AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: ROSE ANDERSON
And now an interview with the woman I don’t want to ever have against me in Trivial Pursuit©…. Rose Anderson….
Dreamscape is my most recent release through Siren-Bookstrand.
Tell us a little about Dreamscape, what inspired you to write it?
Outwardly, Dreamscape is a ghost story set between two time periods, but on the inside it’s actually an Easter egg hunt. Easter eggs, in this sense, are intentional hidden messages. I tried to make them as visible as I could and in such number that readers would say to themselves, Was that intentional? It must mean something! Growing up, I was a huge fan of author Agatha Christie’s work. I remember reading And Then There Were None as a child. I didn’t fully comprehend the nuance of the story at the time, but after seeing the movie adaptation, Ten Little Indians, several years later, I reread the book. To my surprise and delight, it was filled with pointing fingers and arrows and some were veiled and some were out in plain sight.
Avid readers, or even avid movie goers, should be able to pick out the clues by the third Easter egg. By then, I imagine their minds are saying, huh? Did she mean to write it that way? At least I hope they do! Those intentional hidden messages point to the truth.
The story revolves around Dr. Elaine (Lanie) O’Keefe and her recent purchase of the derelict mid-Victorian Bowen mansion. She has plans to renovate the property into a free clinic. This is no ordinary mansion in two key ways – Since she was a small child, Lanie has been dreaming of the house, as if she lived in the Victorian era. And, as is often the case in the many small towns across America, old abandoned houses are jokingly labeled haunted houses. There’s just one thing, old Bowen Mansion is haunted.
Jason Bowen, a doctor in his own time and a ghost in this one, roams the house contemplating his own murder in the century before. He has no recollection of the deed, only that his new wife and her lover are responsible. He soon becomes fascinated by the woman who’s moved into his house. What begins as an innocent experiment to touch her warm skin while she sleeps, leads to Jason’s discovery that, as pure energy, he’s able to ply Lanie’s synapse and live again through her dreams. He’s surprised to discover those dreams return him to the days leading up to his murder. Only this time, Lanie is there by his side. The questions now are: Can a ghost find love among the living? And, if so, what of that little insurmountable matter of Jason being dead?
Believe it or not writing Dreamscape all started with a case of writer’s block. I often ask friends and family for writing prompts when my mind draws a creative blank. A poet friend and I were chatting one day and I mentioned how I liked writing the impossible and making it possible. He asked for an example and those two questions popped into my head — There you go — Dreamscape.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I’ve likened the whole fiction writing process to a mild form of schizophrenia.
In the truest sense, I’m one of those by-the-seat-of-my-pants writers. It always starts with a question or a concept like what got me creating Dreamscape. Before I knew it, Jason Bowen materialized right before my mind’s eye. Lanie followed, as did the Danowski family of tradesmen who came to renovate the house. My characters always tell me who they are, who they’ll meet, and where they’re going. Sometimes my imagination will go off on a tangent and before I know what’s happening, I’ve written a neighbor stopping by to borrow a cup of sugar something. Very few of those drop-in characters stick around. Unless they have large personalities, they eventually disappear into the pages never to be seen past my self-editing. It happens like this – for Dreamscape, I was just writing along and suddenly an unsavory character emerged to allow Jason to face a point of decision. It was a good and necessary bit of concept so the bad guy stayed.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
No, a curious turn of events put my feet on this path and it all happened in a two-week period of time. I can’t speak for anyone else out there, but when the Fates, or the Muses as the case may be, use synchronistic prodding, I listen!
I’ve actually been writing a non-erotic series (my as-yet-unnamed Magnum Opus) for the last 3 ½ years. Up to this point in my life, I’d never considered writing in this sub-genre. But erotic romance is very popular right now and was the quickest way I could think of to establish a footing. Very few people know I’ve entered the realm of romantic fiction, and fewer still know my creations fall under the erotic romance heading. From the very first step of this amazing journey, my romances have forced me to learn the writing business. Erotic Romance is the uber-genre. This fast growing romance sub-genre is the perfect hand in the glove of all the new technology out right now. Those Nooks, Kindles, and Kobos allow these juicy flights of fancy into the privacy of our homes. And they come sans their brown-paper wrappings for the mailman and nosy neighbors to speculate about. When my magnum opus is finally ready to be published, I’ll actually know what I’m doing! And hopefully when I set off to the Big City to peddle it, I’ll have a bulging portfolio of published work to show I have some wherewithal as an author. That’s the plan anyway.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
My non-erotic series has a fabulous family of men and I adore all of them. I’d have to say of the two books I’ve published, it would have to be S from Hermes Online. That is one smooth-talking, sensual, sexy man. S and I took part in a character interview a few months ago and he told me even more about himself. I found I liked him even more than when I dreamed him up. That man’s a keeper.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Hands-down it has to be the man I’m writing right now. He’s been out of society for the last three thousand years. I’m finding it incredibly difficult to write a modern story with someone with no modern perspective or reference point. But I enjoy the heck out making the implausible plausible and the impossible possible. It stretches my creativity to meet challenges like this, but I know I’ll work it out eventually.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I do because it’s easy to draw from the familiar. If readers knew me, they’d recognize my furnishings, my pets, the many cars I’ve owned, and even things about themselves. My life makes cameo appearances in one form or another in all of my books. Anything funny my characters do, chances are I’ve either done it or someone close to me has! My husband and friends tease me about me putting their lives in my stories. They’d be surprised to know how much of that is true and in ways not easily discernable to anyone but me. Hehehe. Oh, they’re never in my stories in their entirety, only pieces of their personalities, style, humor, and mannerisms are.
In addition to being fleshed out by small slices of my friends and family, my heroes and heroines are all composites of who I am. Imagine a conversation with a little girl and you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up. Depending on her age, she’ll be a princess, a nurse, a veterinarian, a doctor, an astronaut, an archeologist etc. My characters are what I’ve always wanted to be in nearly every stage of my life but for one reason or another, my path led my feet elsewhere. They play instruments I’ve never learned to play. They have careers and adventures I considered once. They have my values, my fears, my wit, etc. And the personal bonus here is they aren’t shy and reserved like I am in real life. I suppose a better way to put it is they’re all made up of interests and dreams that I never actually made happen in my life as I’ve matured and traveled on.
As for bad guys, well, I think my bad guys make J.K Rowling’s Voldemort look nice. But yes, even my bad guys are me. If you think about it they’d have to be some part of the author’s mind. How else could they write them into being? My bad guys have the worst attitudes, negative behavior, and desire for self-gratification that I’ve ever seen in human beings thrown in for good measure. And they always tell me where to go with their development just like my other characters do. Sometimes I surprise myself. I’ve even given myself goosebumps a few times.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
The promoting! I had no idea this was part of the whole author experience. I never really gave it much thought before I jumped in. I’d rather be writing than coming up with creative marketing, because on any given day there’s only so much creativity to go around. At least that’s how it works in my head. But on the plus side, my promoting has taught me so much and put me in contact with some pretty terrific people. I’m happy.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
Hmm, it’s difficult to pick one out of all the odd things I do or have done. My interests are vast, my pursuits varied. I’ve done dozens of crazy off-the -all things. Surprising might be that dog napping incident (The poor dogs needed immediate help.) Or the wild foods dinner where I ate cicada and rice filled dolmas and thought them delicious before I knew what they were. (It’s true, they tasted like roasted cashews. Although tasty, I just couldn’t get past the spiky little legs that stick in your gums.) But as odd as these are, they don’t surprise the people who know me. They’d say the most unusual thing about me, is the fact I read encyclopedias for leisure reading. (Doesn’t everyone?) The entire A to Z World Book encyclopedia took me nearly six years. I collect encyclopedias. My oldest set was an encyclopedic dictionary from the 1880’s (but I had to get rid of them because they brought bookworms into the house. Rereading this paragraph I’m compelled to say, holy cow, what a weirdo I am. LOL
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I have several! The most regularly fed guilty pleasure is combing flea markets for treasures. I have one nearby that runs from April to November and my husband and I go to just about everyone.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Before I get down to serious writing, I kiss my husband and see him out the door, walk and feed my dogs, and then pour myself a cup of coffee. I can’t say I need any of these things before I write. But I sure do like a kiss, followed by a perfect cup of coffee.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Not in my erotic romance, but the Magnum Opus has Tri Martolod sung by Breton Celtic Harp musician Alan Stivell. I found him singing it on youtube. It’s a beautiful piece that set my mind right into Celtic Bretagne.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Wow. I’ve honestly never considered that before. For Dreamscape, I suppose James McAvoy could be a terrific brooding ghost because he thoroughly gets into every part he plays and does this great broody scowl. Thinking on this, I have no one in mind for Lainie but she does have black hair and big blue eyes. I’d be so tickled if Hollywood ever considered such a thing. I’d take just about anyone.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was sitting at my computer checking my emails when the contract from Siren-Bookstrand came. My husband was the first to know.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I was twenty-seven and in the middle of World Book’s B volume at the time. My sister lent something by Janelle Taylor for my long train ride home. It was the second book in a series. Of course I had to find the others. While tracking those down at the library, I found A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I’ve been a fan ever since.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Hands down, anything by Diana Gabaldon. I’m a great fan.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I write full time now but I juggle many balls. I recently ended a job I’d been at for the last eleven years so I could write fulltime.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
At this time, I have three stories going — one from the wilds of the upper Midwest, one on the Isle of Skye, and of course the large and cerebral Magnum Opus. The first is soon approaching its conclusion but I’m enjoying the concept so much, I may very well write a small series along the same lines. A concept hit me between the eyes last night and it’s all I can do to keep myself from starting another book before the others are done.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
I haven’t read many in this erotic romance genre, but I’d say it would be Jane Leopold Quinn. I discovered upon reading her works, that she chooses the exactly phraseology I would choose. I can tell we share the same wit and see the world in the same colors. Outside of erotic romance, I’d love a go with Michael Crichton or Dean Koontz. I’m a detail person and all three of these authors write in exquisite detail. It would be an easy fit and an honor to coauthor with them.
How do you pick your characters names?
I occasionally pick names by their meanings. It’s a small homage to the character’s personalities. Most times I hold the image of the character in mind and then go looking through baby name sites. I have two with 20,000 and 10,000 names each to draw from. The internet is filled with fabulous names.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
My husband caught my eye the moment he walked into the room. He had a presence about him that was noticeable. I fell in love with him in a span of day afterward, but that spark definitely lit in that moment. We’ve loved each other a long time. So yes to both. I try to ignite that spark for my characters, and then stand back and let the fuse burn.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books?”
LOL. I haven’t encountered any of those yet. I’m more nervous about the “Oh you write erotic romance. That’s like porn isn’t it?” In truth, I wish my kids and sensitive family members will never read my books, or at least wait until I’m dead before they do. But I’m not embarrassed by this choice. I’ve worked harder to get here than I’ve ever worked for anything anywhere.
Where can readers find you?
I have a new website in the works and I’ve devoted my entire blog to this amazing author journey I’m on, including any laurels or skinned knees and elbows I’ve picked up along the way. It’s certainly a way to get inside my head! Leave messages, I love to hear from visitors. Here are a few of my other links. I’m all over the place!
I’m also over at GoodReads, and any search for my name or book titles will turn up author’s pages on several sites as well as many online booksellers.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
I’d never refuse a nice rich ganache to go with a side of sliced banana and a wedge of pound cake. Great, now I’m craving. I suppose I’ll write it into my next book.
I’d like to say thank you to Joyfully Reviewed for having me. I’d love to hear from other authors and readers too. Drop me a line here.