I’m not gonna lie. Middle school me. High school me. College me. 40-something-year-old me. We’re all excited to have Robin Jones Gunn in the house today! From her wildly popular Christy Miller (and TODD – swoon!) series to her sweet Glenbrooke romance series to her Father Christmas novellas to her newest women’s fiction release, Becoming Us (which also features Christy Miller), I’ve been a fan of this author, her books, her settings, and her characters for a long time.
Robin Jones Gunn is the bestselling, Christy Award winning author of 100 books with over 5.5 million copies sold worldwide.
Best known for her Christy Miller novels for teens and the Glenbrooke and Sisterchicks® series for women, Robin’s non-fiction titles include Praying for Your Future Husband, co-authored with Tricia Goyer and Spoken For, co-authored with Alyssa Bethke as well as her memoir, Victim of Grace.
Robin’s Father Christmas novellas were made into three Hallmark Christmas movies; Finding Father Christmas, Engaging Father Christmas and Marrying Father Christmas. All three movies broke a network record for being the season’s highest rated and most watched original movies.
Robin’s love for storytelling and training writers has taken her around the world. She has served on the Board of Directors of Media Associates International and has been a keynote speaker in Africa, Brazil, Europe and Australia as well as Canada and throughout the US.
Robin and her husband have a grown son and daughter and live in Hawai’i.
SERIES: Haven Makers #1
GENRE: Inspirational Women’s Fiction
RELEASE DATE: May 22, 2019
From the author of the best-selling Christy Miller and SisterChicks series comes a new book of community, friendship, and tackling the hard things of life with God and loved ones around a table.
Five young moms, including beloved Gunn character Christy Miller, gather to share meals and soon become unlikely best friends. The regular gatherings provide opportunities for the women to reveal their stories, and those life stories endear them to each other. They experience their lives naturally meshing as they raise their children together in community. In Becoming Us the group find ways to challenge, encourage, and help each other become the nurturing mothers they wished they’d had when they were growing up. They unite to be remembered for what they do as moms and not for what was done to them.
Hi Robin! Welcome to the blog!
Robin: Summer because, well, I live in Hawai’i so it’s kind of always summer here. We definitely have seasons, though, and the longer I live here the more aware I am of the changes in the winds, the sky, the trees and flowers.
Carrie: I’ve never thought of Hawai’i having seasons and I’m also trying not to be insanely jealous that you live there haha!
Robin: Tea – With milk and a few shortbread cookies for dunking. Oh, and a friend or two to join in the sipping. If you came over I’d use my cute tea pot from Poland and let you select a fun teaspoon from my collection of souvenirs from around the world.
Don’t you think tea is best when it’s enjoyed as a little everyday sort of celebration between friends?
Carrie: Oh how fun! I’ll be there… well, once I get over my fear of flying because I can’t exactly drive there LOL. And yes, I agree completely about tea. I don’t even like tea (or coffee) but I do love having tea with friends and/or my mom. As long as there are scones 😀
Robin: Hallmark! I’m gratefully loyal. Hallmark made three movies out of my Father Christmas novels and I love the way they continue to find wholesome stories and turn them into heartwarming movies.
Carrie: I completely agree! Netflix can get weird… Hallmark always makes me smile.
Robin: Ocean because again — Hawai’i! I love the way the turquoise blues in the water on a calm day. I love all the happy sounds at the beach and the way it feels to dive under a curling wave and come up the other side. I love watching sailboats glide around the island and seeing whales breach during the winter months. Watching the sun melt into the ocean never gets old.
Carrie: yeah…that whole trying not to be insanely jealous thing? Not working 😛
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Robin: Someone once told me that my superpower was creating memorable characters. That sounds like a fun superpower. I’ve been doing it for so long that writing feels natural and is simply what I do. But I realize it’s unusual to be able to write about the same characters for decades. It’s also rare to create over 40 books about those characters and still be writing about them. Not everyone can do that with ease so maybe that’s what makes it a superpower.
Carrie: Rarer still is to create over 40 books about the same characters and people still WANT to read them, still CARE about those characters. And I think my little bookish squeal of delight when i first read the blurb for Becoming Us and saw Christy Miller’s name proves that you have succeeded! Definitely a superpower you can (and should) claim!
Q: Which books are “on your nightstand”?
Robin: I’m reading a 100 year old book right now titled, “Our Hawai’i” by Charmain London. Her husband, Jack London was the author of “Call of the Wild” and many other novels about the Yukon Territory. Jack and Charmain sailed to the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1900’s and she recorded their fascinating adventures. It’s been so fun to read about places that are familiar and see how she described what they were like a century ago. The best parts are when she describes the people they meet and all the local foods they try.
Every Christmas my son and daughter try to find a rare book for me about Old Hawai’i. They know that Hawaiian history is my hobby. This is the book they gave me for Christmas last year. I try to take my time and read slowly so that the book will last as long as possible.
Carrie: What a lovely gift giving tradition and what an intriguing book!
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Robin: I write outside year-round. I know. It’s an extraordinary blessing and I’m so grateful. We have a very comfy sofa on the lanai (back patio). It’s perfect for afternoon naps. But in the morning, usually at first light when all the doves are waking up and cooing, I set up my writing station on the sofa. I use an Ipad with an attached keyboard and have a lap desk to balance it on. I keep my binder beside me that has all the summaries, notes, pictures and timeline for the story. I usually start typing just about the time that the automatic sprinklers go on in the neighbor’s yard and the crazy rooster down the street makes his annoying daily calls. If I sit in just the right spot I can see a sliver of ocean so I look up often and watch for the daily tour boats that head out on snorkel cruises.
Carrie: The jealousy thing was rearing its head again and then you mentioned the crazy rooster and I’m suddenly content living right where I do. #chickenphobia
Q: If Hollywood wanted to produce your book as a movie, who would you want to be cast as the lead roles?
Robin: This is a fun question because I’ve had the pleasure of seeing that whole process come together when Hallmark did the three Father Christmas movies. They did an excellent job of casting the main characters. I loved getting to know the actors when I was on set the three years in a row. I’d love to see any of them cast again in a movie about any of my books. Erin Krakow played Miranda, Niall Matter played Ian and Wendie Malick played Margaret.
Carrie: I’ve loved each of those movies – anything with those three is going to be terrific!
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote this book?
Robin: I always write out a prayer before I start writing a new book. I keep the prayer in my binder that has all the notes for the story. It’s insightful to go back after the book is finished and see what I prayed about. Sometimes I’m concerned about the deadline or the parts of the book I haven’t quite figured out before I started. I pray for the readers and ask God to lead me as I’m writing so that the readers will find the hope and direction and encouragement they need in their real lives while they read about the characters facing those issues in the book.
As I was writing “Becoming Us” I felt more than once that God was teaching me to take time to celebrate friendships, the way the characters were doing in the story. I invited a few friends to come over for tea and I also reached out to a few women I didn’t know very well and we had a memorable breakfast. God prompted me to lead a Bible study with some of the young women at our church while I was in the middle of writing. At first, I thought I shouldn’t take on another project because I had so much going on and was traveling a lot. But I said yes to the college girls and our times together turned out to be one of the highlights of last year. God taught me once again that people are what matter. Meaningful times together with people is woven into the theme of “Becoming Us” and as I was writing the book, God was weaving the same theme throughout my life.
Carrie: I love how He works like that ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Robin: “Becoming Us” is book #1 in the Haven Makers Series. I’m working on the sequel right now and have been really enjoyed being back with Christy, Sierra, Emily, Jennalyn and Tess, the five women in “Becoming Us”. They feel like real friends and I love writing about the ways they interact with each other and develop their friendships.
Carrie: Characters that feel like friends are the best kind…
Multnomah is offering a print copy of Becoming Us to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? Are you new to Robin’s books or have you been a fan for many years like me?