Love Denied comes out tomorrow! It’s the first book in Rose Phillip’s Honorable Intentions series. Rose was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this engaging historical romance HERE!
How much research do you do into the time period and places you write about? Do you have any experience dressing in character or participating in living history situations or are you more a fan of libraries and online resources?
I research a lot. Probably far too much. I fall down the rabbit hole and roll around happily. I love history, so other than the loss of writing time, I cannot really regret my tumbles. I find it important to keep details historically correct but I try not to clutter up the pages with them. The focus must always be on the story with history as backdrop. But, I do love to weave in tidbits where I can. The title of a book, a reference to advances in plumbing, a battle on the peninsula, the details of these things should slide seamlessly by a reader but, if they are curious and look it up, they will find them historically accurate. I’m that kind of reader, so I assume there are others like me who enjoy that too.
What drew you to the era you write in? Is there something about the time period you think most people don’t know about? What do you think would be the most difficult part about living in that period?
In truth, I was drawn to the Regency period through reading historical romance novels. I loved the escape I found in them. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have meals appear, have someone quite literally dress you in exquisite gowns, and have a handsome nobleman recognize the best in you? J An era of change, a time where anything was possible—especially true love—I found the genre irresistible.
For me, the most difficult thing would be personal hygiene. I would hate not having a daily shower. And, while my characters have their share of baths because, hey, they can, that is not true to the times. While plumbing was on the cusp of being proficient, reality was that a bath was a lot of work and was not a regular occurrence.
Where is your favorite place to write? Does it change depending on where you are in the process?
I have a full office but it simply houses my “stuff.” And, boy, do I have a lot of stuff. J I am a couch writer. This habit was one demanded of me by my two Lhasa Apso who like to be with me at all times. If I try to write at a desk, they pester for attention. If I sit on the couch, they curl in close and go to sleep. After all these years, I don’t know if I could actually create at a desk.
Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters?
It varies. My first young adult novel began with a voice. I was winding up an historical fiction novel and Lizzy started talking. She was so incessant, I started to write down what she was saying. Eventually, those snippets started to form a story, and the plot fell into place. Generally, though, I have an overarching plot tangled with a vague sense of character.
Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader?
I usually have a sense of beginning and end and, perhaps, a few glimpses of key stops along the way. More often than not, what I think I’m going to write does not materialize. I’ll start the morning thinking Today I’m going to write about… and that is not at all what I write. My husband is used to me exclaiming “I did not know that was going to happen!”
Does your writing process include any kind of ritual? Story specific playlists, tea, or candles, for example?
Coffee, chocolate, and instrumental music. I’m a singer, so if there are lyrics, my mind drifts towards those words.
Do you write better in the morning or evening? How do you handle the distractions of working from home, especially if you’re sharing the space with others?
When I worked full-time, I wrote in the evenings and on weekends. Now, I have the luxury of following my own rhythm. I’m up a
round 5 am and ready to write by 7 am. I work smack-dab in the middle of our small home, so noise and distraction are part of ambiance. Also, out my window is a golf path and the ocean, so passing golfers and their carts, sailboats, eagles—you name it— distract me. That is until I’m knee-deep in a scene. Then it all disappears. I suspect it’s no different than people who write in coffee shops. Once you’re immersed in your writing, it all becomes white noise.
What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?
I read a wide variety in popular fiction. I love it if my heartstrings are pulled, if I have a good cry or a good laugh, and I love a heart-pounding whodunit. Also, there is nothing like a good saga where you can get lost in a family over decades, sometimes centuries.
Hands down, my favourite series growing up was Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy. I was in my mid-teens when I fell in love with the first two books. So in love, I wrote her a gushing fan letter. She answered me personally. Little ol’ me, from an outport on the island of Newfoundland, got a letter from this big author…all the way from Scotland! It was an incredible feeling. After too many moves to count and 43 years later, I still have her letter. It is a reminder to me of how much a writer’s words can matter both in a book and directly to a reader.