Monday, September 10, 2007
Virgin River by Robyn Carr
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robyn Carr is the Rita Award winning author of over 25 novels and lives with her husband in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I started writing, the way it seems most authors did, from a love of reading – and it came later in life. I didn’t read voraciously as a youngster or teen, but later, as a young wife and mother. My husband was an Air Force pilot, gone a lot, and I read escapist novels. I wondered if I could do and set about trying. Then it was the love of writing that took over – and I was driven to keep trying until I got it right.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
My favorite part is the actual creating of the story. I’m thrilled by a clear calendar that represents days of no commitments other than the time I spend at my computer, lost in the solitude of my own fantasy land. I especially love revision and tend to revise many times before sending in a manuscript. Some of my best ideas come late – in a final draft. If I’m crazy enough to reread a published book I’ve written, I’ll find many things I could have done better.
Dislike? All writers have struggles getting ideas or making the ideas come to life – and that gets frustrating. And selling – that’s hard. It’s not specific to unpublished authors either – even multi-published authors can have trouble selling.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
This was difficult when I had young children and so many responsibilities, from housework to childcare to keeping up with the kids’ activities and events. I learned to do things fast – multi-tasking housework – making it clean while clothes washed and dried and something simmered in the kitchen. I was very well organized so I didn’t have to make a lot of trips and it was all about doing the things I HAD to do so I could get to my writing. I wrote early in the mornings and after the kids went to bed – it was exhausting at times. But – the payoff came when the kids grew up – because now I do exactly as I please, write all day, don’t worry about other things. And I have finally learned that “No.” is a complete sentence.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
My favorite way to write is most impractical – and I love it. When I have a germ of an idea and at least one character in mind I like, I start on page 1 and fly by the seat of my pants. I create as I go, characters arrive on the scene that compliment or contrast my first, plot develops, setting evolves. I hate writing synopses, as almost all writers do, and it’s not unusual for me to finish the book before even attempting a synopsis. I don’t outline, don’t plan ahead extensively – I’ll know the beginning and probably the end, but even that can change. I think most writers, after they have published, spend a lot of time trying to get a contract based on a synopsis and a beginning, but I don’t usually bother with that. I’m committed to the book – that’s the most important thing to me. I’m obsessed with making it as perfect as I can. I wrote all three Virgin River novels before writing a series overview and synopses of the books. Of course we (the editor and I) revised them extensively – but they were essentially done.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I have written in several genres in the past – Historical, suspense, series romance, even non-fiction. But for the last ten years I’ve been committed to a type of women’s fiction that is a juxtaposition between women’s issues and romance. The women’s issues have a wide wide range – from the light and humorous events that shape our daily lives to the critical issues that dog us as women – from divorce and sexual assault to raising difficult children or caring for aging parents. And equal space is given to finding perfect love – the romance of our lives.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That they’re all rich.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
They’re composites – a combination of character traits I’ve seen in people along with some fictionalized traits. I’ve only once based a character largely on a real human being, and he had been dead a long time before I did so. And I have never revealed who that might be.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
That’s impossible to answer – your characters become like children, or at least family members, and it’s not possible to love one most. I have many favorites among them – I like the women from The House On Olive Street a lot – they’re hilarious, smart, savvy and all too human. I love the marines from the Virgin River series – they’re powerful men, fearless and dedicated, and treat their women like goddesses. I’m particularly attached to the midwife who anchors that series, Mel – she’s tough and devoted to her patients, yet very nurturing and tender. She has her man wrapped around her little finger and it’s the very place he most enjoys being.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
I think James Denton (from Desperate Housewives) could play Jack Sheridan, but I think we’d have to stand him on a box – I’m not sure he’s tall, and Jack is 6'2" That’s about as far as I’ve gotten, and it was a real search. I don’t remember actors well enough to cast a script.
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
It’s my humble opinion that it begins with a deep love of the action of writing and creating. If that brings happiness – you begin with a reward. Success depends on developing craft and having talent. It’s not likely a new writer will know if he/she has talent (which I liken to a singing voice) until some training and practice has taken place. And then – I’ve seen some people do great things with a little talent just as I’ve seen some squander immense talent. It’s all about doing the work first. And you should love the work before you go to the trouble. It’s no get rich quick scheme.
Who are your favorite authors?
Susan Elizabeth Phillips, JR Ward, Nelson DeMille, to name just a few.
What are you reading right now?
Silent in the Grave, a stunning first novel by Deanna Raybourn.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The American Library Association's Booklist Reviews names Virgin River one of the year's top ten romances!
Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against the backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.
When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she's made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.
But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans…and a former marine cements them into place.
Melinda Monroe may have come to Virgin River looking for escape, but instead she finds her home.
Mel squinted into the rain and darkness, creeping along the narrow, twisting, muddy, tree-enshrouded road and for the hundredth time thought, am I out of my mind? And then she heard and felt a thump as the right rear wheel of her BMW slipped off the road onto the shoulder and sank into the mud. The car rocked to a stop. She accelerated and heard the wheel spin but she was going nowhere fast.
I am so screwed, was her next thought.
She turned on the dome light and looked at her cell phone. She’d lost the signal an hour ago when she got off the freeway and headed up into the mountains. In fact, she’d been having a pretty lively discussion with her sister Joey when the steep hills and unbelievably tall trees blocked the signal and cut them off.
“I cannot believe you’re really doing this,” Joey was saying. “I thought you’d come to your senses. This isn’t you, Mel! You’re not a small-town girl!”
“Yeah? Well it looks like I’m gonna be – I took the job and sold everything, so I wouldn’t be tempted to go back.”
“You couldn’t just take a leave of absence? Maybe go to a small, private hospital? Try to think this through?”
“I need everything to be different,” Mel said. “No more hospital war zone. I’m just guessing, but I imagine I won’t be called on to deliver a lot of crack babies out here in the woods. The woman said this place, this Virgin River, is calm and quiet and safe.”
“And stuck back in the forest, a million miles from a Starbuck’s, where you’ll get paid in eggs and pig’s feet and–“
”And none of my patients will be brought in handcuffed, guarded by a corrections officer.” Then Mel took a breath and, unexpectedly, laughed and said, “Pig’s feet? Oh-oh, Joey – I’m going up into the trees again, I might lose you...”
“You wait. You’ll be sorry. You’ll regret this. This is crazy and impetuous and–“
That’s when the signal, blessedly, was lost. And Joey was right – with every additional mile, Mel was doubting herself; her decision to escape into the country.
At every curve the roads had become narrower and the rain a little harder. It was only 6:00 p.m., but it was already dark as pitch; the trees were so dense and tall that even that last bit of afternoon sun had been blocked. Of course there were no lights of any kind along this winding stretch. According to the directions, she should be getting close to the house where she was to meet her new employer, but she didn’t dare get out of her swamped car and walk. She could get lost in these woods and never be seen again.
Instead, she fished the pictures from her briefcase in an attempt to remind herself of a few of the reasons why she had taken this job. She had pictures of a quaint little hamlet of clapboard houses with front porches and dormer windows, an old- fashioned school house, steepled church, hollyhocks, rhododendrons and blossoming apple trees in full glory, not to mention the green pastures upon which livestock grazed. There was the Pie and Coffee shop, the Corner Store, a tiny one room, freestanding library, and the adorable little cabin in the woods that would be hers, rent free, for the year of her contract.
The town backed up to the amazing sequoia redwoods and national forests that spanned hundreds of miles of wilderness over the Trinity and Shasta mountain ranges; the Virgin River, after which the town was named, was deep, wide, long, and home to huge salmon, sturgeon, steel fish and trout. She’d looked on the Internet at pictures of that part of the world and was easily convinced no more beautiful land existed. Of course, she could see nothing now except rain, mud and darkness.
Ready to get out of Los Angeles, she had put her resume with the Nurse’s Registry and one of the recruiters brought Virgin River to her attention. The town doctor, she said, was getting old and needed help. A woman from the town, Hope McCrea, was donating the cabin and the first year’s salary. The county was picking up the tab for liability insurance for at least a year, to get a practitioner and midwife in this remote, rural part of the world. “I faxed Mrs. McCrea your resume and letters of recommendation,” the recruiter had said, “and she wants you. Maybe you should go up there and look the place over.”
Mel took Mrs. McCrea’s phone number and called her that evening. Virgin River was far smaller than what she’d had in mind, but after no more than an hour long conversation with Mrs. McCrea, Mel began effecting her move out of LA the very next morning. That was barely two weeks ago.
What they didn’t know at the registry, nor in Virgin River for that matter, was that Mel had become desperate to get away. Far away. She’d been dreaming of a fresh start, peace and quiet, for months. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a restful night’s sleep. The dangers of the big city, where crime seemed to be overrunning the neighborhoods, had begun to consume her. Just going to the bank and the store filled her with anxiety; danger seemed to be lurking everywhere. Her work in the three-thousand-bed county hospital and trauma center brought to her attention the victims of too many crimes, not to mention the perpetrators of crimes hurt in pursuit or arrest -- strapped to hospital beds on wards and in Emergency, guarded by cops. What was left of her spirit was hurting and wounded. And that was nothing to the loneliness of her empty bed. (Read the rest of this excerpt HERE)
"In Virgin River, Melinda needs a change after violence in Los Angeles took her beloved husband from her; but when she accepts a job as nurse practitioner and midwife in Virgin River in rural California, she gets something very different than she bargained for. The rent-free house, for instance, is unlivable and critter-infested. But she likes the restaurant and bar run by Jack Sheridan, and she feels needed. Life is precarious in this tiny community in Northern California's Humboldt County, with marijuana growers lurking in the backwoods. Carr's leisurely paced, low-key story charms by virtue of its characters, from curmudgeonly Doc to brawny Preacher, who cooks at Jack's, to teenaged Rick, and Jack's former marine buddies, who are only a phone call away. Diana Tixier Herald"
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“The Virgin River books are so compelling— I connected instantly with the characters and just wanted more and more.”
-- NYT bestselling author Debbie Macomber
"Robyn Carr writes a beautiful romance entangled with passion and intrigue."
-- New York Times bestselling author Clive Cussler
“VIRGIN RIVER is sexy, tense, emotional and satisfying. I can’t wait for more! Robyn Carr spins a great story!”
-- NYT bestselling author Carla Neggers
Virgin River by Robyn Carr
A Virgin River novel, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Mira Books
Release Date: April 1, 2007
$6.99 from Amazon.com
Purchase Virgin River by Robyn Carr HERE!!!