Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Love Finds You in Beautiful Places

I had the great pleasure of hearing Robin Jones Gunn speak at our school's Woman to Woman Conference last February - and let me tell you, Robin has a lot of wonderful things to say! So grab a cinnamon roll and some tropical fruit to enjoy while you take in this lovely interview - and Robin's beautiful pictures of Hawaii!

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 lear
ned 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!

Giveaway!!!

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.)

49 comments:

Michelle said...

This is a wonderful interview, Robin and Amber! I really enjoyed reading about Christmas in Hawaii, and the special time that Robin and her husband shared in doing research for the book.

Thank you for entering me!
Michelle
scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Amber S. said...

Robin,

Thank you so much for helping us celebrate this week! :) I agree with Michelle - so fun to learn about Christmas in Hawaii!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Michelle,

Another night owl! ;) So glad you enjoyed the interview, and thank you for your entry! It's nice to see your sweet comment here during this late-night homework/blogging session. :)

~Amber

Melanie said...

Wow! Those pictures are so beautiful!!! Makes me want to visit Hawaii! :)

Frequentreader19 (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I feel so lucky to have visited Hawaii, Maui, Kauai and Lanai. We managed to see whales everyday. That was awesome! What a beautiful setting to feature in a Love Finds You book. So much history there. Love the photos, too. Makes the Chicago cold a bit more tolerable this morning, lol.

LynH
spooler(at)comcast(dot)com

Koala Bear Writer said...

I'm not in the draw because I have a Canadian address, but I just wanted to say Kona coffee is the best! I worked at Starbucks last Christmas and one of our regular customers went to Hawaii for Christmas and brought us back a package of Kona coffee ('cause you can't get it in Canada). We were so excited! :)

Robin - thanks for sharing your experience with rewriting. It makes me feel better (as an aspiring writer) to know that even the experts have to experiment with POV and struggle with rewrites. :)

Jen said...

Christmas in Hawaii sounds lovely. =}

somanybooksblog(at)hotmail.com

wfnren said...

I really do like these Love Finds You books. Thank you for hosting these giveaways.

wfnren at aol dot com
wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I love all of your books, Robin! So good! Can't wait to read this one!
~Marissa

marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

Debbie OT said...

Your book sounds great and I absolutely love Kona coffee. We spent last Christmas in Hawaii and loved it. So much warmer than the ice and snow at home in Illinois.

debbie(at)taulman(dot)org

Katie McCurdy said...

Ohh, coffee as well? Too cool!

Robin, I haven't read any of your books (other than Praying for Your Future Husband), but ever since I read PFUFH, I have wanted to read one of your fictions. This one looks really good! And, in fact, I saw it in Wal-Mart today. Too cool! :-)

agirlslegacy(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carissa said...

Robin,

I grew up reading your Christy Miller series can't wait to read your new book.

Carissa

belovedgraceful(at)bellsouth(Dot)net

Joy Hannabass said...

Another wonderful book from Robin...and great interview ladies! I love LFY books....and would love this one too!
Blessings.....Joy
ibjoy1953{at]yahoo[dot]com

Casey said...

I love the cover of this book and it sounds like such a perfect destination. ;-)

Email in profile.

Oregon!

And sorry I'm making this quick, I want to see my fam for a little bit this evening. ;-)

Aizess said...

I would enjoy reading a book by Robin. Please enter me in this giveaway.

Amber, great party! I'm looking forward to your other party posts!

I live in New York

yecenia@optonline.net

Amber S. said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments! :) Glad you're enjoying the party!

~Amber

Merry said...

I would really love to win this LFY book... my dh and I spent our first few years in Hawaii and have lovely memories, including ones at Sunset Beach. Christmas in Hawaii and walking barefoot in the sand is wonderful!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Elyssa said...

Great interview! This looks like a great book, and again (I say this about every book, lol), the cover is beautiful! Thanks for the chance to win it, Amber!

lubell1106(at)gmail(dot)com

Andrea said...

Loved the interview! I've read many of Robin's books and would love to read this one. Thanks for sharing about Hawaii. Would love to be there right now!

andrea2russia@hotmail.com

Maureen said...

Robin I love the picture you painted of the Dad, kids, and Mom headed to the beach for Christmas!



alekee02{at}yahoo[cot]com

Jackie S. said...

Always wanted to visit Hawaii.....if I can win this book, I will feel like I went there! Please enter me. Love the LFY series. Thanks.
jackie.smith[at]dishmail [dot]net

Christy said...

The local Santa Tradition just cracks me up! Only in Hawaii could someone get away with wearing short sleeves on Christmas. Us Southerners like our sweaters and warm coats this time of year, thankyouverymuch. :o)

Christy
southernsassythings at gmail dot com

Lane Hill House said...

Don't forget the juicy pineapple dripping down your chin and fingers!
Your Cozy Books over at your site look wonderful for a cozy read! I am familiar with your books having worked in schools and straightening books in the library when I had a chance. I shelved yours a lot!
I have not heard "destination novels" and like that phrase. Glad you took photos along with videos!
United States
lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

Mandersgirly said...

Robin!!
Thanks for sharing Jesus in your books! I LOVE your books.. They are kinda like my escape.. when things get hard.. i pick up one of your books and read it. i've read them coutless times. THANKS!!!
-Mandy Lantz
livin4him88@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Robin,

My roommates and I just finished reading The Katie Weldon books. We absolutely love your books. I can't wait to read your Love Finds You book!

Katie
kekimbrell@valdosta.edu

Alyssa said...

I love all of your books. I just finished the Christy Miller and Katie Weldon series. Can't wait to read your new book!

Alyssa
alymorris@ymail.com

Marianne said...

ooo...Robin i would love to come and have coffee at your house. One of my first thoughts when i found out you were moving to Hawaii was...now i have a bonifide reason to visit this beautiful state! Thanks for the peek into Christmas there. i would love to have an autographed book!

Bellands said...

I love Robin Jones Gunn! I haven't read this book but it just moved to first place on my "books to read" list!! I love taking vacations through books.

Jenn
Utahgirl4jesus@aol.com

Marianne said...

Sorry, Robin. got so excited about your book i forgot to leave my email address.

mitzi[underscore]wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com

Holly said...

Great interview, and I'm so excited that this story is about Sierra. I've been reading her books since the beginning and she is by far my favorite character. I haven't had the chance to read this one yet, but it's high on my list.

Holly
oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

bria said...

Hi
Thanks for sharing more insight about your book. I read it and loved it!

foreverdaizy@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I just finished this book! I always feel guilty that I read the books so quickly, because I know Robin puts so much work into making the stories such a pleasurable read. I love how I can almost feel, hear and smell the scenes described in your books.

steveandcami@comcast.net

jmack said...

Hi Robin,
I have had the pleasure of meeting you through Chuck & Nancy! I met my husband in Hawaii & we lived there for several years. I spoke at a Church gathering here in Oregon some years ago, about Christmas in Hawaii. I am almost done reading" Love Finds you in Sunset Beach ", and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! Thank you!
Michele

Laura said...

I spent my teenage years reading the Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series, and am in college now and reading Katie Weldon:)

I love this interview and I can't wait to read this new book about Sierra:)

God bless you, Robin:)

Laura
book_lover3@yahoo.com

The Real Me- TLF said...

I always love reading Robin's books! This one and the final Katie book are next on my list!

a simple enigma said...

Robin - My sister and I have read the Christy, Sierra, and Katie books growing up and passed them around. Borrowed this book from her, and reading about Sierra again was like meeting up with an old friend. Thanks for letting us see her next chapter in life. :)

h_bohlmann@hotmail.com

Ps. Amber, thanks for sharing this interview with us. Always neat to learn more about what went into such a wonderful book!

flygirlh2o said...

Wow, what a blessed girl you are Amber! I would love to chat with Robin and ask her all sorts of questions, and to see her face when she talks about Hawaii!

Robin, this book was amazing. My Hubby and I just went to Ohau and Maui in Sept for our Anniversary, your descriptions took me right back. Oh how I LOVED Maui and the North Shore. We stayed in Waikiki but everyday we left and explored the rest of that island. I was not a fan of Waikiki. Our favorite place was Kono's in Haleiwa, of course being from SoCal we were fans before we got to their North Shore location! Anyways, thanks again for taking me back...wish I could live there like you!

Hugs,
Heidi
flygirlh2o81@yahoo.com

apple blossom said...

I'd love to spend on Christmas in Hawaii doubt it'll ever happen but I can dream.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Danielle said...

Mele Kalikimaka! This Maui Girl is spending Christmas on the mainland this year (I've been living on the mainland for about 4 years), but I cannot wait to move home where my husband and I can celebrate Christmas Hawaiian Style (Christmas day at the beach, of course!). Loved Robin's interview, thanks for sharing.
Aloha,
danielle
mauidanielle@gmail.com

Patricia said...

I have a friend that lives in Hawaii and shares the beauty of the islands with me. I would love the read Love Finds you in Sunset Beach Hawaii.
I have several of the Love Finds You books and keep adding to them.
Thanks for the giveaway and I look for to reading this book.

Blessings,
Patricia aka Mamaw

plb1050 at gmail dot com

Carolyn said...

Thanks so much for sharing this interview! It is so fun to learn about the different places she visits in her novels. I love reading Robin's books! I am excited about the giveaway!!

carolynmreese[at]gmail[dot]com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Over 75 novels. Amazing! And I'm celebrating my 10th contract just signed this week. Finally in the double-digits. :) But Hawaii...now that's a place I'd love to do research. Hmm...planning now to persuade hubby of the need to take a trip there.

tiff [at] amberstockton [dot] com

Kim @ The Gab said...

I love reading anything that Robin has to say. Thanks for the interview. I've been reading and following Robin for over 15 years and I've read it all. Need to keep updating your characters for those that have "grown" up with the Christy gang. Looking forward to reading about Katie in the spring. God Bless!

lgm52 said...

Interesting interview...your books are such good reads! Can hardly wait to read the latest one!
lgm52@hotmail.com

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Neat! I didn't know of any Christian authors living in Hawaii ... I'll be keeping an eye out for your book, Mrs. Gunn!

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Cindy W. said...

I absolutely love the LFY books. Would love to win a copy of LFY in Sunset Beach, HI. Thank you for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ali said...

Wow a book written about Hawaii that should be interesting. I would really like to try this author.
Alicia from New York
Alibaby374@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I LOVE Robin's books. I started reading them when I was about 13 and I'm now 20 and STILL re-read the entire Christy Miller series like every year. I'm actually starting my own collection of them so I don't have to keep borrowing them from my friend all the time! Haha. And I love the Sierra Jensen and Katie Weldon series' also! All great! Thank you SO much for writing them all! And PLEASE keep writing more about them!! I'd love to read a series on Doug and Tracy too!! *hint, hint* ;-)
scattaboo@aim.com

karenk said...

wow...this sounds like a great 'vacation' during the month of december in the northeast...thanks for the chance to read it :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com