Thursday, April 01, 2010
Bits of pieces of me make it into all of them. I'm constantly noting little things I do or think that I can write into my characters, things to add depth and realism. The true challenge comes in looking into my own deep, dark secrets and making my characters think about those.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
My senior year of college, a few girlfriends and I decided to go lingerie shopping. I was married by then, two of them engaged with a wedding that summer, and the rest just needed some new unmentionables. So we gathered on campus at ten in the morning . . . and found the other car's battery dead. So seven giggling girls piled into my car, and we drove oh-so-slowly to the mall, two of them all but sitting on the floor to avoid detection. Hilarity obviously ensued—and didn't stop when we hit the mall. When you have that many over-enthused young women in a lingerie section the results can be embarrassing. Any time any of us found something cute we'd yell out “Who wears a 34B? You have to see this!” The other shoppers probably ran for cover that day.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
First grade. I started writing short stories about awe-inspiring things like princesses from Illinois (which was apparently far enough way to equal another country in my mind) and magical hairbows and unicorns who lived in the clouds with pink bunnies. I'd completed a novel by age 13 (and boy was that fabulous! LOL)
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I'm a reviewer, so I read it all. I especially love anything romance, be it historical or contemporary. I also enjoy suspense and thrillers, the lits, straight historicals . . . most of my reading is in the Christian market, but I also pick up Nora Roberts whenever my sister passes one along.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Oh my, I've got around twenty manuscripts sitting in my Documents folder, most in need of a rewrite. I have a Victorian trilogy which has made the rounds, a '20s era Mafia story being shopped, several contemporaries my agent has submitted, and some ABA attempts that will likely stay locked away forever, unless the Lord points me back that direction. Plus dozens (literally) of ideas that I've jotted down the first chapter on so that they're cemented in my mind.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sanity? What's sanity? Between two preschool aged children and my work-from-home husband, writing, reviewing, critiquing, running praise and worship at my church, and keeping up with all my friends, I sometimes feel like my mind has been left by the wayside. So I take a few minutes for quiet time with the Lord each morning (quiet being a relative term with an 18-month-old squealing over his toys) and later in the day when possible.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes I base them on meaning. Sometimes history or ethnicity dictate my choices, and I choose the one that sounds right to my ears. I also keep a list of names that I like and will refer to them whenever I need a fun, quirky name. I did database entry for a few years and started writing down all the great names I entered. I also constantly search BabyNames.com and have the Social Security Administration's name-by-popularity database in my Bookmarks. For historicals, I'll also search census records.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Hmm . . . with a great marriage, a college degree, and two kids, it's hard to say. These days, getting through the day with sanity intact feels like quite an accomplishment, and two natural, drug-free childbirths ought to be on the list, but who wants to talk about that? LOL. One of my earliest big accomplishments is the novel I finished at 13. Granted, it was terrible, but I'm still so proud of myself for writing a full-length book at such a tender age.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An English mastiff. They're descended from a race that fought alongside their Roman masters, are supposedly one of the smartest breeds of dogs out there . . . but these days most laze around, the pampered pets of doting owners. Sounds like a heritage and current life I can dig!
What is your favorite food?
I'm so boring, and never grew out of kid foods. Pizza ranks way up there, as does macaroni and cheese. Slightly more interesting, chicken and dumplings. And chocolate. With coffee. Mmm.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Connect with the industry. Join writers associations and subgroups whenever you can, go to conferences, and learn where you fit. I did it by becoming a reviewer; it helped me make friends, taught me what was being published by whom, and got my name out there, recognized by publishers and the Who's Who of the publishing world.
Tell us about the featured book?
A Stray Drop of Blood is the story of Abigail, who grew up as a slave in a Roman house in Jerusalem. Her mistress was a Hebrew (as is Abigail), and treated her more as a daughter than a slave, but when the son of the house returns from Rome, her life makes a drastic shift. He takes her to his bed, ruining her chances of a marriage that had been in the works, and refuses to observe the Jewish tradition that would have made her his wife. But just as Abigail begins to adjust to this new life, tragedy strikes with Barabbas's sword. From Golgotha, back to an earth-shaken Jerusalem, and finally all the way to Rome, Abigail must pursue God's will for her and her family and learn how to open her heart to the love of a man she never thought could touch her so deeply.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Abigail’s tears were unneeded. Mourners enough had been hired by her mother’s husband, and their loud keening drowned out her grief. She risked a glance at Silas, who stood with an appropriately sorrowful expression in the corner. Her mother’s husband, but not her father. Her father was dead. Mother too. And this family would never be her own.
She turned to the doorway, where Rebekka, Silas’s first wife, beckoned. Abigail darted one last look at the body laid out on the table, but her mother could offer her no protection now. She left the room, following Rebekka’s voice down the hall. “She is eight years old. Very strong–she gets that from her father. But beautiful, as her mother was.”
Even at eight years old, Abigail recognized the jealousy in Rebekka’s tone at the mention of Mother’s beauty. She stepped into the room, felt her head go light when the saw the man within.
A Roman soldier.
Rebekka motioned her forward, and though she wanted to remain rooted in place, she dared not. One step, another, and she was under the Roman’s full perusal. Deafening silence pounded her until the man nodded and reached to the money purse on his belt. Her fingers clenched, her breath caught, her eyes ceased blinking. If possible, she would have stopped her heart from beating.
Had it come to this? First her father’s death, then her mother’s, and now she was to be slave to a Roman dog?
The man drew out several coins, but as he handed them to Rebekka, he offered Abigail a smile. And she knew. She knew that she would have more of a home with this Roman than with these people she could never call family.
Something inside shifted, making her shoulders edge back. That place from where tears sprang went cool, ran dry. An image of a cracked, parched streambed flitted before her eyes. That was what she would be. Hard and empty. If her own people would sell her to their oppressors, then so be it. She would be a humble slave. No more whimsy, no more dreams.
It was obviously what God intended.
I love it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://www.roseannamwhite.com/ , and it has links to all my other current sites. I'm also on Shoutlife, Facebook, and regularly blog at http://www.roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/ .
Thank you, Roseanna, for spending this time with us.
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