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Carr, Robyn 1951–

Carr, Robyn 1951–

PERSONAL:

Born July 25, 1951, in St. Paul, MN; daughter of Ronald E. and Bette Henrichs; married James R. Carr; children: Brian, Jamie. Education: Attended Arthur B. Anker School of Nursing, 1969-71.

ADDRESSES:

Home—AZ.

CAREER:

Writer, 1975—.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Chelynne, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1980.

The Blue Falcon, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1981.

The Bellerose Bargain, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1982.

The Braeswood Tapestry, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1984.

The Troubadour's Romance, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1985.

The Chappington Affair, Pinnacle Books (New York, NY), 1985.

By Right of Arms, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1986.

The Everlasting Covenant, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1987.

Tempted, Bantam (New York, NY), 1987.

Rogue's Lady, Zebra Books/Pinnacle Books (New York, NY), 1988.

Informed Risk, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Woman's Own, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1990.

(With others) To Mother, with Love, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Mind Tryst, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1992.

The House on Olive Street, Mira (New York, NY), 1999.

Wedding Party, Mira (New York, NY), 2001.

Blue Skies, Mira (New York, NY), 2004.

Runaway Mistress, Mira (New York, NY), 2005.

Never Too Late, Mira (New York, NY), 2006.

"GRACE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA" SERIES

Deep in the Valley, Mira (New York, NY), 2000.

Just over the Mountain, Mira (New York, NY), 2002.

Down by the River, Mira (New York, NY), 2003.

"VIRGIN RIVER" SERIES

Virgin River, Mira (New York, NY), 2007.

Shelter Mountain, Mira (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2007.

Whispering Rock, Mira (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2007.

NONFICTION

Practical Tips for Writers of Popular Fiction, Writer's Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH), 1992.

Also contributor to Writer's Digest.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer Robyn Carr initially studied to be a nurse, but it was not long until she decided that writing might be a better career. She developed a taste for romance novels during her first pregnancy, when she spent many days with her swollen ankles propped up, reading whatever books her neighbor brought her in huge quantities. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-seven and has been writing ever since. Carr has published numerous books, including series such as her "Grace Valley, California" series and the "Virgin River" series.

Woman's Own is a historical novel set in Philadelphia during the nineteenth century. Carr follows the fortunes of three generations of Armstrong women, a Main Line family where affluence is no guarantee of a comfortable life. Each woman in her turn finds the need to stand on her own two feet and prove herself independent. Emily Armstrong turns her back on her family and social status to marry for love. But when her marriage fails, she cannot expect her family to rescue her, and so she supports herself and her two daughters by running a genteel boarding house. Her daughters, Patsy and Lilly, each follow their own paths when they reach adulthood and set out to make their way in the world. Sybil Steinberg, writing for Publishers Weekly, remarked that "Carr … evokes a city brimming with the rich and famous, who are often cruel and greedy, as she depicts interesting women."

With Mind Tryst, Carr tries her hand at writing psycho-thrillers. The book features L.A. attorney Jackie Sheppard, a divorced woman who, after her eleven-year-old son dies in an automobile accident, decides to start her life over where there are fewer memories. She moves to Colorado, settling in a small town in the mountains, where she meets carpenter Tom Wahl. Tom has his own difficult past and at first this appears to give him and Jackie one more thing in common. But when Jackie becomes uncomfortable and attempts to end the relationship, Tom shows his true obsessive nature and Jackie finds herself to the law for help. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly dubbed the book "a seamless suspense novel that guarantees readers edge-of-the-seat drama."

The House on Olive Street looks at the friendships between five women: Gabby Marshall, and her four writer friends whom she asks to settle her literary estate upon her death. Elly, Sable, Beth, and Barbara Ann all move into Gabby's Sacramento home temporarily while going through her things, but for each of them the house also serves as a refuge of sorts from their own complicated lives. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "though conventional in outline, Carr … offers a well-written, warm-hearted story and a genuinely fun read."

In Runaway Mistress, readers meet Jennifer Chaise, the perfect mistress, who understands her role in a man's life. Her current lover is Nick Noble, a wealthy Vegas regular who likes to have a pretty girl on his arm, and in return, Jennifer gets money, presents, and fabulous trips. Everything is going smoothly until Jennifer walks into the Vegas hotel room she shares with Nick, to find his wife, dead, lying face down on the bed. When she hears Nick ordering his associates to dispose of her as well, the situation goes from bad to worse. Jennifer goes to ground, shaving her head to avoid being recognized, takes a new name, and skips town. She does not know, however, how long she will be able to escape detection, especially when her new neighbor turns out to be a policeman. Shelley Mosley, writing for Booklist, praised the book for having "just the right amount of suspense and several interesting subplots."

Virgin River kicks off the series of the same name with the story of Melinda Monroe, a Los Angeles nurse who moves to the small town of Virgin River to get a fresh start after her husband is brutally murdered during an attempted robbery. Mandy Burns, writing for the Fresh Fiction Web site, declared the book "beautifully written and a superb romantic love story." The series continues with Shelter Mountain, which introduces a young woman named Paige and her three-year-old son Christopher, refugees in Virgin River on the run from Paige's abusive husband. The third book, Whispering Rock, involves a serial crime spree where girls are being raped after apparently being encouraged to drink heavily and take drugs. Diana Tixier Herald, in a review for Booklist, commented that "the combination of realistic romance and tough topics … makes this a fine read."

Carr once told CA: "It seems to me that writing is more of a lifestyle than a career. My family tells me that writers are strange, unpredictable people. They argue about when I'm the most difficult to live with—when I'm waiting for an offer on a proposal, or trying to finish the book on time, or waiting for the final manuscript to be read and accepted. Undoubtedly, I'm difficult at all those times.

"There is a space of time in the process that is my favorite to occupy. That is the brief point between the satisfactory (by my standards) completion of a manuscript and the very beginning of the next novel—the very end of one and the very beginning of the next. There is not much actual typing happening in this space of time. One book is gone and cannot be touched or improved any further, and the next exists only as a seedling, not even planted onto paper. It is during this time that I talk aloud to myself, page through phone books and maps, leave myself unintelligible notes, read voraciously, and daydream constantly. My family feels that I'm not really working, since I'm not stacking up pages or typing. This is the most important thing I do, though; and this initial enthusiasm for the story, this first spark will, after a great deal of technical and mechanical manipulation, become a novel. Writing, from beginning to end, might be a long, creative process. For me it is this flicker of excitement at the start that is creation. Then I do my work.

"What seems to make my books work well and maintain popularity has largely to do with the heroines. The women in my works adhere to the customs of their time but are possessed of some contemporary values. While they might indeed marry their father's choice or seem to hold their men as ‘heads of households,’ they regard their own strength, independence, and self-esteem highly. There were women in historical periods whose actions and values were far ahead of their time and who strongly resemble our most admired contemporary women. Eleanor of Aquitaine, for instance, endowed a convent as a shelter for abused women. My heroines are fun to create because of the delicate balance between the way they seem to fit the period into which they are drawn and the way they hold a strong identity with the contemporary woman in their strength of conviction, their determination to succeed despite the odds, their affirmation of their own power."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, third edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2005, Shelley Mosley, review of Runaway Mistress, p. 1640; April 15, 2007, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Whispering Rock, p. 24.

Publishers Weekly, February 2, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Woman's Own, p. 77; December 13, 1991, review of Mind Tryst, p. 44; November 15, 1999, review of The House on Olive Street, p. 62.

ONLINE

Fresh Fiction, http://www.freshfiction.com/ (April 7, 2007), Mandy Burns, review of Virgin River.

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