Friday, October 19, 2012
Interview with RaeAnne Thayne
1. I live in a city - Vancouver - but I often set stories in small towns for the sense of community which echoes what I find in my downtown neighborhood. What about you? Where do you live and where do you set your stories? And why?
Like yours, my books definitely focus on the importance of community. I live in a small, tight-knit community in northern Utah, very much like my Hope's Crossing series set in Colorado. Here neighbors care about neighbors. When my husband and I purchased our first house more than twenty years ago, we were too young and idealistic to realize how important neighbors could be. We picked our house because it was a graceful old Queen Anne Victorian and we had great dreams of fixing it up. When our second child was born with serious health challenges, however, we realized just how important community was. We had so many people step in to help us with meals, with lawn mowing, with encouraging notes and drive-by hugs. That love and caring didn't stop after we brought our son home from the newborn ICU. He has significant disabilities and our neighbors and friends have been an unflagging support to us through the years.
Several years ago it became clear we would have to move to a more accessible house to better accommodate our son's mobility limitations but we couldn't bear leaving our neighbors who had traveled this journey along with us ... so we built a house just around the corner from our old Victorian!
That same message of caring and community, of people dealing with their own pain by reaching out to lift and strengthen each other, is a core theme for many of my books and especially my Hope's Crossing series.
2. What's your favorite book ever and why? I have 2 or 3 books that I read over and over again - including Jane Austen's Persuasion. I love it because the characters are older and their relationship isn't easy, but you know, when they do finally get together, they're grown-ups and they know exactly who they are.
I have so many books I adore, books I turn to when I need the solid comfort of a wonderful story. Right now I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series with our nine-year-old (our second time reading them together and about the tenth time for me!). Ms. Rowling can still make me cry!
3. What's the story you've always wanted to write but somehow can't? For me, it's a story about World War I. I'm fascinated by the stories I've read about it but I'm pretty sure I'm never going to write a real war story. I've just finished a book that is set partly during World War I but a very long way away from the battles. I think that's as close as I'm going to get.
Here's a little secret about me. I've always wanted to write a Regency. They've been my very favorite books to read since I discovered Georgette Heyer and Clare Darcy in middle school ... but I've written forty-three contemporaries now and don't see myself jumping onto another horse at this point in my journey. Who knows, though? It could happen.
4. Finally, do you have a routine? If so, what is it and how easy/hard is it to stick to it? I try to have one, but because I work as a freelance paralegal and teach paralegals occasionally, my schedule tends to change from week to week, if not actually day to day. I'm always buying lottery tickets, hoping to win just enough money not to have to work and write to a regular schedule though I'm pretty sure that even if I did have the money to write nine to five, I wouldn't, as I've been scrambling like this forever :)
When I started writing romance novels and still trying to make that first sale, I was working as the news editor for a daily newspaper and would get up at 4:30 a.m. to write for two hours before I left for my day job. After I sold, I spent a few years writing early in the morning before work or late at night around our daughter's schedule. The very week I sold my fifth book to Bantam Loveswept, I gave birth to our second child and left my newspaper job for good to write full time and deal with his complicated needs. FYI, I've found it much harder juggling three children and a full-time writing career than it ever was juggling work and writing and one child!
I don't really have a routine when it comes to my writing, no totems or rituals or anything, but I generally must have music playing on my headphones while I write, usually jazz.
I tend to write better away from my house because of all the distractions here (laundry, Facebook, phone calls from my mom, Twitter, dishes, Facebook. You get the idea).
My best writing days are spent either at the nearby campus library or at a coffee shop somewhere in town while my youngest two boys are in school (our oldest daughter is now married and going to school out of state and not my responsibility anymore. At least theoretically!). I love immersing myself completely in the story and it's tough for me to do that at home, for some strange reason. I generally write all day while they're at school and then I spend afternoons doing homework, dinner, family time. After they go to bed, I generally hole up in my office to write again until eleven or so – later, if my deadline is right around the corner.
It's a crazy life but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love being a storyteller. I have a sign on my desk, a quote generally attributed to the wonderful Kathleen Gilles Seidel, that reads, "I may not change the world, but I can change someone's afternoon." That's my goal each time I sit down at my computer, to brighten someone's day.
Thanks for having me and for the great questions!