I attended RT about 2 years ago
and one night I came back to my room and found a bag on
my bed with the first Virgin River book in it. Jack and
Mel's story. I read that book the whole way home on the
plane and was hooked from then on. By the time I landed
for my connecting flight I was sitting waiting to board
stalking Robynís site for Preacher's book, dying to know
if it was available. And then I wrote a review simply
because I loved them so much and Iíve been stalking her
ever since. I had a chance to talk to her about her
Virgin River series and Iím happy to say that she was
kind enough to answer my questions.
Tell us a bit about your Virgin
River is a small town in the Northern California
Mountains, in the midst of redwood and river country,
where the landscape is breathtaking and the living is
rural and rugged. The local watering hole is Jackís Bar
and Jack is as much an anchor for the series as he is
for the town. The local midwife, Mel Sheridan, anchors
the series and town through her dedication to the health
and welfare of its women. The men almost all have roots
in the military; as a group theyíre courageous,
honorable and committed.
River Series is many things Ė an ongoing small town
drama (Iím working on the 9th story right
now!), womenís fiction, romance and adventure.
When you start writing, do you
already have the story plotted out or do you let the
characters dictate what will happen?
I have to
know the basic plot and major characters before I begin;
I usually ask myself ďwhat are they up against?Ē But
thatís where the outlining ends and the writing begins,
on page one. And over time, as the story and characters
develop more depth new things begin to pop into my
mind. Itís not that the characters really write the
story, but more that they evolve. And they keep taking
shape through many, many revisions. Sure, Iím sometimes
surprised when things I hadnít planned happen Ė but
thatís just a new idea or new twist on the existing idea
Do you draw inspiration for your
characters from real life? Any fun stories you could
really draw on real life people for my characters Ė
theyíre almost always a composite of many different
character traits. But what happens to them, with,
almost always have their roots in real life Ė either
something thatís happened to someone I know, something
from the news, issues women in our society deal with on
a continual basis. For example Ė Mel Sheridan was
tasked to deliver a stillborn infant when she, herself,
was nine months pregnant, making the situation more
challenging emotionally. That actually happened to a
midwife I know!
Name one thing that your readers
would be surprised to know about you.
absolutely NO idea.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
late into the night a guilty pleasure? Itís certainly
stupid, given the fact that I want to get up early and
write all day. But I read until I fall asleep on the
couch and wake up with my book or Kindle and glasses
either in my lap or on the floor, wrestle myself awake
and go to bed at a disgusting hour!
What do you need before you
Just coffee. I get up very early Ė 5-6 a.m. Iíve been
known to get up at 4:30. On days that I sat up the
night before reading something I couldnít put down, I
have to have a nap in the afternoon. But once up, I get
back to the computer till 6 or 7. Iím not disciplined Ė
Iím having fun. Iíve always been pretty self-indulgent
Ė if this wasnít fun, Iíd find something else to do.
Anything that is just a must
have or the creative juice don't flow?
idea. Sometimes thatís asking a lot!!
Does music influence your
writing? If so, does any of your stories have a theme
music while I write, but nothing special for special
books. The radio or several rotating CDís. When Iím
into the CDís, I play the same ones over and over. I
donít know anything about music Ė just what feels good.
Right now Iím into Rod Stewarts American series Ė music
from the 30's and 40's and 50's Ė great stuff. Iíve
also gone on Michael Buble and Toni Braxton binges.
Then Iíll switch to classical. Iím just filling the
silence. But I DO wake up with a song in my head every
morning, like Mel Sheridan. Iíve been waiting for years
to give that oddity to a character. And sometimes (now
this is getting weird) I put myself to sleep with
shopping lists. Not deliberately Ė thatís just what Iím
trying to remember. ďLettuce, spray-on butter, toilet
If your story was optioned for a
movie, who would play your characters?
The girls over
at Jackís Bar, the message board, have been talking about
this for two years and variety of ways readers see the
characters is amazing! Sometimes their choices are WAY too
old Ė like Tom Selleck. Now I love TS, but heís more than
twenty years older than Jack! I donít think itís a good
idea for him to start reproducing. And some of the women
theyíll come up with are way PAST childbearing! The closest
Iíve ever come for Jack and Mel is James Denton and Kate
Hudson. But really Ė no one looks like the characters I
have in my head. And no one seems to look like the
characters my readers have in their heads. Thereís the
Where were you when you got your
first contract? Who did you tell first?
We had just
moved to Sacramento. My husband was in the Air Force, so
naturally he was out of town. I was surrounded by boxes,
two toddlers, no friends and a house to get settled. I was
YOUNG, under thirty. After making a few long distance calls
back to friends in a critique group in San Antonio, I waxed
the hardwood floor in the foyer!
What are you currently working on?
Right now Ė
the 3 Virgin River novels for 2010, coming out in
I know you said you have Virgin
River books coming out in 2010 but do you have an end for
the series? Or are you just going with your "muse"?
There's no end in sight -- but we
haven't planned beyond 2010 yet. I do have a couple of
women's fiction stories, more along the lines of The House
On Olive Street, that I'd like to see published in the next
couple of years. I love writing both types of stories --
the continuing small town romance/drama and what we used to
call 'girlfriend books.' And reader interest will help
determine how long the Virgin River series continues. That
always becomes the bottom line -- what sells well, I like to
provide more of.
Do you have any other series/books that your going to be
Except for the two women's fiction
mentioned above, I just finished a novella for Christmas '09
titled Under The Christmas Tree, will be contributing a
story for the anthology More Than Words -- I think it will
be the 2011 edition, and a novella for early 2011 that I
think will have a Virgin River setting.
I've seen some of your older titles being reprinted, are
there any others scheduled to be reprinted in the future?
There haven't been more reprint
plans that I'm aware of -- but I'm optimistic that more back
titles will be reissued. Crossing fingers....