For southern California author Raquel Byrnes, writing romance novels isn’t just a passion – it’s her ministry. In her latest novel, Bayou Blue, she tells a story of redemption, betrayal, hate, and healing.
WHAT INSPIRED BAYOU BLUE?
I have found that it is often during our most harrowing moments, those times where you feel you’re standing alone, that we truly see where our heart lies. It is in those situations that we can finally see the amazing grace and strength that we have in the Lord. Riley Drake, the heroine of Bayou Blue, is a new Christian in a desperate situation. We’ve all had our faith tested, but hers comes with bullets flying and a handsome sheriff trying to protect her.
WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF WRITING BAYOU BLUE?
Definitely the family dynamic in Bayou Blue was a challenge to undertake. Riley is headstrong and often finds her old self at odds with her new beliefs. Throw in a pair of very vocal activist parents and a crisis that engulfs them all and it makes for a lot of drama to deal with.
WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
I draw a lot of the emotional aspect of my stories from my own life experiences. For Bayou Blue, the main character has to unravel a mystery involving her brother. As an older sister, I identified with Riley’s struggle between wanting to protect her brother and uncovering the truth.
WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
The love interest, Jake, surprises me the most. He begins the book as a sheriff who comes from a long line of Bayou law men. He’s going through the motions with life and seems brooding and unapproachable. When Riley’s investigation shakes up the residents, they demand he run her out of town. Her faith breaks through his tough façade and he ultimately risks everything to help her.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I just completed a Christian Gothic Romance titled Whispers on Shadow Bay which releases in January 2013. A young Southern Californian woman answers an ad to be a caretaker for an aging gentleman up north, but the mansion seems haunted. The book will send shivers up the reader’s spine while making them cheer with hope for the love story element. I’m working on the sequel right now.