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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Interview of Author Rose Anderson

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author, Rose Anderson.

Latest Book: Loving Leonardo.
Book 2 in the series comes out this spring: Loving Leonardo – The Quest
Buy Link:
Video Link:

I love words and choose them as carefully as an artist might choose a color. My active imagination compels me write everything from children’s stories to historical fiction. As a persnickety leisure reader I especially enjoy novels that feel like they were written just for me. It's hard to explain, but if you've ever read one of those, then you know what I mean. I tend to sneak symbolism and metaphor into my writing and always write in layers. You might say it's a game I play with myself. It's really a kick to have readers email to say they've found something or to ask if I meant what they think I meant when they read a portion and their brain goes, hey wait a minute...

I want people to feel the story was written just for them and these hidden insights are my gift to my readers.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: It’s a blur now, but I think called my husband at work and shrieked into the phone. The first publisher I wrote for was Siren-Bookstrand. They used to have a counter in real time that showed how many books were selling. I was glued to that for two days! It’s one of the reasons I don’t play slot machines. *grin*

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I just start walking into the tale and keep writing until it tells me to wrap it up. My characters come into being and manifest the world around them, so most times they dictate and I just try to keep up. Of all the components involved crafting a story, I’d have to say dialogue is the easiest for me. All of my characters possess elements of my personality (yes, even the bad guys), so I’m already engaged in their inner monologue as they work through their own thoughts and issues. I’m a very shy and reserved person by nature, and shy people typically spend more time watching than interacting. That being the case, I’ve a lifetime of human observation to draw from to add to character conversations. All the details get filled in like who gestures with their hands when they speak, who never makes eye contact, who gets easily frustrated, who stays calm, etc. I think this touch of realism makes my dialogue smooth and believable. My friends say they hear me talk when they read my writings.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: You know, I think that changes with each book. They all sort of become favorites in turn. The one character who has surprisingly grown on me is Nicolas Halstead from Loving Leonardo. I say surprising because I’m still a relatively new author and I wrote that story as a test. What I mean by that is the trend. One day vampire stories are flying off the shelves, the next day no one is touching them.

To back up a bit, I only got into romance to learn the publishing business because it’s popular. My 500k five-year-in-the-making unnamed magnum opus is what I’ll eventually return to. As part of my education, I wanted to test the aforementioned trend. What began as a social commentary turned into a gay love story, and that turned into a Victorian polyamory.

Nicolas by far possesses the most depth of any character to date. He’s an art historian who sees the world through the artworks he loves. Because all art is a manifestation of emotion, Nicolas wears his depth, compassion, sensitivity, and passion upon his sleeve. He’s also witty and intelligent and terribly romantic. I love seeing the world through his eyes. I find him an utterly fascinating character, and I wrote him into being!

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Oh no, they’re all different. I have my preferences for their appearance as most writers do, and these show up as recurring descriptors in my tales. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My perfect handsome hero and exquisitely gorgeous heroine are only perfect and exquisite to the one falling in love with them. Everyone else just thinks they’re pleasant enough. I do tend to write a lot of redheads, though. I love painting with words and redheaded characters make great canvases for writers to paint words on. I’m a redhead I can relate. I can write shades of blushes, sunburn, and freckles on alabaster, pale, moonlit pink skin. And they have shades of hair from carrot, strawberry blond, red-gold, cinnamon, henna to auburn, or a combination of all the colors in the sunlight. My husband likes redheads too. So in a way, I write my redheads for him.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: By far, my strongest point is my attention to detail, especially historical detail. I love inserting accurate tidbits into my stories because I like such detail as a reader. I’ve a background in history and I’m also an information hound. These two combined make for lots of details floating around in my head! Sometimes I’ll write a scene and surprise myself. lol Writing is a sort of possession.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man/beautiful woman (you choose which one), a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: That’s fun. Of course I’d write! I couldn’t stop myself because my imagination would kick into high gear. I’d start out building that island tree house from Swiss Family Robinson and put an office in. I mean, after all, there is a mysterious source of electricity… There’d be giant fauna like in Mysterious Island so I’d have chicken, crab cakes, and honey to last a lifetime. I’d make mead. Several trunks of everything I’d need would wash ashore. It always does. It wouldn’t take long before the other castaway saw how comfortable I was and gave up trying to get my attention. He’d construct a raft and leave. When I finished my next novel, I’d build myself a coconut radio a la Gilligan’s Island and call for a sea plane to pick it up. :)
My links:
Main Blog:
Satellite Blog:

Too many author pages to mention, I’m just about everywhere!

Bound by limits dictated by society, Art Historian Nicolas Halstead lived a guarded life until a tempest in the form of Elenora Schwaab blew into his world. At first Nicolas can’t decide if the audacious American is simply mad or plotting blackmail for not only does she declare knowledge of his homosexuality, she offers him a marriage proposal.

After Ellie tells him of a previously unknown work of Leonardo da Vinci, a book of erotic love poems and sketches dedicated to the artist’s long-time lover Salai, Nicolas joins her in a race to save the book from destruction. Along the way they encounter Historian Luca Franco and discover a comfortable compatibility that comes to redefine their long-held notions of love. The trio embarks on an adventure filled with sensual discovery, intrigue, and danger.  Little do they know Leonardo da Vinci’s book is far more than meets the eye.

EXCERPT - Ellie and Nicolas meet Luca for the first time:
Ellie and I weren’t the only passengers to arrive as the last bell struck. People filed through the dining room’s double doors to take their seats. This congestion would lessen as people became accustomed to how long it took them to ready themselves between the ring of the first and last bell.

More so than the other meals aboard, dinners were often a mingling affair. We sat with the Ormonts and the Brookses again while the Dutch brother and sister took their seats at the table next to us, the sister involved in a rather animated conversation with a new friend. Jerone did smile when I looked his way. His eye jerked toward the door in open invitation. Despite the twinge that silent proposal sent to my loins, my smile widened as my eye jerked to my wife. He gave me a pretty moue, his brief pout good-natured. It was a long voyage after all.

I sat Ellie and pulled a chair for Mrs. Ormont as she waited for her husband. A moment later, Colonel Ormont brought the historian to our table and made introductions. Luca Franco, late of Florence, was a Professor of Antiquities returning from London. I found the Italian quite the attractive fellow, impeccably dressed as he was. When in the presence of true beauty, my mind often imagines the person unclothed as the artists of the ages might have seen him. Sitting at my table was a statue carved in marble by Gian Lorenzo Bernini; an artist known for his remarkable ability to capture the essence of a narrative moment. And I found Luca Franco to be exactly that — a moment indelibly captured in time — a moment of meeting the mind could revisit in its entirety.

From every angle, he was beautifully made: black-haired, of medium build, and physically fit. He possessed a warm hue to his skin, his lineage no doubt stamped centuries past by the darker Moors or Turks. In startling contrast, and quite handsomely framed by black lashes, he had striking eyes the color one might see in a shadow falling across snow — not quite sky blue nor exactly steel gray, but a blending of the two in gradated rings.

I rose to shake his hand and felt the unmistakable current of compatibility. If this man weren’t forward in his mutual attraction, it was there nonetheless. I watched him bow over the ladies’ hands and found it curious that he lingered over Ellie’s fingers a tad longer. It made me smile. I had the distinct impression I was in the presence of a fellow dual-nature like myself.

The regular chit-chat occurring over the courses was quite enjoyable. There was a part of me, however, that would have been content to take my wife back to our stateroom and lose myself in the wonder of my newfound truth. Like the great navigators in ages past, the thought of uncharted lands titillated my imagination. I was anxious to explore her body, anxious to immerse in her heated places and scent, and smell and taste every part of her. I wanted to lose myself in the hedonistic feast of the senses I knew I’d find.

Ellie’s question pulled me from my imaginative foray. “Professor Franco, it’s my understanding that you are an authority on Leonardo da Vinci.”

Chuckling, he shook his head and replied in softly accented English, “You flatter me, Lady Halstead. As a professor of antiquities my work takes me into the far corners of the world’s history. The museum I work for sends me to procure various historical treasures. But where da Vinci is concerned, I wouldn’t say I’m an authority per se. You see, my interest is personal.”

Ellie’s eyes lit. “May I ask then, what is it you find so interesting about the man to spur a personal pursuit?”

He gave her a genuine smile that crinkled the corners of his eyes. It was a very handsome smile indeed. As he appeared to be of an age with me, the crinkles had me wondering if he often worked in the sun.

“Da Vinci was a universal genius.”

Reaching for the buttered peas, Mrs. Ormont repeated dully, “A universal genius? My goodness.”

The Colonel followed, “I say dear fellow, what is that title, exactly? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

Even the blind could see that Luca Franco possessed an innate animal magnetism, but when he smiled the world tilted on its axis. My gaze went to my wife and knew she concurred by the distinctive tint upon her cheeks — the sexual tint I’d so recently come to recognize. I couldn’t help but wonder what brewed in the cauldron of her mind. As for myself, I harbored an undeniable attraction for the both of them. It was all I could do to keep the stallion of my imagination in the paddock.

Luca explained, “Da Vinci wasn’t simply an artist. His range of accomplished study went far beyond producing memorable artworks. He was an inventor and a scientist who never developed his ideas systematically, because he didn’t need to. He intuited their success, because he simply understood processes.”

Brooks wiped the crumbs from his curled mustache, “How’s that?”

“If one already knows it’s been proven that lead melts at a lower temperature than iron, one needn’t employ a bellows to test it.”

Brooks nodded like a walrus. “Makes sense, makes sense. That would be useful knowledge, eh?”

“Precisely. He understood numerous systems — the series of actions needed to arrive at a particular place in his inventions. This knowledge was implemented whether his inventions remained preliminary sketches or were actually created. Scholars believe that were his drawings implemented today as plans, and those same inventions built, they’d do exactly what he theorized they’d do.”

“Hmm.” Satisfied with the answer, Brooks nodded again then busied himself with his meal. I watched the Bordelaise sauce deposit a greasy gleam where the crumbs had been a moment ago. The sight brought a brief recall of my head in the commode.

The Colonel said loudly, “The man sounds like an Italian Faust!”

Mrs. Ormont laughed lightly, “Oh my! Given his gifts by the devil! And here I only ever understood him to be a simple artist.”

I offered, “Oh, da Vinci was far more than a simple artist, Mrs. Ormont. Aside from being the most complex genius of the Renaissance, and perhaps of all time, his artistic skill was enhanced by a working knowledge of mathematics.”

“Well said, Sir Nicolas.” Luca smiled at me and I felt it like static in the air prior to a thunderstorm. I returned it.

I would have rather continued our mutual adoration of the man in private, but Mrs. Ormont drew my attention once more. Her silver brows knitted in confusion, and she looked at me over the rim of her bejeweled spectacles. There was self-critical humor in her voice when she said, “Sir Nicolas, I’m afraid you’ll think me quite silly, but what do you mean? What has mathematics to do with it?”

Brooks chuckled, and taking a drink, dipped his mustache in his water glass. He came up for air looking very much like the Emperor Tamarin Monkey I’d once seen in the London Zoo.

I set down my fork and knife and helped myself to the heel of dry bread to calm my stomach, then explained, “Were a trained eye to look upon da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man with his arms and legs spread wide in the illusion of movement, it would see an image based on the much older writings of the Roman architect Vitruvius. Many of the sacred geometry principles of the human body as well as ancient architecture have been compiled into art by Leonardo da Vinci. His perspectives are considered perfect and balanced.”

Mrs. Ormont, either lost or disinterested, said, “Oh.”

That was the way of it for most of my academic career. A certain curiosity went part and parcel with being an art historian, and not everyone shared it. Luca Franco however, had found one of his own. I could read the truth of his discovery upon his face when he added, “That is quite fascinating about his art. It’s my understanding that da Vinci was a philosopher and dreamer unhindered by the opinions of others. For example, he had little interest in things that would cloud his own personal discovery such as literature, history, or religion for that matter, much to the great annoyance of the church. Because the church was a determined hindrance to his pursuits, he eschewed religious doctrine.”

My bold-as-brass Yankee progressive harrumphed and all eyes went to her. I chuckled, knowing what had irked her. Yes the church hindered the poor man, and hindered was a poor word at that to describe it. They repeatedly condemned the artist for sodomy. Perhaps the Anglicans and Catholics at the table didn’t find the artist’s lack of faith all that amusing. The Professor of Antiquities smiled at her and she returned it in her sparkling blue eyes. I felt the current of attraction pass between them, and by default through me as well. A fleeting image of Édouard-Henri Avril’s erotic sketches came to mind and I pictured myself sandwiched between my wife and this sensually charismatic man. The thought made my balls ache.

Rather than be lost to my own imaginings, I added to the conversation at hand, “From my own field of expertise I would agree with you, Professor Franco. The ideas of other men muddied the waters of da Vinci’s personal immersion in discovery. He concerned himself with what the eye could see, rather than with purely abstract concepts. To him it didn’t necessarily matter what had come before his personal observation. He was a most excellent observer.” My smile was for Luca when I added, “A dreamer, as you say.”

He returned it and this time I caught the nearly imperceptible scent of our mutual chemistry.

Ellie addressed our dinner party with a winsome grin, “If you haven’t already guessed, my husband finds da Vinci, the man, fascinating. I admit his life and works have captured my fancy as well though I gravitate toward his reasoning rather than his art.”

Mrs. Brooks announced that she knew little of the man, but was stunned to discover the Mona Lisa to be the small a painting it was. I looked at Ellie. That was the smile I found so similar in hers but had yet to identify — a smile that hinted there was more than met the eye. The mention of the Mona Lisa put our dinner conversation on far simpler ground — a ground void of invention, theology and speculation on genius. The conversation around the table went to galleries we’d seen and we came to speculate on the artistry of the Renaissance in general. I filled them in as far as their interest held. I could feel both Ellie and the historian’s disappointment over abandoning our interesting topic. It echoed my own.

Our Italian dinner companion reached for his glass, the action raising his cuff slightly. He had fine strong wrists, a jagged scar run up the side and I briefly wondered what he’d done to have gotten such a wound. Drawn to artistry as I was, bone structure often caught my eye when I looked at people and this wrist drew my attention. Michelangelo’s David came to mind — David with his corded forearms and finely-detailed hands slightly larger than they should be. A hint to the size of the full erection the artist had in mind, were it made of flesh and not flaccid stone. I wondered who had been his model, for like his contemporary and rival da Vinci, he had a male muse among his models. Lost in thoughts of anatomy, I watched Luca raise his glass to his lips and licked my own before I was aware I’d done so.

He leveled me a snow-shadow glance over the rim of his wine glass, before saying, “If you have the inclination Sir Nicolas, I would enjoy conversing about da Vinci’s life with you. It’s my good fortune to find a man of your knowledge and kindred interest on board.” Grinning, he lowered his voice conspiratorially as if he confessed to the others there, “You see I’m considered quite the bore at home.”

The throng laughed, and Ellie met my eyes with excitement burning in her own. I read her mind. Luca Franco was approachable after all, and perhaps in more ways than one. The laughter continued after I pulled my wife’s hand to my lips and kissed her knuckles in sympathy, “As am I.”


Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thanks for having me today Marianne! I'll be here on and off all day should anyone have questions or comments.

Su Halfwerk said...

>Writing is a sort of possession.
Totally agree with you there, Rose and in your case, it should be...the way you described Luca *fans self*
Thanks for a great interview and good luck with the book.

Sandy said...

I loved the idea of building a tree house on the island and making it comfortable. You chose a different path than the ones offered you. Wink!

I have always admired art in any form. As a kid, I spent a lot of time studying the old masters at our museum, The Nelson-Adkins Museum in Kansas City, MO.

Your excerpt is intriguing in many ways.

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thanks Su. I'm glad you enjoyed Luca. I grew up in a blended Greek and Italian neighborhood in Chicago. Like a duckling, I do believe I imprinted on dark and handsome Mediterranean men. When I wrote Luca, I saw him in my mind's eye because he was real. He was much older than I and worked in my neighborhood deli. I recall he had very little English, but OMG was he beautiful with those eyes against his warm-hued skin. I think cold cuts sales tripled with him there. I'll go fan myself now. lol

Thanks Sandy. being in Chicago, I spent a lot of time in the renowned Art Institute. I loved imagining the emotion behind the art. Loving Leonardo is in fact a reader-interactive story. Nicolas leaves many art references for the different impressions he gets from his world. The artworks mentioned in the book were carefully chosen to represent exactly what Nicolas sees. If the reader chooses to look them up, they'll see what he sees. I enjoy tucking secrets into my stories and every story has them for readers to stumble upon. I'm sneaky that way. lol

Thanks to both of you for stopping by!

Barbara Elsborg said...

Sounds fascinating - as do you. I love the idea of tucking secrets away in stories. I always wonder if readers get the themes in mine that I so carefully weave into the plots! I don't think I could write historicals though - so much research and I'm too impatient.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Really interesting interview, Rose and Su!
I'm from a family of red-heads so I could relate to you, Rose. And your love of history and art shines out in your stories.
Thanks again for sharing - good luck with the MO!

Are you working on anything at the moment?

Katalina Leon said...

Wonderful post Rose! The excerpt is beautiful.

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thanks Barbara. I wonder if readers wonder what we're about when we create worlds like we do. People who know me see me, and even themselves, in my writings. I do a tremendous amount of research when I write. And, there are situations and encounters from the chapters of MY life, that I insert into my tales. I wrote in one post not too long ago, how I wanted to sample, albeit on a small level, a shamanic experience. I was writing The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo at the time. My shaman had these experiences. I picked myself some reed canary grass, a common noxious weedy grass in my yard, and dried it. Then I put some in a pipe and smoked it. The thing I was looking for was DMT, often referred to as the Spirit Molecule. Holy smokes (no pun intended lol)for 5 minutes my brain sat on my shoulder like a parrot. That was more than enough to use in the story.

Thanks Lindsay. From one history lover to another, I salute you. I LOVE your historicals by the way. :)

And thanks Katalina. Uh oh. The writer in me loves your name. :) I wrote this one in a manner that would reflect the era. I must have lived back then in another life because it felt natural to me.
I have a wonderful editor, a history buff herself, who caught me when I dropped into modern speech. By modern mean if the word existed at the time but wasn't in common use, I couldn't use it.

jean hart stewart said...

Exemplary interview and excerpt. You're an ambitious writer, and I admire that. I do a lot of research before writing any of my books, but not to the extent you must do.

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thank you Jean. I have a lot of unusual pursuits and oddly enough I haven't written them all yet. THAT shaman experience was one of a kind! I like my brain inside my skull where it belongs. :)

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Hi Rose, I love redheads too and have written them. I like Nicholas also, but I can't tell which character is really my favorite. You write them all so well.


Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thanks Jane. I'm so glad you've enjoyed them. :) I think all of our literary characters are facets of our personalities. We're writing through our own lens. Some of my bad guys really surprise me. They're perfect sociopaths. Hmm..what does that say about me...

E. Ayers said...

I loved Loving Leonardo. I wasn't too sure going into it because it's not a sub-genre that I read. But you did it so well that I was quite caught in the story. The art thefts and the underbelly of the time period were well done, as was the picture you painted of Venice. A lovely read. Your writing has a beautiful style to it and makes you unique.

Cara Marsi said...

Wonderful interview and excerpt. Really enjoyed them. I like to write red-haired heroines too.

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thanks E. I'm coming to realize I don't have a style identity per se. At least not in romance. I started out thinking I'd only be in this genre for the short term, but it is fun. I like to make impossible possible and implausible plausible with facts and logic. I'm really quite nerdy! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hear you have a new book out this week. Happy belated release day! Much luck. :)

Thanks Cara. Those redheads can be fun to color. Every once in a while I'll add a redhead fact into my ginger heroines world, like 1 out of 1000 births is a redhead. I read something the other day that contradicts the news of several months ago that said redheads were going extinct. Whew.

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thanks again Marianne. It was fun. I'm signing off now but if anyone has a comment or question, I'll stop by one more time in the morning. Good night!

J.D. Faver said...

Late to the party, but I wanted to say what a delicious and intriguing excerpt, Rose. Your writing is like a kaleidoscope with an ever-changing picture. Keep cranking out these masterpieces.

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Thanks JD. I like to mix it up while I learn. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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