Monday, February 17, 2014

Interview Feature: Rachel Rossano

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you imps to a very talented author. Rachel Rossano is both a novelist and a designer, and her work in both fields is sure to delight and intrigue all the Goldstone Wood Imps! I hope you will enjoy getting to know Rachel and learning about her work. First, her bio . . . 


Rachel Rossano balances her time between the chaos of raising and homeschooling her three children and the world of drama and high adventure in her head. With her faithful husband and chief consulting editor by her side, she dreams of many more adventures to come. Check out her work at Rachel Rossano's Words.

And here is her beautiful new release!

Duty to King

Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king and the recent civil war. When his benefactor demands Tomas marry the cousin of a noble, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.

Duty to Others

Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation under the new Lord Wisten, her cousin. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a dire winter if they do not find a solution soon. When she learns her cousin sold her into marriage to save his life, she isn’t surprised. However, she is taken aback by Lord Irvaine’s unpolished ways. Was this man a noble or a foot soldier?

Duty to Each Other

Bound by the words of their vows, they face a rough future. They must forge a marriage while battling betrayal, accusations of treason, and villains from the past. Survival depends on their precarious trust in each other. Failure could mean death. 


You can buy your copy of Duty from any of these sources:

 

INTERVIEW



Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?

Rachel: I am delighted to be here.
I am a happily married mother of three rambunctious young children. My days are filled with homeschooling, household tasks, and mothering. During nap times and after the trio are in bed, I become my alter-ego, the writer.
As a creature of habit, I enjoy spending most of  my time at home, but I venture out into public places to gather more material for my writing habit. My hobbies, aside from reveling in the imaginary worlds in my head, are reading, watching movies, and book cover designing.

What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? 

Rachel: I have memories of pretending to read before I could actually decipher the words on the page. As a daughter of an English major and a pastor with a fascination for history, I grew up around books and learned to love them at an early age. I know the progression from reader to writer doesn't always follow for every book lover, but that was sort of how it happened for me. I didn't like the endings of some of the books I read so I re-wrote them in my head. Creating complete stories of my own and capturing them on paper followed. 

I still hear stories about my imaginary play as a child. I guess I was always a storyteller, even if the only audience was me (and a captive younger sibling or two). Publishing came much later when I realized I wanted to share my stories with more people and possibly make a career out of playing with the written word. 

Tell us a little about your work! From what I gather, The Mercenary’s Marriage is your first novel (correct me if I’m wrong!). What was the inspiration for this story? What led you down the self-publishing path? 

Rachel: Actually my first published novella was The Crown of Anavrea. I published it through a less than reputable publisher and had to wait out the seven year contract to regain my rights. I republished it under my own company in 2011.

The Mercenary's Marriage was my first foray into indie publishing. Written in nine months during one of the most difficult times of my life, it helped me deal with a difficult job and a bout of depression.

The Mercenary's Marriage's story revolves around a marriage of convenience between a mercenary soldier and a slave woman he rescues after her master's castle falls to a siege. The hero, Darius, is an interesting mixture of meekness and strength. His decisiveness was a refreshing change from the lessons in patience I was learning at the time.

I settled on self-publishing because I couldn't find a publisher to fit what I wrote. Most of my stories are non-magical fantasy set in a world of my own creation that resembles medieval Europe. Some of my books are inspirational and others are written to reflect a Christian worldview without clear spiritual references. At the time I was publisher hunting, I couldn't find a Christian publisher that published what I was writing. I continued to blog and write, slowly gathering a following of readers who enjoyed similar stories to what I wrote. 

Then I discovered Lulu.com, a self-publishing platform that didn't require upfront expenses and or long term contracts. I decided to give them a try and my journey as an indie author began.

Now tell us a little about Duty, your newest release. How long have you been work on it? Did it present any unusual challenges? Is it part of a series or a stand-alone?

Rachel: Duty progressed from idea to finished rough draft in about eight months, the shortest time I have ever written a book. The book's beginnings were unusual because I originally intended to write a quick short story based on a friend's opening line, polish it up, and publish it.

Instead, Duty became a full-length novel and the first in a series of an undetermined number of books. Duty, and the planned sequels can be read as stand-alone novels, but if read in order, they will be enjoyed all the more because of the reappearing characters and the plot lines that thread through the whole series.

Also, readers are welcome to ask for more of a character's story. The sequel, Honor, is being written because readers expressed a lot of interest in one of the secondary characters of Duty.

 Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?

Rachel: My favorite character in Duty was definitely Tomas, the book's hero. He turned out to be such a complex man. He has qualities I can't help admiring. Yet, he is flawed. He makes mistakes and makes the best of the consequences that come from those mistakes. I really enjoyed discovering him, his history and his personality with Brielle, the heroine.

 What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration? 

Rachel: Pretty much anything can inspire a story. History, the Bible, a book, a movie, a bit of a conversation overheard in a store, a particularly strong personality encountered in a restaurant, or the interactions happening in a group gathered nearby have all sparked ideas. When I am feeling uninspired, I usually seek out a good book, movie, or just to get out of the house and around people. Sometimes all I need is sleep, prayer, and quiet time to myself to process the input I have already gathered.

 What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process? 

Rachel: My favorite part would cover from idea to the last words of the rough draft. I really enjoy the writing part of the job. Though I do love the initial thrill of publishing the completed book. Editing tends to be my least favorite stage in the process, along with promotion. 

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be? 

Rachel: Diana Wynne Jones is a favorite, but there are many besides her. I really enjoy her young-adult and children's fantasy books. They are standbys for when I need to refresh my love of reading and writing. 

What are you actively writing right now? 

Rachel: I am currently working on the rough draft of Honor, the sequel to Duty. Though by the time this interview appears, I hope the book will be in the beta reading phase. Then it will be on a new project or reworking an old manuscript to get it ready for publication.

 Would you share a short snippet from Duty?

Rachel: Here is an excerpt from chapter four:
 

Excerpt from

DUTY


Torches flared in the breeze, transforming the familiar village square into a sea of shifting light and shadows. Music—lute, tambourine, flute, and pulsing drum—stirred the spirit. My feet moved in time to the beat without volition. The mixture of familiar and foreign faces among the revelers set my instincts on edge. I never knew if the next person I met would leer or smile. It didn’t help that I no longer dressed as one of them.
A full skirt swished elegantly about my ankles with each step. The diaphanous emerald silk whispered against itself. I missed the reassuring warmth and weight of my rough linen and wool. Finer clothing, thinner shoes, and birth set me apart from them. I walked alone. I no longer belonged to the dancing crowd around me. I was his.
My stomach twisted. I swallowed with caution, suddenly thankful I had eaten nothing since early morn.
“Brielle!”
Loren plowed into me, wrapping her arms about my shoulders, pulling me down four inches to her level.
“I am so sorry, Brielle. Quaren just told me. You weren’t even given a choice.” She drew back to study my face.
“She has forgotten to tell you I also said Lord Irvaine will make a good husband.” Loren’s new husband stepped out of the crowd pulsing about us. His mild eyes smiled slightly at me in the flickering light.
“Are you a wife to evaluate such things?” Loren asked him sharply. “Besides, Brielle is hardly a typical woman. She rides, brawls, and works like a man. She doesn’t need a husband.”
“Unlike you?” Quaren tilted his head slightly and watched Loren’s features with amusement. A smile tugged at his mouth, lightening his features.
“Exactly.” Loren turned to mouth words missed. I didn’t catch the sounds in the din around us. The gleam in her eyes and heightened flush to her cheek gave me hope she would be happy with her new life.
“Have you met his daughter yet?”
“No. She will arrive in a few days with the supply wagons.” She grabbed my shoulders. “Bri, are you going to be alright? I can help you run if you want. I know where they are keeping the horses. It is only a few miles to the river. Once across it and into the hills, you would be free.”
“Nay, Loren, I have given my word.”
Her eyes grew round. “He didn’t hurt you, did he? Did he touch you?er H They say you were alone with him for an hour, more than enough time to…”
I stopped her with a sharp shake of my head. Her husband stood close enough to overhear if the volume of the merrymaking slackened unexpectedly.
“This is my choice, Loren. I have given my word.”
“But, Brielle, will you be happy?”
“I have as much a chance at happiness as you, Loren.” I smiled at her and jutted my chin toward her spouse. “You seem quite settled already.”
Loren blushed to the tips of her ears. “He has been very sweet so far.”
“You chose well. Now wish me happy and go with him. It is almost time.”
The music stopped. Around us, voices hushed. The crowd parted, making a path for someone. Lord Irvaine strode toward me. A gold edged tunic of emerald emblazoned with the figure of a hart covered his chest. His dark hair, now dry, curled to his head. He had finally washed his face. He stopped at the edge of the open circle that hastily formed around Loren and myself.
“My lord.” Quaren bowed his head.
Loren curtsied.
I remained standing, meeting his inky-eyed scrutiny. “My lord.”
Irvaine lifted his right hand, extending it palm up toward me. “It is time. Are you ready?”
I felt Loren's gaze on my face, but I didn't lower my own to meet it. Kurios, give me strength, I prayed. Stepping forward, I laid my hand in his.


 ______________


Thank you, Rachel, for such a great interview and excerpt!

And now, dear imps, Rachel is offering a generous giveaway . . . an e-copy of any one of her books for one lucky winner! Be sure to enter your name in the Rafflecopter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

6 comments:

Meredith said...

Your books sound very interesting, particularly the fact that they are fantasy yet they are nonmagical. Keep up the outstanding work. Do you have a particular time of day that you enjoy writing the most? What is your favorite subject to teach your children? Thank you for such an interesting interview. God bless.

Hannah said...

Very neat! I've seen this book around and thought the cover was gorgeous. You're a designer? Did you design the cover yourself?

Sarah said...

These books sound very cool! Thanks for the interview!

Rachel Rossano said...

Thank you, Anne Elisabeth, for having me visit. I had a lovely time answering your questions. :)

Hi @Meredith. I would love to write in the mornings when my brain is fresh, but I rarely get that opportunity. My second favorite time is at night when the kids are in bed and I can escape completely into my own world without interruptions. :)

Thank you, @Hannah. I am a cover designer, and I did design the cover. I really enjoy designing covers. It takes less plotting than writing, but I am still capturing a bit of a story only with images rather than words.

I am glad you enjoyed the interview, @Sarah. Thank you for stopping by and visiting. :)

Allison Ruvidich said...

Ooh! This looks exciting. Do all your books take place in the same world, or is there a book of yours that you would recommend starting with?

Rachel Rossano said...

@Allison - It is a mixture. "Duty," "The King of Anavrea," and "The Mercenary's Marriage" are all set in the same world but happen in different times on the timeline. You will encounter similar country names, God is referred to as the Kurios (an English alliteration of the Greek word for lord and master), and other references for objects will appear in all three books.

"Wren" is set in a similar world, but not connected at all.

My short stories are a very different though. "Word and Deed" was intended to be more strictly medieval historical (not as much is purely made-up). "Exchange" is a science fiction story that is very far removed from my other work in many significant ways.

Duty and Wren are my most recent books and the best place to start, in my opinion, but you can pick up any of them in any order. Duty is heavily romantic while Wren has more adventure and less romance.