Thank you so much for joining me today Rachel. I’m sure our audience wants to learn more things about you so I’ll just jump into the interview.
Where are you from?
Born in Michigan and transplanted multiple places progressively east, I am now residing in New England.
A little about yourself (ie: your education, family life, hobby, etc.)
Happily married with three children between the ages of two and five, my life is very full. Writing, book cover design, and book trailer creation are my hobbies, but I love to read as well. I am a stay-at-home mom and household manager in addition to my “hobbies,” which I am trying to turn into a business or two before the kids move out of the house. I have some time yet.
Tell us your latest news?
I just released my first full-length novel, Duty: a novel of Rhynan. Another one is slated to release later this year. After publishing two novellas and two short stories, I figured I should try my hand at publishing the bigger stuff.
When and why did you begin writing?
Writing didn’t come naturally. I wrote for school projects, but it wasn’t until my teenage years that I put words to paper outside of what was absolutely necessary. Sometime during my high school years, I caught the bug and I have been writing ever since.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first began going from project to project and constantly writing, I started thinking of myself as a writer.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Published or unpublished? My first unpublished book was more of a novella that I wrote for school. A non-magical fantasy with a fairy tale feel, it involved a prince, a noblewoman, and a vaguely described adventure.
My first published book came about because I was battling writer’s block in a foreign country with nothing to read in my native language. I sat down to write a story I wanted to read and wrote The Crown of Anavrea.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My style is constantly changing. Of late, I am tending toward dialogue heavy prose, light on the description, and focused on interpersonal relationships, mainly romance, of a select cast against the backdrop of national or (in my current WIP) interplanetary strife. How is that for a description? My work tends to be written in first or third person past tense.
How did you come up with the title?
Duty describes the reoccurring theme of the book. Brielle, the main character, and Tomas, her husband, are both responsible people who try to do what is right whether or not they like it. Throwing them into a situation that tests them each individually and their newly formed marriage of circumstance causes them to debate which is the best course. Should a husband value his obligation to his king higher than his vows to his wife? Does a wife honor her husband even when she doesn’t trust him? How does she do what she thinks is right when her decisions are not hers to make? When does she say, “Enough, I have to do this even if it means angering my new husband”?
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I just wanted to explore a few of the aspects of duty within the setting of nobles, kings, commoners, and marriage. I enjoyed testing my characters’ worth through their trials. Readers are welcome to interpret the individual messages for themselves.
How much of the book is realistic?
Despite the genre, non-magical fantasy, I strive for a high level of realism in my fiction. I want the reader to believe that the events could have happened.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life, or are they a figment of your imagination? (i.e. – is your hero/heroine you? – is your ‘bad guy’ you or someone you know?)
Very few of the situations in my books come up in my daily life. However, there are pieces of people I know in some of the characters. When my husband read Duty, he spotted a section where a character sounded just like him for a bit. My son’s habit of rubbing kisses in appears. Anise, the hero’s mother, is loosely based on a woman I know, but the similarities are very vague.
What books have influenced your life the most?
I am an avid author follower. Once I find one I like, I try to read everything I can by them. Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Orson Scott Card, Donna Hatch, Sarah M. Eden, Patricia C. Wrede, Robin McKinley, and a couple others top my lists.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
A young friend of mine just released her first novella, Annabeth’s War, which I enjoyed. Aubrey Hansen’s skill is impressive. I am reading her Peter’s Angel right now.
What are your current projects?
I have a short story in the works, Isbet’s Disgrace, which I hope will eventually be published as a serial in a magazine.
My next main project is a science fiction epic titled Diaspora. It is a love story between a genetically altered human and an Earth woman of pure lineage able to trace her bloodline to the kings of Europe. One touch calls into question everything they both know about their shared history and generations of war, slavery, and bigotry. More importantly, that touch sparks a conflict that could unravel the future of all humans, modified or not.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have found support in various places, friends, fellow writers, readers, and others.
If you could pick a celebrity to play one character in the movie version, who would it be?If you could pick a celebrity to play one character in the movie version, who would it be? If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not yet. Give me a few more months and I will probably have something I would like to change.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? (a short excerpt would be great)
“The red one is mine,” he said.
I didn’t raise my head although instinct urged me to. Father had called me Red. He said I was born screaming, skin deep red like the beets in the garden and hair fiery like the setting sun. The man who spoke was not my father.
I glanced at him from beneath my cloak’s hood. Arrogant in his size and superior mass, his eyes picked me out of the writhing mass of captives. Early morning sunlight glinted off plain armor and an unadorned helm, yet the unwashed barbarians treated him with the respect due a commander.
The crowd of women around me parted for the soldier fulfilling his order. Mothers moved back with babes in their arms, toddlers clinging to their skirts. Their fingers clutched older children’s hands or shoulders. A living mass, their voices silenced by the army surrounding them. Their faces spoke eloquently of their fear.
The soldier, smelling of sweat and sour wine, grabbed my left arm and dragged me out from among them. I didn’t want to bring harm to the women around me. The soldier would injure many before subduing me. I allowed him to pull me toward the commander with only minimal resistance.
Once free of the captives, however, I yanked from the man’s grip in an attempt to run. Three pairs of rough hands caught hold of my arms before I managed more than a few steps. The stench of their unclean bodies turned my stomach. I gagged as I fought them. They dragged me through the dust and dumped me at his feet.
I struggled up only to be brought down again. Pressure behind my knees forced me to kneel.
I lifted my face to glare at the commander.
“Remove her hood.”
Someone pulled my cloak half off my shoulders in his enthusiasm. Red curls fell free in a wild mass about my shoulders.
Silently I cursed the color. If only I had been blessed with plain brown or even blond tresses, I could have hidden in plain sight.
“My Lady Brielle Solarius, I presume.”
He had the audacity to meet my glare. His eyes were only glimmers beneath the beaten metal and leather of his helmet. He made no bow or any show of the honor due me. I was a noblewoman. I didn’t claim the right of deference often, but still the fact remained.
“Might I know your name, barbarian?”
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to sit down, uninterrupted, and write remains a constant battle.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Nope. I have to use my imagination to transport me.
Who designed the cover(s)?
I created the cover for this one. The picture seemed a perfect fit for Brielle, the narrator and heroine of Duty. It worked hard to give her a feel of an oil painting without losing clarity.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time to write when inspiration struck was my greatest challenge. The words came quickly. The writing became fast and furious, I wrote over seventy-eight thousand words in eight months on a part-time writing schedule.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Stories have a way of telling themselves. I planned on a short story. I ended up with a novel.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Write what you love. Read. Learn from what you read. Write some more. Edit. Repeat. Mix it up and keep at it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Please share your blog/website/facebook/twitter here with us.
Twitter ~ http://twitter.com/RachelRossano
Facebook ~ http://www.facebook.com/RachelRossanoRambles
YouTube ~ http://www.youtube.com/anavrea