Robyn and her husband, Jim, make their home in Las Vegas. She makes the occasional foray into Humboldt County in nearby California, where the Virgin River series is set. She enjoys interacting with her readers via Facebook and her free Robyn Carr mobile phone app. Here she talks about giving the gift of books to US troops.
In the home of a writer, books for Christmas is standard fare. From the littlest gift opener and her picture books to the large print recipient. Special books or lately e-readers and gift cards have always been on my Christmas list. And as it is with most people, giving is always the most fun; looking for that special book for someone is so satisfying.
This year the whole theme took on new meaning for me, and I thank The Virgin River Series. I received a lovely e-mail from my son while he served in Iraq --- he said the nurses he worked with loved my Virgin River stories and would I send some books. I was thrilled to do so and didn’t think much of it at the time; I’d been sending books to troops for a while. I gathered up a huge box of new books, signed them and shipped them off. Then I got a letter from a soldier in Afghanistan. She said she bought as many of my books as she could find before shipping out; she shared them with some of the men and women with whom she served. Since there is a strong military theme running through the stories, they were perfect reading for them.
Off went another big box.
I asked my new soldier friend if she had any other favorite authors, such as --- and I listed the names of a few of my friends. She loved their books! So I e-mailed my friends and asked them if they felt like boxing up some of their books for soldiers in Afghanistan, and off went several more boxes of signed books, directly from the authors.
Then I got a letter from a volunteer in a Warrior Family Support Center --- she said that starting next year they would be copying the traditional Virgin River Christmas Tree in their center; it’s decorated in red, white and blue with military unit badges as ornaments. To say that I was honored to have a story idea take root like that is an understatement. It occurred to me that the ideal packages under that tree would be filled with books. I contacted the director and asked if it would be all right to donate some of my own books, signed. I offered to contact some writer friends to do the same. This held special meaning, because in addition to the soldiers, any way to lend comfort to the families in residence attending to the needs of our wounded warriors, I was more than willing to do.
What can I say? I’d give up 100 days at the spa for the feeling it gives me to dig around in the garage, fill up a big box of books and mail it off to the front or to the support systems of families at home. If I could hold these brave men and women in my arms and keep them safe, I would. Failing that, I will send them as many books as I can. And my friends seem to be of like mind --- they never say no.
There always have been and always will be books under our Christmas tree. But now the more important act is that of sending them to the men and women who serve and their families. It is a small but important act of support and gratitude. God bless and keep them all.