Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name.
Rosemary:Rosemary Jones. I’m the Rosemary who writes fantasy and science fiction if you’re looking on Amazon or Goodreads. There’s a few other Rosemarys out there, including one who writes travel guides to Bermuda.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Rosemary: Seattle, which is located in the far Northwest corner of the United States. It’s been a boom-and-bust town since the Alaskan Gold Rush days, and we’re in one of our boom periods right now.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Rosemary: I studied journalism in college. Since then, I’ve used my ability to write and my interest in publishingto get a lot of interesting jobs. These included stints at community newspapers and a maritime magazine, being the head of publications for a university of naturopathic medicine and then again for another non-profit environmental organization, doing public relations for an opera company, and crafting social media content for an online retailer. These days, I’m in charge of the communications department of a private arts college.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Rosemary:I’m writing another short story for the Awakened series edited by Hal Greenberg. It’s a fun fantasy series, with the last anthology published by Samurai Sheepdog, about people in telepathic communication with their animal companions.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Rosemary:Journalism started in high school for me and I was selling nonfiction pieces by the time I was in college. In Seattle, most people know me as a writer about the arts as I’ve had a couple of long running columns covering theatre and dance in this city. I love going to shows and wanted to share that enthusiasm. Most of my articles were interviews, much like this, concentrating on what inspired people to create. I only got serious about selling fiction about a dozen years ago, mostly because a friend in a writing group challenged me to start submitting some stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Rosemary:I’ve always called myself a writer. A novelist came later. When I sold my first novel to Wizards of the Coast.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first novel?
Rosemary: I lost a contest. The longer explanation is that I submitted a novel outline to a contest being run by Wizards of the Coast. It was for their Forgotten Realms line. I lost, they picked someone else, but they encouraged me to keep submitting. Eventually, and it was my third or fourth try, they bought Crypt of the Moaning Diamond based on a one page outline. Then I had to write the novel in under nine months.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Rosemary:Originally, WOTC planned to title all the books in the series after the places that they were set. I’d picked a city called Tsurlagol, which my editor finally agreed would make an awful title. I threw a long list of alternative titles at her and she picked Crypt. Oddly enough, all the novels and novellas that I wrote for WOTC ended up with C titles: Crypt of the Moaning Diamond, City of the Dead, and Cold Steel and Secrets.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Rosemary: What’s challenging about high fantasy, which the genre that I started in, is the writers who came before. Tolkien is such an overpowering influence. And, in the Forgotten Realms, everyone wants to write like the creator Ed Greenwood. So you have to consciously play with those tropes and move away from them to have your own voice. The women fantasy writers who influenced me the most as a kid reading were Andre Norton and Ursula K LeGuin. Their stories are driven by characters, rather than settings or events. That’s what I try to do. Write about the characters more than the worlds or magic systems.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Rosemary:Well, I’ve never had the experiences that my characters suffer, like being chased by skeletons or knocked down by topiary dragons. On the other hand, the emotions that they experience — sad, happy, angry, embarrassed, and the rest – are common to all humans. I try to write characters who are mostly ordinary and who get shoved into extraordinary circumstances and have to think their way out. Nobody is a superhero who can just punch their way out of a problem.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Rosemary:I’ve never travelled to write a book but certainly places that I’ve visited have influenced me. I love cities more than rural wilderness, and my books usually are set in vast, old cities. Whatever city I go to, I do tend to gravitate to graveyards and churches, and that informed City of the Dead.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Rosemary:My publishers have hired designers. Authors, unless publishing themselves or very famous, have almost no control over cover design. My favourite cover was for a collection of novellas, Cobalt City Rookies. My novella, Wrecker of Engines, included a young superhero who was into parkour – and the kid leaping into space is how I pictured Morgan.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Rosemary:A little happiness. One of the best notes I ever got about Crypt of the Moaning Diamond was from a soldier stationed overseas. He wrote that my book made him laugh even though he was in a very grim situation and had had a horrible day. I think entertaining people, giving them a way to forget their troubles, is important. There’s a number of writers whose works have helped me get through tough times.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Rosemary:Lots. I read two or three novels a week. The ones that I really like, I put on my Goodreads list. Some recent faves are The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee, Face of Glass by Frances Hardinge, and River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey. They all fall under the classification of fantasy but are all very different, very character driven.
You can find my bookshelf here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/783709
Fiona: Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Rosemary: This is always the hardest question for me to answer, as my favorites tend to change with the time of year, my mood, and what’s happening in the world around me. One author who I’m re-reading right now is Patrice Kindl. She’s written a number of young adult novels. If you like fantasy, try Owl in Love. It’s about a were-owl who makes inappropriate but very typical teenage choices.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Rosemary: For many years, I was part of a great writing group. They certainly challenged me to get serious about fiction and start submitting. I’m thinking that I need to find another group like that and start meeting regularly.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Rosemary: Yes and no. If you mean, a career with health insurance, retirement benefits, and an income above the poverty level, that’s almost impossible these days. As a never-ending source of pleasure and something that there is no age or time limits on, then yes. Like acting, singing, or any career in the arts, it’s a challenge to do it exclusively. But you can write and do other things at the same time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Rosemary: Always. It’s hard to re-read stories or novels and not let your internal editor start yelling at you. On the other hand, at some point, you have to call a story finished and move on to the next thing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Rosemary: I started a novel for a publishing venture that collapsed before I was done. It happens. That book is currently in the “ideas” folder on my computer. I’m not sure where it is going to find a home or how much I need to change it. It’s always tough to lose a publisher, but I’ve learned it is not the end of your writing world. I’ve been through this before, and eventually things work out.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Rosemary: Unlikely to happen and not something I ever wonder about.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Rosemary: Everybody’s path to publication is different. There’s so many factors. So never get hung up on how somebody else did it. Try your own way.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Rosemary: Have fun reading. I certainly did writing my stories.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Rosemary: Clockwork Werewolf by Lynne Viehl.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Rosemary: Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. My grandfather sent a copy to all his grandchildren and it’s the first “big book” that I remember reading. Still have that copy.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Rosemary: In any given year, I laugh and cry at a lot of shows on stage. Being in the audience, sitting in the dark, following a character’s story, is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can have.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Rosemary: I collect children’s books from the early 20th century. The works of the great Edwardian illustrators, in particular. I just got a copy of Bill the Minder, written and illustrated by W. Heath Robinson.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Rosemary: Ones with a touch of humor as well as fantasy. I’m not super fond of the dark and grim. Shows like The Librarians are great for unwinding. I don’t have cable so watching a TV show usually happens a year or two after it comes out on DVD.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Rosemary: Seafood, particularly salmon and clams, although not necessarily at the same meal.Red or blue.Broadway musicals, opera, and folk music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Rosemary: Read. Quite happily.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Rosemary: She died with a book in her hand.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?