Sunday, January 8, 2012

Interview with Debut Author Calisa Rhose

Last month, HOME, written by good friend and fellow Writing Diva, Calisa Rhose, was released by The Wild Rose Press. She's here to tell us about her writing life and HOME. I'm excited to feature her debut book and have her visit with us today.

What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?

Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?
Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?
1.     How long did it take you to write HOME? It took nine months from the first word to submission to write HOME.
2.     How much research did you conduct for HOME and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research? I did quite a bit of research about clothes and music in the 60’s. The most interesting part of that research was also the most disturbing. I had to know what the Vietnam war did to the soldiers, what emotional turmoil they endured after returning to their homes. I also wanted to know what happened over there that impacted them the worst or best. Some of the information out in the internet is chilling. You may be surprised to know what those men went through. The fact that they put that out there for the world says a lot about the kind of people who fought that war.
3.     Why did you decide to write historical? You may not understand this, but I didn’t choose to write it. I write contemporary and paranormal. This era, the story, chose me in this case.
4.     Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing, The End? Of course I need revisions, edits. But I edit heavily as I write so it might be less than someone else needs. With HOME in particular I had maybe an hour of edits through all rounds combined by my editor, Nan Swanson. My first round took me thirty minutes to do. But that doesn’t mean I always get that lucky. A previous submission took several months of revisions before I said enough and pulled it from the publisher. It just wasn’t getting where we wanted it no matter how many rewrites or drafts I wrote.
5.     When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters? Lol I’d like to say I am. Wouldn’t we all (writers)? But the honest truth is that as compulsive as I am to be in charge of everything in my life, oddly, while writing it’s the only time I’m truly NOT in control. It may seem strange that I choose a career that takes that control from me, but I think it really chose me. I love that freedom to let my characters take over. It’s a charge like nothing in life for me when a character takes over and runs with a scene. I fall into a zone and it’s heaven! Plus the word count at those times can be pretty impressive, even to me! J
6.     Have you had any "ah ha" moments as a writer? Oh sure. Who hasn’t. It took me forever to figure out what my first cps meant when they kept telling me to SHOW this, or SHOW there. Show? I thought that’s what I was doing. And then one day it finally clicked and it was a total AH-HA! moment for me. Since then I’ve become a SHOW-a-holic. It’s maddening now when my cps say “you’re TELLING this, SHOW me!” I know that, and yet I still do it. I wonder some days if there’s any hope for me. Lol
7.     What advice do you have for other writers? Read what you write and write what you read know. And write. Write. Write. I won’t say write every day, I don’t, but write. If you don’t write and never get published you have nobody to blame but yourself when you fail. You can only fail by not trying.
8.     What was the most exciting thing that happened to you after you signed your contract – besides receiving your first check as a published author? Oh wow. There were a few firsts besides the first actual sale. Getting that email with my cover attached was a highlight. I was afraid to open that attachment because What if I don’t like it? I’d already been informed I couldn’t ask for a different one if I didn’t like it. I could ask for corrections to text, but not a new cover. Of course, I needn’t have worried. Tina Lynn Stout did such a perfectly fabulous job! Don’t you agree?
9.     How does your family feel about your career as a romance writer? Most of the years they were shrug their shoulders and go on. Then hubby began pushing me to really submit so I finally got serious in 2005. I think my family was proud, but skeptical I’d publish. I know I was. Now? They are proud and tell their friends I’m a romance writer.
10.  What do you want your readers to take away with them after reading the story? When all seems lost, when everything, everyone you know fails you—there is still someone and somewhere to whom you belong. Home is more than a place. Belonging begins in your own heart. If you can’t accept you, how can anyone else?
11.  What was the defining moment that you considered yourself an author? When I mailed my first submission and got a rejection within three weeks.
12.  With so many changes in publishing over the past year, where do you see the future of publishing going? Into a scary mist where no one will be able to figure out what will happen next. I mean, last week we hear how ebooks are taking over where last year print was the only way to go. Now this week it’s all about indie publishing. It’s enough to make my head spin trying to keep up. No I haven’t self published, but I won’t say I’ll never do it. Why? Because five years ago I said I’d never epublish and look where I published first! Lol
13.  What makes a man attractive to you? Sensitivity. I don’t care for the alpha males who take without giving equally. Oh- and dimples! I adore dimples. ;)
14.  What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done? I’m five feet nothing and lucky to weigh a hundred pounds, so I get odd looks when people find out I broke horses when I was younger. I mean, saddle up and hang on- broke horses. Of course, I preferred they not buck so I spent a LOT of time earning trust and using ways to keep a horse from bucking if at all possible
15.  What’s your biggest dream? To have a horse rescue. There are so many horses dumped during droughts and severe winters here that they were literally running the city streets during the blizzard of 07. That broke my heart. After a two year drought and then a blizzard there wasn’t enough hay to feed the animals and people were dumping their pets in the streets like a stray dog. Horses can’t fend for scraps like a dog or cat so they were dying of starvation.
16.  If you were a millionaire would you still write? Yes. I can’t not write. I’d just have a high tech secretarial system to take dictation. LOL
Author Bio:
Small-town country girl Calisa Rhose lives in a semi-remote area of Oklahoma with her husband, five dogs, one cat and one horse. All of her three daughters and their families live within throwing distance. She’s a member of RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. She intends to nurture and continue to grow as an author with the help of her family and supporters.
Get your copy of HOME at The Wild Rose Press and on Amazon.
Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com
On twitter @Calisa_Rhose and Facebook @Calisa Rhose
She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at calisa.rhose@gmail.com