Author Interview- RaeAnne Thayne

Today I welcome RaeAnne Thayne. I reached out to RaeAnne after reading her latest in the Hope Crossing series, Woodrose Mountain.  I loved the town that RaeAnne created.

I recommend starting with the first book, "Blackberry Summer"and reading them in order, you'll get a wonderful feeling of belonging, of being an insider, as you keep reading. You get to know a community of people, and it's a community where I felt like I was coming home.

Thanks so much for stopping by!!  And I can't wait for more in the Hope's Crossing series.


RaeAnne Thayne is a USA Today bestselling author who has written more than forty books for HQN, Special Edition, Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense and Bantam Loveswept. A three-time RITA nominee, RaeAnne has received a career achievement award from Romantic Times for series romantic adventure, as well as two RT Reviewers' Choice awards for best Special Edition. Sweet Laurel Falls, the third book in her HQN series Hope's Crossing will be an October 2012 release.  You can find RaeAnne at her website, facebook or twitter.

                                                 

Describe your writing in five words or less.
Stories of hope, healing, heart

While the books of your Hope’s Crossing series are wonderful inspirational romance stories, the enduring friendships of the heroines is a central theme that carries across all of the books. Is this a reflection of the importance of girlfriends in your own life?
Absolutely! Actually, Claire, the heroine of BLACKBERRY SUMMER, was based on a wonderful friend who is very much like her, the person who is always first on the doorstep if someone needs help and who spends her life trying to be there for everyone else. My girlfriends are vital to my sanity. They lift, encourage and inspire me.

When you started “Blackberry Summer” did you know it was going to be part of a series? If so, do you predetermine how the stories will intertwine and what characters will have their own story?
My original “pitch” to my publisher was for a trilogy. I knew the story arc for all three books and the way the characters would develop. I conceived the idea as a series but really kept my fingers crossed that my publisher would see the potential in all three stories. I was thrilled when they did.

I had every intention of wrapping up the series with three books … then I started writing them and fell in love with the town and all the other characters whose stories I didn’t originally plan to write. I came up with three more stories about some of my favorite characters and, to my delight, Harlequin agreed I wasn’t quite done with Hope’s Crossing. I’m very happy they will be publishing three more books in the series for 2013. The first book, Currant Creek Valley, will be out in April and will tell Alex McKnight’s story.

What was the inspiration behind your Hope’s Crossing series?
I actually live in a community very much like Hope’s Crossing, where people reach out and help each other. My life has been forever changed by the kindness and concern of my neighbors. My husband and I have a son with severe disabilities who requires total care and we honestly couldn’t have coped with that inevitable stress if not for our dear friends and neighbors who have rallied around us for the last fifteen years and given us unflagging love and support.

In the series, I wanted to show the way a single tragedy can affect lives in many different ways but also the simple but powerful truth that in reaching out to others, people can find unexpected healing themselves. This is a lesson I have learned well in my own life. When you’re focused outward, trying to help someone else, a wonderful little miracle occurs – your own pain doesn’t seem nearly as unmanageable.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always come up with stories in my head and I used to entertain my friends with them but I would have to say I was in high school before I realized I could put those stories down on paper. I started in journalism first and became a newspaper reporter and then news editor for a daily newspaper. It wasn’t until 1990 that I tried my hand at fiction and instantly discovered how very much I loved telling stories that made people happy, for a change!

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Oh, this is such a hard question. I’m discovering new favorites all the time. I actually read many historical romances – I started out with Georgette Heyer and Clare Darcy and now love Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Carla Kelly, Eloisa James. On the contemporary side, I adore anything by Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, Nora Roberts or any of the amazingly talented Silhouette Special Edition authors. The list is really endless!

What are you currently reading?
I just finished THE WITNESS by Nora Roberts (fantastic book. One of her best, and that’s saying something after two hundred wonderful books!). I’m excited to start the new one by Loretta Chase, SCANDAL WEARS SATIN, and my friend Molly O’Keefe has a new single title, CAN’T BUY ME LOVE that I can’t wait to dive into.

How do you keep your characters fresh after so many books?
Another hard question. You’re really making me think! I try to dig very deeply into my characters to figure out what makes them tick – the life experiences that created the person they are when my story begins and how they must grow and change to become someone entirely different by the end of the book. I spend a lot of time in the plotting process trying to figure all those details out. Since every character comes from a different place, each is going to react differently to a given situation and that certainly helps them seem interesting to me.

By the end of every book, each character really feels like a dear friend. I know that probably sounds clichéd but it’s true. I love them all. If I don’t want to spend time with these people, why should my readers?

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
The easiest part is creating characters. That’s my favorite part of any book, uncovering all the hidden facets to a hero or heroine that even I don’t know until I’m nearly done with the book. To be honest, the hardest part is managing my writing life around my family, especially right now in summertime when my kids are home from school.

What do you love to do when you're not writing?
This isn’t very original but I love nothing so much as curling up with a good book. I love spending time with my husband and children, as well as our extended family. I also love to travel, exploring the Rocky Mountains where I live and also farflung locations. I think I enjoy planning those trips as much as actually taking them J

You often write series/trilogies. Do you prefer that to stand-alone titles?
Yes! I’m never quite satisfied after writing The End. I always want to know “And then what happened?” Writing connected stories allows me to revisit my beloved heroes and heroines in later books. I also have a bad habit of wanting to give everyone who appears in one of my books a happy ending of his or her own. The funny thing is, these series sometimes take on a life of their own. My The Cowboys of Cold Creek, for instance, was originally intended to be only a trilogy. I then moved on to another series, The Women of Brambleberry House, then actually had a dream one night about a Christmas story set on a ranch. That dream became the genesis for my book THE COWBOY’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. From there, the ideas for more books set in Cold Creek Canyon just kept coming. Now I think I’m up to ten books in the series, with at least two more – A COLD CREEK NOEL this Christmas and another Christmas book in 2013.

Can you give us a teaser from your upcoming book ~ Sweet Laurel Falls.
I have to tell you, this was absolutely my favorite of the Hope’s Crossing books I’ve written so far. This is Maura McKnight-Parker’s story and I so wanted to help her find happiness again after the tragedy in BLACKBERRY SUMMER that changed her life forever, when her teenage daughter was killed. Before I started writing SWEET LAUREL FALLS, I was thinking it would be angsty and emotional to write. While there are certainly some tearjerker moments in it and I shed more than a few tears for a mother’s pain while writing it, I also think I smiled more writing this book than any of my forty other titles. I really loved the secondary characters – especially Maura’s other daughter Sage and Harry Lange, estranged father of the hero, Jackson Lange, who was Maura’s childhood sweetheart.

I really loved writing Maura’s and Jack’s story. To me, it’s a story of sweetness and laughter and the healing peace that only love can bring.

I love the inspirational message you shared with the readers in Blackberry Summer when “we reach beyond ourselves, even just a tiny step outside our comfort zone, together we can change lives.”
I’m not just spouting some kind of Pollyanna view of the world here. I believe this with all my heart. I know how hard it can be to approach someone facing something tough and try to offer whatever comfort you can. But I will tell you from my experience over the last fifteen years of being mom to a special needs child what a huge difference it makes. Whenever life seems overwhelming, it seems as if someone – often a stranger – will provide an amazing act of kindness and remind us we’re not in this alone. Our lives have truly been changed by others and it’s my great hope as a writer that perhaps I can lift and encourage someone else who might be struggling – or at least offer a little respite along the way.

7 comments:

BlackTulip said... Best Blogger Tips

What a wonderful and very interesting interview, I'm always curious to discover what an author is made of (Not sure it's correct or understandable, sorry I'm french !!!)

Our life experience couldn't be more dissimilar. I was born and raised in a big city where nobody really cares about others. A little community is so alien to me but it seems so attractive.

I am always amazed to see the work of an writer, the birth of her characters and how they can lead a story, as if they were completely independent from the author's mind (a dream of one of your characters triggers another story, wow !!) and the fact that you say that they become dear friends, for me it always seems so incredible and magical.

I can't agree more about the fact that a stranger can be there for you and be so much more than your own family will ever be (I know it for a fact)
Thank god that you, writers, are here with your wonderful stories. A book has always been like a refuge for me. It is so essential, it's something that keeps you company when nobody is around or if you're lonely.
And yes it can give you hope ...

Kat ~ Forever Book Lover ♥ said... Best Blogger Tips

Wonderful perception,BT. Not all authors can use mere words and be able to have the characters and town come to life before your eyes, RaeAnne did just that with this series!!
Thanks for the lovely comment!!

RaeAnne Thayne said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you so much for the great interview, Kat! Your questions definitely made me think :)

RaeAnne Thayne said... Best Blogger Tips

Love your comments, BlackTulip. I absolutely agree, books have always been my refuge too. What a lovely way of phrasing it.

Kat ~ Forever Book Lover ♥ said... Best Blogger Tips

@RaeAnne Thayne Thanks for the opportunity, I know my readers love learning about books I have found truly memorable and your series really gave the readers something to cherish- family and friends, and those you may not even know well will step up to the plate when times are challenged.
What a wonderful example of "Pay it forward".

Janna Shay said... Best Blogger Tips

Great interview. How wonderful that you live in a community where people reach out and help each other. Our world would be a much nicer place if we had more communities like yours.
Good luck with your series and everything that you do.

Kat ~ Forever Book Lover ♥ said... Best Blogger Tips

@Janna ShayThank You. And thanks for taking the time to comment, I love when ppl let me know their thoughts.
Yes, if we could just take a piece of Hope's Crossing and spread it around, what a wonderful world it would be.

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