What prompted your decision to become a CBA author?
In the beginning, I didn’t really say to myself, “I’m going to write a CBA book,” but because I am a Christian, my first novel, Ruby Among Us, was naturally written from a Christian worldview. It just made sense to sell it to Waterbrook Press, a CBA publishing house. I love how CBA fiction has grown in the last ten years. There are so many options for readers now.
How did you come up with the concept for Rose House?
It came from the prologue of my first novel, Ruby Among Us, in which there is a line that says, “I like to think all those photographs of the Rose House are hanging on the refrigerators of housewives, pushed into the visors of taxi cabs, framed and hanging on the walls of busy offices, or maybe even tucked into the wallets or purses of those who dare to dream that something as astonishingly beautiful might await them over the next hill.”
I knew I wanted to write a book that focused even more on the Rose House, so I decided to tell the story of how the Rose House becomes a symbol of hope for people. It is sort of a sequel to the first, but they don’t have to be read in order.
Is there a real “Rose House”?
Yes and no. Years ago, when I was traveling in the Sonoma Valley, I came across a vineyard where there was an old cottage. A massive rose bramble had taken over the entire front porch awning and one whole side of the house. I was told the rose bush might be 100 years old, but I can’t remember where the vineyard was. I like to imagine what it might look like by now, possibly engulfed by the roses.
How did you choose the setting for Rose House?
It came from my first novel, Ruby Among Us. I created the fictional town of La Rosaleda from my frequent visits to the Sonoma Valley when I was living in California. I fell in love with the lushness of the valley and the vineyards. When I started writing, that setting came to mind and seemed to fit the story. In book two it was natural to keep the same setting.
How closely is Rose House based on your personal experience?
I have lived in California and like Lillian and her sister, Geena, I did grow up in a small town in Oklahoma. There are many qualities that Lillian and Geena both have as a result of growing up in a small Oklahoma town and I would definitely agree that I have many of those same qualities. Small towns shape who we are and tend to stay with us even when we leave them.
How long did Rose House take you to complete?
Initially it took about six months to write before the editing process began.