Anne: Our interview today is with Roseanna M White, the woman who wrote the book I reviewed yesterday, Circle of Spies. To read that review, click HERE. She's the author of two biblical novels, A Stray Drop of Blood (read that review HERE) and Jewel of Persia (review HERE), the historical romance, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland (HERE), and the historical, romantic suspense Culper Ring Series (Ring of Secrets (HERE), Whispers from the Shadows (HERE), and Circle of Spies). She is also the senior reviewer at the Christian Review of Books, which she and her husband founded, the senior editor at WhiteFire Publishing, and a member of ACFW, HisWriters, and Colonial Christian Fiction Writers.
So, Roseanna, what inspired Circle of Spies?
Roseanna: When I sold the Culper Ring Series to Harvest House, I had a blurb for each book; which means that before I’d even finished Ring of Secrets, I had to do some basic research on intelligence in the Civil War. I was super intrigued by both the Confederate Knights of the Golden Circle and the Union’s intelligence service, run by Allan Pinkerton. I decided it would be a lot of fun to pit them against each other, with my Culpers in the middle. I went back and forth a bit on what my heroine would be like. Reclusive was my first thought, but it didn’t work with the setup I had in mind…so I decided instead that she should be more of a Scarlet O’Hara personality. But I also wanted her to have a very special gift that was in direct opposition to that flirtatious, shallow-seeming personality. So I gave her a perfect memory. A lot of guilt to work through. And voila—Circle of Spies came to life. =)
Anne: Which of the characters most resembles you? How?
Roseanna: Oh goodness, LOL. I don’t know that any of them really do! In some ways, I guess, it’s actually Slade—I would totally choose silence over talking if I had that leisure. ;-)
Anne: When this book is made into a movie, who will play Marietta? Slade? Dev?
Roseanna: Love that “when,” LOL. Marietta will be played by Emma Stone in her red-haired version (like so: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/265782815480151035/ ). That was the picture I forwarded to my publisher for model selection, and they did SUCH a good job with the cover model!
Slade I picture as Colin Farrell, particularly in this picture: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/265782815480151055/
And my inspiration for Dev was Hugh Jackman - http://www.pinterest.com/pin/265782815481164916/
I have photos up for Granddad Thad, Walker, and Cora too! Along with some images of fashion, furniture, etc. that feature in the book. http://www.pinterest.com/roseannamwhite/circle-of-spies-culper-ring-series-book-3/
Anne: I had to check those out--wow, what a lineup! I can really truly picture them in the book. What was your favorite scene in Circle of Spies?
Roseanna: I think it might be what I called my “silent scene.” After Marietta and Walker finally talk about what they hadn’t spoken of in years and she goes flying inside in tears, she lands in the library—where Slade’s reading. I decided I wanted this part of the scene to be almost entirely silent. Marietta prays, the prayer is answered. They interact with no words whatsoever. I wrote this part while I was on a writing retreat and told my critique partner what I was doing. She gave me an “I don’t know…” kind of look, LOL. But when she read it, she agreed it worked really well. It was actually quite a challenge, but it totally fits Slade’s “why use two words when you just scowl instead” personality.
Anne: What do you find hardest about the whole writing process?
Roseanna: For me, it’s finding the time. I homeschool my 6- and 8-year-olds, and I’m an editor for WhiteFire Publishing. So the only time I can guarantee to focus on writing is from 5:30 – 6:30 in the morning. And let me just tell ya, it’s hard to get a book written in one early-morning hour a day!
Anne: Do you plot out your entire book before writing?
Roseanna: I usually have a general outline or synopsis. I know where I’m going, I know basically how to get there, but I’m usually pretty spontaneous about the step-by-step. At least in the first half of the book. Usually by the time I’ve reached my middle point twist, I have the second half pretty well figured out.
Anne: And last but not least, what's next on your list of books?
Roseanna: Next to release will be A Soft Breath of Wind, the sequel to A Stray Drop of Blood. That comes out in November and is about a young slave girl whose spiritual eyes have been opened to let her see angels, demons, and even the spirit within a person, to know if they’re a believer or not…and which also has a demon-possessed fortune teller in it. =)
Then will come the book I’m working on finishing now, which I’m really excited about. The Lost Heiress will release summer 2015 from Bethany House Publishers, and it’s actually a rewrite of a rewrite of a rewrite of my first novel, which I finished at age thirteen! There is no sentence still the same, LOL, but the premise hasn’t changed a whole lot. It’s set in 1910 England, and I’m describing it as Downtown Abbey meets Anastasia. We’ve got missing baronesses, princesses, dukes, cursed jewels, lore from India, murder, kidnapping, half-wild horses, and of course romance.
I should be finishing it up (again, LOL) this week, and I’m a wee bit giddy about having sold it to Bethany House…which happens to be the publisher I first queried with it at the ripe old age of fourteen. =) They’re also the first publisher I pitched the last rewrite of it to, at the ACFW conference in 2007. Third time (and gazillionth rewrite, LOL) must be the charm!
Anne: Wow. I am beyond impressed. You know, since I have reviewed all of your books and I hope to continue doing that, just reading your books could keep me busy! Thanks for being here today. (By the way, seems to me the first time I met you, you looked all of fourteen. I suppose you were a little older than that though, because you kept putting these cute little blurbs online about your kiddles.)