My publisher has this About the Author area attached to the titles of the books authors have listed. One of the things I was supposed to do as a new author was talk about myself on the site — think of the author info on back of a hard copy book. I read several from other authors trying to get an idea of what I should say about myself. That’s a tricky thing for me because I’m happy to say I emerged from the gene pool blessed with a measure of creativity. The muse whispering to my mind is constantly thinking up images for my hands give form to. That form could be tangible like a molded clay figure or a sketch, or as in the case of words I type out on my laptop, ephemeral. When the muse finally releases me from her grasp, my mind can move on to the next thought, the next blob of clay, the next story waiting in the wings. What do such thought-creators say about themselves? People who have this little gnawing drive to manifest some thought into reality know it just is what it is. Describing it is tricky.
Here’s my About Me…
I started kindergarten already knowing how to read, and this was curious as no one in my family recalled teaching me how. I loved words from the very beginning because words described everything down to the smallest detail and added color to the world. Aside from loving the evocative potential of words, I also love that they describe how things work. I literally devour any and all informational reading materials from cookbooks to books on quantum physics and seeking to feed that hunger, eventually tackled an entire World Book Encyclopedia. (Yes I know I’m weird. I read encyclopedias like other people read magazines.) Before long a husband joined his life to mine, and two children followed. I didn’t even contemplate expressing my imagination through words until the Internet came into my life.
When room-sized computers became personal and the Internet was no longer the purview of the geek, it was then that, quite by accident, I discovered the theatrical world of online role play. And what a stage it was! Often misspelled words hastily typed out in the chat rooms described scenes and appearances equivalent to anything played at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. At any given hour of any given day one might converse with a shape-shifting shaman, a knight of the realm, or a barbarian slave girl with jingling bells on her ankles. It was a world where cyber lovers gave sensual caresses through intimate verbs, where warriors carried sharpened blades, wizards held fireballs in their hands, and shape shifters went from man to beast with a few well-chosen words. Word lover that I am, I reveled in it and found I had a knack for crafting detailed fantasy worlds.
Being the informational reader, it wasn’t until I borrowed a historical romance novel to read on a long train ride that I seriously considered fiction. Up to that point I read very few novels. Part of a series, the book had me hooked by the time the train pulled into the station. More than once I mentally rewrote a scene by adding suspense, additional dialog, or expanding a love scene that should have been longer.
Today my active imagination has me writing and occasionally illustrating everything — magazine articles on nature topics, Children’s early readers and Youth stories, Romance in several sub-genres, Contemporary and Historical fiction. My current work in progress, the unnamed 5-book magnum opus, is a modern day fantasy tale of the ultimate battle between the dark and the light.
Questions & Answers to fill in the gaps ~
Q: When did you actively start writing, and what was the impetus?
A: Though I dabbled in it for years, I would say I came to this point approximately four years ago. I’d taken a cross country road trip with a dear friend who’d lost her son. Listening to music was like playing Russian roulette for her because any random song might be associated with a sad memory. After two hours of non-stop conversation, we fell silent. It was during that long silence where I first met the characters who now populate my novel-in-progress.
Q: Met them? You say that as if they’re real.
A: That’s the funny thing about my characters – they are!
Q: What do you mean?
A: Well, they must be real on some level or they wouldn’t experience life in the story. Their world is like cellophane over mine. The things I know about each and every one of them, their loves and hates, their quirks, habits, and idiosyncrasies, make them tangible beings with substantial personalities. I hear their voices when they speak to one another and I feel their internal dialog as they move through their world. I even know whether or not they put both socks on before their shoes or one sock one shoe at a time. I suppose every writer is just a tad schizophrenic.
Q: Do you have any unfinished projects sitting around?
A: Oh good god, yes. I understand myself well enough to know that I only go where my mind is truly engaged. If I have that, I’ll work on a thought until it’s completed. Many of the unfinished things are not projects per se; rather they’re ideas for future stories. I jot them down as they pop up, generally no more than a sentence or paragraph at the most to keep a mental placeholder. I’ve nearly filled the two small “idea books” I keep in my purse and of course my laptop’s document folder is packed with details. Essentially, they’re dandelion seeds that may or may not take flight.
Q: You call yourself a daydreamer. How does your mind work?
A: The best description of my mind is to compare it to a crowded restaurant where every table has a story. Somewhere, a pocket holds an engagement ring. The guy stabbing his olive like a voodoo doll got turned down for a promotion. A little girl, her tongue poking in concentration, traces her crayon along the placemat maze. Across the room a potential suicide comes to terms with his weighty decision and nearby sits a young woman who doesn’t yet know she’ll save his life. As busy as this all is, there is an overlay of added detail – a server mopping up blood red wine, steaming plates of fettuccine Alfredo, the caramelized scent of crème brûlée here, and the oily sizzling flames of saganaki there. Look closely, the server winked at the bartender—a clear message that says, “I’m off at 10:00.” Wow, I think another dandelion seed just caught a breeze!
Q: Do you have favorite authors?
A: While some prefer Cormac McCarthy’s amazing and powerful economy of words, my imagination craves glorious color of every tint and shade conceivable. I love when authors create their worlds so precisely you’re able to smell and taste it when you’re reading. Now that’s wordsmithing. To that end first and foremost my favorite is Diana Gabaldon. The colorful imagery she chooses for Jamie and Claire’s universe goes way beyond the average box of crayons – she uses the paint set. Her creative blending and shading created a positively transcendent love and she has an impressive knack for creating scenes that are at once both repellant and intriguing. In the romance genre I have to say my all time favorite author is Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (rest in peace Erin Hogg). I’ve never read a single book of hers that didn’t have me right there in the thick of things. J.K. Rowling took me through all my years at Hogwarts, and I think I might have even carved a gargoyle or two in Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain messed with my perception. A complete suspension of disbelief.
Q: Is it true you never follow an outline?
A: Absolutely. I literally walk forward into the story and keep on walking until it tells me it’s done. In the scenes, I find doors and windows open and people appear from time to time to give me options. Being without an outline does occasionally have its sticky points. I’ve had to eliminate more than one character that just stopped by to borrow a cup of sugar. I really don’t know where those people come from! It’s weird how that works. I compare it to the TV series Happy Days, where Ritchie’s older brother Chuck just stops coming to the dinner table one day and is never mentioned again for the duration of show.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about writing?
A: Seeing appreciation for my work lighting other people’s eyes. Should my characters or story compel readers to email me with questions, comments, and opinions, favorable or otherwise, I’d love to hear from them. I have an artist friend who periodically reads my scenes. I know we’re on the same page when he comments on my characters and scenes as if he sees them as real because they’re real to me. That does something to me; it fills me up in some inexplicable way and makes me want to write more complicated scenes to see if he can follow me there. I’ve always been sort of an oddball that never fit anywhere; I suppose it validates how my mind ticks.
Q: Are you in your stories?
A: My life makes cameo appearances in one form or another in all my books. It’s easy to draw from the familiar. If readers knew me, they’d recognize my furnishings or my car, my pets, and even things about themselves. As for my characters, they’re all composites of me. They have my values, my fears, my wit etc. Yes, even my bad guys are me. If you think about it they’d have to be. How else could I write them into being? Sometimes I even surprise myself. More than once I’ve given myself goosebumps.
I’d like to leave you with a bit from Dreamscape. Written in homage to Agatha Christie, Dreamscape is a reader’s Easter egg hunt in the truest sense. Peppered throughout are hints suggesting a story behind the scenes. This most recent novel falls under the Contemporary Romance genre under the sub-heading of Erotic Romance. The book itself is rated R and is intended for adult readers. This excerpt PG.
Dreamscape Blurb: Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing—he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life. When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man. Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side. It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.
Dr. Judith’s review at Book Binge ~ 5 out of 5!
Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing-he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life. When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man. Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side. It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.
This is the second novel by Rose Anderson I have read and reviewed and once again I think Ms Anderson has written a novel that is intriguing by its aura of mystery, a combination Victorian/contemporary ghost story, and at the core, a very erotic love story. There is not doubt in my mind that this is one heck of a novel, one that had me introspective and thoughtful when I finished, a kind of wonder that someone could have crafted such a wonderful book. That same sense of wonder is with me whenever I come out of the theater after watching one of those movies that seems to grab me by the shirt front and hold me captive throughout. That is the same feeling I had when I finished this tale.
All that being said, this is a story that tells of a heroine whose own early years were filled with hurt, emotional wounds caused by the neglect of a drunken mother and the derision of an uncaring community. The stately Victorian mansion seemed to inspire her to dream of a world of tradition, family, affluence, and romance. The stories of the ghost who lived in the shuttered environs of the Bowen mansion also piqued her interest, especially after she began to dream about the young boy who lived there, whose mother had died when he was young and whose father had been killed in a freak accident. The dreams continued off and on throughout her growing up years but were especially intense after Lanie purchased the Bowen mansion, spending her small inheritance to refurbish the old house and its yard, gardens, and fountains. She then began the construction of a new free clinic. She was a doctor and the free clinic was one of her most insistent goals. In fact, in the dream life she enjoyed with Jason Bowen, her ghostly dream lover who was also a physician, Lanie was a woman ahead of her time in that she was a doctor also. But Jason was a ghost who had been murdered by his wife of four months in order to gain his extensive wealth. Now as a ghost, mourning the fact that he had not real future with Lanie, he needed to find out how he died. In their dream life together they were seeking not only the facts of Jason’s death, but ways to possibly change the future by preventing his death.
Throughout this story there is the tension Jason feels as he falls in love with this real woman, dealing with his feelings and the awareness that there was no future for them. He also had to face the need to remove himself from her awareness and through her friend he tried to do that. Lanie, nevertheless, always seemed to have the sense that she and Jason not only had a limit to their time in the present world but that when he died in her dream life, he would be gone there as well. So the reader is kept on the edge as these two parallel lives unfold for Lanie and Jason as well as for her friend Lexie and those who are alive in her dreams but who have been dead for over a century.
There are twists and turns and surprises galore in this novel, not the least of which is the ending which absolutely flipped me on my head and left me with my mouth hanging open. Certainly not what I expected. It was a more than satisfactory resolution, but to say I was shocked is to put it mildly. Suffice it to say that throughout the novel the reader has the sense that this century-old horror is going to repeat itself, that there seems no possible way that Lanie and Jason can realize a happy ending together short of Lanie’s death, or that the evil perpetrated by Jason’s wife and relatives is inevitable. I had the feeling that I was reading a Greek tragedy where things begin as they go on . . . worse and worse. Yet the author has come up with a resolution that is not only surprising in the extreme but absolutely perfect for the story.
This story will perplex and stretch the reader’s belief in the power of love, and while we all know that death is final there remains that remnant of belief that somehow we’ll find a way to reach across the Great Divide of death with the power of love. Perhaps that is the winsome hope upon which this novel is predicated as well as the fact that there are those who believe in re-incarnation, the reality of dreams or the possibility that dreams can reveal deep truths about ourselves we would otherwise miss. Whatever the truth may be or wherever it lies in regards to life and death, this story will feed that hope that somehow death is not quite so final. There is beauty here, with the joy of mutual discovery between Jason and Lanie, the frustration of the heart that can often twist a person’s spirit, the evil that grows out of the love of wealth, the kindness and gentleness which can come from friendship and deep respect, and hope that deep and authentic loving can keep alive under any set of circumstances. It is all here and Ms Anderson has woven it all into a novel that is beautifully written, well-edited, and put together so that the parts of the story flow together seamlessly. It is a novel I have no difficulty calling a work of art.
So readers who love erotic romance wrapped in the mists of dream and fantasy and time-travel will find this to be a delightful reading experience, an entertaining way to spend some time, and an exercise of the mind and imagination. This novel is already on my favorites list as well as my “to read again” list.http://thebookbinge.com/search/label/Judith%27s%20Reviews
Love Romance Passion’s Review ~ 4 ½ Stars!
By Carla F.
“He was part of my dream, of course – but then I was part of his dream too.”
– Through the Looking Glass – by Lewis Carroll
Summary: Jason Bowen was murdered over a hundred years ago by his wife and her lover. Ever since then he has haunted the house he lived and died in. Lanie O’Keefe buys the deserted house and moves in with plans to renovate it to its former Victorian beauty. Jason is drawn immediately to Lanie’s looks and her mind. Unknown to her, he follows her through the day and lays with her in the bed at night. He starts having feelings and physical sensations that he hasn’t experienced since he died. Then he realizes that he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and surprisingly those dreams are about the day’s prior to his own murder. Review: The whole book is like a dream itself. The reader flows almost seamlessly from dreams to happenings in the present day. You become part of the dream. Only occasionally did the shifting from the present to dream/past become confusing. Jason is the kind of ghost that you would want to be haunting your bed. He is handsome, kind, considerate and focused on Lanie. She is beautiful, smart, and totally unfazed by the realization that her house is haunted. In one scene Jason decides to test Lanie’s reaction to a possible ghost by slowly opening a squeaky kitchen cabinet. She watches without a sound or any hint of fear. Then she calmly makes her tea, sits down to make her to-do list for the house renovation, and only occasionally look up to see if the cabinet moves again. The main mystery of the book for me was not how Jason died, but how Lanie and he are going to get their HEA. The ending was a pleasant surprise for me.
Overall: This is a very clever story with a dream hero who will make you believe in ghosts and in the power of the mind. http://www.loveromancepassion.com/review-dreamscape-by-rose-anderson
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