Monday, April 15, 2013

Open Mic Monday presents Rose Anderson

Today I'm happy to interview romance author Rose Anderson to Open Mic Monday.  She's an inspiration, that's for sure.  

Thank you for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night today.  I really appreciate your time.  Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?

Thanks for having me today. I really appreciate your giving me a little spot on your blog. My most recent release is my Witchy Wolf and Wendigo (Book 2 Eluwilussit). Here’s the blurb for book 1 to give you some idea of the story:

What does an immortal Native American shaman do when the grave he’s sworn to watch over for all eternity disappears under urban development?
His purpose of guarding his wife’s burial mound gone, Ashkewheteasu seeks to end his immortal existence. In his despair, Ash assumes the form of a wolf and steps in front of a moving car and into the life of Dr. Olivia “Livie” Rosalini. The veterinarian saves the animal’s life, and in the process saves the man within. Livie has no idea the wolfish dog she’s taken into her home and grows to love is a magical being seeking to win her heart as a man. While Ash is learning a new world filled with new love, friendship, and happiness, an old menace makes plans to steal it all away; just as he had 3000 years before.

What inspired this novel in particular?
It all began on a local artists’ tour. In one studio, my husband and I came across an author selling her stack of books. We talked for a time about publishing and her research in the book. The topic – the Wisconsin Werewolf. It wasn’t the type of thing I would ever buy, but buy it we did!

Apparently there’d been eyewitness accounts for centuries. It’s hard to imagine but people have sworn they’ve actually seen the creature several miles away from my house. Without giving too much away, I’ve taken the urban legend and combined it with archaeological facts and to my delight the whole thing became completely realistic and somewhat plausible. No kidding. Comprised of two books and spanning three thousand years, I do believe this is one of the best stories I’ve written to date. For kicks, I read the book aloud while we drove home. We talked about what people could possibly be seeing…everything from shadows to bigfoot to dimensional beings. I did say for kicks. :) Later that week, I looked into the Native American legends that went back who knew how long. Once I had those thoughts tied together, a question came to me. What does an immortal Native American shaman do when the grave he’s sworn to watch over for all eternity disappears under urban development? My mind ran with it.

Who is your favorite character in this novel and why?
By far that would be my hero Ash, also known as Ashkewheteasu. He’s one of the best heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure to write. His wife Aiyanna was murdered and he chose to stay by her side forever. That says a lot about him. When he finds her grave (burial mound) destroyed, and his reason to live his lonely immortal life destroyed along with it, he decides to commit suicide. What comes next eventually leads to a new reason to live.

What comes first--characters or plot ideas?
Definitely the characters. I don’t know how they manage it, but occasionally they’ll pop into my head fully formed like Athena coming out of Zeus’ skull! I *see* them moving through their world and the next thing I know there’s a story forming around them. Sometimes, they write themselves. I love when that happens.

How important is setting? Does it play an integral role in this story?
Yes, setting is important. I use the setting for layering details – those velvet curtains, the lemon oil on the wood paneling in the study, that cinnamon-laden apple pie. As a reader, I enjoy rich details. It’s a fine line though. It’s easy to get carried away describing the setting rather than letting the characters experience it themselves, and through them, relay that experience to the reader. At least that’s the case for me. After six novels, I finally have a handle on that. It’s good to remember readers like to use their imagination too. I know I do when I read.

As for this tale, yes, I’d say the setting is very important. I’m literally merging two worlds – the past and the present. I’m also walking the reader though the spirit world, and Ash’s dreams. The layering give all of these vastly different scenes dimension and depth.

What motivates your main characters?
Always love.

What is the central conflict?
The ancient shaman Eluwilussit (Eli), Aiyanna’s murderer, also lives. Bared from the White Spirit world of the ancestors, Eli knows Ash has access and that’s something he wants. But filled with rage and jealousy like he is, Eli also wants Ash dead. The problem is, Eli tried to get into the White Spirit world and inadvertently ended up in an ancient version of hell – the Red Realm of the Forsaken. There he acquires a terrible gift. He becomes a Wendigo.

What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist? 
Seeing appreciation for my work lighting other people’s eyes. I love stories, hearing them, telling them. I have wonderful family and friends who encourage along the way. One dear friend and her husband always have something nice to say. I find myself wanting to create scenes I know they’d enjoy. I also have an artist friend who periodically reads my scenes. I know we’re on the same page when he comments on my characters and scenes as if he sees them as real because they’re real to me. That does something to me; it fills me up in some inexplicable way and makes me want to write more complicated scenes to see if he can follow me there. I’ve always been sort of an oddball that never fit anywhere; I suppose it validates how my mind ticks.

What draws you to this particular genre?
I tried to get published 20 years ago without success. Granted it was a different genre entirely and the work unsolicited, it left me reeling with doubt. I shelved the idea for a very long time after. During a crazy week of blatant innuendo that I should try again, I did. And sure enough, getting published in erotic romance was fast. What’s more, I wanted to learn how the business worked before I published my 500,000 words, 5-years in the making, as yet unnamed magnum opus (MO for short).

Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not?
I love romance and romance stories, and I do enjoy writing them. My MO is not erotic romance, so yes, I can see myself writing other forms of fiction. And maybe even a cookbook or two! Writers have that drive to manifest thought into something tangible. If it wasn’t romance, I would have to create something!

What’s your goal as an author? By that, I mean...why write? Why is it important to you? 
I’d like more than anything for my writing to contribute to buying a nice piece of land for my husband to retire on. That’s been my goal from the start. He’s worked so hard for our family. I came to our marriage with rheumatoid arthritis, a disease I’ve had since I was 15, a disease he married along with me. Since I’ve never had good health in all the years we’ve been together, the financial burden has always been on his shoulders. That’s not to say I’ve never worked. He did, and continues to do, the lion’s share. Second to that, I’d like to set up a foundation that gives grant monies to people and organizations that do good things for the environment, animals, and mankind. I liken the desire to picking up Ben and Jerry’s torch and running with it. I dream big. :)

If you could snap your fingers and transport yourself anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 
I’m fascinated by the first religions and sacred sites of the world. Especially Gobekli Tepe in Turkey. I suppose I’d snap myself into a tour of all the major ancient sites. The human brain needs to understand how we fit in this world and change our modes to reflect fitting that. I know we can do better fitting in with everything else on the planet. I suspect the reason we don’t might sit squarely on destroying the goddess worship mankind has taken part in.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee first, then more coffee, then tea. :)

Night person or early riser?
Early riser.

Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself. 
  1. I love fiddle music from everywhere, but especially Irish, Roma, and Appalachian.
  2. To combat shyness, I took a DJ job in college.
  3. I’m a World drummer
  4. I’ve walked on fire three times
  5. I’m night blind
Walked on fire THREE times?  You know, I've seen that done and would like to do that myself. You're an inspiration, not only for walking on fire, but for many other reasons, too. Thank you so much for the interview.  Now let's turn our focus to your book. 
Setting the Stage:
Ash and Livie have dinner with her friends, and Ash the ancient shaman is exposed to beer for the first time. At this point, Livie still has no idea he lives in her house as a wolfish-looking dog.

Startled, they broke away from each other, looked at one other with wide eyes, and then laughed. His eyes twinkling with humor, he informed her, “I’m feeling very happy, Livie. I’ll see you soon.” With that, he turned and jogged off into the night.

“Hey!” She laughingly called, then put the car in park in case he returned. Several long minutes passed. She got out and called into the night. When he didn’t return, she headed home. Touching a fingertip to her tingling lips, she realized that man made her feel things she’d never felt in her life. And she wanted him — badly.

Ash felt odd. The sensation was not unlike the altered mental state brought about by the ordeals of his training, when his mind ventured in another world while his body stayed in this one. His earlier jumble of thoughts returned. It is the beer. The beer is bringing this sensation. It was only a guess but the odd feeling was intensifying since the last two glasses.

Knowing he had to resume his wolf form at Livie’s home, he took a deep breath and shifted, but his inebriated mind was not concentrating and he ended up with a raven’s head atop his man’s body. He tried again. Forgetting that he still wore clothes, he found himself a small bird, pinned and struggling under the heavy garments that had fallen to the ground in a heap. He shifted into a feathered snake before taking the form of a mouse and working his way out of a sleeve.

The movement caught the attention of an owl on its nightly hunting foray. Just as it was about to swoop low on silent wings, intent on nabbing the large field mouse, a naked man with a mouse tail and whiskers appeared. The owl, clearly startled, flew off into the night. Laughing, Ash raised his arms and yelled after it, “This is not your night, my brotherrrr!”

Tail and whiskers absorbed into his changing form and once again bare skin grew feathers. He shifted into a raven — a six-foot-tall raven. Laughing at himself, he made his body small and flew fast to Livie’s home, albeit not in a straight line.

About Rose
I love words and choose them as carefully as an artist might choose a color. My active imagination compels me to write everything from children’s stories to historical nonfiction. As a persnickety leisure reader, I especially enjoy novels that feel like they were written just for me. It's hard to explain, but if you've ever read one of those, then you know what I mean. I tend to sneak symbolism and metaphor into my writing. You might say it's a game I play with myself when I write. And I so love when readers email to say they've found something. I’d like people to feel my stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth. These hidden insights are my gift to my readers.
My links:
Too many author pages to mention. I’m everywhere!


Rose Anderson said...

Hey thanks for having me today!

Yes, I did walk on fire three times. There's just something about stepping outside an innate fear and instinct. It was a powerful experience that leaves you with the feeling you can do just about anything.

If anyone stopping by has questions about that, or anything really, just ask. I'll be checking back throughout the day.

:) Rose

Unknown said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! Hope to see more from you :D

Rose Anderson said...

Hi Meryl, I didn't know I was on there! Thanks for stopping by. :)