I am SO excited today to introduce you to romance author Taryn Raye. Taryn is such an amazing networking friend for me — if I announce anything, I can always count on her to spread the word. She has a new release out with Turquoise Morning Press called Castaway Hearts. Please enjoy Taryn answering your questions as much as I enjoyed having her here today!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a small town in Kentucky. My father is a carpenter, my mother a homemaker and I have one younger sister. The town I grew up in is the famous home of Wild Turkey Distillers and a hop, skip and jump from Lexington, home of Keenland, the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Wildcats. Nowadays I live further south, in the country with my wonderful husband who doesn’t mind that I often live multiple lives- the one we share and the ones bouncing around in my head. I have a 13 year old stepson, a 9 year old daughter and we have one furbaby- Miscellaneous- aka Mizzy- our 9 year old female cat.
2. Tell us about your book.
Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of- her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.
Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.
Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?
Please pick 10 questions from this batch of questions submitted by readers:
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?
I really do believe I’ve always wanted to write, at least as far back as I can remember that I loved books, reading, and the idea of sharing stories of my own. I’m not sure what inspired me. I know we had many books in our house, my grandmother was a librarian at Asbury College, my aunt wrote short stories- books were all around me and I loved them- the smell, feel, weight of them in my hand and the worlds within those pages. It still makes me happy and I think that’s what inspired me most, I knew I had something that truly brought me joy.
What made you take the plunge and finally do it?
My mom. She has been after me all my life to finish my stories, to submit a novel somewhere, so she was the driving force behind me when I hit “send” to email my submission to Turquoise Morning Press and she continues to encourage me to move forward with my writing, all the time.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write. My sister asked me this question the other day and that was the best singular advice I could give. I believe you will never know if you can write, if you don’t write anything. There are lots of other bits and pieces of advice to give aspiring writers, but that one tops my list, mainly because I’ve been there. I spent 10 years NOT writing out of fear, procrastination and lack of confidence. Once I started writing again though, I realized what a sense of accomplishment it is to say you’ve finished a project or a manuscript, even if you never publish it.
How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel? What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them?
I started writing a few young adult novels in my teens, but never finished them. I also started writing a story I consider women’s fiction when I was around 21. I wrote approximately ¾ of it when I got to a scene that I was struggling with emotionally to get on the page, so I ended up tucking it away rather than dealing with it head on. The biggest roadblock was that decade between 21 and 31, when I finally received the encouragement from my mom and from a friend who also believed in my writing, to get it out and “put a finish” on that novel. Time and emotions were the roadblocks, but once I bulldozed through it, there was no going back. Writing “The End” on that very first manuscript changed everything.
What is your inspiration for writing?
Given that just about anything can inspire me, the most common things would be nature, most specifically flowers, landscape, golden sunsets- I love taking photos. My family and loved ones also inspire me, as does the strength of strangers. Love and sacrifice that endures and stands the test of time, especially unconditional love. Courage, bravery and the human touch—I guess it’s a bit of all things- the life and motion I see around me and how interconnected we all are, how we touch on others lives without always realizing it. Small kindnesses that pay it forward and remind us that we’re all traveling the same journey, separate, yet together.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?)
The Ramona Quimby series of books by Beverly Cleary are at the top of the list. The Mouse and the Motorcycle, There’s a Monster at the End of this Book, The Poky Little Puppy (Most of the Little Golden Books), Where the Wild Things Are, Charlotte’s Web, The Littlest Rabbit, The Five Chinese Brothers– the list could go on and on.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read?
I write what’s in my heart, so I guess I do write for myself and my own enjoyment first, but I believe that if I, as the author, feel nothing for the story or the characters or how it begins or ends, then the reader won’t either. There has to be an emotional connection there. Frankly, if I knew a writer didn’t write the story of their heart or didn’t love their characters, I don’t know if I could invest the time in reading it. If it means nothing more than a paycheck, it would make me doubt the sincerity of their words, their story, their characters and that would weigh on my mind the entire time I read their book. Those are the stories that always fall flattest, but the ones written from the heart never fail to touch me as a reader, so I hope I accomplish the same through my own writing.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?
I’m a pantser, so I don’t have a plot laid out at all, so I prefer to think that I lay out the bare bones- names, occupations, family history, relationship history, etc so that I can build the story around it and flesh it out as I go along. Even as a pantser though, I have gone in a different direction than I’ve anticipated. I’ve seen times where the scene I thought was going to play out a certain way altered and went an entirely new way, and that generally seems to work best for me. Many times, it’s something I didn’t see until I was right up on that part of the story and then I have that “palm to forehead” moment where I’m like “Duh! That makes things more complicated, but also improves what is going to happen to get to the climatic part of the story and head toward the end.”
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?
Moving away from my hometown was the one thing I never thought I’d do. I love my hometown and have family and friends that are all still there and I go and visit them as often as I possibly can. I met my husband “online” back when “dating” sites were just getting started and family and friends kept warning me of the dangers of meeting strangers on the web. Luckily, I met a divorced father who shared custody of his 2½-year-old son with his ex-wife and he just wanted to meet someone nice who wouldn’t use him, who would care about him and his son, and who would love them and become a real part of their life- to build a family. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’re doing well- nearly 11 years together. We’ve had ups-and-downs just like any other couple who’ve met “in real life.” My stepson is 13 now; our daughter and our girly cat are both 9. What is that saying? — “We may not have it all together, but together, we have it all.” Yeah, that works. 😉
Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story?
I don’t remember exactly, but I do know that I wrote the first page of Castaway Hearts when I was a teenager (back in the 1990s). I scribbled the opening scene as Catherine starts to board her grandfather’s ship on the front and back of a sheet of paper and put it away for “later”. It was tucked away for nearly 2 decades (count ‘em- 2) before I saw this haunting image on a MySpace background in 2006 that called to me. It was then I knew I had started this story a long time ago and it was time to write it. I did quite a bit of reading research into Virginia during the late 1700s for a few months and then I wrote it in 2007 in about 2-3 months—my computer crashed somewhere in the middle, and I nearly lost it all, but fortunately I didn’t. I got it finished shortly after I was back up and running and the rest, as they say, is history.
Castaway Hearts is available in eBook & print from my publisher-
Turquoise Morning Press-http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/collections/historical/products/castaway-hearts
Also available on Amazon for-
On Nook or in Print from B&N- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/castaway-hearts-taryn-raye/1109853037?ean=9781622370153
Various formats on
Places I can be found-
Here are just a few places you can find Taryn Raye-
FB Page- http://www.facebook.com/TarynRayeRomanceWriter
Google +- https://plus.google.com/u/0/106417470051541112992/posts
Great interview and I love how your book harkens back to the traditional historical. So many writers have moved away from that and I’m hoping you’ll set a trend.
Thanks for having me Hallee!
And thank you, Teresa. Castaway Hearts was truly my first foray into writing a historical and I was never one who cared about doing a lot of research into history, but it stayed with me and I actually enjoyed the research I did for it. Though I’m concentrating now on my contemporaries, I hope someday to pen a few other stories that will follow Castaway Hearts down through Catherine & Dawson’s family tree because I have a few ideas that carry down through the Civil War.
Oh, I love the sound of that! The book sounds wonderful and I hope you do write more books following their line. 🙂
Thanks so much Rachel. I would love to be able to continue it, but I know right now the research moving forward would be quite time-consuming and I’m just not yet up to the task. 😉 I think too, I really need to be in the right place and the other characters aren’t calling to me to write their stories yet. That makes a huge difference.
A very nice interview. I love those stories which started long ago then you pick back up after you’ve grown up a little and make it even better. This is a beautiful story.
There’s a little bit of something special to the stories that stick with you through the years, isn’t there? Thanks so much for stopping by!
Like you, I don’t outline and love listening to my characters and following where they take me.
Sometimes what my characters tell me is far better than anything I could have come up with, Janie. That’s what I love about them. 😉