RainshadowAt long, long last after a draught of one solid year without a book from Lisa Kleypas, her loyal readers catch a break at last when Rainshadow Road is finally released on Tuesday, February 28th.   To celebrate, we’ve got Lisa herself to answer a few questions and she doesn’t come empty handed.  Lisa has 10 books donated by her publisher to give away to 10 lucky winners.  To enter, all you need to do is comment to this blog by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 24th.  Winners will be notified by email on Saturday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  If we don’t hear from a winner within that time, a new winner will be selected.  This contest is designed for readers, so please don’t enter if you review for another Web site or blog.  Due to the high cost of international postage, entries are open only to those from the U.S. and Canada.

Now, let’s hear from Lisa!

Lisa, thanks so much for joining us today.  Could you please tell our readers a bit about Rainshadow Road?

Sandy,  thank you so much for inviting me!  Rainshadow Road is the first in a series of contemporary romances set in Friday Harbor,  Washington.  It’s about a young glass artist,  Lucy Marinn,  who is dumped by her boyfriend at the beginning of the story–and if that’s not bad enough,  she discovers that he’s dumped her for her younger sister!  So about fifteen minutes after this happens,  she sees this handsome stranger on the beach,  who happens to be Sam Nolan,  a local vineyard owner.

I was inspired by this gorgeous Pacific Northwest island when my husband Greg took me there for a vacation a couple of years ago.  The island has a unique sort of mystical vibe–and as soon as I stepped off the ferry,  I started thinking about plot possibilities.  I imagined three brothers from a broken family,  and how they might each find redemption through love.  I was also excited about the idea of including gentle touches of magic in these stories,  as a way to add freshness and fun.  So these Friday Harbor books are not paranormals,  they’re more in the category of magic.  The idea I had was that when Lucy feels emotion very strongly,  it is expressed through her glass art,  and sometimes magical things happen as a result.

You know what they say about everything being bigger in Texas.  This book – and the previous one, as well, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor – felt quieter and less flashy (though that’s not the right word, but you know what I mean) than your previous contemporaries set in Texas.  Still, it feels just right for a book set on a Washington state island.  So, have you found a new voice or are you just giving the old one a rest for a bit?

Yes,  when you set a book in Texas,  everything does tend to be bigger. (Notice that I’m primly avoiding the temptation to make a lewd joke here.)  But while I was writing Rainshadow Road, the island setting really influenced the mood of the story and made it gentler and more playful.  Sam is the kind of hero who uses charm as a defense mechanism . . . he is funny, geeky,  sexy, and he loves nature.  And even though Lucy is cautious and wounded after her recent breakup,  she can’t help responding to Sam. I think it turned out to be a flirtatious and sweet-natured book.  The interesting thing about an author’s voice is that no matter how much you study writing techniques and plot structure,  etc,  the way you tell a story is still mostly intuitive.  Sometimes I’ll revise a scene over and over,  adjusting words,  ripping out sentences,  adding more stuff, until it finally feels right.

The magical realism felt kind of soft and quiet in this book – almost as if to say that magic is a part of everyday life.  Did you have fun playing with it and do you think you’ll include it again?

Thank you! That was absolutely the feeing I was hoping you’d get . . . magical realism is such a great genre,  because instead of creating a new world with its own rules and belief system as you would with a paranormal,  you just find the magic in our own world.  Magical things are ordinary,  and ordinary things are magical.  So the transforming glass in Lucy’s art is magical, but so is falling in love,  and so is the sight of a beautiful sunset,  etc.  I am definitely including magic in the next two Friday Harbor books.  The one I just finished,  Dream Lake,  is about the youngest Nolan brother,  Alex,  who is a bitter and tortured character,  haunted by the events of his past.  And I thought it would be wonderful to have him literally haunted as well,  by a ghost who made some of the same mistakes in his life that Alex is now making.

2011 was a tough year for Kleypas fans with no books from you – well, except the republication of one your earliest historical romances, Love Come To Me.  That one and I think two others have been out of print for some time and I kinda felt like you wanted it that way.  Am I right?  How did this republication happen?  Do you think it will happen with any of the others previously out of print?

Yes,  you’re definitely right . . . I sold my first book to NAL when I was 21 (forever ago!) and the kinds of characters and plots that I wrote back then are very different from what I do now.  So I’ve always felt that republishing them would be a potential disappointment to readers who would expect a “Kleypas book” and get something different.  My worst fear as an author is to make a reader regret spending her hard-earned money on something she ended up not liking.  But I’ve gotten many question about those books over the years,  and then NAL approached me and we talked about it.  There was only one out of the four,  Love Come To Me, that I thought had enough of a connection to what I do now,  that it would be okay to republish as long as we made it very clear that it was a book from the 1980s.  And readers were very kind about it and it ended up being fine–but I think there was a general consensus that it was obviously an early work by a young author.  So I just can’t see any reason to republish any more of them.

And while I’m on the subject of historical romances, what’s coming next and when?  There will be more in 2012, right?

I’ve got another unspecified one on my current contract,  so I could make it a historical–but so many readers have expressed interest in having one more Texas novel! I never planned to write a book about Joe Travis,  but I guess the way he ended up in Smooth Talking Stranger,  injured and in the hospital,  must have created some sympathy! So I’ve got some ideas for an outline,  and if my editor likes it,  I may write Joe’s story and after that start a new set of historical romances.  This is what I love about my job–I get to go where inspiration leads me!

Thanks so much to Lisa for joining us today.  Remember, to enter to win one of 10 copies of the book,  just comment to this blog by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 24th.  Good luck to everyone!

– Sandy AAR

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