Monday, August 10, 2015


Today my friend Rain Trueax has agreed to an interview. I met Rain on an Amazon discussion loop and now we are both members of the blog Smart Girls Read Romance at Rain divides her time between her sheep ranch in coastal Oregon and her second home in Arizona. She writes historical, contemporary, and fantasy novels set in the American West. Now here’s Rain’s interview:

Caroline: Where did you grow up?

Rain: With parents and one brother, I grew up on a farm in the foothills of the Washington Cascades, right at the edge of the wilderness. I loved country living, sought to find it again all my adult life and have come close but never quite. The memories stay with me of that simple life, walking those hills, the spring from where our water came, the wildlife, and the old wagon roads.

Libraries and books were part of my life from as early as I could read. Books like The Black Stallion were always on Christmas lists.

I have been married over 50 years. We had two children and now have four grandchildren.

Creek at Rain's Oregon farm

Caroline: I remember my first trip to the library. In my case it was the county bookmobile. Tiny, but the books opened a vast world to me. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Rain: I grew up reading Zane Grey; Frank Slaughter; Ernest Hemingway; John Steinbeck; Jessamyn West;  Margaret Murie; and many other nature, adventure, romance, and western authors. Today I read a wide variety of books. I don’t tend to have favorite genres other than western or romance, but there are authors I read whatever they write and often in genres, which I don’t read otherwise like Craig Johnson and Kevin Hearne.

Caroline: I read those same authors plus Louis L’Amour and Agatha Christie. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Rain: When I am writing a lot, I don’t get far from the keyboard or research. My mini-breaks involve going outside and sitting under out trees to watch the birds, butterflies, and leaves. When there is time, I enjoy going for drives, walks, visiting nature areas, taking photographs, and oil painting. We have an RV, and it’s enjoyable to take it to the mountains, desert, or beach. Oregon is blessed by having many options not that far from where we live. The laptop, which means writing, goes with me. Now we have a hotspot which mostly means I can get email or read the papers from anywhere.

Caroline: I always wanted Hero to rent and RV so we could travel the countryside, but he doesn’t think that would be as much fun as I do. Perhaps it’s because he would be the one driving. ☺ Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Rain: To narrow it to one right now, this came to mind. I used it in one of my books, Where Dreams Go -- “To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.” William Blake

Near Rain's Tuscon home

Caroline: Lovely quote. How long have you been writing?

Rain: Hmmm since I could write, My first though that I turned into a full length book would have been fifty years ago. I didn’t try to publish it then... thank goodness ;)

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Rain: I have a corner of the living room with my desk, shelves, and a bulletin board. It works for me because we never turn on TV during the day. Mostly I want it quiet, but once in awhile I play a soundtrack or a particular song if I am trying to draw up a needed emotion. My computer is a laptop, but I use a monitor and split keyboard to write. I like the laptop for being transportable. I save frequently to jump drives.

Caroline: Aren’t jump drives a wonderful tool? Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Rain: I know where a story will be going, the stages it will pass through, but then let things materialize along the way. Characters will surprise me, when after taking them down a certain path, I realize there was a deeper reason for what they had done. Those discoveries are what make writing exciting. I think I am a plotter and panzer.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Rain: I use real historic events for any book set in the past. If a real person seems to fit into that, I might add them for color. I have yet to use a real person as a major secondary character. In Where Dreams Go, an actual, colorful traveling preacher fit into my story. He not only illustrated one of the revivals from those days, but served to add depth to one of the issues between the hero and heroine. I don’t though have my main characters based on anyone I know or have read about. That said, everything we experience does end up adding to the color of our stories.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals?

Rain:  I don’t have word goals for every day but when a story is going well for me, it will be around 5000 words in a day. That’s when I generally stop because if I write too fast, I miss the lucky surprises. I write every day but not always fiction.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Rain: I want them to have an enjoyable emotional ride along with my characters. I like it when one of them later tells me that the character seemed so real they momentarily had to remember it had only been fictional. I try to put nature into stories to inspire others to enjoy it as I do. I like the idea that a book of mine can be taken at two levels—one for the fun of the read but the other for something that can be learned about life itself.

Caroline: That our books have a deeper meaning is a goal, isn’t it?  What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Rain: I am no more a plotter for my life than my books. I have three books due out this year and will soon be starting another for February. I am researching it now. I never though know how my books will be seen by others as I write stories that come to me and they often aren’t what even I expected. My long-term plans are just to keep writing but maybe more novellas after I finish that next book... oh and lots of editing always is in the picture.

Caroline: Yes, we are constantly editing. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Rain: Editing is ongoing for what will be my third Oregon historical due out September 21st. I have its cover and have done all but the last edit which will happen after the beta readers get back to me. Then the sixth Arizona historical comes out November 5th—again, it’s all about editing as it’s written. Same with the fourth Oregon historical, which will be out December 21st. The story ruminating in my head will be the 7th Arizona historical, and it’s going to be out February 5th. Somewhere in there, I want to do some reading just for fun as it’s been way too long.

Front of Rain's Tuscon home

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Rain: Write, write and write some more. Learn your craft. The best story doesn’t work if others cannot understand and follow it. If you haven’t already, take some classes. It is an exciting time to be a writer where we can put our story out there, but we really have to work to be sure we put it out in good condition and readable. The beauty though is it can be our story and doesn’t have to fit what just sold a bunch of books. I think it’s a wonderful time to be a writer.

Caroline: Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Rain: My husband and I enjoy wilderness skinny dipping in rivers, creeks, lakes, and mountain hot springs. Just out of curiosity, once we went to a nudist beach in California. It was interesting but nothing we repeated. There is something though about swimming without clothing that is very freeing—but I like it best when nobody is around except us.

Caroline: What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Rain:  That’s definitely not going to be shared ;)

One of Rain's cows with calf in Oregon

Caroline: Is ECHOES FROM THE PAST part of a series?

Rain: I have two series going right now with alternate publishing dates, which I have to say complicates things. It more happened than was planned-- panzer. Both series, Arizona and Oregon, involve families or friendships extended over the years. The newest one, Echoes from the Past, is the first romance involving what will be three brothers. No cliffhangers and they all stand alone but with supporting characters showing up throughout the stories, kind of like people tend to come and go from our lives.

Caroline: Can you give readers a blurb about ECHOES FROM THE PAST?

Rain: Holly Jacobs, a modern, educated woman, has been haunted by dreams since she was thirteen. It led to her going to university and becoming an anthropologist. Now, thanks to an inheritance, she is preparing an excavation into ancient ruins in Central Arizona, still a dangerous land in 1901. Beyond what science can tell her, Holly is looking for an answer to her own mystery. Did her dreams tell her that she lived in one of those ruins and experienced a great but doomed love?

When that star-crossed lover of the past shows up in Tucson, looking as dangerous as ever, she knows she should stay away, but the draw is too strong. Their love has been cursed before and will be again, or can a curse like that be broken?

ECHOES FROM THE PAST is a western historical, taking its characters on an exploration into Southwestern prehistoric ruins. Passion, adventure, and danger are experienced in the beauties of Central Arizona, as are the meaning of love, family and friendship.  With some spice and strong language.

Caroline: Hero and I love exploring ancient Southwestern ruins. We’ve hiked ruins in all over New Mexico, Mesa Verde and Sand Springs in Colorado, and Hovenweep. We’ve missed Arizona, though. The time we’d planned a vacation, there was an outbreak of the Hanta virus and we went back to Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde instead. By the way, I love your cover. How about an excerpt of ECHOES FROM THE PAST?

Rain: Here you are:

The Sicillas’ doors were already open. Holly walked in with a smile, which was instantly lost when she saw the tall man talking to Connie. The two turned to look when she had stopped through the doorway. Connie smiled broadly. His face was dour. She couldn’t imagine him smiling-- other than maybe as he squashed a spider.

“Holly,” Connie said as she pulled her into a hug to draw her forward.

“Is my order ready?” she asked, avoiding looking at him. He hadn’t moved from where he was standing, arms crossed over his chest. Even though clean shaven and now wearing a suit and white shirt, he looked as disreputable as when he had pulled her from her runaway horse. He was wearing a gun only partly hidden by a broadcloth jacket.

“Some came in. I want you to meet someone.” She pulled Holly to the last place she wanted to be. “Holly, this is Vince Taggert. Vince, Holly Jacobs is who I was telling you about.”

The smile on his face looked as unreal as she was sure hers did. “Glad to meet you,” he said with apparently no sincerity. He didn’t put out his hand, and she was glad. She’d not willingly touch him again, not even to be polite.

“How about you both come into the kitchen. I had something I wanted to explain to Vince, and now that you’re here, you can hear it also.”

Reluctantly, Holly followed Connie, all too aware of the tall man right behind her. Something about the sound of his boots on the wooden floor annoyed her, but then almost everything about him irritated her. She wondered if he would tell Connie how he saved her. She wished she had waited until later to come to the store. Then he’d have been gone, and she’d have been spared the awkwardness.

In the kitchen, Connie motioned for them to sit as she poured hot water into a tea pot. “I think you will like this one,” she said as she brought the pot and three cups back to the table for the tea to steep.

“Where’s Del?” he asked as he turned a chair and straddled it, leaning his elbows on its back.

“He was going to the river to bring back fresh greens. He gets restless and a ride in the morning helps.”

“If my supplies aren’t ready, I can come back,” Holly said wanting anything more than to be across the table from that man.

“First drink some tea, while I explain why I asked Vince to come to Tucson,” Connie said with another of those smiles that always made Holly wonder what she saw that she did not.

“You asked him to come?” she asked without modulating her tone. She knew the him had come out without masking her annoyance. She glanced over to see him watching her with a faint smile.

“I wrote him.” Connie turned to Vince. “Holly is why I wrote you.”

Vince’s smile of amusement broadened. Holly’s annoyance grew. “I am having a hard time understanding why,” he said.

“Holly is an anthropologist, an archaeologist. She is about to go on an excavation into the Cibecue area.”

“Cibecue huh.” He turned that cold stare onto Holly then. “You know much about that country?”

“Enough,” she said tilting her chin up with an expression that she hoped would stop his smile. It did not.

“Nobody with a brain would think that’s a smart place to go pot hunting.”

If she had been annoyed before, she was close to infuriated now. “Archaeology is not about pot hunting, Mr. Taggert.”

“Tell that to the Wetherhills.” He snickered.

“So you are not totally ignorant about the science,” she snapped.

“Not where it comes to making money.”

“Archaeology is about discovery. It is not about making money.”

“Ah and who pays for the digs?”

“Well, benefactors or universities.”

His smile broadened. “Money.”

“In some cases. I am, however, funding my own.”

This time he laughed. It sounded genuinely amused. It made her more annoyed and convinced she never wanted to see him again. “You are funding it because those with more sense wouldn’t.”

She felt as though the top of her head was going to explode. “I did not ask anyone else.”

“Children,” Connie said as she poured the tea. “Drink some tea and calm down a bit.”

Caroline: Intriguing! Where can readers find ECHOES FROM THE PAST?

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?


Caroline: Thanks for sharing with us today, Rain. Best wishes for continued success in your writing career. 


Caroline Clemmons said...

I enjoyed getting to know your better, Rain. Love, love, love the cover for your new release and eagerly look forward to reading the book. Best wishes and thanks for sharing today.

Rain Trueax said...

thank you so much for having me on your blog. I respect your writing and have enjoyed getting to know you through the places we connect :)

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I enjoyed your excellent interview and look forward to reading more of Rain's books.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

A wonderful interview Rain. Lovely getting to know you better!!

Paty Jager said...

Sounds like another great book, Rain!

Lyn Horner said...

Great interview, ladies! I love the photos, and your book sounds excellent.

Chad said...

Superb interview, Rain and Caroline! Intensely beautiful cover and an intriguing story!