As Kris Kringle in “Miracle on 34th Street” puts it, “I’m as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth.”
Where are you from?
I’m a retired army brat, so I grew up all over, as a citizen of the world. Lately, I’m “from” Los Angeles, CA. I moved here the day the L.A. Riots broke out, and stayed for the drought, floods, fires, and ‘quakes. O my!
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
My training includes a Master of Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Texas at El Paso. I’m also a proud alumna of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women (through which I directed Dakota Fanning in her first starring role), as well as the Walt Disney Studios Fellowship in Screenwriting, and the Producers Guild of America Diversity Program.
I have to say that I have a wonderful, supportive family. A Cat who is a little less supportive but wonderful anyway. And a great boyfriend and partner in life, love, and business. In fact, I dedicated “Zwoosh!” to my parents and to my boyfriend, Chris, who worked so hard to help me achieve this endeavour. I think I’m pretty lucky.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have a lot of projects coming into fruition in the public marketplace at this time. My new Indie Rose Books for Kids picture book, ZWOOSH, illustrated by the amazing Susan Lee, was released just this past August on Amazon and Kindle. We’re excited to begin getting first reviews in from children’s book reviewers, and they are everything we could have hoped for. One reviewer has already submitted “Zwoosh!” to the Midwest Book Review, and a major American radio network is looking at doing a little story on the book. And we’re hard at work on “Zwoosh!” the Audible audiobook and interactive app!
Additionally, I’ve also recently narrated a witchy, paranormal urban fantasy audiobook (not for kids) called “Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead” by Christiana Miller on Audible, and I’m very proud of my voice acting on that project. We’ve been getting many 5 star reviews for it.
And the comedy feature film I creatively developed and produced, “It’s Not You, It’s Me” starring Vivica A. Fox was recently named official selections of the Madrid Int’l and Breckenridge film festivals, among other fests. You can find it on iTunes and Amazon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As soon as I could hold a pencil I was writing. Even before I could actually form letters and words, I would scribble in books (much to my mum’s dismay!) while pretending to write storybooks I’d think up in my head. It was very frustrating that no one else but me could read my scribbles (aka “stories”) until I learned proper penmanship.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always thought of myself as a writer, but I didn’t start calling myself a writer until I’d won some major writing contests and was a published author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to make other people feel the warm glow I always got from a young age when I read a good story. Plus, the stories in my head wouldn’t hush up until I wrote them down.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I have a diverse style. I learned the craft of writing initially by reading omnivoraciously, and I love a whole lot of very different book genres and styles. My writing tone can be influenced by whatever author I happen to be reading at the time. Also, because I’m trained in film stories and worked for companies like Disney for years, I think my writing is more cinematic and includes a lot of action and dialogue rather than long, slow, interior narrative that a lot of books inherently have.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For “Zwoosh!”, the child in the story is always “zwooshing” somewhere – it’s the fast noise the child’s magic rocket makes – so it seemed to be an organic title for this story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All of my children’s books have the general theme that, “There’s nothing a child’s imagination can’t do!” I want grown-ups, too, to remember that we were all children once – we can keep that incredible magic alive within us even as adults.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The colors of the rainbow, the solar system we live in, after-school cookies… there’s lots of real life references within a fantasy construct in “Zwoosh!” Just like all fairytales.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In “Zwoosh!” there are several pages of similes that liken colors to common childhood memories that I believe I share with everyone who is or who ever was a child.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Oh, children’s picture books, most definitely. Great children’s books are key to a child’s imaginative growth and love of literature as they grow. I love stories for the young that can also touch the old. They are called four quadrant stories if they can satisfy male, female, young, and old. If a writer can pull that off, you’ve just touched the entire world demographic!
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
As a children’s writer, I’d have to say the incomparable Dr. Seuss could teach any writer to create substantive, entertaining books that touch the core of our psyches while touching on important social issues. But also Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jane Yolen, Madeleine L’ Engle, Shel Silverstein, Joan Walsh Anglund, the Brothers Grimm, and so many others have influenced me, as well.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m re-reading Grimm’s Fairytales and Mother Goose with an eye toward tailoring the timeless, classic stories to an audiobook collection – I’m a trained, professional voice over artist and I’d love to create fairytale audiobooks that are basically “live” theatre with myself by acting out all the parts, from the Snow Queen, to the Big Bad Wolf, and the Three Little Pigs. Chris Chamberlain, my partner at Chamberlain-Rose Productions, creates original music, sound effects, as well as amazing animations, so there will be an interactive storybook app of our fairytale versions, too, just like the app we’re making of “Zwoosh!” right now.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There are so many more than one! I’m very fortunate in that, very early on, I always had teachers in honors English classes throughout my school years who seemed to recognize my literary talents and encouraged me, whether it was by choosing my creative story assignment to read aloud to the class, or by pushing me to submit my work to publications. That kind of encouragement is priceless and it made me believe my writing had merit to please, and that I could someday possibly publish my work to a wide audience.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, most definitely.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope! It came out just as it was supposed to. I’m so very happy with it, and I hope you will be, too!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have a few children’s WIPs on the drawing board right now.
I’m also novelizing one of my award-winning screenplays, a funny romantic comedy, for my new publishing banner for grown-ups, Indie Rose Books. I expect to release it around Christmas.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not nearly enough. I should set my next children’s books in Hawaii, France, Scotland, Bermuda, South Africa, and Greece so I have an excuse to travel to those places for “research”!
Fiona: Who designed the covers and devised the illustrations?
“Zwoosh!” illustrator, Susan Lee, and I conceived what the cover and each page would look like together. We both hail from the filmmaking world, so we devised each art panel as though it was a “storyboard” of an action movie, and we thought of each page like a “shot” in a film. She’d go off with her sketchpad and create a rough sketch based on our discussions. We’d comment and refine. Then she’d go off and paint amazingly brilliant illustrations. A lot of children’s book illustrations today are computer-generated art that has little texture or allure, in my opinion, although it’s a lot less painstaking to create. For “Zwoosh!” we chose oil on canvas board because my favorite painter is Vincent van Gogh. So, early on, I knew I wanted the illustrations to have a “Starry Night” expressionist look to them. Susan delivered wonderfully on that notion.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Creatively, this book just flowed right out of me. No trouble at all. I wish all books were so easy to write. On the other hand, we did have a long delay on the book’s delivery for a very serious reason. During the early stages of “Zwoosh!” my illustrator, Susan Lee (who is also my friend), was diagnosed with breast cancer. Naturally, she had some very important things to deal with as she fought for her life for over a year with chemotherapy and then radiation treatment. Even so, she met with me and painted on “Zwoosh!” during her treatment and recovery. I’m very happy she triumphed to become a “cancer warrior” and so “Zwoosh!” is even more precious to me knowing how dedicated my friend was to living her life and creating her art (not just “Zwoosh!”) even while battling cancer.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I now know how many moons Jupiter has, and that Venus is called both the morning and the evening star. And how many billions of miles we are from the sun. I researched lots of facts like that to mix in with the fiction – like the “fact” that Moon Men adore s’mores when you go on a lunar picnic with them. I never knew that before I wrote “Zwoosh!” and I bet neither did you.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I’m a fearless omnivore, so I’ll try anything once. I do love seafood a lot. And sea blue-green colors. Anything with a fun, lively beat I can dance to for music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I can’t imagine having more fun than creating worlds and characters, both as a writer and as an actor. Trust me, I make a far worse waitress so it’s a good thing I’m doing what I love to do.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
There are a couple I hope you will visit often, and when you sign up for my mailing list you’ll get a free children’s book! Also, check out our Facebook Launch Party & Giveaway Celebration coming up soon! Hope to see you there.
ZWOOSH! on Amazon/Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/ZWOOSH-Marie-Rose-ebook/dp/B00MV5UPE8
ZWOOSH! Facebook Launch Party and Giveaway Event on Sat., Sept. 20 11 am – 1 pm USA Pacific time: https://www.facebook.com/events/346585155502668/