Today I welcome author Rachel Rossano who lets us into her writing world by answering the “10 Questions.” Rachel is a prolific author who writes in a variety of genres. She says “she endeavors to enchant, thrill, entertain, and amuse through her work.”
Linda Covella: Welcome, Rachel! Let’s get down to business. 🙂 When and why did you decide to become a writer?
Rachel Rossano: I started writing as a teen because I didn’t like the way some of my favorite books ended. Since then I have fallen in love with the discovery and writing process. I love creating worlds and exploring them with characters.
LC: What is your writing process: where do you write, how often do you write, are you a full-time or part-time writer, do you outline or do you plot as you go, etc.?
RR: I write when and where I can. I am a homeschooling mother of three so writing time happens in the spaced between everything else. Making it a priority after the kids are in bed and when I do catch a slow-down in the schedule works. My three favorite locations are on the end of my couch, at my desk in the schoolroom, or out at a local restaurant where I can tune out the white noise of other diners.
The goal is to write every day, but it doesn’t always happen. I would say I am a part-time author, but the process happens all the time in my head. I am a hybrid between plotting and pantsing in my approach. The prep work for a new novel is extensive, but I don’t plot the whole book, only about halfway. Then I write until the point I reach the end of my outline. If I still have a clear idea and talkative characters, I frequently keep running with it, but if things aren’t as obvious to me, I pause to plot and figure out what needs to happen until the end of the book.
LC: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories? Do you draw from your own experiences?
RR: My own experiences, the testimony and stories of others, and a generous helping of research and brainstorming all help inspire stories. However, the inspiration is almost everywhere. I frequently get ideas when driving or waiting for something and mentally follow it through to see if it will work for a current or new project before writing it down.
LC: Writers are always “writing” even if only in our heads, right?
Who is one of your favorite characters from your story(ies), one that you enjoyed creating and writing about, and why?
RR: The hero and heroine of my current WIP is usually my favorite at one time or another. Then, if I happen to spend time with an old project or even just discuss it with someone, the characters come to the forefront and I remember exactly why I love them all over again. They are a bit like children one can’t really have a favorite.
However, if I had to choose one, I would have to pick Lord Dentin. He is my hero in Honor (Second Novel of Rhynan), but he has played and promises to play a far reaching role in the series. As a recurring character in the series, he has become like an old friend I keep running into with each new story. I love him more each moment I spend with him.
Jerome Simon Cordale, Earl of Dentin isn’t an easy man to get to know. He doesn’t talk much, doesn’t appear to have anything to prove to anyone, and tends to meddle in other people’s affairs in a benevolent way. He first shows up as Tomas’ eccentric and powerful friend in Duty (First Novel of Rhynan). Just his appearance and role in the second half of the book was enough to get readers asking for more of him. So, I made him the hero of my next book in the series, Honor. In the process I fleshed out his background to the point that I ended up writing eight short stories and publishing an anthology around him. Since then, he has played a major role in the next novel of the series, Mercy (written and still unpublished); gets a mention in the first book of my newest series (also written, but still unpublished); and has written himself into the plots of the remaining three planned novels of the Rhynan series. I am a bit infatuated with him as a character.
LC: He sounds very determined that you keep him in your writing world!
Do you incorporate (or inadvertently find) any of your own personality traits into your characters?
RR: Many of my characters have personality traits that I share (or admire in others), but none of them are me. I have a lot of readers among my characters because I love to read. But I am definitely not a warrior and many of my characters are. Also, some of my characters are very different from me because I want to explore that kind of personality from the inside out and know it well.
LC: Do you find your stories are more plot driven or character driven? Please explain.
RR: All of my stories have both, solid plot and dynamic characters. I do tend toward character-driven plots because they are more organic feeling to me, but both are necessary for a good book.
LC: Did you read much as a child?
RR: Constantly! I systematically read my way through large portions of the library as a kid, all the way up to young adulthood. Now that I have kids, we are constantly lurking around our local library. Our house is filled with books on almost any topic and they are all well read by many of us. I had to fight to restrict the bookshelves in our family room to only one because very other room in the house (except bathrooms) are completely filled with bookcases.
LC: How important do you think reading is for writers?
RR: Vital! Good writing inspires and teaches good writing. Learning the thoughts and word patterns of those who have gone before informs us, inspires us, and warns us about the good and bad ways to write.
LC: Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What draws you to them?
RR:Diana Wynne Jones always inspires me, challenges me, and entertains me at once. If I need to be refreshed and inspired as a writer, I read her. Patricia C. Wrede challenges my world building skills. Orson Scott Card’s characterization skill is something I strive for in my own work. Robin McKinley’s ability to tell a good story always drags me into her work. If I want a bit of romance, I pick up a Sarah M. Eden book. C. S. Lewis’ skill with words and expressing complex ideas and thoughts makes me want to spend hours unpacking his sentences and paragraphs. Jane Austen’s ability to make the trivial profound and life altering enthralls me. I admit it. I am a word addict.
LC: Anything new in the works?
RR: I am currently developing a new series set in a different region of the same world as my Rhynan Novels and Theodoric Saga series. This one will be loosely inspired by fairytales. The stories will be retold with a few of the elements, but no magic. Not because I am against it, but because the world’s already established rules don’t include magic.
Just a few weeks ago, I finished the first draft of the first novel in a new series: Grace by Contract (a Beauty and the Beast retelling). My beast is a scared ruler of a small independent mini-nation. He can be a bit brusque, but he is a good man at heart. His lady isn’t a woman of means or title, but the eldest daughter of a not so moral merchant who has fallen on hard times.
On my publishing plate, I am working my way through my already written novels that just need polishing to get out into the world. The second and third novels in The Talented set (The Defender, Living Sacrifice), the third novel in the Novels of Rhynan series (Mercy), a first novel in a science fiction series (Diaspora), and a stand-alone novel (White Bear) are all moving forward.
My writing desk is very full of potential novels in the plotting and planning phases. The next novel in my Rhynan series features a certain mysterious stranger who appears in Mercy. A slew of novels inspired by fairtales (Month Brothers, an East of the Sun West of the Moon/Rapunzel mashup, Wild Swans, a goose girl, and some dancing princesses) need attention. Also, my space pirate brother of the hero of Diaspora is eager to tell his story. Oh, and there is that little post WWII story that won’t leave me alone but needs a ton of research before I write it.
LC: That’s a lot for readers to look forward to!
Do you have anything you’d like to add?
RR: Thank you so much for hosting me and letting me chat about my favorite topics, writing and reading.
LC: It was my pleasure!
Readers, you can connect with Rachel at the following:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RachelRossano
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/rachelrossano/
Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Rossano/e/B004MV17GE/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/anavrea
Newsletter Sign Up – http://eepurl.com/4sbsv
Rachel Rossano Bio:
Rachel Rossano loves words. Since childhood she has been fascinated how they can be combined into stories of various kinds. After of years of reading everything she could get her hands on, she decided to try a bit of storytelling herself. She lives with her wonderfully supportive husband and their three talkative kids in a boisterous and laughter-filled house. Between homeschooling, keeping the chaos at bay, and grabbing moments to write, her life is delightfully full.