Today I'm delighted to welcome Roseanna White to The Borrowed Book. Roseanna grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, the beauty of which inspired her to begin writing as soon as she learned to pair subjects with verbs. She spent her middle and high school days penning novels in class, and her love for books took her to a school renowned for them. After graduating from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, she and her husband moved back to the Maryland side of the same mountains they equate as home. In addition to writing, Roseanna is the senior reviewer at the Christian Review of Books, which she and her husband founded, the senior editor at WhiteFire Publishing, and a member of ACFW, His Writers, and Colonial Christian Fiction Writers.
Welcome, Roseanna. I know you have a book releasing from Summerside Press titled Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland. Tell us a little about the book.
Usually I put these descriptions in my own words, but I actually wrote this back cover copy (with minor tweaking from Summerside), so. . . .:)
In 1784 peace has been declared, but war rages in the heart of Lark Benton.
Never did Lark think she'd want to escape Emerson Fielding, the man she's loved all her life. But when he betrays her, she flees to Annapolis, Maryland, the country's capital. There Lark throws herself into a new circle of friends who force her to examine all she believes.
Emerson follows, determined to reclaim his betrothed. Surprised when she refuses to return with him, he realizes that in this new country he has come to call his own, duty is no longer enough. He must learn to open his heart and soul to something greater...before he loses all he should have been fighting to hold.
That sounds great. I can hardly wait to read it. But I know you had written two Biblical fiction novels before this. What made you decide to write in a different time period?
My love has alwasy been for history, not a particular time or place. My first historicals were set in Victorian England, I've written in 20s America, in 20s Egypt. . . the Biblical novels were stories of my heart, and I'd done so much research into the time in college that they feel like home to me.
Then I had this desire to set a book in Annapolis, where I attended college. I love the town and the history it exudes when you walk down the streets by the waterfront. So I did some research into when it was the capital of the young U.S., and decided it would be the perfect setting for this heroine I had in mind to run away to. At the time Colonial and Early Federal books were pretty rare, so I thought it was a long shot to pitch to publishers. You can imagine my delight when Summerside loved it!
It seems like you've done a lot of research for this book. In writing it, what did you hope readers would take away from this story set in the early days of our nation?
All my stories come down to hope. In the case of Lark and Emerson's story, I pray the readers not only feel the hope that comes of putting their trust in the Father, in finding a true and lasting love, but also that they have fresh hope in the liberty and freedoms that our forefathers worked so hard to guarantee for us.
Lark Benton seems like an interesting heroine. What is it about her that will appeal to readers?
One of my favorite things about Lark is that though she lived the first 20 years of her life according to expectation, she finally reached the point where spirit took over. She combines a healthy dose of whimsy and optimism with a newfound determination to claim for herself this freedom her brother and Emerson fought for, even if it means defying what her family and society expects. Yet for all this, she thinks herself always lacking, never measuring up to her friends. Never worth fighting for.
As a reader of romance, I always want to see a dashing hero. What is it about Emerson Fielding that is going to make readers fall in love with him?
My best friend and critique partner, Stephanie Morrill, offered this as her endorsement: "At first you will want to give Emerson a good smack upside the head. But then you'll decide, okay, he's not a bad guy. And then it'll be like, Okay, I guess he's kinda cute. I can see some appeal. And then he'll completely melt your heart."
That's a pretty good summation of Emerson. He's someone known as a charmer but who has shut down after the war. At first he comes off as a cold, distant jerk. But when Lark flees to Annapolis, it's like cold water has been poured over him, and he finally wakes up and realizes what he's lost through his own stupidity.
What I love best about Emerson is that after years of being distant out of self-defense, he's finally vulnerable. And when a hunky hero starts to question himself, you can't help but wanna give him a hug and assure him he's on the right path.
Now I'd like to ask a few questions about you, Roseanna. You've described yourself as an optimist who leads a hectic life. How does your faith guide you each day?
It's easy to question the path you're on, to feel overwhelmed, to get discouraged or just fed up. I'm so thankful to have a Lord who speaks to me through His Spirit. I'm so, so grateful for the constant reminders that it isn't about how I feel on a given day--it's about trusting in Him. Right now I'm in a season where I can see very clearly where He's led me and take joy in that. But I only got here because I trusted Him through the valley.
You are also a reviewer of Christian books. How did you get involved in doing that?
It actually all began thanks to The DaVinci Code. I read it soon after its release, so soon afterward that there weren't any Christian reviews out on it. I thought there should be--a measured, fair review that evaluated it both as an entertaining story and also took a look at the issues Christians should be aware of. That was when my hubby and I decided to found the Christian Review of Books, a place to give reviews of both mainstream bestsellers from a Christian perspective, and also of Christian books out there. over the past seven years, the CRoB has just exploded, and though there are many Christian review sites now that blogs gained in popularity, it's really humbling to realize we were among the first.
That's wonderful, Roseanna. Now as we come to the end of our interview, what Christmas message would you like to leave with our readers?
In Annapolis, Lark is away from home for Christmas for the first time, and on that holy day she misses her family desperately--and also makes a decision to give to a stranger solely because her eyes have been opened to how blessed she is. In light of that, my prayer for everyone this Christmas season is that we take true joy in those people who mean the most to us; that we make a new friend that lends the season an extra light; and that as we give, we are all the more conscious of how the Lord has blessed us so richly.
Thank you for those moving words, Roseanna. It has been a joy to have you with us today. I'm sure our readers will look forward to reading Lark and Emerson's story.
I'm sure Roseanna would like for you to leave a comment today and give her a Christmas wish, too.