This week, I'm excited to be interviewing one of my top favorite authors, Roseanna White. Granted, I have not read all of her written work (yet), but everything that I have read has had a great balance of realism, Christianity, and history.
Writing is only a part of your life. How do you juggle being an author, homeschooling mom, and everything else that life entails?
It’s mostly a matter of priorities. I get up at 5:30 every day so I have 2 solid hours of writing time before I need to worry with starting the day in terms of feeding children and doing our school. Throughout the rest of the day, I rely on a handy-dandy list (I’m NOT a list person, but this became necessary, LOL) that helps me remember all my many jobs and order them according to the most pressing. Housework, ahem, usually gets pushed pretty far down the list. School and writing come first, then editing and my design work.
Lists are amazing! My days definitely go much smoother with them.
Your books have a lot of depth to them with both plot and spiritual themes. When you get an idea, what usually comes first (the plot idea or spiritual theme/lesson)?
Actually, step one for me is usually the characters. =) From the characters come both the plot and the spiritual themes. My best friend/critique partner and I always joke that we know the characters’ backgrounds and the journey we want to take them on, but when we’re talking about it, we usually say, “And then, you know, plot stuff happens.” Those details get filled in later, LOL. For me, it’s all about that character journey. Who are they, and who are they going to be by the end of the story? The paths God might take them on to get them there are usually not too set in stone.
Ah, characters. That would probably be my weakness. ;)
What is the easiest part of writing for you?
Generating ideas, I think. My agent once called me her “idea girl.” I just love coming up with new book ideas, or even new possibilities for where to take my characters in a book I’m already writing—which certainly makes the editing process more fun than it might be otherwise!
What is the hardest?
Execution. Finding the time to turn that sparkly idea floating around in my brain to words worth putting to paper. There are many days when it’s hard to write—but it’s also an integral part of who I am, so always worth the effort!
Have you had a character you just didn't want to let go after "the end?" If so, which one(s)?
I’m honestly usually ready to move on to the next project (shiny new ideas! LOL), but I also know I’ll spend a lot more time with my characters in edits, so that helps too. I usually don’t get too sentimental about leaving them behind until I’m at the end of a series, when I won’t get to sneak them into the pages anymore. ;-) I think with my Ladies of the Manor Series, I was particularly sad to say goodbye to Whitby. He wasn’t a main character, but he was in many ways a driving force of the whole series. And just such a cool father for Brook in The Lost Heiress. =D
I think I'm going to be sad to say "goodbye" to a few of those characters in the Ladies of the Manor series! :)
I know many authors say that "to pick a favorite book is to pick a favorite child," but do any of your novels stand out to you as being more of a personal favorite than the others?
It is like that! LOL. But there are a few that are super-special, yes. The Lost Heiress because it’s a rewrite of the first book I ever wrote, when I was 13. And A Stray Drop of Blood because it took me 6 years to write it, so it traveled with me for a looooong time before it became my first published book.
Do you find your real life reflected on the pages of your books?
Bits and pieces make their way in. =) Not generally anything recognizable—I certainly don’t dine with dukes and duchesses, LOL. But clever things my kids say will find their way into the mouths of the children in my stories. Lessons I learn are learned by the characters—or, actually, quite frequently I learn a lesson through my characters. And love, of course. The love my heroes and heroines find, with each other and with God, are always a reflection of what the Lord has given me. =)
Who are the authors that have most inspired you?
L.M. Montgomery was my first favorite—I was definitely a kindred spirit of most of her heroines. =) Lori Wick’s Kensington Chronicles are what made me fall in love with British settings. Then came Francine Rivers, who showed me how to make a story weep with emotion. Orson Scott Card, for his dialogue and wit. Frank Peretti for spiritual conflict. Those are just a few of dozens of authors I love, but they’re the ones who shaped me most early on.
What is the #1 thing you'd say to an aspiring writer?
We all have a journey. Sometimes our writing is for its own sake—it doesn’t need publication or praise. Sometimes it’s for others. But no matter the journey, we need to remember that it’s ours. That it shapes us into the person and the writer God wants us to be. Our path will never look like anyone else’s, and that’s as it should be. If you love it, respect the dream and fight for it. But never think you’re at the pinnacle, either of your path or your skill. There’s always something new to learn. New steps to take. Enjoy every step!
Love that! Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my questions!
After graduating from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, she and her husband moved back to the same mountains they equate with home.
Roseanna is the author of two biblical novels, A Stray Drop of Blood and Jewel of Persia, the historical romance, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, and the historical, romantic suspense Culper Ring Series (Ring of Secrets, Whispers from the Shadows, and Circle of Spies). She is also the senior reviewer at the Christian Review of Books, which she and her husband founded, the senior editor at WhiteFire Publishing, and a member of ACFW, HisWriters, and Colonial Christian Fiction Writers.