Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Day Two with Rosslyn Elliott

Rosslyn Elliott, award-winning author of Sweeter than Birdsong, lives with her husband and daughter in the southern United States, where they enjoy working with horses and pampering their dogs.

Her fiction is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books and Such Literary Agency.

Welcome back, Rosslyn. If you could transport Kate, your main character in Sweeter than Birdsong, to 2012, where do you think she’d be living and how would she occupy her time?
Kate would be finding a way to live out her faith in service, which is the journey she takes over the course of the novel. I think she might end up advocating for the people who have no one else to speak for them: the poor, the homeless, even the mentally ill. That’s the 2012 equivalent of what she did in 1856 by standing up for African Americans who were enslaved.

How would Ben Hanby, the hero in Sweeter than Birdsong, finish these statements:
            What frustrates me more than anything is: When society approves of something that is obviously against scripture in spirit.
            When I was a child I wanted to grow up to be: Just like my father Will Hanby.
            The main quality I’m looking for in a wife is: A passionate engagement with life and faith—a desire to make a difference.
            If I suddenly inherited a lot of money I would: Use it to end injustice in whatever way I could.

What does a typical day in the writing life of Rosslyn Elliott look like?
During the writing of Sweeter than Birdsong, I would get up, take my daughter to her two-day-a-week school, come home, and just pound out pages from about 9 am to 2pm. Four to five hours is about my usual work time for writing. There were days when I had to double that in order to make my schedule, and that was rough! Writing takes such intense concentration that writing for nine hours will just about ruin you for anything else that day.

Describe your office or favorite work space.
Alas, my space is not glamorous. I’ve always had a corner of the guest bedroom, where I have a little tiny computer hutch. But it works for me, in all its humble chaos.

If you could book a reservation anywhere in the world for a week-long, all-by-yourself writer’s retreat, where would you go? Without needing to worry about anyone else’s needs for seven days, what kind of writing schedule would you keep?
I would go to a bed and breakfast in Scotland! It would be nice to stay in a castle, but I’d like a renovated, non-drafty one as I’m attached to physical comfort while writing, and I get cold easily. J When I was a preteen, I lived in England because my father was in the Air Force, and while we were in Britain we traveled extensively. I’ve never forgotten the wild beauty of Scotland. I’ve heard that everyone finds an external geography that matches their inner landscape, and for me, that lonely and austere beauty of Scotland satisfied something very deep in my soul.

Do you have any abandoned stories (finished or unfinished) hiding away in files?
I was blessed to be published very rapidly once I finally got up the nerve to write novels. I’ll tell you something though, a bit of a secret. I have some ideas that are very, very different from my first series, and I’m thinking and praying about whether those ideas should be my next project.

What’s next? What can we look forward to reading from Rosslyn Elliott in the future?
Funny you should ask! I’m teetering between two potential projects, and I’m not sure which I’ll choose. Honestly, one of them is such a departure that publishing professionals might tell me I couldn’t or shouldn’t make such a switch so early in my career. But I think that what I’m learning, in this very fluid new world of publishing, is that the old rules don’t apply as strictly as they once did. Here’s the truth: early-career writers are facing serious challenges in breaking through the market anyway, because of the sudden flood of products from self-publishers, small presses, etc. Awards like the Carol Awards and other awards I won for my series help, but maybe not enough, in this vast sea of books now available to readers. So, I think the most important thing is to follow my calling and my passion, and not sell out to someone’s conventional idea of what a writing career used to look like. Because the fact is, that conventional path doesn’t exist in the same way it once did. And that is a blessing, in a way, because it frees us to follow heaven’s call. I think God has placed me in the right place at the right time to do what he intended ME to do, not what he intended any other writer to do. And I have faith that the plan is going to send me exactly where I’m supposed to go. It’s a good feeling.
Any final comments?
I’m grateful to every single reader who takes the time to read one of my novels, and I think you will be uplifted by the true stories of love, courage, and faith in The Saddler’s Legacy series!

Answer Rosslyn‘s question below for a chance to win a copy of Sweeter than Birdsong. Include your email address in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com and respond before 8:30 a.m. EDT this Friday morning to qualify for the drawing. This week, U.S. and Canada readers may qualify. 

As I come to a transitional point in my writing career, I’d love to know about your own big decisions. Have you ever made a decision that went against conventional wisdom, but proved to be the right one nonetheless? How do you know when to follow that inner calling?


Amy Campbell said...

My husband and I were pen pals for six months before meeting. We didn't even exchange pictures until a week before we met. We've been together five years now. I knew from the first letter that he was the one for me.
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Pam K. said...

I think my biggest decision that goes against coventional wisdom (meaning secular wisdom)is to trust God with my finances and to take care of me. I'm also learning to listen and to obey as part of this trust.
I really enjoyed Rosslyn's book Fairer Than Morning so I'd love to win a copy of Sweeter than Birdsong to continue the series. Both this book and the next, Lovelier Than Daylight, are on my wishlist. Thanks for the chance to win.

Rosslyn said...

Amy, what a great story!

Pam, I'm touched to see that you're entered for both this drawing and the one at Bonnie Leon's blog. Thanks for your support, and best of luck in the drawings. :-)