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Saturday, January 4, 2014

A New Year Q&A With Rose Anderson

It’s my turn for an interview to start the new year. As a little extra something, we’re having a contest. Simply read this post and comment or ask questions. Don’t forget to leave your email address. One name will be chosen and the winner gets an official, and quite collectable, Romance Books ‘4’ Us t-shirt! I have one, they’re very nice.  :)

Why the avatar picture on this introduction? Calliope the Writer's Muse stands in my place rather than have me take a selfie in the mirror. One of my goals this year is to have a professional picture taken.  For now, if you see her anywhere, I've probably put her there. 

A short bio:
Rose is multi-published award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.

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How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
I’ve been blessed with a wonderful bunch of supportive friends who have cheered me on since the beginning. One of my Rose hits the big time dreams is to have a large enough piece of property that we can all live on and grow old together. I can’t express how nice it is when people genuinely believe in you. We celebrated my first novel with champagne and cheesecake, and have done the same for every book since. 

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I get up, make coffee, drink coffee, walk dogs, feed dogs, play with dogs (if I don’t then I’m hounded with squeaky toys until I do). Then I see to the details of being an author: a full inbox, a blog post, guest post, or an interview to complete. My goal is start writing my work in progress by 8:30. If the Muse is on my side that day, I might get several chapters completed. I’ve never gone by word count per day as my meter of productivity. Every day is a productive day in one way or another. If I’m not actively writing a story, then I’m promoting or working to build the Exquisite Quills writer/reader community.
Generally, I go by flow, as in, how much story flowed out of my head that day. If the Muse is speaking to me that day, I could end up doing a stint that lasts sixteen hours. One of my novels took just three days to write and submit. Another took a week for the full first draft. Conversely, the last novel published took more than a year and a half. I suppose it would be different if I worked off an outline or a formula. I can easily see a word count goal as part of the plan. But I’m a panster all the way, so gotta make hay while the sun shines!

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
My life makes cameo appearances in one form or another in all my books. It’s easy to draw from the familiar. As for my characters, they’re all composites of me. Even my bad guys have elements that are squarely mine. My characters share my values, my fears, my wit, passions and more. I’ve surprised myself a few times and more than once given myself goosebumps.

Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
Nicolas Halstead from the Loving Leonardo series by far possesses the most depth of any character I’ve written 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 find him utterly fascinating. His story is written through his point of view so I get to put on his skin and walk through his world, and I love seeing through his eyes when he makes artistic comparisons. Melding his Victorian mind and mine has made me quite attached to him. 

If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
I'd consider changing the title for Hermes Online. When I wrote that story I thought I was rather clever for dreaming up a title that hinted at divine meddling by Ancient Greek gods who sent  mortals messages through their wing-footed messenger Hermes. I never foresaw an issue with the name when I thought it up. But then I had no idea Hermes, a different Hermes, sold handbags and purses. I've had my title in Google Alerts for nearly three years. In all that time I’ve rarely seen my book, but I do know when every purse, handbag, and clutch is on sale online. Keeping a sense of humor is a must. ;)

How do you choose names for your characters?
I’m one for hiding things in my stories, so I try to pick names that hint at personalities. Mostly I choose names that lend themselves to levels of intimacy. For example: In The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo I have Dr. Olivia Rosalini. To her friends she goes by Liv and Livie. To her family, she’s Livie. Depending on who she’s interacting with, I can add depth to the interaction by using the name of familiarity commonly used by that family member or friend. In Loving Leonardo, I picked Nicolas and Ellie because I conceived the pair as solving mysteries a la Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles. Ellie’s full name is Elenora. 

Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
Hermes Online. According to feedback, this may be one of the silliest covers in romance. 

An astounding number of people have written to inform me the "E" is actually a sigma and it sounds like "S". I've also been asked why a baby's hand is coming through the laptop screen. I will change this cover one day, but I'll keep the title for laughs.

Give one advice tip to an aspiring author. 
I’d say try to keep in mind that not all of your books will be a good fit with every reader. Don’t take it too hard when the inevitable poor or snarky review pops up. Books are no less works of art than masterpieces in oil or stone…and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Reviews are simply opinions. After a perplexing review one day, I wondered what reviews looked like for some of my favorite authors. I checked on Diana Gabaldon, Michael Crichton, Stephan King and even Jane Austen. And wouldn’t you know, they all have bad reviews too! My advice to new authors, check your favorite authors for yourself. You’re in good company.

Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
There are quite a few real life experiences of mine in my novels. Nicolas Halstead from Loving Leonardo owes his art historian persona to my growing up with Chicago’s Art Institute in my backyard. Hermes Online and Dreamscape both have elements of my work in historic preservation. Enchanted Skye has a crazy stalking ex-boyfriend, and I had one of those when I was seventeen. 

By far the oddest thing concerns that Native American shaman of mine in The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo. To get a feel for Ash’s calling, I actually smoked a pipe of reed canary grass. This common grass is the source of a chemical called DMT. It’s known as the Spirit Molecule. Indigenous Amazonian native cultures consume DMT as the primary psychoactive component in ayahuasca, a shamanistic brew used for divinatory and healing purposes. Reed canary grass is less potent than the full ayahuasca, and I have asthma, so going full bore was out of the question anyway. My shaman-esque experience lasted only five minutes, but for four of those minutes I swear my brain left my skull and sat on my shoulder like a parrot. Once was enough. I learned all I needed to know! 

Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
I don’t have a single line per se, but I do have an evocative first paragraph from Loving Leonardo:

Carlo Posateri shrugged his cloak back on his shoulders, the thin wool gone heavy from absorbing the September fog. He peered into the night then checked his pocket watch under the misty gaslight. Few people would be out in an evening fog like this and there was a word to describe many who were — Ladro. It was a perfect night to make deals with a thief.

 How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
Oh, do I have stories! The best description of my mind is to compare it to a crowded restaurant where every table is a story simmering quietly. Somewhere, a pocket holds an engagement ring. The guy stabbing his olive like a voodoo doll got turned down for a promotion. A little girl, her tongue poking in concentration, traces her crayon along the placemat maze. Across the room a potential suicide comes to terms with his weighty decision and nearby sits a young woman who doesn’t yet know she’ll save his life. As busy as this all is, there is an overlay of added detail – a server mopping up blood-red wine, steaming plates of fettuccine Alfredo, the caramelized scent of crème brûlée here, and the oily sizzling flames of saganaki there. If I look closely, I see the server just winked at the bartender – a clear message that says, “I’m off at 10:00.” If I could
only plug my brain into my laptop to upload stories, my backlist would be huge. Instead, I carry an idea book in my purse. If inspiration strikes, in it goes.

Fun Stuff:
  • What is your favorite holiday and why?
    Hands down it’s Halloween. It has costumes, trick or treating, caramel apples, and crunchy autumn-colored leaves. Who could ask for more?
  • What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
    I’m a Reiki Master and a crack shot. 
  • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    An archaeologist, a paleontologist, and a biochemist. I somehow envisioned doing all three at once.
  • Favorite food.
    Any food shared with family and friends.
  • Favorite happy memory.
    My sweetheart’s marriage proposal thirty-six years ago.
  • Favorite drink.
    No alcohol: cucumber/lemon/mint infused water. With alcohol: a Fuzzy Navel!
  • Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
    Without a doubt, chilly winter nights.
  • What is the top thing on your bucket list?
    To visit ancient sacred sites around the world.
  • If you could have a super power, what would it be?
    Oh, definitely time travel.  I’d go back in time and change things that have done nothing but set humanity back. I’d correct things that never should have occurred like the burning of the Library at Alexandria. I’d correct the series of events that took woman from her rightful place beside man and made her his property. I suspect if that were possible there wouldn’t have been wars, greed would have no footing, and suffering in all of its forms for man and animal would end.  I dream big. :)


Rose Anderson ~ Love Waits in Unexpected Places

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Tina Donahue said...

That is an unusual cover, Rose.

Congrats on your success - hope 2014 is even better. :)

Sandy said...

I wish you a great year, Rose.

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Tina. Same to you!

Yes, isn't that cover odd? lol It was my first. I didn't know I could ask the publisher to change it or I would have. I have a perfect image in mind for when my rights revert to me.

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Sandy. You too!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Love the answers to the questions, Rose - hope you get all those ideas into publication one day!

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Rosemary. You never know!

Nicole Morgan said...

Fantastic post and interview, Rose! It was great getting to know a little bit more about you. :) Shared all over the web! ;)

jean hart stewart said...

Enjoyed the interview very much. You're a fascinating woman and writer.

Paris said...

We definitely agree on the coffee in the morning, lol! Wishing you much success in 2014!

Rose Anderson said...

Nicole, Jean, and Paris thank you so much. And a great new year to you all too. :)

Cara Marsi said...

Great interview, Rose. I loved getting to know you more. I laughed at the Hermes story. That's one of the most famous brands around and I love how you get Google Alerts for them. Your days are much more productive than mine. I'm going to slink off now and try to be more productive.

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful getting to know you Rose. I hope you have a wonderful 2014. Have you been to any ancient sites yet? I imagine with those degrees you would have seen some interesting places. :)

All the best!

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Cara. The Hermes handbag sold online does weirdly cast a spotlight on my book. I couldn't understand why my book trailer was so popular on youtube and nearly a year passed before I put two and two together. lol Deflating and funny at the same time. ;)

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Melissa. Oh no, I never actually got those degrees. Those were just childhood dreams I never did realize. I'm content just reading about them now. Someday I'll tour those ancient sites...someday...or at the least, get myself a giant imax screen. :)

Karen H in NC said...

Interesting interview. Rose, you are a relatively new-to-me author....I've heard of you, but I haven't read your books yet. The more I read about them though, the more I believe I'll be adding your titles to my books-to-buy list.

Every author's dream is to have their books made into film! Which one of you books would you most like to see made into a movie and why?

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

I never noticed the baby's hand coming out of the computer. I'll check that out. Anyway, Rose, keep the Loving Leonardo books coming.

Gemma Juliana said...

Awesome interview, Rose. So nice to learn a little more about you.

Rose Anderson said...

Thank you Karen. A movie of one of my stories...I could envision movies of several. Who doesn't like happy ever after? Of all of my novels, I'd have to say it's my work in progress, my unnamed magnum opus. It would be sweeping. :)

Rose Anderson said...

lol Jane. It's a little hand that looks smaller than the woman's hand. Two people asked why a baby's hand was coming out of the computer. Silly thing.

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Gemma! I consider myself a genuine oddball. I hid it when I was a teen, but you should see me in my flame decorated high-top sneakers now. It's a good thing my kids take me at face value. lol

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