it looks great and we can move right to the line edit and make changes there, I’m almost disappointed!  I love weighing the pros and cons of each suggestion in the revision letter; I love taking that first draft (which is never a real first draft but usually a tenth draft!) and making it better.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

RC. Reading. That feeling of not being able to close my eyes on a good book was so awesome I wondered if it would be even more awesome if I were creating the book. It was.  I thought about the story while I was falling asleep and woke up anxious to get back to it.

virgin.river.coverQ. When your characters are nestled in a small town like Virgin River; what comes first to you? The Characters or the Town?

RC. Always the characters. The town is not only harder to envision, it has to play the best possible supporting role.  With Virgin River not only did I visit the actual place – Humboldt County in Northern CA – but I realized very quickly that the best town to support my story would have to be rugged.  Not cute, not quaint but rough, rural, remote – a place that would demand something of the characters.  When I was there researching a local said to me, “If you last here for three years you’ll never leave.”  What does that say about a place?  It’s not an easy place and it’s worth the effort.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

RC. Oh yeah, embarrassingly so. Once I forgot a speaking engagement. At least it was local and at least I’d already showered and dressed.  I got a phone call asking me if I was coming!  I threw on better clothes and shot out the door!  I was twenty minutes late, but I made it!  I’d been in Virgin River and lost all sense of time and place.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

RC. You mean I have a muse? Really? Whoever it is, she’s slacking.  I have to rely on myself and my discipline combined with my love of storytelling.  Some days are harder than others.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

RC. Forty years ago. I was very nearly a kid. I was, in fact, a very young Air Force wife with two babies and no car, the closest thing to a shut-in.  I’d never imagined I’d aspire to writing novels and was probably too dumb to know it’s an overwhelming goal.  I sold my first book in 1978 and I was only twenty-seven years old.  When the agent called me and said we’d had an offer from Little, Brown I said, “Little Who?”  I knew nothing.  I just knew I wanted to write this story.  It was only my third completed manuscript but it was historical romance at a time when historical romance was hot.

Q. How long after that were you published?

RC. I think it was only three years after I began. It took longer to write books then – we didn’t have computers.  There was no Google – I had to go the library, babies in tow, and research.  I wrote my first several books on a typewriter and being young and poor, it seemed to cost the earth.

Q. What makes a writer great?

RC. It’s unknown, actually. It’s a kind of magic that happens between the book and the reader. It’s unpredictable and undefinable.  In fact there are many great writers who are completely overlooked and many terrible writers who, for whatever reason, rise to bestsellerdom and fame.  And you might not know if you’ve achieved that magic that has readers talking (and talking and talking) for quite a while after the books have been published. No matter how hard we work or how much PR and advertising we do, at the end of the day it boils down to word of mouth.  It always does.  It’s readers telling other readers who tell other readers.  You might be able to trick them into buying the book with a lot of press or chatter, but you won’t twice and you won’t for long.  Readers, who we don’t really know, have to have that amazing emotional connection and response – and then they won’t shut up.

Q…..and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

Tune in for Part 3 of this wonderful Interview  July 30th ~~~  Did you miss Part 1? Click here

DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  A long awaited interview with Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House)   Michael Saad, Canadian author, was June’s author. Robyn Carr is July’s author. Check out Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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An Interview with Bestselling Author, Robyn Carr

TS: Although Robyn’s earlier novels were historicals, she found the voice that has resonated with readers by writing a blend of contemporary romance and women’s fiction—books that not only entertain but also address sensitive issues, such as domestic violence, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, workplace burnout and miscarriage, anything that can compromise a woman’s happiness because she’s female. There have been standalone novels—and wildly popular series. Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space

RC. I work in an extra bedroom that has built-in desktop, drawers and bookshelves to the ceiling.  I really outgrew it years ago – I’ve been in this house and office for 17 years.  I share the space with my husband who takes care of all our family business and attempts to help me with my business and since he tends to stack things, it’s become small and messy.  I have the half with the desk and desktop computer – he has the half with the file drawers, not that he actually files.  My desk is cluttered with everything from checkbooks to unanswered mail.  Given our computerized and internet lives, most of the unanswered mail remains unanswered.  If I can’t do it on the computer, it’s just impossible to get to.  This office that houses two people and a million books is only 10X12.  But it’s where I’m most at home.  The chair is curved to my butt and the screen is exactly the right distance from my eyes.  All the letters are worn off the keyboard because I like the keyboard.  Continue reading “An Interview with Bestselling Author, Robyn Carr”