My Tote Bag


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Christine Rimmer

Christine Rimmer is best known for her lovable, sometimes offbeat characters and her finely honed talent for telling the kind of story that keeps readers turning pages. She has created three popular series, The Jones Gang, Conveniently Yours and Viking Brides, all of which can be found in Silhouette Special Edition and Silhouette Single Title.

Since the publication of her first book, a Harlequin Temptation, in 1987, Christine has written over 50 contemporary romances for Silhouette Books. Her books consistently appear on national bestseller lists, including the Waldenbooks and USA Today lists.

Two of Christine's romances have been nominated for the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award. Her 1998 Silhouette Special Edition, A Hero for Sophie Jones , won Romantic Times Magazine's Reviewers' Choice Award. Romantic Times has repeatedly nominated Christine for Series Storyteller of the Year.

A California native who first longed to be an actress, Christine earned her theater degree from California State, Sacramento and then went to New York where she studied acting, became an extremely capable waitress, and starred in The Importance of Being Earnest in a church in Flatbush.

Later, she moved to Southern California, where she began her writing career with short stories, plays and poems. Her poems and short stories were published in a number of small literary journals. Her plays were produced at The Back Alley and Group Theaters in Southern California and have been published by Dramatists Play Service and West Coast Plays.

Christine wrote her first romance in 1984 - and found she loved writing romances almost as much as she loved reading them. She has been telling love stories ever since and plans to go on doing just that for decades more. 

She now makes her home in Oklahoma with her husband, younger son and two very contented cats named Tom and Ed.


Ralphie Styles had a way with women—lots of women.

Country-singer-turned-bartender Phoebe Jacks ought to know—she'd been married to him…before he'd moved on to her best friend. And then her other best friend. But you just couldn't stay mad at Ralphie.

Or could you? When he's killed in a suspicious hit-and-run, pregnant wife #4 is suddenly a widow—and a suspect. It's up to Ralphie's best friend from out of town, P.I. Rio Navarro, and Phoebe to see that the old charmer's killer is brought to justice. But Ralphie never mentioned his pal Rio was so attractive—or that he might just be the stand-up guy Ralphie never could be….

Beyond The Book - Christine Rimmer on RALPHIE'S WIVES

Lee : Please tell us something about yourself. What do you love most about being a writer?

Christine: I've been writing forever. I mean, at least since I was five or so. I used to write fairy tales to tell my younger sister. I was merciless with her in my demands for her absolute attention when I'd tell or read her a story. I'd give pop quizzes. She had to prove to me she was listening--and following. I probably damaged her for life, but she never complained. In fact, she still claims that some of her favorite childhood memories revolve around the stories I would tell her.

When I reached my teens, I decided I wanted to be an actress. That passion lasted much too long. Years. All that time, I kept journals. I have twenty or so of them, filled with my daily musings on my life as a struggling artiste. Eventually, I gave up the theater and concentrated on my writing. I tried playwriting and short stories and poetry. But when I wrote my first romance, I knew I'd found the perfect work for me.

What I love most about my job: Spending my working day with my characters and my story. Wearing loose, comfy clothes to work--in my own home office. And always, my readers. I wouldn't have this job I love if it wasn't for readers.

Lee : What inspired the idea for RALPHIE’S WIVES?

Christine: Before I had any idea of the story, I came up with the title just sitting out on my back deck, doodling names and matching them with other words. The name Ralphie floated into my head and I thought how it was a humorous name, not befitting a hero. But what if Ralphie was dead? And who killed him? Maybe one of his...wives!

And the story started developing from there.

Lee : Could you elaborate on the personalities of each of Ralphie’s wives? What image/impression did you have in mind for each woman as you wrote the story? (yes, this question is partly inspired by my fascination with the shoes on the cover! *g*)

Christine: Oh, I love those shoes, too. And I know which wife goes with which pair of shoes. On the far left...that's Phoebe, our heroine. She's also the one with the red bouquet. Second from left, with the pouf on her shoes? Tiffany. Pink and lavender bouquet. She's the true romantic, a little bit prim. Next, the shorter skirt and the strappy shoes: Darla Jo, Ralphie's pregnant child-bride widow. She's got the white bouquet. And far right: the lush and smart-mouthed Cimarron Rose. Hers is the yellow bouquet.

Sometimes I "cast" my characters. It's my acting background, I guess. In my perfect cast for Ralphie's Wives, Jennifer Connelly is Phoebe, Drew Barrymore is Rose, and Laura Linney is Tiffany. I have a photograph of Darla that I cut out of a magazine. But it didn't have the model's name on it, so I would have to say that Darla remains...uncast.

Lee : What sort of research did you have to do for this novel? Is there anything in particular that you learnt during your research that you found to be very memorable/interesting?

Christine: I did a lot of research into the workings of the Oklahoma City Police Department, just to try and get the procedures right. And I had a lot of fun with the Oklahoma City locations. The bar Phoebe owns is modeled after an actual bar in exactly that same spot at 36th and Western. Oh, and I went to the trailer park where Ralphie lived with Darla. I took pictures of the double-wide where they shared their few months of marital bliss. And I also researched the van that ran Ralphie down, found one in my local WalMart parking lot and took a whole bunch of pictures of it. Gotta love a digital camera. Oh, yeah! The guy who owned the van caught me snapping away. He yelled at me. I put on my most sheepish expression and got the heck out of there. But I had the pictures I needed, so I was happy.

Lee : In the acknowledgements, you mention your plot group. Could you tell us more about them? How does it work? How long have you all been ‘working’ together and how did it all come about?

Christine: It's actually Susan Mallery's plot group. Her special method of plotting--which really works, by the way. And she's the one who invited me to join. That was back in 2004, I believe, though Susan has always worked with plot groups since she began writing romance. There are five of us in our group now. We meet twice a year in Las Vegas for four days. Each of us plots two books during those days in 1 1/2-2 hour brainstorming sessions. Yes, there is some gambling. Mostly penny slots. And lots of eating out. Because, in the end, girls do want to have lunch. Oh, and wear great shoes!

Lee : Oh that sounds like so much fun! And speaking of fun, what do you like to do when you aren’t writing/under deadline?

Christine: I like to play Trivial Pursuit and Bridge. I like to go out to eat--or did I already say that? I like to fool around in my garden. And read. Always. I'll take reading over just about any other activity. Well, unless it involves chocolate and my husband.

Lee : Do you write everyday at a specific time or just whenever you can get to it? A lot of people work best under pressure. Are you like that too or do you like to cover your as much of the manuscript as possible before the deadline starts to loom on the horizon?

Christine: I do best if I work a regular work week, whenever possible. 8-10 hours at the computer daily, with page goals. My average page goal per day is 10 usable pages. I try to work my up to 12 or 15 as I'm reaching the home stretch on the book. Yes, deadlines do motivate me when I get stuck. It can be scary when the book isn't working and the deadline is approaching. But I've written over sixty books and somehow, I always get the book in on time.

Lee : What would be an ideal romantic evening in your opinion?

Christine: I do enjoy getting dressed up now and then and going out on the town with my guy. A romantic dinner. A nice bottle of wine...

Lee : What are you working on at the moment?

Christine: A proposal for my third HQN book. Identical twins. Murder. A hero who dumped the "good" twin/heroine for her not-so-good sister. Now he realizes he really blew it. He will get to do some serious crawling. Mwahaha.

Lee : How may fans contact you?

Christine: I love to hear from readers. Visit me at my website. You can email me from there. Or drop in at my blog.

Lee : Christine, thanks so much for your time. Looking forward to your next book!

Christine: Lee, thank you!