It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Linda Rosen, author of The Disharmony of Silence and Sisters of the Vine.
About Linda Rosen:
Linda Rosen’s books are set in the “not-too-distant past” and examine how women reinvent themselves despite obstacles thrown their way. A central theme is that blood is not all that makes a family–and they always feature a piece of jewelry! Her debut novel, The Disharmony of Silence, released in March 2020 and her sophomore novel, Sisters of the Vine, in March 2021, both from Black Rose Writing. She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and the Women’s National Book Association where she is Selections Coordinator of the Great Group Reads committee which curates an annual list of novels and memoirs perfect for book club discussion.
About The Disharmony of Silence:
In 1915, jealous, bitter Rebecca Roth cuts all ties with her life-long friends, the Pearls. Eight years later, Rebecca’s son and young Lena Pearl begin keeping company in secret. Rebecca agrees to a truce when the couple marries. But the truce is fragile. Rebecca’s resentments run deep.
In 2010, Carolyn Lee, fitness instructor and amateur photographer, must come to grips with the fact that her mother’s imminent death will leave her alone in the world. While preparing her childhood home for sale, she realizes for the first time that her mother’s antique brooch is identical to the one pinned to the lady’s dress in the painting hanging above the fireplace. Coincidence or connection? Carolyn is determined to find out. What she discovers has the potential to tear lives apart or to bring her the closeness and comfort she longs for. It all depends on how she handles her newfound knowledge.
About Sisters of the Vine:
Housewife and mother with a loving husband to take care of her – that’s all Liz, a Fifties gal, ever wanted. Over her father’s objections, she drops out of college to marry Rick, who dreams of living off the land. They buy a farm on a verdant hillside in the Hudson Valley, but can’t agree on what to plant. When they discover French-American hybrid grapes, Liz is confident they’ll be happy. Grapes are classy.
As the rich soil sinks into her soul and the vines begin to thrive, the marriage grows rocky. Refusing to disappoint her father again, Liz is determined to make her marriage work . . . until she discovers a photograph hidden in the old barn.
Faced with impossible decisions, Liz is desperate. She has a vineyard ready to harvest and no idea how to accomplish the task. Does she have the moxie to flourish? Or will she and the land turn fallow?
Author Interview with Linda Rosen:
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- What is the first book that made you cry?
As far as I can remember, it was Gone with the Wind. I must have used an entire box of tissues when Rhett walked out on Scarlett.
- Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Each of my books is a stand-alone though my body of work, only two novels right now with another on my computer in its embryonic stage, are set in the “not-too-distant” past and examine how women reinvent themselves despite obstacles thrown their way. A theme that comes through is that blood is not all that makes a family and yes, they will always have a piece of jewelry as part of the story.
- What does literary success look like to you?
That’s a very interesting question. Thank you for asking. For me, when a reader connects with one of my books or one of my characters, when they touch her personally, I feel that I have done my job as a writer. I’ve been successful. There’s nothing more gratifying than hearing from a someone who has been moved by my
- What have you found is the best way to market your books?
In today’s world, especially having published during a pandemic, social media has been the best way to market my books. Even with BookBub deals and Goodreads Giveaways, posts on social media, connecting with readers and other authors, is what sells the books. I’m fortunate to be included in a wonderful writing community of authors who enjoy promoting each other. It’s through social media that we do that, specifically Facebook and Instagram.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I love doing research, quite different than how I felt in high school! With Sisters of the Vine, I did a great deal prior to writing, learning about winemaking, visiting vineyards, chatting with vintners though a great deal more research was done as I was writing. That happened in both of my books and my work-in-progress. As I write, a character does something or goes somewhere and I have to dig into the particulars of that. And since I write my stories in the “not-too-distant” past, there’s always stuff I need to look up. Even the shoes worn at the time, or the hairstyle or clothes. And I like to put historical events in my books, although they are not considered historical fiction. Some events I already know about and need a bit more information, others are totally new to me and need to be researched. As I said, I enjoy doing it. It’s fun. And I believe makes the book come alive.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
I’m smiling reading this question because there’s a woman in my book club who loves to figure out why a character is given a particular name. She insists there’s always a reason. Many times, that is true. And there are times a writer might simply put her finger on a name in a phone book (remember those?) I want my names to be right for the period of time I’m writing in, so I use names that I know from that period or I Google the top names of a particular year. I am careful not to use my own name or those of my family. But it is fun to combine names of my friends and give it to one character. I’ve done that and when my friends read it in the book, they’re excited.
- What is your favorite childhood book?
I remember loving reading the Bobbsey Twin series and Nancy Drew but I’d have to say my favorite is A Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson. In fact, I still have the book! And I used abridged editions of it when I was tutoring in a literacy program.
- When did you start writing?
As I was nearing my sixtieth birthday, I felt the need for a new creative outlet. I had been choreographing exercise routines to music for many years for my business and had done the usual needlepoint, crewel and crocheting. I gardened and dabbled in photography. But I felt a pull for something more and decided to look for an in depth photography class near my home. As I perused the catalogue, I noticed a writer’s workshop. Being an avid reader, I always imagined it would be wonderful to write a novel though never thought I actually would. I signed up for that workshop and my fingers found the keyboard! Characters sat on my shoulder talking to me and I became a writer. It’s now two books later and a third I hope to have published in the next few years.
- What comes first, the plot or characters?
For my first book, The Disharmony of Silence, the plot actually came first. I had this family secret in mind that I wanted to write about, though it was just a nugget. Once I met my characters, they created the story. It was their unmet desires that carried me from page one to the end. For Sisters of the Vine, I knew the kind of woman I wanted to write about and had an idea for a setting, a vague idea of a plot. Again, it was my main character’s desire that created the story. If I’m pressed to answer one way or the other, I’ll have to give up and say both.
- Describe your writing space.
My writing room with my cushiony desk chair, stuffed bookcase and favorite photographs is one of my happy places. Yes, the beach or a pool ranks higher, though I do love being at my desk whether I’m researching, writing, or mulling. I do a lot of mulling, letting my characters talk to me, imagining settings and dialogue.
And when I’m ruminating (a more writerly word than mulling), I often stare at the photograph above my desk which I took at the wetlands near my home in Florida. The reflection of the cypress trees on the water, creating shadows for the snowy egrets, is soothing. It helps my mind wander. During those intense months writing my second novel, Sisters of the Vine, I stared a great deal at those birds and trees and somehow it brought me back to where I was supposed to be – on a hillside vineyard in the Hudson Valley where the story is set. Staring at a picture in a room where the only sound was the soft hum of a ceiling fan, I finished this uplifting tale that “just like the best wine, will linger long after you finish.” It’s now in readers hands and I’m mulling again.
- Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
- Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
The first draft you’re telling yourself the story – don’t get ahead of yourself, get the words down. You can’t revise until you have words on a page, then get feedback from other writer friends and listen, digest.
- What book is currently on your bedside table?
I have eight waiting and more on my Kindle- and it keeps growing! Currently reading The Eves by Grace Sammon. Next up is The Sound Between the Notes by Barbara Probst and then onto Julie Valerie’s The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks and then…
To learn more about Linda Rosen, here’s where you can connect with her:
Author website: www.linda-rosen.com