Scroll down for a chance to win a copy of Roseanna White’s book, A Name Unknown. Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to last week’s winner of Chasing Secrets, Edward Arrington! Please e-mail your mailing address to my assistant Christen (email@example.com).
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?
Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?
Sure, Suzanne, and thanks so much for having me! My family and I live in West Virginia, near the Maryland border, where both my husband and I grew up. I attended St. John’s College (the Great Books School), where you read original texts and have conversation-based classes for four years. This approach to education reinforced a decision I made in high school to homeschool my kids—and that’s what takes up much of my time these days. =) I have two kids, ages 11 and 9, and when I’m not reading with them for school or writing my books for Bethany House, I’m editing for WhiteFire Publishing (which my hubby and I own), designing book covers, and pretending my house will clean itself.
Do you have a day job as well? If so, what is it?
Several of them, but they’re all from home, LOL. As I mentioned above, I homeschool—which is a full-time job in itself. I’m also an editor and a book designer, creating both covers and interiors for indie authors and other small presses (www.roseannawhitedesigns.com). So lots of jobs, but they all deal with books!
When did you start writing your first book?
When I was 12. =) Well, that was the first one I finished, other than short picture-book style things when I was younger. I actually wrote that first novel between the ages of 12-13, rewrote it the summer I turned 14, and did about a million more revisions over the years too. I finished 8 other novels by the time I graduated from college, and published quite a few before that first one finally found a home at Bethany House as The Lost Heiress, which released in 2015—20 years after I first wrote it!
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did the genre choose you?
Historical romance was really my first love when it came to full length novels. It’s what I love to read and what I first starting writing. I tried my hand at every other genre under the sun at one point or another before I was published, but I was thrilled when it was a historical that first found a home with a publisher, and I’ve had a blast writing it ever since. Someday those contemporaries might make their way into the world—who knows?—but for now, I so enjoy diving into history!
Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
Both, depending on the day, LOL. What I love are those days when I have nothing to do but write, and I can sit there and hammer it all out. They usually only happen a couple times a year, but the sheer joy of it keeps me going until exhaustion eventually takes over. But as everyone in my family knows, I do get cranky when I don’t get my writing time. So it’s best to let mama write without too much interruption in the mornings. 😉
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. There are definitely times when the creative wells are dry, or when my mindset isn’t such that it’s conducive to writing. During those times, I do something else productive and let those wells refill. But when I have time that MUST be dedicated to writing, I’m perfectly capable of exerting the will-power to get those words onto the page, no matter how I feel about it. Sometimes the block is due to something wrong in the story, too, in which case I really need to take the time to figure it out before just plowing ahead.
Do you create an outline before you begin? Do you have the end in mind, or do you just wait and see where the story takes you?
I usually have the story planned out in broad strokes, and I have to submit a summary for approval to my editor. So I know basically where it’s going…then let the details take me where they will. I write faster if I have at least the next few scenes outlined, but I’m also a very intuitive writer—I don’t follow formulas or label the parts or scenes. I just let the story develop by instinct.
What kind of research do you do? How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I usually find a book or two on my topic and try to read most of them before beginning to write or plan…though usually I don’t quite finish the whole book before it’s time to start writing. I then do a lot of spot-research, as I call it, as I go—looking up how particular things work or what was available at the time, studying maps, checking fashion and technology, etc. It’s always funny to look through my Google search history for a week and see the wide variety of things I end up researching, LOL.
Are you part of a community of authors? If so, how has it helped you?
I absolutely am! I joined ACFW waaaaaay back in 2005, and it was life-changing. I learned so much, so fast. And it also connected me with most of the people I now call friends, including my best friend and critique partner, Stephanie Morrill. I can’t imagine where I’d be in my journey—or my life—if not for the teaching, encouragement, challenges, and opportunities to encourage others that this writing community has given me.
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring.
Being educated at St. John’s College (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.