We have a special guest at my blog today: Roseanna White, author of the Ladies of the Manor series, and many other books besides. The third and final book in this series, A Lady Unrivaled, releases on 13 September 2016, and so I thought it would be a great time to get to know a little bit about the person behind this wonderful series.
I like to ask my guests to suggest a snack for us all to share while we get cozy for a chat, and Roseanna has suggested some homemade popcorn drenched in butter and salt. Sounds delicious! In fact, I’ll even make the salt Murray River salt for a little Australian flavour and all that natural salt goodness 🙂 So while I go and get popping, how about you get acquainted with Roseanna and her upcoming release…
Roseana M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring.
A Lady Unrivaled (#3 in the Ladies of the Manor series)
Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile–even if it’s just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won’t wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.
Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?
MMmmmmmmmmm! Can you smell that buttery yumminess? Popcorn is here! Although I’m hoping that little outline above has whet your literary appetite as well.
So! Welcome to my blog Roseanna! Before we get down to all things bookish, I thought maybe we could get to know you a little better. So tell us, where do you currently live and who shares the home with you?
ROSEANNA: Thanks so much for having me! I currently live in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, near the Maryland and Pennsylvania borders, with my husband of 15 years and our two awesome kids, who are 10 and 8.
ME: Hello to your family! What makes the area you live in special for you?
ROSEANNA: To me, mountains = home. I’ve lived other places, visited other places, but I just adore the mountains, the seasons, and the country. A city girl I am definitely not. I love looking out and seeing trees in every direction, and it would be bliss if none of my neighbors were within sight, LOL.
ME: LOL! Nothing against your neighbours, of course! But it does sound idyllic. Now, as a fellow history lover, I’m keen to know which historical time periods interest you the most. Do you have a favourite, or do you find whichever period you’re currently ‘immersed’ in your favourite?
ROSEANNA: I honestly just love history. I’ve found that every era has something fun to learn about that sets it apart. I’ve delved into many different historical periods for my novels, and though I loved bouncing around and getting a feel for them, I confess I’m also glad to be working in the same era for a while now, which gives me the chance to dive deeper into it and not need to research the whole with every new book. =) So for now, I’m quite happy being in Edwardian England for all my research.
ME: I can imagine it would also be tempting to get sidetracked by all that delving. At least, I know I would be! So what is it about history that excites you, do you think?
ROSEANNA: Oh wow. I don’t know . . . all of it! LOL. I love seeing how people lived—what was different and what’s the same as our society. I love historical fashions. I love historical architecture and vehicles. But I think mostly, I love getting into the hearts and minds of people from different eras—because while the heart of humanity has never changed, our values and beliefs certainly have. Learning how is always so much fun.
ME: Oh, yes to all of the above! 🙂 Do you find yourself gravitating towards historical fiction as a reader, or are there other genres that you enjoy equally as much?
ROSEANNA: I do read a lot of historical fiction, yes. But sometimes I need something totally different from what I’m writing. This is when I read contemporary romance, romantic suspense, or young adult fiction (dystopian too).
ME: So who are some of your favourite authors?
ROSEANNA: I can never name them all! LOL. Julie Klassen, Lori Benton, Laura Frantz, Connilyn Cossette, Francine Rivers . . . Stephanie Morrill, Maggie Stiefvater, Terri Blackstock, James Rubart . . . seriously, I could go on. And on. And on.
ME: I know the feeling! Now, I like to take a little flight of fancy with my guests and ask them which instrument the wish they could play, but you are actually a musician already. Which instrument(s) do you play, and is there one that you wish you could play, but don’t?
ROSEANNA: I play the piano and organ (regularly—I’m the pianist/organist for my church) and wish I could play the violin! Trying to convince one of my kids to learn. So far neither has volunteered to pick that one up, though my daughter did finally convince me to tack one more item onto our homeschool week and add piano lessons. I also played the clarinet during middle and high school, but haven’t since.
ME: I have always wished I could play the violin too! (And the harp!) I did actually learn both for a year or two, but I tend to have this habit of stretching myself a little thin (I was already learning piano!) and eventually something had to give 😦 But here’s my other ‘flight of fancy’ – if you could give one household task to the house fairies permanently, which one would it be?
ROSEANNA: Only one?? Hmm. I think it would be the dishes. Laundry used to be right up there on my “hated” list, until I started bribing myself with fun TV shows on Netflix while I fold. 😉
ME: Haha! I will confess, doing the dishes has become much more appealing since I worked out I could put my eReader on the window sill and read while I wash!
Okay, we’d better get down to business before this popcorn all disappears! You’ve been writing since you knew how to form sentences. What do you think drew you to writing?
ROSEANNA: It’s the creativity, the story-building. Make-believe was always my game of choice as a kid, which I did way more than I wrote in those early days. Then I realized that I could put it all on paper, and that it could all happen the way I wanted, not how my friends thought it should be, LOL. (True in writing until one invites critique partners and editors into the game!)
ME: Those pesky editors! 😉 As a homeschooling parent, you’re essentially working a full time job already. When you add in writing (not to mention the designing and editing work you do) it sounds pretty busy. Do you find you need to be disciplined about setting aside a separate time for each of these activities, or are you one of those people who manages to ‘go with the flow’ and work everything together with flexibility?
ROSEANNA: I do, yes. I get up at 5:30, and Writing Time is from then until school starts (with breaks for shower and breakfast) at 9. After our first part of school, it’s time for designing and editing. Then afternoon school begins at 2 (kids have done individual work in the meantime). Afternoons are for whatever is most pressing, be it editing, designing, or writing. There are, of course, days when all this flies out the window, especially if there’s a pressing deadline for one of my projects, or a homeschool class day with our group or field trip. But in general, that’s my schedule and I stick to it.
ME: You’re a good example to us all! What is the best and the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
ROSEANNA: Finding the time! I love the creative process, I love the writing itself. But with all those other roles to balance, sometimes it’s really hard to get in all the time I need. I usually have to schedule a writing retreat at least once a year, where it’s just me, my laptop, designated writing time, and QUIET. (These are usually with a writing buddy, but since she requires the same thing, it’s still quiet and focused, LOL.)
ME: Which authors (or what other influences) do you think have shaped you as an author?
ROSEANNA: L. M. Montgomery was a huge influence on me as a young writer—especially her Emily series. Then came Lori Wick, who ignited a love for Christian historical romance. And Francine Rivers, whose books showed me that depth can make you laugh and cry and find beauty in the most unexpected places. But those were all before I did this professionally. In my life as a published author, my critique partners, editors, and agents have had a profound effect.
ME: L. M. Montgomery and Lori Wick both featured heavily in my teen years too! What makes a good book, in your opinion?
ROSEANNA: Characters always rule the day for me. And voice. Love me a fabulous, unique voice!
ME: Me too! We’re saying goodbye to the ‘Ladies of the Manor’ series with ‘A Lady Unrivaled’. What’s coming up next for you?
ROSEANNA: While I’m sad to bid adieu to my longtime friends from the Manor, I’m super excited to be working again in the same world—only this time, without the nobility and titles. 😉 Shadows Over England begins next summer with A Name Unknown. Each book in the series will be set in the opening days of World War I, following a family of London-bred street thieves as they accept assignments from a mysterious employer that take them into places they’ve only dreamed of, seeking to steal items that lead to their salvation—and their true loves. Here’s the nearly-official blurb for A Name Unknown:
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they concentrate on stealing high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary is given an assignment to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?
Peter Holstein is awkward at best in society. No one ever would have expected him to gain the ear of the king…and given his family’s German blood, he knows there are plenty who are unhappy that he has, which is why his popular series of adventure novels are written under a penname. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether he ought to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a librarian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!
Well, the popcorn’s all disappeared and there’s nothing left now but to lick our fingers! Thanks for joining me on my blog today, Roseanna!
If you’d like to connect with Roseanna, here’s where you can find her:
Facebook (author page): www.facebook.com/roseannamwhite
Facebook (personal page): www.facebook.com/roseannawhite
And don’t forget, A Lady Unrivaled comes out September 13. Look for my review coming soon!