I have the pleasure of having Robyn Carr on the blog today lets give her a warm welcome.
Q: Millions of readers visit Virgin River, the setting of your last series, every year. What made you decide to venture away from Virgin River in your new Thunder Point series?
A: It was time for something fresh and new for a lot of reasons—to keep me fresh and new, for one thing. But also, twenty books in a series is a lot for new readers to even comprehend, and no matter how many times they’re told they can jump in any time, many will be intimidated by the sheer number. I call this the Grey’s Anatomy Syndrome—I’ve never seen an episode because when it started, I chose another show to commit to. I know, I know—I could rent or download the early episodes and watch 147 straight hours of TV to catch up (ugh!), and I’m not likely to do that. So, we’ll at least take a break, move to a new location with a new cast and new theme. That doesn’t mean I’ll never go back to Virgin River.
Also—the town is getting large; the population is growing. My readers love it when I bring characters back together; they want to check on their people and make sure they’re doing all right. And as the list of characters grows, it becomes more of a challenge to bring them all together. And if I bring only a few back, my readers want to know where the others are!
There are certain things my readers love that will always be present, whether I’m writing about a small town, a long-running series or even a standalone women’s fiction—there is always a strong sense of community and commitment; there is always intense friendship. You can count on me for strong women and heroes dedicated to loving them loyally and keeping them safe—and safe is a relative term. It can be safe from danger or safe from loneliness or betrayal or fear. There will always be women’s issues, large or not so large. There will always be solutions to difficult situations that I hope are entertaining, intelligent and completely feasible, something that I intend to give my readers hope as they face their own problems.
Q: What was it like to start writing about an entirely new place after being in Virgin River for 20 books? Did it take you longer to write The Wanderer than it usually does to write a new novel since you were creating a whole new setting?
A: I will admit—it was terrifying! I was so comfortable in Virgin River; I knew the town and the people so well after 20 books. The very thought of creating an entirely new community from scratch was very intimidating. I thought about this place and the original cast for a year before writing the first book. I was afraid it wouldn’t measure up. But then I began, and I fell in love all over again and found the process so exciting, so invigorating. The men stole my heart over and over, the women became dear to me, and the teenagers—I’ve always had a teen or two or three in almost every book—really spoke to me. I think this town will easily be as beloved as Virgin River and Grace Valley have been.
Q: What made you choose the Oregon Coast as the setting for your new trilogy? Did you travel to the area to do research before you starting writing The Wanderer? What about the landscape really stood out for you?
A: At first the location was purely logical. This is my third series. The first —Grace Valley, was a valley town in the mountains. The second was a mountain town—Virgin River. It only made sense to head for the ocean. Also, Thunder Point isn’t terribly far from Northern California, with many of the same issues but plenty of new ones. I understand that part of the world. And yes, I went there. I spent a good deal of time with the local Coast Guard, conducted interviews, took pictures. Mainly, I stood on the high, rocky coast and let it soak into my skin, my head, my heart. I pictured people there, conducting their day-to-day lives, falling in love, rubbing up against crisis, relying on each other.