Amber: What do you love most about writing for the “Love Finds You” series as compared to other books you’ve written?
Robin: My favorite part of the “Love Finds You” format is the summary at the beginning of the book that gives the history of the location. I loved digging a little deeper into the beginnings of the Sunset Beach area.
One of the best things about writing destination novels is having a chance to visit amazing places and then crafting a story in that setting. I’ve done this sort of onsite research for most of the novels I’ve written over the past ten years.
What made “Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii” even more delightful was that I was writing about my home state. I live on a different island so I had to bring the characters to my corner of Hawaii first and then send them on to the North Shore on Oahu so they could meet at Sunset Beach. As I was writing I felt as if I was sharing my favorite parts of this beautiful paradise with the characters but more importantly with the readers.
Amber: Have you visited the setting of your latest “Love Finds You” book?
Robin: Oops! I think I jumped ahead in my last answer and covered most of this answer.
I will add that my favorite part of the trip to the North Shore was that my husband came with me and he had a video camera going so we could capture some of the majesty of the big waves and the pristine beaches. I even drew a big heart in the sand at Sunset Beach and looked up at the camera and said something like, “Will love find you at Sunset Beach?”
It was a fun day and we thought we had a lot of great footage. But when we got home and played it back the wild Kona winds dominated every scene. None of the audio came through and in the end we decided none of the video was usable.
I do have some photos that came out and we were able to use those at the back of the book. I’ll add some of them here as well.
Would I visit there in the future? Absolutely. Anytime.
Amber: Oh, that's a bummer about the video! But it sounds like a wonderful time all the same. =) And the pictures are great!
Have you learned anything about love and humility while working on your latest “Love Finds You” book that you could share with us?
Robin: Love and humility do tend to go hand in hand, don’t they? I felt both of these while working on this book.
I’ll tell you about the love first. My husband and I spent our honeymoon on Oahu 34 years ago and that was the first time we visited the North Shore together. Returning to Sunset Beach with him to gather insights for this book made me realize how quickly the years have gone and what a gift it is to be able to journey through life with a man who loves God and loves me. We walked hand in hand on Sunset Beach and remembered all the tender ways that the Lord has provided for us and protected us all these years.
The humility part came for me in the rewrites on this book. I tried something new in that I wrote one chapter from Sierra’s point of view and the next chapter from Jordan’s point of view. It was fun at first but then it became more complicated as the story and the characters became more entwined. I had to learn as I was writing what worked and what didn’t work.
Being challenged as a writer is always a good thing. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years and I want to learn and grow as a storyteller. But I’ll tell you, rewriting many times over is a humbling thing no matter how many books you’ve had published.
Amber: Love your response!
What would a Christmas party in the town and era of your latest “Love Finds You” book look like? (Any details about food, decorations, traditions, etc., would be wonderful!)
Robin: In Hawaii we say, “Mele Kalikimaka!” and we celebrate the way most families and friends do. We set up Christmas trees, we gather at parties for lots of food and we worship together at church on Christmas Eve. Local tradition says that Santa arrives in an outrigger canoe wearing an Aloha shirt and bringing gifts wrapped in banana leaves.
Last year my husband and I sat outside eating papaya and cinnamon rolls for breakfast at seven o’clock on Christmas morning. One of our neighbors came around the corner with their two toddlers in a red wagon. The dad was wearing a Santa hat, T-shirt, shorts and flip flops. The kids were in their bathing suits and the mom was in a sleeveless shift with a big beach bag over her shoulder. They were singing Christmas carols and were heading down to the blue Pacific for Christmas breakfast on the beach. Now, that’s a little different than the way most people in the U.S. and Canada spend their Christmas morning.
At Sunset Beach the surfers head for the water on Christmas morning because winter is when the big waves roll in. A big Christmas feast would include fresh fish, kalua pork, rice, poi, lomi lomi, teriyaki chicken, chow fun noodles, haupia and of course, sweet potato pie.
One of my favorite parts of Christmas in Hawaii is all the white twinkle lights strung in the palm trees and the candle light service at the 160 year old church where the carols are sung in Hawaiian. It’s a sweet reminder that Jesus is the light of the world and His light reaches all the way to these remote islands tethered here in the middle of the deep blue sea.
Amber: Sounds simply lovely! Thank you so much for sharing with us today!
One final note from Robin: I’d love to connect with you! On Facebook my page is Robin Jones Gunn. On Twitter it’s simply RobinGunn. You are warmly welcome to visit my Online Shop at shop.robingunn.com where you’ll find copies of all 75 of my books, including “Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii”. If you place a first-time order in the Shop, enter the code WELCOME at check out and you’ll receive a 20% discount on your entire order! Gotta’ love those coupons!
Here are the rules for today's giveaway of a gift package - Kona coffee and a signed copy of Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii! Please read carefully.
- Leave a comment for Robin along with your e-mail address.
- You must have a U.S. mailing address in order to be eligible for this drawing.
- All winners this week will be announced on Sunday, December 11, 2011. (Please note the new announcement date! Winners will be announced Sunday afternoon or evening instead of Saturday morning.)