Welcome, Rosslyn. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I have a couple of projects stewing in my brain. My first trilogy was inspired by a house, and my next project will also be based on a historic building that I discovered this summer. I seem to be architecturally-oriented as a writer! However, despite my plans for writing, this is a transitional time in our family’s life because we just made a major interstate move and acquired some land and horses. Finding writing time has been challenging because we’ve been spending so much time setting up fencing and storage, not to mention caring for the equines and canines, plus homeschooling and teaching riding lessons. I’m at peace with this transition, just enjoying the blessings that come with it and not worrying about the future. God knows the plans he has for me. When it’s time to write again, whether that’s a month from now or a year from now, the time will become available. It strikes me as a pretty good idea to take a sabbatical for a few months anyway, with all of the turbulence in the publishing world these days! It will be interesting to see which publishers are still thriving a year from now. Too often, I think we get caught up in the pressure to publish nonstop, but it’s important to stay balanced and hear God’s voice, not just the conventional wisdom of the world.
Tell us a little about your family.
My husband is a creative and talented salesman and a doting father to our fourth-grader. Lately, we’ve been working so hard outside that we tend to come in at night and collapse into bed! But during the day, we have fun working with our horses. My daughter and I like to cook together too. We all like music, though my daughter and I are more classically-oriented compared to my husband’s taste for classic rock and 80’s hair-bands. And we all share a love for nature that brings us pleasure just from walking outside and seeing whatever new beauty is out there in the fields, whether it’s butterflies, birds, or morning frost.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I have a new appreciation for good novels from any genre. They are so much harder to write than anyone would ever guess who hadn’t been through the process. These days, when I see an error or something else that isn’t perfect in a novel, I think “How long did this author have to write this novel? Was she on a two-month deadline? Did she have a good line editor or a bad one?” I read with more grace and insight for authors now.
What outside interests do you have?
Teaching is an abiding passion for me. I love to teach, especially when I get to teach young people. Right now I’m teaching riding lessons, plus two drama classes, one for my church and one for a homeschool group. When I get the chance, I also love to go listen to good classical or folk music. And I enjoy light strategy board games like Settlers of Catan.
I’ve noticed that many authors have a drama background. I do as ell. How do you choose your settings for each book?
Thus far, I’ve been inspired by setting more than any other single aspect of writing. Because my first three novels were based on real history, the settings were mostly self-selecting. However, in my first novel, I moved one historical setting from the country to the city, because I needed to make a contrast between rural and urban life. So I do exercise some liberty, even though my settings are in part determined by the history I’m writing. In Lovelier than Daylight, I chose to incorporate the unusual cultural atmosphere of
German Village in . Depicting German American
culture was my favorite part of the novel. Columbus,
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I’d like to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth I. I’d love to know if she really had a human side, or if the pressures of her position erased most of her humanity.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
Ignorance is bliss! I’m actually glad that I didn’t know how hard and occasionally disturbing the publishing journey can be. Having a book published is a blessing, and I never forget that, but there are some strange and difficult episodes along the way. Now, I watch new writers go through their first publishing experience, and I see them going through some of the same trials. As a result, I’ve developed a lot of compassion for authors, because I know the challenges we all face. Very few people have a completely easy or smooth ride through traditional publishing. So whenever someone asks me for counsel, I am happy to help in any way I can.
I’m in one of those difficult times right now, so I understand. But God is so with me. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
I’m learning to take joy in the moment, to wait on His call with grace and peace.
Amen! What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
First, success is determined in the end by God alone, not by the world, and if we forget that, we won’t be joyful. So, the first thing to do is to stay tuned in to heaven’s priorities and tune out any message that gets in the way. Second, be humble. We can’t learn or grow without humility. Finally, be kind and love others. In that way, we stay true to our primary calling. Whether or not success comes down the pipeline is not completely within our control, but we always have a say in keeping our spiritual integrity. And if we ever find that the lifestyle of writing is threatening that integrity, we need to consider making changes. As the scripture says, we gain nothing if we gain the whole world but lose our souls.
Tell us about the featured book.
Lovelier than Daylight is the last in a trilogy of three novels based on the real-life Hanby family of
. Each novel focuses on a
different generation in the family, so each can stand alone as its own story,
though of course it’s ideal to read them in order! I enjoyed creating this
generational saga because it was rewarding to trace one minister’s family
through fifty years of life, spanning from 1825 to 1875. And it was fascinating
to show how Westerville,
had changed in that fifty years! Lovelier than Daylight is based on a
real historical episode known as the Westerville Whiskey War that made national
news in 1875.
Lovelier than Daylight follows Susanna Hanby through an unforgettable summer, as she discovers that her sister has disappeared, along with her six children. Her sister’s alcoholic husband claims they’ve run away, but Susanna doesn’t believe him. As Susanna attempts to find her family and bring them home, she’s drawn into a crusade for temperance that turns violent in a small
town. An attractive German American brewer named Johann Giere is supplying his
goods to a saloon in Westerville.
When Susanna tries to stop him, he finds himself attracted to her, but she
can’t stand his profession. As he offers to help her find her family, conflict
over temperance erupts in Westerville,
in gunpowder and flames. Susanna and Johann risk their lives and their hearts
as their deepening relationship forces a choice between passion against
Sounds totally captivating. Please give us the first page of the book.
Tall grass and wildflowers blocked her view and stranded her in the middle of the meadow. Susanna’s arms prickled as if someone watched her—but surely no one else was out here in the country, on this June morning already hot and breathless.
Scores of fleabane daisies studded the wall of grass like flat yellow eyes, unblinking. The heavy air pressed from all sides, its stillness broken only by the hum of a wasp that circled above her head.
Her sister needed her. She must get to the farmhouse as soon as she could. She gripped the handle of her heavy valise with both hands and pushed through the grass, peering for marks of passage to keep her on the overgrown path. Her back grew warm under her bustled polonaise and corset, and her petticoat dampened beneath her skirt. She wanted to lift her curls away from her neck and fan herself, but she trudged on. At least her straw hat kept the sun out of her eyes.
This summer refused to relent, with its constant liquid heat, harsh as the burn of whiskey on the tongue. Susanna had tasted a sip of whiskey once, at her father’s request. He wanted her to know its flavor so curiosity could never tempt her, even though she promised him drink held no allure for her. Whiskey had done more than enough harm already.
She would not think of that. She was here to bring companionship and merriment to her sister and her children before she headed off to college in
A brick chimney poked above the grass. Her sister’s house squatted ahead with its familiar, peeling white planks. Rusted farm tools lay by its walls, and the fields beyond bore only a sparse cover of wilting corn. But any neglect was not Rachel’s fault. With a lazy husband and six little ones to feed, Rachel could not go out in the fields and do everything herself.
Susanna hurried forward, her shoulders aching from the pull of the valise.
Why hadn’t the children come out to greet her? Clara or Wesley should be out doing their chores, even if the little ones stayed inside.
She stopped. Something had happened to the flowerbeds. The blooms lay crushed and browned along the foundation of the house. Her throat knotted—Rachel must be so sad. The only color and luxury at the home had come from the flowers she had so patiently watered and weeded. All dead now.
She set her luggage at the bottom of the stoop, climbed up and knocked. No answer. She laid a tentative hand on the knob and pushed the door open a crack. “Rachel?” Her call sank into eerie silence. Her stomach hollowed and she gripped the knob tighter. She eased the door open. The small parlor with its threadbare furniture was empty.
A few steps took her into the dim hallway and back to the bedroom. No one was there. The sheets were rumpled, the quilt hung on the floor, and the baby’s cradle was empty. Something was wrong—her breathing quickened.
Yes, totally fascinating and suspenseful. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a website at www.rosslynelliott.com, but I’m more likely to be checking in on Facebook! I love to talk to readers, so feel free to friend me or like my author page for updates.
Thank you, Rosslyn, for sharing your life and new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Lovelier than Daylight (The Saddler's Legacy Series) - paperback
Lovelier than Daylight (The Saddler's Legacy Series) - Kindle
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.