Thursday, June 19, 2014

RaeAnne Thayne author newsletter interview

RaeAnne Thayne

Interview with RaeAnne Thayne
(by Molly O’Keefe, first published in
June’s THE AUTHOR IS... newsletter)

I met RaeAnne Thayne years ago. I stalked her at an RWA
conference because I’d been reading her Cold Creek books
 for Harlequin and just loved them.
The amount of warmth in her writing is incredibly compelling.
And I can tell you, she is just so lovely. Funny and warm and kind AND! A dancing machine.
Truly, clear the dance floor, RaeAnne is just here to dance.

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Your Hope’s Crossing Series for HQN starts with tragedy (a car crash) 
on top of a crime spree in the small town that effects the entire community.
It’s an amazing, if not risky, start to a series. What made you decide to start there?

The car accident was actually the pivotal idea for what was originally only a three-book series. Every community faces tragedy and loss at some point and I wanted to show the ripple effects of that, how some relationships are strengthened while others shatter. The series is really about healing, about moving forward through difficult things to find happiness again. In the series, I wanted to explore how the actions of a few people can devastate a community while still other actions can help everyone heal.

You are my hero of efficiency and productivity. You write a big juicy single title series for HQN and are STILL writing your long-going Cold Creek Series for Special Edition — tell me how you plan this out? How do you get this work done? Do you have word goals for the week? Month?

Oh, this makes me laugh, Molly. Most of the time I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water! I have slowed down a little. In 2012-2013, I wrote three single titles, a category and a novella. It was too much for me and I felt like the work and my family suffered.
I scaled my writing schedule back to two single titles and one Cold Creek title for Special Edition a year. I’ll be doing at least three more SE’s, simply because I love the format and the stories and feel a great loyalty to my SE readers, who have really supported this series and followed me when I started to write single titles.

As for my writing schedule, I try to write five to six days a week, around the school hours of my two sons who are still at home (I have an older daughter who has left the nest).

When I’m crazy on deadline, I will stop when they get home from school and then write again from the time they go to bed until I fall asleep at the computer. LOL! My boys are eleven and sixteen and the older one has multiple special needs and requires total care, so my writing schedule can be sporadic. Summer is my least productive time!
My daily writing goal is 10 pages when I’m in rough draft mode and 5-6 when I’m revising/ rewriting.

My favorite character of yours is Genevieve Beaumont from Christmas In Snowflake Canyon. She’s this spoiled rich girl who doesn’t have much confidence in herself — but she just puts her head down and works and eventually forces everyone — including herself — to see what she’s capable of. Can you tell me the inspiration for her?

I’m so happy you enjoyed Genevieve’s story! I never intended to write her book. I created her in the first book, BLACKBERRY SUMMER, because I needed a spoiled, difficult client to show the sweet, caring nature of the heroine of that book.
I thought that would be the end of it. Originally, as I mentioned, Hope’s Crossing was intended only as a trilogy but I had introduced all these secondary characters I fell in love with so I convinced Harlequin to let me write three more and then a bonus book ☺
(My June book, WILD IRIS RIDGE, is my last planned Hope’s Crossing book and I’m starting a new series, Haven Point, with my November title SNOW ANGEL COVE).
When I was coming up with the ideas for the second series of three books (CURRANT CREEK VALLEY, WILLOWLEAF LANE and CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE  CANYON) I knew I wanted to write Dylan Caine’s story, the war veteran who comes back to Hope’s Crossing to heal from his physical and emotional wounds.
When I was trying to figure out who his heroine would be, I couldn’t shake the idea that he and Genevieve needed each other. Sometimes the ideas just rush over you and all you can do is grab on and enjoy the ride.

What compelled you to create a spin off of the Hope’s Crossing series in another town rather than continue in Hope’s Crossing? What can you tell us about this town?

It’s always difficult for me to know when it’s time to move on from a series. I mulled that question for a long time — whether to write more Hope’s Crossing books or start something new.
I’ve been writing Hope’s Crossing since 2011. In conversations with my agent and editor,
we decided I could always return to Hope’s Crossing at some later point if ideas take me there,
but in the meantime, it would be creatively exciting to introduce a new community with new challenges, new personalities, new opportunities.
I didn’t want to start completely from scratch, however, so I decided to create a spinoff
using a character from a familiar family. The hero of SNOW ANGEL COVE is Aidan Caine,
yet another sibling of Charlotte, Dylan and Brendan Caine, previous characters in Hope’s Crossing. After suffering a life crisis, the tech genius invests in the struggling town of Haven Point, Idaho, on the banks of beautiful Lake Haven. I loved writing the first book and can’t WAIT to start the others
in the planned trilogy, after I finish the next Cold Creek book.

I have a TON of really great reader questions for you:
Mary Marcellino: How do you keep track of all of the details of your characters and the plot and the places, etc...?

This is so hard, especially when you write long-running series.
The 13th book in my Cowboys of Cold Creek series, THE CHRISTMAS RANCH, will be out in December and it’s a real challenge to remember who did what. I try to keep a series bible with
place names, character names, etc, but sometimes I have to re-read scenes out of previous books to remember eye color, hair, that sort of thing. If I can’t figure something out or don’t have time to re-read to find the answer, I will ask my readers on Facebook if they can remember the name of so-and-so’s mother or what color the dog in book two might be.
They have bailed me out more than a few times! My son-in-law had the great idea of creating a Wiki for my various series but I haven’t gotten around to that.

Mary Sullivan: Where do you start each book? Characters? Plot? Theme?

My book always start with the characters. I am very much a character-driven writer, in that I have to know who they are and what their issues are before I can work out the plot. I have a wonderful plot group that helps me fine tune my usually vague ideas.
As for theme, while I might start out with an abstract idea of what the theme for each book might be, that sometimes changes throughout the revision process.I have to admit, I don’t usually have a concrete idea of the theme until I finish the first draft and start picking it apart and filling in the gaps.

Blythe Gifford: How do you refill the well?

Excellent question! I’m afraid I don’t really have an original answer! I live in the stunning mountains of northern Utah and my favorite way to recharge is simply to take a walk in my beautiful surroundings, no matter the season or weather.
I love being with my family. I love to read and find so much inspiration in reading other great books (like yours and Molly’s!). I relax by watching television shows that bring me happiness — though I’m very picky and will often give up watching a show before it runs its course if it starts to bother me (like Justified. I love you, Raylan Givins, but I’m really tired of the dark despair in your part of Kentucky and all those people who started out fascinating but ended up with very few redeeming qualities and no character growth!).

I know when I’m asked about which books of mine I like the best, I usually lie and say all of them. Or the one I just released, or am currently working on. But I think the truth for all authors is that some books are a dream to write and some are a nightmare. 
Can you tell me which book of yours was the most pleasurable to write and which caused you the most trouble?

I will lie too and say all of them. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, WILD IRIS RIDGE
was the toughest book I’ve ever written.
While I adored the characters (both the main characters and the secondary characters who pop in and out!), my personal life while I was writing it was extremely stressful. Both of my parents died within five weeks of each other last fall. My father died in early November and my deadline was November 15.I was a month late turning the book in because of those circumstances, when writing at all was emotionally draining and difficult.
Most days, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and write a happy ending when my heart was so sore but I had a deadline and several more stacked up after that and didn’t have time to take a break. While the writing process was tough, I did find peace and comfort in helping other people (even my fictional creations!) through tough times and I loved the finish product.
As so often happens, I think it’s some of my best work because I was able to filter some of my own raw emotions onto the page.

Most pleasurable to write ... hmmm. There are things I have loved about all 47 books I’ve written. Whenever I re-read one of my books for research or whatever, I am startled again that I really came up with this entire thing out of my own imagination. I really adored the book I just finished — SNOW ANGEL COVE is sweet and warm, filled with some familiar characters and many new friends.
Aidan Caine is a complicated, sexy, rather lonely tech geek and writing his story was a delight.

Fill In The Blank: THE AUTHOR IS...

...very, very honored that I’ve been given the chance to bring my readers a few hours of happiness. 
Thanks so much RaeAnne for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. For those that would like to find out more about RaeAnne’s fabulous books 
check her out at:

**To sign up for Molly’s THE AUTHOR IS newsletter visit

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