Today we sit down with U.K. author, Rosie Dean. Rosie is going to tell us about her work, her inspiration and a bit about herself.
Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions:
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was at primary school. I used to love story writing exercises but I also wrote plays for my friends to perform. When I was about ten, I produced dolly-dressing books with a typed story stitched into the middle. I sold a couple of those – my first foray into indie publishing!
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
It’s hard to say. The first three books published were written ad hoc, while I was working full-time. The book I’m working on at present I started, in earnest, in April 2015 and will be out in summer 2016.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Not as strict as it should be! I write best in the afternoon. I can’t seem to settle to it if the kitchen is untidy, emails need responses or the dog needs his walk. Plus I have to cruise around Facebook and Twitter for a while. Then I usually light an incense stick, make a cup of coffee, put on some classical music and start. When I’m really in the groove, I can work well into the evening too, then stop around ten o’clock and treat myself to some easy TV.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I must have coffee and burning joss-sticks to set the writing mood. Oh, and in the winter, I like to have a hot water bottle in the small of my back.
Q5) How are your books published?
Currently I’m an indie writer. I was offered a contract a couple of years ago but after two weeks of sleepless nights, decided to stay indie. I’d never thought of myself as a control freak until the prospect of losing control of my books loomed into view.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Jupiter – I board the monthly rocket and take a large basket with me.
No! of course I don’t do that, we all know Saturn is the planet for great stories.
Seriously – sometimes it’s a personal fantasy, like Vicki’s Work of Heart, where my heroine is an Art teacher who overcomes heartbreak by escaping to France, to spend a year painting. I often fantasized about giving it all up to run away and paint. Millie’s Game Plan came directly from a friend’s story who really did draw up a list of her ideal man’s characteristics, and then decided country cricket clubs were the place to meet him. And she did!
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, how old were you?
I was twenty-four when I started to write my first YA novel. I’ve yet to publish that one.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
People fascinate me – I was born nosy – so one of my guilty pleasures is watching dating shows like Millionaire Matchmaker, Dinner Date, The Bachelor and First Dates Restaurant. I also find cooking very relaxing and I like learning new things – so I’m teaching myself Spanish.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
Gah!! Can I only have one? My go-to comfort read is Prudence by Jilly Cooper. I’ve also read Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes three times and, as a child, I lost count of how many times I read 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith.
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
Most are very proud of me, and have read everything I’ve written. I guess the others are keeping their traps shut!
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That story ideas and characters can take on a life of their own because the subconscious mind is a wonderfully creative and organic thing. No matter how much you plot and make notes, sometimes, in the midst of writing, stuff begins to appear on the page that you hadn’t planned at all. And that is magic!
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
Decision-making – i.e. which will be the best route for a character to take. Sometimes I make the wrong decisions and end up deleting chunks of text because a better idea comes to mind. Usually, my inner voice ‘tells’ me when something is wrong and I have to wait until I work out what will make it right. Sometimes, I need to write the whole story then, on my first read-through, I spot what’s horribly wrong and a solution comes to me.
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written seven but only four are published with the fourth published this summer. I have two others, half-written, simmering quietly in the kitchen of my mind.
It’s too hard to judge which is my favorite – they’re like children, each has a special place in my heart for different reasons. Millie is my first, Vicki’s story fulfils a personal dream and Chloe’s family are a hoot.
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
Yes! Join a writing group so you can share you work with others who will be (one hopes) constructive. Then, when you’re serious about being published, invest in a professional critiquing service. You can’t possibly be objective about your own work and friends will never be as brutally frank as you need them to be. I actually look forward to being told where my story is weak (and obviously where it’s fantastic!) because then I can improve it.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
I’ve had some lovely reviews from readers and bloggers. It’s so exciting when I spot a new review and learn that somebody else has enjoyed a book. One that always sticks in my mind: “Loved the book, my husband kept asking me why I was laughing out loud so much. I found parts of it so funny and some quite sad. Will definitely read more of this author.” (HelenQuinn on Amazon)
Also – reviews where the reader confesses to staying up into the wee small hours to finish it. Yay! That’s what we authors aim for.
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
Hey – I don’t mind. I write for women who like a fast-paced story with laughs along the way but, saying that, I’ve had very positive comments from men, too.
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
Firstly, characters you don’t mind sticking around with for several hours. So for me, they can be funny, entertaining, eccentric, believable and fallible.
Secondly, an intriguing premise – how will the hero/heroine resolve their problem? The reader is investing time in the story and the characters; you have to give them something they want to see resolved.
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
To be a teacher or an actress.
Q19) Where can we find your books?
Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
Assuming you mean one of my works – here is an excerpt from Chloe’s Rescue Mission.
[Blurb: Will Scottish leisure tycoon, Duncan Thorsen, help Chloe save her family’s crumbling theatre?
Can she resist his notorious charms?
And just how much exposure will satisfy the paparazzi’s lust for headlines?
Chloe is about to find out…]
‘Whoa!’ I exclaimed, backstage, as I examined the double-page spread in Gossip magazine or rather – my double spread. ‘That sly old photographer must have been using a lens developed by NASA to get such a detailed close-up of my…my mammaries.’
Through the coffee-coloured lace bodice of the nightgown, you could see every follicle and freckle. I may as well have been starkers.
I scanned the whole set of images beneath the heading, Chloe Steele models Peaches’ finest Nightwear.
‘Let me have a look,’ Alicia-May urged, as Duncan – who I believe was straining to hold a massive grin in check – politely stood aside. ‘Wow!’ she said. ‘You beauty.’
‘What? If it weren’t for these stonking great ferns, I’d look like I was in a bordello.’
‘Well now, I don’t know so much,’ she tilted her head at the images, ‘it’s kind of got the feel of a Victorian knocking shop.’
‘Brilliant. Just what we need. Joshua Steele’s granddaughter portrayed as a woman of ill repute.’
‘Hey, this could be just what’s needed.’
I speed-read the copy and found only one promotional sentence and read it out. ‘Listen to this: “Chloe Steele has famously sold her services to Duncan Thorsen of Thorsen Leisure, in return for his help to save the Joshua Steele Theatre.” That’s it!’ I glared first at Alicia-May and then at Duncan. ‘That’s all the coverage we get. Why don’t they just say: “Chloe Steele is whoring for the theatre”?’
Duncan, God rot him, actually looked like he was enjoying this. He shook his head over an amused smile.
Alicia-May put her arm around me. ‘Listen, my lovely, you’re reading too much into it. You look absolutely fantastic. Okay, the pictures are vaguely, you know…titillating…but they’re tasteful. If you looked like some old boiler in cling-film, you’d have something to worry about but you look gorgeous. What do you think, Duncan?’
‘Nooo! Don’t ask him!’ I cried, as she passed the magazine across.
A flush of heat geysered through me while he cast a cursory glance over the images.
‘You’ve nothing to worry about. You look lovely.’
‘But how will this reflect on Thorsen Leisure?’ I asked.
The smile twitched on his face. ‘I promise you, Chloe, it won’t do us any harm at all. In fact, I think you’ve pretty much guaranteed a healthy following for the Challenge programme.’
I write romantic fiction with a sense of humour and, sometimes, a sense of the ridiculous. Because we all know life and love aren’t exactly how we’d like them to be.
I was born in Derbyshire (UK), and now split my time between the Isle of Wight and southern Spain. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little girl, when I was especially industrious and produced dolly-dressing books, complete with a typed story, a dolly to cut out on the back cover, and paper clothing with tabs on. I even sold a couple.
At Uni I studied ceramic design – gaining a ‘degree in crockery’ as the man-in-my-life likes to call it – which, for a while, I put to good use as an Art & Pottery teacher.
Deciding I didn’t want to spend my entire life in the classroom, covered in clay and paint, I escaped to the world of corporate communication, where I produced training courses, marketing copy and videos.
Now I’ve given it all up to write, full-time. When not writing, I love to cook and to read, I even read in the car (talking books) and have notched up countless unnecessary miles as a result.
Find Rosie’s Books: