Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Author interview with Elizabeth Rose

It's always wonderful when a developing author publishes her very first book.  Elizabeth Rose of Living on Literary Lane recently published her first novel, Violets Are Blue, and I recently had the opportunity to interview her as part of her blog tour.

Isn't this a lovely cover?  I forgot to ask Elizabeth how she made it, but it's just stunning.  And the script she used to write her name - beautiful.

Give us the plotline of your book in a couple of sentences.

Violets Are Blue chronicles the friendship of two English girls, Violet Bradshaw and Lillian Prescott. Torn apart when the Bradshaw family moves to America, Vi and Lilli determine to keep up their friendship through the regular exchanging of letters. As time passes, Vi grows accustomed to her new home, but she still longs for Eastbourne, and each of Lilli's letters acts as a bridge across the ocean that divides the two girls. When Lilli sends Vi the news that the Prescotts will be coming to America as well — and on the unsinkable R.M.S. Titanic, no less — neither girl can forsee the great tragedy looming on the horizon.

What would you say was your inspiration for beginning Violets Are Blue?

I was greatly inspired by the Dear America book, Voyage on the Great Titanic. It's been one of my favorites since age eight, and I still find myself lost in the dear familiar pages from time to time. The author managed to capture both the general voice of the time period and the personal voice of the third-class protagonist, and I loved how real everything felt. Though I did not begin VAB at age eight, I have harbored an interest in the Titanic ever since, and it eventually spilled into my writing.

I remember loving the Dear America books too, but I never came across that one.  I'll have to go find it...
Violet has always been a favorite name of mine. Did her name come right with your inspiration or did you have to search around for the perfect name? What about your other characters?

Violet is a favorite name of mine as well, and Miss Bradshaw rather claimed it for herself from the start, with little interference on my part. I wanted something old-fashioned, but still fresh and youthful, and Violet seemed the perfect fit. As an added bonus, Vi is a very pretty nickname. The rest of the characters' names came from the never-ending document of favorite names I have saved on my computer.

Ah, that document of favorite names... Would you consider posting some of them sometime, pretty please? :)
Writing Violets Are Blue, did you ever feel the temptation to ignore historical facts?  Did you ever wish that you didn't have to write the story of the Titanic just as it happened?

Oh yes, many a time. In fact, there were several scenes where I felt I could have written with much more fluidity if I wasn't constantly dragged down by historical facts. Historical fiction can be very difficult, and there are times when I wonder why I ever chose it. But I love stories from ages past: they make the blood that courses through my veins flow red-hot, and they excite me to capture the truth about history on paper. No matter how many times I throw my pen down in disgust and claim I'll never write historical fiction again, I always seem to turn back to it.

Which scene is your favorite?

The Scene. And yes, it is entirely deserving of the capitals. I'll only say that it takes place after April 14th, 1912, and involves quite a lot of drama. It's also the climax of the book. And now I will clamp my lips shut and not reveal another detail: you'll simply have to read the book to find out more. ;)

Okay, I will attempt to quiet my curiosity until I can read it for myself. :) What about least favorite?

I don't have one particular scene for which I bear a secret hatred, but the first scenes I wrote are not as good as the ones at the end of the book. (To be perfectly honest, I still wish I could go over the whole of VAB with a red pen, but I'm told that is a normal emotion for authors. Heavens! Am I actually falling into the category of "normal" for once? We must remedy this immediately.)


Aside from the plot, would you say that your book has a main theme woven through?  If so, what is it?

One of the main themes in VAB is that you cannot let the tragedy in your life define you. We live in a fallen world, and naturally there are times when we feel so broken down and weary that we want to cry until our tears are gone. That is perfectly human. But we cannot allow ourselves to dwell in misery for a prolonged amount of time. As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time to mourn . . . and there is also a time to dance.

That's so true.  Was it a big step to get up the courage to publish, or did you know all along that it was what you wanted to do as soon as you could?

I've wanted to publish a book ever since the concept was first introduced to me as a young child, so the prospect of publishing VAB was always on the horizon. The idea of publication itself did not make me nervous, but now that the book is published and people are reading it, it can put butterflies in my stomach. I'm always asking myself, Will they like it? These characters are so much a part of me; it's almost as if I were baring the inner workings of my mind to the world, putting them out on display to be discussed as people choose. It's an entirely new emotion.

I know you're back into writing new stories.  Tell us a bit about your current writing adventures.

My current work in progress is a historical fiction novel based during the American Revolution and titled Rifles in the South Field:
Another cover I snagged off
Elizabeth's sidebar.  Isn't it beautiful?
Calm, efficient, and organized, Susannah Dixon has had everything in her life under control since the day she learned  to walk. Even her mother's tragic death by influenza when Susannah was ten years old has not shaken this young woman's foundation. Now the mistress of her family's plantation in colonial Georgia, she takes pride in the fact that her father trusts her completely with all affairs of the household, including planning meals, organizing the house slaves' chores, and the like. But when the Continental Army is called up and Mr. Dixon is compelled to help in the fight for freedom, Susannah begins to notice cracks in her seemingly perfect world. Can she manage to keep the large plantation running during her papa's absence, or will she be forced to ask for help for the first time in her life?

I also have several other plots darting through my head, but time is the best judge of whether or not they will become books.

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Thank you so much for telling us about your book, Elizabeth (and for gracing Miss Georgiana with a sadly needed new post. :))

To the readers: if Violets Are Blue has captured your interest, as it has mine, you can buy it from Amazon.com.