Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One Wish by Robyn Carr – Q&A

Today I'm hosting a Q&A with Robyn Carr celebrating the 7th in her Thunder Point series, One Wish.
I'm also providing a link to one of my favorite bloggers, The Caffeinated Book Reviewer's review.

  • ISBN-13: 9780778317722
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 2/24/2015
  • Series: Thunder Point Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384


#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr delivers another smart, funny, emotional novel about the complexities of life in the small Oregon town of Thunder Point

Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she's proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she's created running a successful

Read an Excerpt:

Grace Dillon's flower shop was very quiet on the day after Christmas. She had no orders to fill, no deliveries to make, and she'd be very surprised if her shop phone rang at all. Most people were trying to recover from Christmas; many families were away for the holidays or had company to entertain.
Grace drove to North Bend to grab an early skate before the rink got busy. Figure skating classes were suspended over Christmas break and people, mostly kids who wanted to try out their new skates, would dominate the rink later in the day. Grace loved these secret early morning skates. She had a deal with Jake Galbraith, the rink owner. She could call him and if it was convenient, he'd let her skate for an hour or two while they were getting ready to open. He didn't want to charge her, but she paid him fifty dollars an hour anyway. It was a point of pride.
He smiled at her when she came in and told her to have a good skate.
She stretched and then stepped onto the deserted ice, closely following the Zamboni ice resurfacer that had just finished. She warmed up with forward and backward crossovers, backward half swizzle pumps, figure eights, scratch spins and axels. She noticed Jake was watching, leaning his forearms on the boards. She performed a forward spiral and a leaning tower spiral. She executed a perfect sit spin next. She circled the ice a few times, adding a jump here and there. She had been famous for her straddle split jump, touching her toes with her fingers. When she looked for Jake again, he had disappeared.
Suddenly, the music started, filling the rink with the strains of "Rhapsody in Blue." She glided into an arabesque, arms stretched, fingers pointed, wrists flexible. She saw that Jake had returned, was watching her every move. She went for a double axel and fell on her ass. She got up, laughing to herself. She glided around the rink a few times, tried the jump again and landed it, but it wasn't pretty. The music changed to another Gershwin tune. She'd practiced to this music as a little girl; it was familiar and comfortable. Her earliest memories of skating always filled her with nostalgia and comfort. That was before the competition got really fierce.
She'd been on the ice for an hour when the music segued into Alicia Keys's "Girl on Fire" and it lit her up. Her signature music. She was on fire! She skated like she was competing. When she was fifteen, stronger but lighter and more flexible, she could really catch the air. She noticed other people watching—a guy leaned on his broom and gazed at her, a couple of teenage girls who worked in the skate rental shop had stopped working to watch, the Zamboni driver leaned a shoulder against the rink glass, hands in his pockets. Two hours slid by effortlessly. She slowed and got off the ice when she heard the sounds of people arriving to skate.
"Beautiful," Jake said. "It's been a while since I've seen you."
"Holidays are busy at the shop," she said. She tried to get to the rink on Sunday mornings, but the past month had been frantic—wreaths, centerpieces, two weddings and increased day-to-day traffic in the shop.
"You should spend more time on the ice. I have a long list of people looking for a good coach."
She shook her head. "I don't think I'd be a good coach. I don't have time for one thing. And I'd never go back on the circuit, even with students. I left that world."
"I thought the day would come that you might be interested in going back, maybe not in competition for yourself, but coaching. I think on name alone you'd make a fortune."
"I left the name behind, too," she reminded him with a smile. "We have an agreement."
"I haven't said a word. People ask me, who is that girl, but I just say you're training and asked not to be identified. Some of them guess and would show up to watch you if they had any idea when you would be skating. The ice misses you. Watching you skate is like seeing music."
"Nice try. I don't train anymore. I spent as much time on my ass as on my blades. I look like crap."
"Your worst is better than a lot of bests I see. I've missed you. Maybe you'll have more time in the new year."
"We'll see."
She took off her skates and pulled on her Ugg boots. Sometimes she questioned her decision to leave it all behind, because being on the ice made her so happy. Then she'd remind herself that while a couple of hours felt great, the difficult routine of a competitive figure skater was grueling, exhausting. As a coach she'd never be able to push young girls the way she'd been pushed.
She pulled out a hundred dollars in cash for her two hours alone on the rink. Jake had told her he put the money in a special scholarship fund for young wannabe Olympians who couldn't otherwise afford lessons. She told him however he wanted to spend it was fine with her. As long as he didn't sell her out.
As she left the rink she reflected that her life in Thunder Point was so much more peaceful than it had been in competition and her freedom was hard-won. She had friends now, even if they didn't know who she had been before. At least no one thought of her as tragic or complicated or as one of the saddest yet most triumphant stories told on the competitive skating circuit. No one was threatened by her, hated her, feared or resented her. No one called her a rich bitch or a dirty liar.
Of course, the weight of her secrets sometimes wore on her. Jake Galbraith had recognized her at once. All she had to do was ask the cost of a private rink for a couple of hours and he knew immediately who she was. She hadn't confided in anyone in Thunder Point.
When she got into the van she saw that she had a message on her cell phone. She listened to it before leaving the parking lot. It was Mikhail, her old coach. He still kept tabs on her. They stayed in touch. Often, they left each other a series of brief messages because he could be anywhere in the world. "I am wishing you happy Christmas," the Russian said. "I think I am day late. If so, you will understand."
Grace waited until she was back in her tiny apartment above the flower shop before returning the call. "I thought you had forgotten all about me," she said to his voice mail. "It was a happy Christmas. I was a maid of honor for my friend Iris yesterday—that's how I spent the day. I've never been in a wedding before. It was small and intimate, a beautiful experience. And this morning I went skating. I fell three times." Then she mimicked his accent. "What can I say? I am clumsy oaf with no training." Then she laughed, wished him the best New Year ever and said goodbye.
Grace's beloved father and coach died rather suddenly when she was only fourteen and he was sixty. Her mother, once a competitive and professional figure skater, responded by hiring an even better coach, a very short Russian of huge reputation who could take Grace all the way. There was no time for grieving, they had work to do. Mikhail Petrov was a tough, brilliant coach and they were together for nine years. He had been very unhappy with her decision to leave competition and for a couple of years he pestered her to return to the sport. "Before you forget everything I taught you!"
Her mother, Winnie Dillon Banks, who had herself been a teenage skating wonder, was worse than devastated. She was furious. "If you quit now, after all I've invested in you, you are dead to me." After the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Grace walked away from everything and everyone. All she'd ever wished for was to be like everyone else. To not be constantly judged every time she took a breath. She wanted to be normal.
In the afternoon, when Grace was just about to ruin her dinner with a big bowl of popcorn while looking through various online floral arrangements on her laptop, there was a light tapping at her back door. She pulled the curtain to peek out through the window in the door and was shocked to see Iris. She opened the door.
"Don't newlyweds lay around in bed for several days after the wedding? Doing it until their parts give out?" Grace asked, only half teasing.
"Maybe when one of the newlyweds isn't the town deputy," Iris said. "We did eat breakfast in bed and Seth didn't go to the office until about one. I cleaned the house, thawed something for dinner and…" She paused. "I called Troy to tell him."
"You didn't tell him before, huh?" Grace asked.
Iris shook her head.
Troy Headly, high school history teacher and the fantasy of all the high school girls, had had a very big crush on Iris. They had dated for only a few months last spring when Iris told him theirs would have to be a friendship-only relationship. She was the high school guidance counselor and before getting involved with a teacher in the same school, she had to be powerfully sure. And she hadn't been. But Troy had pursued Iris right up until Seth was in the picture. Even then, it was pretty obvious he still had a serious thing for Iris and wouldn't mind if Seth fell off the face of the earth.
"How'd he take it?" Grace asked.
"Like a man," Iris said. "Is it too early for wine?"
"Certainly not!" Grace pulled a bottle of Napa Cellars sauvignon blanc from her little refrigerator and opened it. "Was it awful?"
"Nah, it was fine. Good, really. He was surprised we got married so soon, but then so was everyone. So were we, when you get down to it. He congratulated me and said he hoped I'd be very happy—all the right things. Then I asked him if he was going to be all right and he laughed, but he didn't sound amused. He said he was surprised to find himself disappointed an old girlfriend got married. It's hard for me to think of myself as his girlfriend—it was never that serious. Even Troy admits he's not looking for a wife! Not now. He likes the single life."
Grace poured the wine and put the bowl of popcorn between them. "A gourmet treat," she said. "Or maybe dinner. So, is it different? Being married?"
"Not yet," Iris said. "Ask me again when we merge bank accounts. We've been solitary, single adults for a long time. Right now we're each taking care of our own obligations until Seth either rents or sells his town house. There's plenty of closet space at my house, but we could have issues when his manly furniture looks for space among my decidedly female things."
"You're staying in your house," Grace said in relief.
"It's perfect for us. I like to ride my bike to work in good weather."
"I love your house," Grace said. "Aren't you ever going to have a honeymoon?"
"Eventually. We're looking for deals online right now. We're going to sneak away in a couple of months, hopefully somewhere warm and sunny, when Seth can get away from the town and I can escape my office at school. But what about you, Grace? Why aren't you seeing anyone?"
Grace burst out laughing. It wasn't the first time Iris had asked. "First of all, who? Second, when?"
"Don't you ever meet a groomsman at any of the weddings you do?"
"Never. They all come long after I'm gone and I'm not invited to the receptions. Besides, isn't that the kiss of death? Hooking up with someone in the wedding party at the reception? No thanks."
"We have to get you out more," Iris said.
"Right," Grace said doubtfully. "Maybe I could help you chaperone the prom and meet some very promising eighteen-year-old? Nah, I don't think so."
"We'll go clubbing or something."
"Clubbing?" Grace sputtered. "In Thunder Point?"
"Okay, we'll go up to North Bend. And graze."
"I'm sure Seth would appreciate that!"
"Well, I won't take any phone numbers or bring anyone home…"
"Iris," Grace said, lifting her wineglass. "Let it go. I'll handle my own love life. In my own time, in my own way."
"There's always Troy," Iris said, sipping.
"Nah, we're pals. There's no chemistry." On his side. "We had a beer together once, followed by grilled cheese and tomato soup. It was swell. Besides, I'm not interested in your sloppy seconds. I read, you know. Rebound boyfriends are not a good idea."
"You can't just work all the time," Iris said.
"No?" Grace asked. "I thought you could."

Mini Q&A with Robyn Carr – One Wish

Q: With your new trilogy that’s coming out in 2015—One Wish, A New Hope, and Wildest Dreams—you are taking readers back to Thunder Point, Oregon. One Wish is the 6th book in the series. What would you tell someone who is coming to Thunder Point for the first time? What do you want them to know about the town before they jump into One Wish? Because after all, even though this is a series, the brilliant thing is that you don’t have to read them in order. You really can just jump in and fall in love with any book.
A:  One Wish is the 7th book in the series.  Thunder Point is a small coastal town, an uncomplicated group of villagers who have known each other forever.  And while each of them is working hard to make a living they are not ignorant of their neighbors’ needs or troubles and they’re welcoming to newcomers.  It’s a simple place sitting on a sometimes harsh coastline.  Once a person becomes a part of this community they have found a family of friends and they have to stay in balance with the town.  There’s a lot of give and take going on.  Both the giving and the taking is going to feel good. 

Q: We love the new book titles. How do you come up with your book titles? Do you have an idea before you start writing or is it one of the last things you do after your manuscript is done and ready to be turned into your publisher?
A: All of the above.  Sometimes I have a title I love first, sometimes that title never makes it after the book is done, sometimes the titles are decided on very early in the game, before the novel writing is even finished.  All this being said, the title can be so important in one type of book, rather generic in another.   For example, Never Too Late is women’s fiction and the theme of the book is that it’s never too late to start over, to start anew.  The title and cover should illustrate this.  It should also be clear it’s not a part of a series.  On the other hand, A New Hope—A Thunder Point Novel should do two things.  The most important thing is to identify it as part of the Thunder Point series and the second, identify a story arc – a new hope will arise for characters in the story. 

Q: One Wish is about Grace Dillon, a champion figure skater who is hiding her identity. The skating scenes are fantastic—as are the flashbacks of her life when she was still competing. How did you research the world of competitive figure skating?
A: There is so much literature available on competitive figure skating I found I was almost drowning in it, right down to the actual skating moves!  But in addition to reading, watching videos and studying the figure skating configurations, I interviewed the mother of a young figure skater.  That’s where I was able to really get into the guts of the matter – how challenging the life of a contender can be, how expensive and difficult and exhausting.  These young skaters have to be driven! 

Q: Grace has a complicated relationship with her mother and has to come to terms with her past in order to have move forward and have her in her life. (We don’t want to spoil anything by saying more!) How is it different to write about a mother-daughter relationship than a friendship or even a romantic relationship?
A:  Oh my, I’ve done it before.  Mother-daughter relationships are fraught with emotion, with control issues, with jockeying for position in the family, power struggles galore – and also with fierce loyalty, deep love, friendship and feuds – the relationships are as individual as the women involved – deeply personal, intense and complex.  There is a saying, a son is a son until he takes a wife but a daughter is a daughter all your life.  Mother’s and daughters – how many books have been written about that unique and beautiful relationship?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Since my books are read by mostly women and all women have mothers and many are mothers, I wanted to plumb the depths of one complex and meaningful “couple.”   I love the way they cha-cha through the story.  Talk about two pig headed women! 
 The books of The Thunder Point Series



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Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestsellingauthor of more than forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at www.RobynCarr.com.

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A collection of bookmarks
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  1. Great interview! I have loved some of her other books I have tried in the past, I really do need to make the time to read another one of her reads!

  2. I love titles. They really can be so important. I've read in Virgin River and loved a lot of them. Need to give these a try at some point :)

    1. I loved her Virgin River series too Anna. I really need to start this one especially since this is number 7 LOL

  3. Wonderful Q&A Debbie! I loved Virgen River too. I have check this series out. I'm sure just just as good as her other books.
    Thank you Debbie :)

  4. I love Carr's small town romances :) thank you for linking to me Debbie..you are too sweet.