Roseanna, please give us a brief overview of your featured book, The Nature of a Lady.
Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn’t favored in society. She flees to the Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left by her holiday cottage’s former occupant, who mysteriously vanished, and whose charming brother is determined to find her.
Okay, now I need to know what happens! Did some intriguing mystery inspire you to write this book?
When one of my other novels released and I was signing copies pre-ordered from my store, I was struck by how many of my readers had the same name. I thought it would be fun to write a story with a mistaken identity as the premise, and from there, the idea just took off! What if, I thought, one blond, young Elizabeth found herself in trouble and left clues about it behind in her holiday cottage? What if the next guest was also a blond and young Elizabeth, who stumbled across those secrets…and who has to help the first Elizabeth’s brother locate the missing young lady? It proved to be SO MUCH FUN!
Sounds like a perfect setup to me. During your research for the story, did anything unexpected surprise you?
Until I began hunting for an English island I could set a book on, I had no idea that the Isles of Scilly (pronounced like “silly”) even existed. But gracious, they’re amazing! It’s an island chain 28 miles west of Cornwall, in a whole other climate zone than the rest of Europe. It’s warmer there than Cannes, historically referred to as “the land with no winter.” As I learned more and more about the Scillies, I fell more and more in love with them and so enjoyed bringing them to life in my story. (I’d hoped to visit them before the book released so I could make sure I was accurate, but alas! Pandemic. Sigh.)
Do you have a specific takeaway that you hope readers will glean from your book?
That God is bigger—bigger than our limited understanding of Him and His Word; bigger than our insecurities and fears; bigger than the box we try to put Him in. He holds the whole universe in His hand…yet He knows our names and exactly what we need to flourish in this life. This is something my characters explore through the pages, as my heroine struggles to reconcile faith and science and my hero has to face the reality of his grandmother’s advancing age and frailty.
Has being a writer impacted your own relationship with Christ?
I always say that writing is part of my worship. It’s through the stories I write that I explore ideas and themes God lays on my heart and really wrestle with some of the big questions of faith. Sometimes I go in with an idea of the “answer,” but frequently God shows me something new. And that’s always my prayer—that in each book, He’ll reveal a new facet of His truth to me.
What a beautiful concept for a Christian writer – that writing is a part of our worship. Why have you chosen to write historical romance?
Well, that’s a two-fold answer. I write historicals because I (a) love history and (b) think it’s a fabulous way to show readers something about today. Sometimes addressing today’s problems head-on can feel too on-the-nose or intimidating to readers. But history is full of echoes—humanity hasn’t changed at the heart—so if I can show those similar circumstances that we’ve been through before, it not only shines a light on the issue, it also offers hope, because they got through it.
As for the romance part…well, there’s a reason Jesus used brides and bridegrooms in so many of His parables and examples, right? It’s something we all understand, something most people experience, and romantic love—when it’s good and healthy—is a beautiful representation of God’s love for us. What’s more, those decisions about who we love and marry are some of the biggest ones we’ll ever make in our lives, so I feel it’s important that we see through fiction what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like (and label them properly!). Also…they’re just romping good fun.
Among your inspirations, are there pets? Or are pets too much of a distraction?
Ha! As I’m typing this, I have three cats clustered around me, stomping all over my keyboard and jumping onto the back of my chair in their quest to get at the birds singing outside my window. I love my kitties, but man, they do like to get in the way! The youngest cat, Sammy, actually shows up in the pages of The Nature of a Lady though! We rescued her as a kitten (she was meowing for help outside our church), and she was just so adorable and hilarious that I couldn’t resist writing her into the book that I was brainstorming at the time. Our older two cats (sisters) are Lily and Ivy, whose names I borrowed in one of my previous books, A Portrait of Loyalty. So now all three of them have, in one way or another, made it onto the page.
Great fun, I imagine, writing your kitties into the books. But with stories, pets, family, and other responsibilities demanding your time, how do you manage to remain disciplined and meet your deadline?
Practically, I use a three-pronged attack: prioritize, schedule, and delegate. But the guiding principle behind how I use those three is found in answering this question: What do you want to be remembered for? Do that. I don’t honestly care if I’m remembered for keeping a nice house, so those tasks tend to fall by the wayside. But I do want to be remembered for raising awesome kids, so they get a lot of my attention. I want to be remembered as a woman of faith-filled words, so I spend most of my days working on books, either mine or others’ that I’m helping to get into the world. All too often I hear people say they really dream of doing this thing or that thing, they feel called to it, but there’s just no time. I say, if you’re called to it, make the time. Give that top priority. Treat it as sacred. If we honor the things God lays on our hearts, then He’ll help us accomplish everything else on our list too…or see which things can just be removed from our list altogether.
What great principles to live by.
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
Next up for me is book 2 in the Secrets of the Isles series, To Treasure an Heiress. In the second installment we continue the hunt for more pirate treasure and explore the legend of a pirate prince from the point of view of adventure-seeking Beth Tremayne and antiquities hound Lord Sheridan (who may just be the most hilarious character I’ve ever written). I wrote this book at a hard time in my life—my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a week after I started it—but it provided a breath of fresh air and joy for me in those first trying months of learning to live with insulin-dependence. We’re still in the editing process, but I’m so excited to bring the continued adventures of my group of friends into the world in January 2022!