I'm excited to welcome historical romance author, Rain Trueax today! So glad you're here, Rain. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.
My name is Rain Trueax. Most of my life has been lived back of beyond. Currently my home is on a small ranch in Oregon’s Coast Range where my husband and I raise cattle and sheep. We also have a vacation rental (which means we rarely get there) in Tucson AZ. I used to say my heart was divided by wanting to be in Oregon as well as Arizona. Now I have a third love in Montana and Wyoming.
Getting away even for a vacation can be tough when you raise livestock. I write, paint, sculpt, and consider photography one of my loves. Married almost 49 years, with two happily married, grown children, and four grandchildren, for the most part, I live the life I want. I enjoy writing as well as being able see my stories available for others to buy. When I turn 70 (in just over a month), I will be looking forward to the start of a new decade and new experiences.
Why did you decide to write historical romances? What is the appeal?
I’d been writing a mix of contemporary and historical romances since my 20s. I like the historicals for the fun of doing research but also visualizing a world very different from my own. My first, a story of the Oregon Trail, was written when I was in my late teens, polished off and on through the years and will be out as both paperback and eBook in the spring of 2014. It’s the longest book I’ve ever written, and I still love the coming of age romance with the Oregon Trail as a metaphor for growth and its difficulties.
My recent release and first published historical, Arizona Sunset, is set in the mid-1880s and again has an underlying theme of change and how do we bring that about. One thing I always like in my books is to tell an interesting story, a believable romance, but with a deeper message. That’s the fun of writing as well as the challenge and is true of contemporary stories as well as historical ones.
How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?
Because I have always loved history, especially of the settling of the United States, I generally know quite a bit about a region before I plot a story there. What I go looking for will be the little details like what kind of cloth they would have worn, food, medicines, tools, guns. I have an extensive collection of books on the American West. The Web is a wonderful place to get little, seemingly inconsequential facts, the ones that give grace notes to a story, making research a breeze in comparison to what it used to be.
Contemporary books also take research when I am writing a story about something like say adult ramifications of childhood abuse or cult groups. I am putting myself into a situation where I have not personally experienced. Memoirs and journals help a lot. I keep my stories to the American West—contemporary or historical. I also only set them in places I have lived or spent considerable time as to me the energy of place, how that impacts someone’s life, is a big part of any of my stories.
What is the best comment you ever received from a reader? The worst or weirdest?
My books haven’t really drawn a lot of comments, which I wish was otherwise, but whoever knows why readers are willing to take the time to leave their critique. My best one came from a man who said-- “"Desert Inferno" is not what I thought a Romance book would be like. Apparently there are different styles of them, which does make sense. I can't really call it a mystery as you know who the bad guy is early on but it is a great story to read about the characters involved and how they relate to each other. They are interesting, believable people and it is fun to read about how their relationships develop. Rain knows the desert country of Arizona and "paints" these places in words so the reader can form their mental image of the countryside. And there is plenty of action all through the story.”
Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
I know the outline of where a story will be going as I do a lot of trying out various plot ideas in my head before I ever touch a keyboard. By the time I start writing, I know these characters pretty well and their beginning goals (which as with life may be changed by circumstances). I am though the one in control and characters don’t take it over. What I find along the way are surprises that add to my enjoyment as scenes open up that I didn’t originally think about. So within the framework, the characters can influence new and better ways of getting to the end but they don’t change the end.
Can you tell us a little about your current work, Arizona Sunset? Is there a story behind the story?
This book was written well over 20 years ago and came out of my thinking how it’d be for a woman in Arizona’s 1880s who wanted to do the right things but felt totally repressed. She hadn’t chosen her life and she didn’t see a way out. I would say the story behind it is how we can all be repressed in different ways, and it takes looking around for the options that might be there. Sometimes a culture or family put restrictions on us, but most of us have more choices than we often think. We just need to look for them and be prepared to pay the cost. Sometimes when we are on a well-worn path, it’s hard to take the flak from others when we decided to take a less traveled one to get where we most want to be.
Arizona Sunset will be out at Amazon in paperback and on Kindle on Saturday, August 31.
What sets your heroine, Abigail, apart from all the other women in your hero, Sam’s life? Why is she perfect for him?
She is the good woman and he’s never been close to such because of the life he has led. His beginnings were not totally unusual for his time but they were not conducive to any kind of normal family life—not even when he was a child. He has had a lot of expectations as to what his life would be like with a ‘good woman’ but finds he has to make some painful readjustments if he hopes to keep her with him.
Basically this is a story of two people who each had expectations for what it’d be like with someone on the ‘other’ side.
Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I don’t really get writer’s block because I can write so many different places; so if I’m not feeling it for a book, I switch to the blogs. Before I start a fiction story it might appear nothing is happening but it’s all in my head which makes the actual first draft go pretty fast.
I have started a few books to find they were going nowhere. It hasn’t happened a lot but when it does, I put them aside, try something else, and keep the partial in my mind for some future story or maybe just totally discard it. I get more painter’s block than writer’s block.
Can you give us a little background on your hero, Sam Ryker, that’s only in your author notes, and not found in your story? What inspired you to create this character?
Well, I guess the only thing I can think of here is that when I was doing regressions, which is a hypnotic approach to gaining access to past lives, I think he was in them. I do not necessarily believe such past-life story retrievals means there is reincarnation as it might be we are accessing something deep in our brain that is a accumulation of many images. Anyway some years after I had written the book, I met the man in real life and although he was a contemporary friend, his life experiences did generally resemble the basics of those lived out by Sam. What that all meant I have no idea but it does make me wonder from where a lot of our stories have come.
Describe a favorite scene in your current novel?
I like a lot of them; but maybe when Abby is learning to milk a cow and Sam, in giving her instructions, is teasing as well as telling her something about his love making skills. The scene has humor, reality (yes, I’ve milked), and the kind of by-play between a man and woman that makes love not just romantic but fun.
What else do you have in store for your readers?
Come November, a sequel to Arizona Sunset will come out. It’s titled Tucson Moon and will carry on some of the characters, reveal more about one family, and have its own love story.
Me, I’ll be writing on the fourth of the Oregon series, which is the one swirling around in my head right now. I’ve put off the writing, as I want a bit more research (traveling to the area where it’s set one more time). It is the continuing story of one family that headed for Oregon in 1852. This romance will be set after the Civil War and deal with the Indian Wars in the John Day region as well as a few other things going in a complex time in Oregon’s history.
Be sure to come back Wednesday, when Rain will share a First Page look at Arizona Sunset.
Contemporary romances: Desert Inferno, Bannister’s Way, Evening Star, Moon Dust, Second Chance, Hidden Pearl, Her Dark Angel, From Here to There, A Montana Christmas (a novella), Sky Daughter, and Luck of the Draw. All books are based in the American West-- danger mixed with romance.
Historical romances: Arizona Sunset with Tucson Moon scheduled to come out in late November.