Title:Road From The WestAuthor:Rosanne E.LortzSeries:Chronicles of Tancred, Book 1Publisher:Madison Street PublishingRelease Date:Sept 2,2011Pages:360
About the Book:
Haunted by guilt from the past and nightmares of the future, a young Norman named Tancred takes the cross and vows to be the first to free Jerusalem from the infidels. As he journeys to the Holy Land, he braves vast deserts, mortal famine, and the ever-present ambushes of the enemy Turks—but the greatest danger of all is deciding which of the Crusader lords to trust. A mysterious seer prophesies that Tancred will find great love and great sorrow on his journey, but the second seems intent on claiming him before he can find the first. Intrigues and passions grow as every battle brings the Crusaders one step closer to Jerusalem. Not all are destined to survive the perilous road from the West.
About the Author:
“Rose” is a medieval enthusiast, a history teacher, a book addict, a mom to two baby boys, and a native of Portland, Oregon. She graduated from New St. Andrews College. in 2005 with a B. A. in Liberal Arts and Culture and worked as a high school teacher for several years teaching classes in English, history, literature, and music. She married David Spears in December of 2009 and they were blessed with twin boys, Adam and Oliver, in November of 2010.
Tell us about Rosanne. Who are you when you’re not writing?
It’s so much easier to describe a book character than it is to describe oneself. Who am I? I am a twenty-eight-year-old book collector, medieval enthusiast, and mom to twins. When I’m not typing away at the keyboard, I love to bake bread, sing in choir, play piano, and volunteer at my church.
Do you have a day job as well?
Up until last year I taught history, literature, and music at a small high school. Since the birth of my twin boys in November of last year, I’ve “retired” from my day job to focus on taking care of them and writing historical fiction. I still teach a few piano students on the side and do writing tutoring when the occasion presents itself.
How did you choose the genre you write in and where do your ideas come from?
Ever since elementary school, historical fiction has always been my favorite genre. In college, I had the opportunity to write my thesis on a historical subject (the life of Archbishop Thomas Becket) and I discovered that I actually enjoyed all the research that went into it. From there, it was an easy leap to decide that I wanted to write my own historical novels. Most of my fiction ideas come from reading medieval primary sources—there are so many exciting stories in those thousand-year-old chronicles just waiting to be shared with modern readers.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
When I began writing my first book, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, I didn’t think much further ahead than getting the novel out of my head and onto paper. When it was finished, I was presented with a new obstacle: what do I do with this completed novel? At the time, I wasn’t keen on putting in the time it would take to get an agent, so I decided to take the self-published route and put out I Serve myself in 2009. One of my friends works for a “real” publishing company as a layout designer and cover artist, so she formatted my book for me and helped me jump through all the necessary hoops to produce a professional-looking product.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Self-publishing I Serve was a huge learning process for me. It would have helped me to know more about the publishing industry before I started (How do I get an ISBN?). But despite my ignorance, everything seemed to fall together in my favor. The novel took off with a great deal more success that I had ever imagined and gave me the confidence I needed to continue writing.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
The short answer to that question is: no. After the success of my first book, my husband and I decided to start our own publishing company, Madison Street Publishing. Our goal with this new company was to publish my subsequent novels and to help other unknown authors find their niche in the changing world of today’s publishing. I suppose the benefit of having your own publishing company is that you always have a vehicle to put out books you have written. It does give you the added responsibility, however, of finding your own editors and cover artists to present a polished product to the readers.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
My husband is the primary marketing agent for my work. Because the books are self-published/small press, we don’t have the luxury of getting them into chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble. Consequently, the Internet is our best friend. On Amazon, an author from an obscure background has as much chance of reaching an audience of readers as does an established author under the auspices of the top publishing houses. Our best marketing success has come from sending review copies to book bloggers (like yourself) and running ads with websites like Kindle Nation Daily.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite part of Road from the West is probably a scene towards the end where Tancred is ambushed by three Turks and has to fight his way out of a tight spot. Danger is everywhere as Tancred fends off his assailants with his back to the rocks, a dagger in one hand, and a sword in the other. I’ve always enjoyed writing action sequences, and the rapid staccato of sentences increases my typing speed to a furious pace.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I suppose the least pleasant criticism I’ve received is from a few readers who found my storylines boring. I don’t mind my writing being considered “too intellectual” or “too descriptive”, but boring is definitely not something I aspire to. The best compliment is when a reader compares my work to one of the historical fiction greats like Sharon Kay Penman or Elizabeth Chadwick. That kind of comparison makes me all smiles.
Here’s a couple of quirky questions for you, Rosanne….
What’s your favorite movie?
This is a difficult question! Can I give more than one answer? From childhood, I have always adored Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. My favorite comedy is probably Intolerable Cruelty with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and my favorite drama is the North and South miniseries with Richard Armitage.
Cake with or without ice cream?
Cake with ice cream. And it’s especially important that the ice cream scoop-age be proportional to the size of the cake piece. I hate getting to the last few bites of cake and realizing that there’s no more ice cream to go with them.
Date night out, or date night in?
Date night out! With a set of rambunctious year old twins keeping me busy at home, I love going out whenever I can. It’s my birthday this week, and I’m looking forward to the rare dinner and a movie with my husband while the grandparents watch the kids.
Thanksgiving or Christmas?
Definitely Christmas. I love turning on Christmas music three months early and planning out all my gift giving for family and friends. When I got married two years ago, I had a December wedding and combined it with as much of the seasonal festivity as I could. We decorated with evergreens and Christmas ornaments, and I came down the aisle to “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”
Physical copy of a book or eReader?
I don’t own an e-reader yet, but I’m open to the idea. My husband has a Kindle and he loves it. My book collection is a big part of my life, however, and I think that if I really loved an e-book, I would want to go out and purchase a hard copy of it as well.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks for all the support I’ve received from the historical fiction community of readers! I’ve really enjoyed this blog tour for Road from the West, and especially seeing all of your comments. Cheers!
Thanks for stopping by, Roseanne!
Next Stop:October 19th Review at The True Book Addict