Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rose Anderson talks Selkies, Squirrels and Enchanted Skye #

Today we have Rose Anderson in the hot seat. She's chatting about her love of handmade things (which I also love!) and her latest release, Enchanted Skye. Learn more about her shape-shifting Selkies and maybe find a squirrel along the way. 

~Mia


~*~

Rose Anderson's interview questions…

Quick round:
Coffee, tea or…what’s your vice? Coffee
Favorite Movie: Harry Potter (series)
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite book/author: Diana Gabaldon
How do you feel about bacon? Pigs have the intelligence of a 6-year old child, I don’t eat those either.


Now for the real questions! 

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hmm, this is always hard. I’ve been a wife for 35 years, a mom for 33, and a writer for approximately 22 years. I have a small menagerie and two grown kids who come and go and it’s always a delight to have them home at the same time. In this chapter of my life, I’m a multi-published, award-winning author with an active imagination that compels me to write everything from children’s stories to historical nonfiction. When I’m not writing, I hang out with friends for drumming, poetry, energy work (Reiki), and great discussions. I’m a consummate info hound who collects encyclopedias and words and I love trying my hand at things. I’ve decided the one word that describes me the best is dilettante – a person who takes up subjects merely for amusement. I’m easily amused!

And yes, I can tie a cherry stem. ;)



What’s under your bed?
LOL I thought you were kidding. You know that sad feeling that comes from seeing someone’s bronzed baby shoes at a garage sale – those first shoes that were so important to mom and dad, they had them bronzed, but now they’re junk? I don’t collect baby shoes but I collect interesting things and especially love handmade things. I have three large flat bins on wheels under my bed and they hold all my seasonal decorations I put out four times a year. Some items just call to me. It doesn’t matter if they’re worn, need a few stiches, or they’re missing an eye or ear. If someone made it and put their time and energy and love into it long ago and now it’s in a bin of junk at a rummage sale, I’ll rescue it and give it a new home. Our Christmas tree has all sorts of rescued ornaments interspersed with things my family has made. I think acknowledging the love and effort that went into each reactivates the thoughts of love their creator crafted them with.

So right now my decor theme is autumn – old squirrels of all sorts and acorns and leaves. One squirrel caught my eye when I saw it in a flea market dollar bin. It was hand sewn who know how long ago from pieces cut from an old rubbery hot water bottle. How could anyone walk away? lol In the spring it’ll be birds, in summer frogs, coming up after the holidays – owls.

What comes first, plot or characters? 
Pantser, plotter, or hybrid? Tell us about your writing process. 
Compatible questions here so I’ve combined them. Characters definitely. I need them fully formed so they can talk to me (or through me) and tell me where to go with their story. And that makes me a pantser in the truest sense. I prefer first person point of view. My editor once told me: “your natural métier is so clearly deep POV. I'm encouraging you to play to your strengths”. All I can add to that is when I write first person perspective, the story world opens wide and the words flow like I’m possessed by the character. I see it all when I wear their skin, every detail, every nuance. The crazy part is I write so fast that way! Hermes Online was written in three days. Loving Leonardo was a 90% completed first draft in seven.

I’m a very shy and reserved person by nature, and shy people typically spend more time watching than interacting. That being the case, I’ve a lifetime of human observation to draw from to add to character conversations. All the details get filled in like who gestures with their hands when they speak, who never makes eye contact, who gets easily frustrated, who stays calm, etc. I think this touch of realism makes my dialogue smooth and believable. My friends say they hear me talk when they read my writings.

By far, my strong point is my attention to detail, especially historical detail. I love inserting accurate tidbits into my stories because I like such detail as a reader. I’ve a background in history, taught grade school science, and I’m also an information hound. Combined, all this makes for lots of details floating around in my head! Sometimes I’ll write a scene and surprise myself. Writing is a sort of possession.

Oddest thing on your desk?


Pic from brooklyngeneral.blogspot.com
Today it’s a roll of toilet paper. My allergies are in high gear with the falling leaves (leaf mold allergy) and I’m out of tissues. Since the laptop came into my life, my desk is my kitchen table. Odder still is the massaging office chair that sits here so out of place. My son gave it to me to keep my circulation healthy and it just doesn’t fit the décor. Maybe a squirrel would dress it up.

What’s your most interesting writing quirk?
Hmm. If I define quirk as something peculiar I can’t really say. Peculiar is somewhat normal to me. I do have several stories I’m working on at once though. I’ve heard that’s rather odd. Eventually one will grab my imagination and thrust ahead. That’s how my recent release was completed two years and four books after I started it. Two other storylines came to me half-way through and demanded my mind focus on them. Yep, a panster all the way. Gotta make hay while the sun shines.

What’s your favorite thing about the genre you write in?
Great question. I started my yahoo group Exquisite Quills with exactly that question in mind. Here’s what I wrote when I opened the doors:

No one understands the drive to create literary worlds as well as other writers do. In the real world, things can be so darn ugly and mean and we hardly ever hear of real happy ever after endings. From that first imaginative tale told around a campfire, to the tomes that define the ages of humanity, fiction allows the mind to travel elsewhere for a time. We are romance writers. When we write love stories, we share our hope for something better with the rest of the world. These moments of happy-ever-after ripple outward in surprising ways. Positive thoughts are even beneficial to our health. But there’s more. Studies show the brain doesn't differentiate much between what is read and what is physically experienced. The same parts of the brain fire. So think about that, filling people's minds with stories of love can only do good things. A love story can stick with a reader. It can influence their mind with endorphins. Endorphins make people happy. Happy people are nicer. Being nice has a rippling effect. It's all good.

That’s what I love about the Romance genre.

What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Hands down without a doubt it’s the self-promotion I am by nature an extremely shy and reserved person. This pushing myself beyond my comfort zone is exhausting at times. I quite frequently put in 10 – 12 hour days with it. I’ve done the social media thing from A to Z – from Twitter to Tumbler and everything in between. I’ve done guest blogs, group postings, interviews, and streaming radio interviews too. I’ve built websites and pages all over the internet including my blogs and a massive Pinterest board. I’ve taken part in contests, free days on Amazon, and prize giveaways. I’ve participated in many-author blog hops and notice exchanges like Triberr.

I’ve read it’s important to build a platform so devote a lot of time to that. The thing is, there’s only so much creativity to go around on any given day. You can’t craft stories if you’ve used it all up promoting. I’ve almost found balance between the two.

What’s the easiest thing about being an author?
Being wholly myself. I get to use all the facets of me to express myself. As a shy person, I keep a lot to myself. As a creative person, I have to say it doesn’t get better than utilizing all that’s you to write with. My life makes cameo appearances in one form or another in all my books because it’s easy to draw from the familiar. If readers knew me, they’d recognize my furnishings, my car, my pets, and even things about themselves. My characters are all composites of me. They have my values, my fears, my wit etc. Yes, even my bad guys are me. They’d have to be. How else could I write them into being? Sometimes I even surprise myself. More than once I’ve given myself goosebumps!

What do you wish someone had asked you for an interview question?
I can’t think of a thing – need more coffee!

Tell us about your latest release!
My latest is Enchanted Skye. I love legends and myths from all over the world. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a legend of the shape-shifting Selkies of the British Isles. I read that a family has been claiming to be Selkie for centuries. In honor of that family legend, I created the MacCodrum family. Three brothers, a sister, and their father are all Selkies on the Isle of Skye. They really are a fun family and their banter was fun to write. I come from a family of five siblings myself so the by-play was easy. The locals on the Isle know the old legends though dismiss them along with the rest of the “fairy stories” that abound in Scotland. However, that doesn’t stop them from teasing the family in the pubs for the benefit of the tourist trade. The only person who knows how true it that legend is is the old lighthouse keeper Angus MacLeod, a boyhood friend to the MacCodrum siblings’ grandfather. As a teen, Angus was saved from drowning by his transformed friend and the MacCodrum secret was never shared with another soul.

Beyond the legend of the MacCodrum family, the story concerns Jenna MacLeod, grandniece to Angus. She’s recently lost the grandmother who raised her in America, and has come home to Sky to scatter her grandmother’s ashes. While she says her tearful goodbye, Alex MacCodrum swims nearby as a transformed Selkie. Something magical happens when Jenna’s tears mix with the salt of the sea and an ancient charm is unleashed on the unsuspecting Alex. The charm is very specific. If Jenna MacLeod cried seven tears into the sea with Alex nearby, it was a binding contract of love or obsession – lasting love if he could win her heart, obsession and eventual suicide if he couldn’t. And when they finally meet, they get off to a terrible start. To make matters worse, time is running out. Jenna’s dangerous ex-boyfriend is looking for her.


Blurb for Enchanted Skye:

Alexander MacCodrum belongs to a race of shape-shifting sea creatures living on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

When Jenna MacLeod unknowingly adds seven tears to the salt of the sea, she accidentally unleashes an ancient charm that catches the transformed Selkie unawares. Under this binding spell, Alex must win Jenna's heart, or the pain of unrequited love will drive him to take his own life. Unfortunately for Alex, Jenna hasn’t come to Skye looking for love and it will take the force of a hurricane to bring them together. But worse, Jenna’s violent ex-boyfriend has found her at last and Carl has made it perfectly clear – if he can’t have her, no one can.

Excerpt from Enchanted Skye:
The three made their way down to the rocks where the tide pools lay. Angus pointed out the limpets, beadlet anemones, and barnacles clinging to the rocks and waiting on the tide to come in. This particular pool had been a source of endless explorations when he and his sister Mary Margaret were children. He described it some for Jenna. Within seconds, she knew she’d be asking for more stories later. Stories were precious to her. Her family was very small and stories gave her a larger family to imagine. With her nose starting to run, emotion rising by the second, Jenna held the urn tightly and dug into her pocket for a tissue. Why didn’t I bring tissues?

Apparently anticipating her tears, or his, Angus pulled a clean folded handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. She gave him a small smile of thanks and dabbed the tip of her nose.

Reverend Osgood said, “We gather today, oh Lord, to fulfill a wish. The good woman Mary Margaret Ross nee MacLeod has come home to rest, come home to the sea.” He marked a page in his bible with his finger, and then nodded at Jenna.

Throat tightening with emotion, she unscrewed the top from the urn. As the reverend read the passage, she slowly shook her grandmother’s ashes into the tidal pool.

“We therefore commit Mary Margaret’s body to the deep, to be turned into corruption, looking for the resurrection of the body, when the sea shall give up her dead, and the life of the world to come, through our .…”

Overcome with sadness, Jenna stopped hearing the prayer. She looked out at the rocks, where the seals lay amid the foaming waters and heard her grandmother’s last words before she slipped into a coma, “I love you, my dear sweet angel. I’ll love you always. You remember that, aye?” The gray dust floated on the mirrored surface. Jenna murmured, “I love you too, Nana.” Tears followed the ash and fell like rain drops over the water.

The raucous gulls overhead pulled Jenna’s attention back to the reverend, who continued. “I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft star that shines at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there; I did not die.” He paused for a moment, and then finished with, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.”

“Amen,” Angus echoed softly. He patted Jenna’s shoulder as she lightly tapped the urn to let the finest ash fall with the rest. “Take a moment, lass. Tell your Nana goodbye. We’ll be back at the house with our scotch.”

Jenna hugged the empty vessel close and nodded. Alone now, she knelt over the floating ashes and watched with aching heart as they drifted out to sea. When the tide rose later, all would be washed away. Her tears flowed freely.

***

He watched with mild interest from the rocks, but when Angus and the reverend walked back to the house, his interest got the better of him. He scooted a little closer and lifted his head to get a better view. He didn’t recognize this young woman on the land but watched her kneel before the pool. Her dark sable hair covered her face as she keened and for some reason he felt compelled to go to her side. He slid into the water and the closer he drew, the stranger he felt. Only feet from her now, he blinked the saltwater from his eyes and watched her. The wind whipped at her hair and the sea mist clung to her clothing as she hugged an urn tightly to her chest. He knew what he was seeing then. They’d scattered ashes on the water. He considered her. Who was this woman to Angus MacLeod?

The woman must have felt his presence for she looked up from her grief. Meeting his eyes, she looked startled to see him so close. She rose slowly and backed away.

His heart ached to watch her go and he found the feeling both perplexing and extraordinary. Then and there, he knew he had to meet her. Taking a breath, he plunged under the water and swam to the far side of the cliff where the sea cave sat undetected. On dry land now, inside the dark chamber, he peeled away his waterskin. And where flippers were a moment before, a man’s arms and legs appeared. Shaking out his spotted skin with a snap, he rolled it into a tight bundle and headed toward the passage.

The limestone tunnel itself was ancient, dug by his ancestors at a time when the zealous went in search of blood, and beings like him were hunted to near extinction. The tunnel led from the sea to his family’s other home and his other life as Alexander MacCodrum. He put a hand to a hidden door, one of several in the mansion, and it made a dry scraping sound as he pulled it open. Giving the back of the bookcase a shove, the weighted mechanism swung wide to reveal a bright sunny library.

A woman’s voice came from the floor by the hearth, “Och, Alex you scared me! Come in, you’re scattering the ash with that draft.” Like that of her brothers, Bea’s Scottish burr tended to get thicker with emotion. With a soot-smudged nose and long black hair tied up in a kerchief, Beatrix MacCodrum sat back on her heels and looked him over from head to toe. He’d strategically repositioned the waterskin the instant he heard her shriek. Other than that, he wore nothing but his smile.

She shook her head. “Tch, dinna you ever think to leave your clothes in the cave to change into? You know I might ha’ been sitting here with guests.”

“That would ha’ been interesting, no?” He chuckled. “I haven’t been home in a while.”

“None of my brothers have, wastrels the lot of you.”

Seeing the smile in her eyes, he grinned. “Ah, you’ve missed me then. How are you, Bea?”

“I’m well enough, just finishing the last of the cleaning. I’ve the first booking of the season later today.” She stood and wiped her hands on her apron. “And yes I’ve missed you, you silly. Go and dress yourself and I’ll put the kettle on.”

Enchanted Skye is available on Amazon

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Follow the links to Rose's website to find her on the Web!


13 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks for having me today Mia. :) If anyone stopping by has questions or comments, I'll pop on throughout the day to reply.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Rose, loved this interview. I get the shy part but can barely move myself to promote, so kudos to you for that. I also agree about loving to write romance, hot romance. It feels as if that was what I was always meant to do in my life. Every person should be able to find their raison d'etre. And sometimes you have to wait for it to appear to you as an option. It's worth the search and the wait!

And speaking of hand made treasures, back in the 70s, I was into crewel yarn pictures. One I did had a green background with flowers, a gazebo, and a path leading to it. My hubby and I were in Bath, England walking through an "antique" festival. Would you believe I saw the exact same crewel picture on sale. I just laughed and laughed. I would have loved to know that I could have tried to sell my creations. At least now I can sell my writing creations.

Rose Anderson said...

Cute story Jane. :) I just love finding my childhood toys in antique stores. Proof I'm inching into fossilhood. Thanks for stopping by.

Gemma Juliana said...

What a lovely interview, Rose. Your love of homemade ornaments like the thrift store squirrel is very endearing! I love your 4 seasonal decorating themes, too...

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Rose,

I enjoyed reading the interview. It's good to learn more about you. Best wishes for success with your new novel!

Alicia Dean said...

Great interview...I love that the questions are different from what is normally asked. And your answers were very interesting. Love the idea of a selkie novel too. Sounds like a great read!

Rose Anderson said...

Thank you Gemma, Jacqueline, and Alicia.
Gemma: I'll post a picture of that squirrel before I put him away for the fall. You'll see how it was he worked his way into my heart. I saw it as a grandma gift for a little boy.
Jacqueline: Thanks! I've always been the odd duck who didn't fit anywhere. The older I get, the more I realize there are flocks just like me. :)
Alicia: I agree! This was a fun interview to do. I'll bet Mia has openings if you were to ask...

Alicia Dean said...

Thanks, Rose...I'm actually a guest on Mia's blog tomorrow, but rather than this fun interview, I did a recap of the Vampire Diaries convention I attended. Maybe down the road, Mia will have me on as an interview guest. Love her blog!

Rose Anderson said...

A convention about vampires sounds fun. I'll stop by. :)

Alicia Dean said...

It was SO much fun! I would love for you to stop by...thanks!

Melissa Keir said...

Great interview. I can't wait to read this book!

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Melissa. And thank you to Mia and everyone for stopping by today. Have a nice night.

Rose Gorham said...

Enjoyed the interview.

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