Copyright © Sarina Rose 2014 All rights reserved.
Interview by Sadie Carrieri
1. Where did you grow up and work before now?
I was born, educated, and lived entirely in New Jersey until 201. I taught Spanish and English as a Second Language in high school and adult community schools. I was lucky enough transfer with my husband to Florida where I am living as if I am on vacation. He works full time. I write almost every day at home where my Labradoodle and my Shih Tzu keep me company. The labradoodle reminds every so often to get up out of the chair to walk, swim, or give him a snack. I started writing romance when I inadvertently crashed a Romance Writers of America chapter meeting here on the Space Coast. Roxanne St. Clare invited me o stay and from that day forward I became a romance wannabe writer.
2. Tell us about your debut book.
My debut novel is The Relentless Brit, a tale of sex, love, and espionage during World War II. It is a story of love at first sight. Sex, romance, heartbreaking betrayals, forgiveness, and uncompromising men and women. The setting World War II Conflict sets the pace of the book and relentless loves rules the day. This is an historical romance set in World War II and moves from New Jersey law office to spy camp in Canada to a decoding office in London. Charles Stanhope a British secret agent combing the United States for perspective spies to assist in the war against Hitler and Mussolini. For him it is love at first sight, but for her not so much. Nevertheless, she follows the path of a spy in training. She speaks English, Italian, and French and is enticed with talk of going to Italy to help the resistance. He reveals his feeling for her and arranges for her to work in Europe. In the meantime, he infiltrates a cell of German sympathizers in Great Britain and anti-Nazi cells in Germany. He is relentless in his fight to save Europe from continued Nazi occupation. Marie suffers periods of grief for her dead husband, courageous actions to end the war, and the blues until she meets an English woman who by example brings Marie to a happier emotional state during a raging war. Marie is a strong woman as were the true life women spies.
3.. Any other books for us?
My next book was The Relentless Italian. This is a tale of relentless love, friendship, jealousy of seniors in college in the late 1960’s. Tony falls in love at first sight. Sophie not so much. He going to continue his music career in Italy and she is going to veterinary school. The question is can they love alive while living an ocean apart, on two continents and the interference of three mothers.
The last book in the series, The Relentless American, is about Hannah, a peacenik and protestor against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. She is a 1970’s woman who wants a career instead of marriage. After she refuses Daniel’s proposal he leaves and tells her to call him when she is ready. Will she call or will she go on without him?
4. What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?
I really love writing what I call Mid 20th Century Romance. I started out writing a children’s book. It was about a fearsome group of adolescents saving other children. However, the story became too dark and I gave it up in favor of contemporary romance. When I read the first ten pages of that book at my chapter meeting, someone dissuaded from contemporary. My dialogue lends itself to an older time. At the same reading another author said the manuscript was better placed in the Women’s Fiction genre. The Relentless Italian also fits into the New Adult genre, but the setting makes it Vintage in my thinking. Some publishers say setting in 1940 or later is contemporary. I would say my books cross genres, and all contain an important romance for the characters.
5. From where do you draw your inspiration?
That is a difficult question to answer. Movies, other writers, and real life, mostly my real life past, influence me. I hear about something and then think of a twist to that story. I sometimes will see or hear a phrase that I think makes a good title and I conjure up a story. Therefore, in that case, words inspire me. Sometimes a situation will inspire me, or something I read or hear on the news. I will read something and think about the lesser characters and what may be going on with their lives. Other characters come out of people I remember from my neighborhood or school.
5. Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
Well, I think every author does in one way or another. I always base my characters on real people, but then I follow the ‘what if’ path. What if she enlisted in military service, he chose undercover work, or she became an insurance investigator or arsonist. That is what makes writing fun for me.
6. What authors inspire your writing?
Well, first my Creative Writing 101 teacher said she loved all of my work and I got an Always thought she made a mistake. In a class at one of the senior centers. Greta McLaughlin whose new book, Celtic Cries was just released was a great inspiration to getting a book published. I saw no point in writing if I weren’t going to publish. I can say I always wanted to write about life as imagined. Inspiring authors are Barbara Kingsolver, Juno Diaz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Roxanne St.Claire, Sabrina Jefferies, and Sylvia Day. I cannot forget Melinda Haynes’ Mother of Pearl and Barbara Kingsolver is The Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible. Of course, romances by Sylvia Day, Julie Leto, Debbie Macomber, and Victoria Sue.
8.How do you come up with the title of your books?
Honestly I do not know.
I started with my first book as The Uninvited Guest, but it needed something snappier to catch attention. I changed it several times until my editor and I agreed on The Relentless Brit. A long time ago my friend had an affair with a hot Italian, from that came The Relentless Italian.
9. Is your book a stand alone or a series?
Here’s the thing. I wrote The Relentless Italian first. When I thought I finished it, I realized it needed more work. So, I set it aside and wrote The Relentless Brit. I published the latter book first because it makes chronological sense. So the series starts in 1940 during World War II. The connecting thread between the books is that the children born during the war become minor characters in the second book.
10. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
The most difficult part of writing for me is putting into words what is inside the characters’ heads and hearts. As I go over the latest manuscript I always have to add more feeling. A reviewer has told me I am good at dialogue by a screenwriter and bad at syntax. That review was for The Relentless Italian in which some of my characters speak Italian. Then I wondered if growing up with two languages always makes my syntax faulty. I can’t tell. Another critic said that the syntax was my voice and not to change anything. One reader said she was not clear in the Brit whey they fell in love with each other. I tend to think that is a given, but if one reader didn’t than maybe other didn’t either. Another reader told me the blub was better than the book. So I guess I all these thoughts are difficult. I am action and dialogue oriented so it takes some thinking to dig deep into the characters feelings. Something I need to work on more.
Also finding the beginning of the story. The American is about second chance love. After the first guy leaves, she goes after him before he self-destructs, but he leaves again. In the meantime she meets another man and their story is the second part of the book or is it the first and part one only backstory which should be woven into the rest? Here’s where I am struggling now. Writing in third person is difficult.
11. What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
I would say that coming up with the main idea for a story is the easiest for me. Imagining the characters is not very difficult. Going from scene to scene is usually easy, but sometimes I think out of order. When I am doing well, everything is easy.
12. Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
My favorite characters? That is like asking a parent who is her favorite child. I cannot choose one. I like them all for different reasons. All my women can be snarky with the men. I like that about them. They are not pushovers. They do not want to get married, just for sake of being married. Marie Gentile in The Relentless Brit is forever forgiving of her love interest after she lets him know a thing or two. Sophie Carrieri in The Relentless Italian is the same. I love both men. Charles Stanhope is quiet to the point of being covert. He never walks away from Marie as angry as she may get with him. Tony Andriosi is mysterious at the same time as being an outgoing career singer. I hope I am making them reveal more than one side of their character. I all time favorite right now it Tony’s father.
13. What is your preferred writing environment?
Do you mean where do I prefer to write? That is easy. I sit in my comfortable leather chair in my kitchen/family room with my laptop and my foot on the low table in front of me. A spread of books, newspaper, magazines, and print outs cover the table. The television tuned alternately to the shopping channels, PBS, or baseball. Can you believe I never listen to music while I am writing, but I am inspired by lyrics when I am driving. I surprised myself when my husband and I took a long drive from the east coast to the west coast of Florida. I took along my tablet to check the Nanny Cam at the dog boarding place, but instead started typing a new series. It seems when I am typing, stories fall out onto the screen. How lucky can I be? I should say blessed.
14.With many publishing routes available today, which felt the most realistic to you when it came to the many choices?
Here is what happened. I started at the beginning sending contests. Just to see if what I wrote fit my picture of a fabulous story. No luck there. As I was writing, I read more, took classes, paid attention to other members of my writing chapter, and read craft books galore. I sent out query letters. No luck there either. I looked at many publishing companies who wanted thousands of dollars to publish. I researched Createspace.com, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Smashwords.com and talked to some free-lance editors. Writers coming back from RWA convention were convinced to move from traditional publishing to self. So I decided to self-publish. While I was getting ready to self-pub, the dollars were adding up. I though why not submit to a few more publishers. Again, how lucky or blessed can I be? I received two contracts within two weeks. The terms of rights, royalties, and length of time to publish were just not acceptable. I did not even try to negotiate. I was anxious to get the book up for sale. The manuscript was ready to upload to Createspace and Kindle. So, I did. I was happy with my choice, but not so much with the work involved. Now I am looking for a publisher for The American, but I have a deadline. If nothing happen between now and September, I will self pub again. Just to get the book out in 2016.
15.When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I wanted something to fill my hours and my mind as a hermit living with my dogs all day. I love to sew, knit, quilt, swim, and bike too. However, writing seems to fulfill me the most now. As Greta said, “If I am going to write, I am going to publish.” Maybe my kids will buy my books.
16. Do you have a social platform?
Yes, they are on my bookmark and I will give them to you now. Please check them out and leave comments. Lot of comments. Of course I would like a great review or two on Amazon.
www.sarinarose.com There you will find a contact form. I love comments. Please do comment.
My fan Facebook page is www.facebook.com/sarinaroseauthor
My personal FB is www.facebook.com/sarinarostek I am about to combine them soon
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Use this for a more personal conversations
Thank you, Sadie.