Friday, 20 April 2012

Author Interview - Rachel Rossano

We had the opportunity to interview author Rachel Rossano today! 

About the Author:
I was born in the northern midwest to a missionary pastor and his wife. As the oldest of four, I learned to be mature and responsible at an early age. That, however, did not prevent me from having constant flights of fancy. In my early teens, those flights of fancy began to make it to the page. I have always loved reading and constantly had my nose in a book growing up (fuel for those fanciful flights). It seemed only natural to start putting my adventures into words to share.

Watch for all of Rachel's books in an upcoming Read It & Reap!

About the Books:
Death or an arranged marriage, Verity refuses to accept the choices.

Verity Favian's father dies unexpectedly. Her half-brother, Verdon, lays claim to all their father left behind: title, castle, and her. Verdon cannot touch the land set aside for her dowry so he offers her hand for sale to the highest bidder. Lord Silvanticus, a man renowned for his military power and close ties to the king, makes the winning bid. Despite the rumors of Silvanticus’ madness and cruelty, Verdon accepts.

Verdon locks her away in a tower. She is not sure if he seeks to prevent her from fleeing the marriage or spreading the truth only she seems willing to speak: Verdon killed their father. Either way, her time is running out.  (short story) 
  

Isolated on a distant planet, she is incarcerated for a crime she doesn’t recall. She has no name, no idea where she came from, or why she is injected with drugs daily to hold these vital facts from her grasp. Despite small rebellions, she wastes away, worn and losing hope of ever being whole again.

Then he arrives. Claiming to hold the answers burned daily from her brain, he offers her a way out. But at what cost? (short story)

   

Trained as a mercenary soldier, Darius Laris was a man of decisive action. He was also a man of compassion. Seeing a young slave woman about to become the spoils of war, he claimed her for his own. Marrying her before God and king, he made her a free and respectable soldier's wife. Brice Ashlyn was born a slave. Abused and beaten, she learned quickly to avoid being noticed and to stay away from men. When her master's walls fell to enemy forces, she ran, but not fast enough. In Darius' offer she found deliverance, but experience had taught her to fear power such as his. Could she trust in his protection, or had she traded one form of slavery for another? (novella)
  


A sweet romance of learning to trust, choosing to love, and facing the adversities of life together. Set in a world similar to Medieval Europe, this fantasy novella has none of the mystical elements prevalent in the genre. (novella)







When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Do you see writing as a career?
When brainstorming ideas for my second novella while still in high school, I realized I was addicted. Oddly enough, I didn’t even consider it as a career until halfway through college. However, my practical side overcame my dreams and I pursued a degree in accounting instead. My first job out of school ended up a toxic situation. To cope, I wrote. While in my second job, I decided to pursue writing more methodically. I signed up to tutor high school kids in writing and pursued publishing my finished books. Then, our first child was born. My priorities shifted again.

Now I am a stay-at-home mom to three children under five years old. At this point I see writing as my sometimes-profitable hobby/part-time job. Someday, when my kids are older and I can devote more time to it, I hope it will become a career.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?
When I work on a novel or short story, I frequently refer to it by the main character’s name. The Crown of Anavrea was Eve. The Mercenary’s Marriage was Darius. When it came time for publication, I sought my husband’s input. He ended up naming both of them.

Since then, I have grown into naming my own work. Exchange refers to the pivotal point of the story. Word and Deed refers to Verity’s desire, to be loved in word and deed. Now I have begun naming the stories as they are written. Duty and Diaspora are barely started and I have them titled and their covers pretty much finished. Diaspora even has a book trailer ready.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I am a stay-at-home mother of three little ones: a four-year-old and two almost two-year-olds (twins). My work schedule follows their nap schedule. I work in the moments I can grab. My husband sometimes gives me a break in the evening. I leave for an hour or two, grab a booth at the local Friendlys, and bury myself in my latest WIP. Writing has become my therapy, the piece of my life that is adult and mine among all the chaos.

Are experiences in the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Bits and pieces of my stories come from life. An expression here, an inflection there, emotion that grabbed my attention, the process of working through a difficult time, or just the relationships of those around me all get thrown in and mixed until nothing looks like the original. I get inspiration from history, biographies, other fiction, people discussing things, the news; basically anything can inspire an event or twist to the plot.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get over it?
Usually I burn out. Too little sleep or too much stress can do it. Sometimes it is because I need to be doing something else for the story, like plotting. I am never stalled for long. Usually I am simply having a hard time finding the time to write.

When I do encounter writer’s block, I have a whole list of things I do to break through it. I read, watch movies, edit, free write, write in a different project (I usually have at least two in the works), talk about the story with a literary friend, or take a break. If the block is persistent, I try to figure out why I am stuck and seek a solution. My current problem is plot. My characters ran off with the story without telling me where we are going. I need to sit down and reassess our destination before I write more.

Is there someone in your life who inspired you to write? Was there another author or a teacher who encouraged you?
My reading inspired me to write. I grew frustrated with the ending to stories I read and started rewriting them. I think the first people who really encouraged me were two of my professors in college. My writing composition professor praised my story telling ability on my narrative paper. He read it to the whole class. Then my second composition professor selected me along with a few other students as someone who would succeed at a special self-study school for writing. I never considered the school seriously, but I did remember that he thought I had what it took to succeed as a writer.

What do you do to unwind and relax? 
I write. I read, create book covers and book trailers, watch movies, play games, and listen to music.

What book are you reading now?
Currently I am in the midst of Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliot, Life in a Medieval Village by Frances Gies and Joseph Gies, and One Mind’s Eye by Kathy Tyers. I just finished Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena. Both of them are excellent books.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Two projects currently occupy my writing time.

The first Duty is a fantasy set in a distant corner the Theodoric Saga world. Taking place in the aftermath of a civil war, it is the story of Brielle Solarius. The only child of a deceased noble, she lives out her days as a commoner in the village of her birth. Her cousin, who now oversees her father’s holdings, only comes to the village once a year to claim his share of their ever dwindling resources. 

One morning, as winter nips at their fields, a small army of men descend on the village. Rounding up the women and children (the men are off fighting for their noble overlord), the newcomers claim to be sent by the new king. They inform them the last of the village’s men died in the final battle of the war. By the king’s decree, all women of marriageable age will be married off to the soldiers. Their leader, the newly made Lord Irvaine, informs Brielle they were married by proxy. He has come to claim her as his bride.

My other project, Diaspora, is a novel prequel to my science fiction short story Exchange. Earth wants to open negotiations with Domestica after centuries of mistrust, hate, and general antagonism. Ruhan is tasked with finding out what they really want beneath the diplomatic jargon and loaded phrases. Meeting the delegation on an outlying mining outpost, he encounters a woman who defies everything he knows of their planets’ histories.

Myah studies the people of Domestica. Her knowledge of their culture, history, and customs earns her a place among the Earth delegates as a consultant. Her world changes with a single touch from the emissary from Domestica. Everything she knew to be true about herself, her family, and her planet dissipates. Suddenly exiled from her home, her only hope of survival becomes the man who caused the trouble in the first place, Ruhan. A relationship conceived with a single touch changes the course of two interplanetary empires.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In Word and Deed? No. I don’t think I would change a thing. The advantage of working with a short story is its brevity. I weighed every word, every sentence. I might change my mind later, but right now, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers? 
A writer needs a computer with word processor, a dictionary, a thesaurus, a library (and/or the internet), imagination, discipline, time, and a willingness to learn.

Check out these sites to find out more about Rachel Rossano and her books:



10 comments:

  1. What a wonderful interview! Like Rachel, I also name my WIPs by my characters' names. Unlike Rachel, I still have not mastered the art of inventing my own titles. A critique partner titled my last one. LOL! Rachel is tremendously talented in many, many areas. I feel privileged to call her my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Joyce. :) Your critique partner picked the perfect title for "Dangerous Favor."

    ReplyDelete
  3. She grew to be a wonderful woman. i have known her for quite some time and a joy it has been.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When are the books scheduled for the RI&R program? I am definitely interested!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what the exact date is, but I'll post it once we know :)

      Delete
  5. The cover of "Word and Deed" is beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Midu. I am rather proud of that one. I hope I can best it with my next cover. I am still a bit of an newbie to cover design.

      Delete
  6. What a fascinating interview, it was interesting to learn more about you and your books, Rachel - I have to put 'Exchange' on my long TBR list - it sounds just my 'cup of tea'.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very enjoyable interview! Rachel's books have me intrigued (the cover of "Word and Deed" grabbed me - gorgeous!), so I loved reading more about the author behind them. :) Your upcoming books sound unique and very dramatic! Looking forward to seeing more - especially the covers! ;)

    ReplyDelete