Author Spotlight


Passing the time with ...

Robyn Carr


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 Series.

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. 

The Virgin 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 materializes. 


Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share? 

I donít 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.

I have absolutely NO idea. 


Do you have a guilty pleasure? 

Is reading 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 start writing?

Coffee.  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?

Yeah.  An idea.  Sometimes thatís asking a lot!! 


Does music influence your writing? If so, does any of your stories have a theme song?

I play 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 paper, Tide...Ē 


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 fun. 


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 Jan/Feb/March


 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 working on?

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....




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