This month’s spotlight comes from author Rebecca Rosenberg. A California native, Rebecca lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch.
Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON is her debut novel.
Want to win a copy of Rebecca's book from Free Expressions? Read to the end and enter our book giveaway!
How does it feel to release THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON out into the world?
To finally have your novel published after all the effort you have poured into it is a rewarding experience which you have to enjoy for itself. You created something out of the miasma of your mind. It is real and solid and has a life of its own.
To be honest, it is also a letdown, because the creative experience of writing you have control over, not so much the marketing and publicity and where and how your book is sold.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned working on THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON?
I was pleasantly surprised with the editing process, how interesting and challenging it was, especially for historical fiction where every word and prop and cocktail name is challenged.
I realized that I should have kept historical references with my research, so I could find the facts and pronunciations again.
I also discovered that historical facts are moving targets, especially on the internet. Different websites, biographies and resources have different “facts,” and even the SAME fact can be perceived differently.
Have your feelings about writing or the writing process changed since you first started writing THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON?
I want to be MORE planful, because TIME is precious, and I no longer think “pantsing” is creative.
Writing a story that meets all your requirements as a storyteller and all the hyper-critical requirements of readers, is not about spooling along with your imagination. It's about crafting a story that touches people deeply. A story that shakes them up and makes a difference in their lives. A story they will not forget easily.
"It's about crafting a story that touches people deeply. A story that shakes them up and makes a difference in their lives. A story they will not forget easily."
What project are you currently working on? Can you give us a sneak preview or any details?
My latest WIP, CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS, is about Lily Bollinger and Veuve Clicquot who struggled against Napoleon wars, WWII, mores and laws of the day that kept women in the household, and persevered.
If you could go back ten years and give your future writing-self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Make sure your subject has broad appeal to readers or you’re wasting precious time that you could be investing in a marketable subject.
My first two historical novels were based on silver strikes in Colorado 1878 and though they got two agents interested and several publishers, ultimately, they did not want Historical Westerns.
What were the highlights of your editorial work with Free Expressions or attendance at a workshop? How would you describe its overall effect on your professional/creative trajectory?
Working with Lorin over the past ten years (I know, we don’t look that old), I learned a great deal in terms of characterization, conflict, temperature of scenes, dialogue, visceral expression.
I think the fact that I am now being published attests to all the knowledge I have benefited from by working with Lorin and developmental editors. I hope to continue with Lorin in the future.
The FREE EXPRESSIONS Workshops with Donald Maass are always JUST WHAT I NEED, a meditation on my WIP. I have attended four, I believe, and I’ll attend workshops for as long as they have them, time willing.
Donald Maass has an uncanny way of leading prompts which invite new inspiration to a new novel. His books are helpful reminders of techniques, but I love the workshops even more. I admit I am in awe of Donald’s critical thinking about novels. My mind does not work that way, but thank goodness his does!
"Donald Maass has an uncanny way of leading prompts which invite new inspiration to a new novel. His books are helpful reminders of techniques, but I love the workshops even more."
What advice do you have for writers in terms of seeking out editorial services or determining what workshops or conferences would best suit their needs?
I think developmental editing is critical to your novel and would recommend it at the beginning stages to test your concept, and after a draft or two to work on structure and characters, etc.
If you are serious about writing, the workshops can be attended anytime and you will benefit. I like to have a draft done in order to make it better.
What advice do you have for writers who are juggling work, their personal lives, and writing?
Prioritize your life. You probably do not need all the activities you spend time on.
What does your dream writing retreat look like?
At home at my desk. I find myself too distracted at a writing retreat!
What outside hobbies or interests feed your writing?
Reading, reading, more reading. Travel, art, food, observation, listening to people talk, watching their reactions.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Beneath a Scarlett Sky by Mark Sullivan, because it is the #1 Amazon best seller in my category, historical fiction, and it happens to cover WWII, during which part of my next novel is set.
If you could enter the world of any novel, which would it be?
Definitely not WWII!
Do you write to music, or do you prefer silence?
What food or drink do you use to fuel your writing?
Black coffee and candlelight in the early morning.
You can find Rebecca on her website and visit her at her Facebook page. THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON is available for purchase at Amazon. Find out more, read reviews or leave a review over at Goodreads.
In the comments below, answer the question: What famous woman in history interests you?
One winner, randomly selected from the comments, will win a copy of THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON. The winner will be contacted Friday, the 25th.
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