Robyn Carr, a New York Times bestselling romance novelist, has returned to women’s fiction with Four Friends (Mira, Mar.), the story of 40-something women living in the affluent suburban San Francisco neighborhood of Mill Valley. When their lives unexpectedly hit the marital skids, they discover it’s their friendship that gives them the strength and courage they’ll need to face the difficult road that lies ahead for each of them. After debuting at #5, it spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and also earned spots on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly lists.

“When I started Four Friends,” says Carr, “I didn’t know how it would turn out. I began with a woman who perceives herself to have a perfect marriage, but then finds out about an affair her husband had years before. What does that do to her and how does she handle it? I’ll admit I didn’t know how I was going to work it out.”

Happily, Carr had a bit of time to sort out that problem. The novel was actually finished in 2006, but because she was busy writing her bestselling Virgin River and Thunder Point series, the timing for publication was never quite right. “Finally, everyone took another look and said, ‘This is great, why aren’t we publishing it?’ Now everyone tells me they can’t believe it took eight years.” But the delay did have its upside. “Because I wasn’t on a deadline for Four Friends, I had the luxury of going through it again and again, something I rarely have because the reader base for romance is enormous and demanding, and we always have to keep new product in the marketplace.”

As for returning for yet another BEA—she’s lost track of the number she’s attended—Carr is delighted to be back. “BEA has it all. It’s a chance to meet and thank the multitude of librarians and booksellers who bring our books to the public, an opportunity to shake the hands of superstar authors, a time to get the most up-to-date information on the marketplace, and, of course, there are always social events where we can exchange news with friends and colleagues. I love BEA.”

Today, 10–11 a.m., Carr will be signing Four Friends at the Harlequin booth (3038). Tomorrow, 10:30–11:30 a.m., she’ll be doing a Chute Signing at Table 16.