Rosemary Clement-Moore is with us today to talk about her latest release THE SPLENDOR FALLS. I met Rosemary through my local RWA chapter. She was the first Young Adult author that I read, and I have to say that I LOVE her books. It's especially fun that I can share them with my oldest kiddo who is reading Rosemary's first book and will be doing a journal exercise on it for school.

Rosemary is one of those genuine people that you sincerely want to see succeed. This last summer at the RWA National Conference, Rosemary was a RITA nominee for the Young Adult category. A group of us that know Rosemary sat together and I'm pretty sure that we were crying more than she was when she won.

It's is an absolute thrill to have Rosemary with us here today.

How tumultuous was your writing journey, or were you one of those lucky writers who got picked up on the first attempt?

I did sell the first novel I finished, but not the first one(s) I'd attempted. I'd written short stories and plays before, but Prom Dates From Hell was the first time I'd managed to break out of that endless cycle (come on, we've all done it) of writing three chapters, revising them to death, until we're sick of the project and start another first three chapters... etc. etc. etc.

Of course, I prefer to think it was due to my fabulous talent rather than luck. ;-) And some of it was planning--I made a very strategic attack on my agent querying process. Lots of research, lots of tactical analysis. And my agent is awesome--she had a lot to do with things. Plus, I had a YA paranormal to sell, right as YA paranormals were really taking off. That, however, wasn't planning. That really was just dumb luck.

Which books are still on your shelf from when you were in school? Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?

Pride and Prejudice, of course. Most of the Shakespeare plays (whether I liked them or not), Jane Eyre, Dante's Inferno, The Canterbury Tales, Rebecca, The Odyssey, Brave New World, Turn of the Screw, The Crucible, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Antigone and Oedipus Rex, Cyrano de Bergerac... I seem to have hung onto a lot of plays. This may just be because they're thin and take up less room on the shelf. Also, I took a drama as literature class in college. Those may be from that class.

What books have improved with (my) age? The Scarlet Letter, I think. In high school I couldn't see past my youthful feminist indignation that Hester was punished and her lover was not. I hated everyone in that book. Now I see Hawthorne's point--by turning her "A" into a thing of beauty and wearing her sin outwardly, Hester fared better than Dimmesdale and his unacknowledged sin/guilt. Plus, maybe I have spent more time thinking about sin and repentance since then. ;-) I won't say it's become a pleasure to read, but I appreciate it now.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My editor! That's the only absolute. My critique partners give me excellent advice, though, and I always evaluate everything they say, though I don't 100% follow it. In the end, you have to listen to your gut, because it's your name on the cover.

Last page: read it first or wait ’til the end?

Wait until the end. Very rarely do I turn to the end, and when I do it means I'm evaluating whether the book is going to be worth the effort of finishing... and if I'm even asking myself this question, it's not a good sign.

What’s the best part of being an author?

Getting to work my own hours, creating my own worlds where I can have complete control. It's nirvana for a control freak like me!

Tell us about your book THE SPLENDOR FALLS. When does it come out and can you give us a teaser for our readers?

THE SPLENDOR FALLS, which just came out September 8th, is a gothic, romantic mystery set in Alabama. (You may have notices Rebecca and Jane Eyre on my keeper list. I love gothic novels!) When ballerina Sylvie's dance career is ended by a terrible injury, she's sent to stay with her late father's family, in a remote, antebellum mansion where the past is a little too much alive. She's seeing things that aren't there (like shades of her ancestors), feeling things she can't explain (like why she feels she knows complete strangers), and doubting her own sanity. There's magic, mythology and mystery, and Kirkus reviews says it's "Satisfying and chilling."

Here's a little taste:

I managed to lever the suitcase onto the edge of the carousel, and stood in an uncomfortable arabesque while I tried to figure out how to pull it down without knocking my good leg out from under me. That would be an awkward headline: Ex-ballerina flattened by actual baggage. Overdose of irony suspected.

“Careful there.” The masculine voice startled me, but not nearly as much as the arm that wrapped around me, steadying the heavy pink suitcase. My normal instincts--the one that told me when someone was coming up behind me, the one that told me to scream ‘fire’ instead of ‘rape’ if someone grabbed me--all short circuited with a tangible fizzle so strong that I was surprised I didn’t smell smoke.

My inhale of alarm carried in a whiff of herbal soap, but it was the scent of clean air and damp earth that filled my head and took me to a strange place, so I seemed to be simultaneously standing in an airport in Alabama, and someplace wild and wet and green. The only constants were the steadying arms around me, and the feeling that my heart was going to beat out of my chest with anticipation, or fear, or both.

It was dizzying, unnerving, like confusing a memory with a dream. For an instant, the nanosecond between information coming in and my brain processing it, I was certain that if I turned around, I would know this guy.

My heart squeezed with real fear then, at the thought that reality going slippery on me. Again. But before panic could do more than flex its claws, the moment ended. The eerie feeling of recognition vanished, leaving just a perfectly normal rush of Wow, someone smells really nice in its wake.

Any parting words for our readers and aspiring writers?

Keep moving forward, whatever stage you're in. That cycle of writing and revising the same chapter over and over comes from fear--fear you do thing 'wrong,' fear of moving forward. But you can't leave things unwritten. Mistakes can be fixed, certainly in prose, and most of the time in life. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep living. When you make mistakes, learn from them, cut the paragraphs (or chapters, or entire manuscript), and start over.

And good luck!

Check out Rosemary's website at www.rosemaryclementmoore.com and be sure to pick up her book!

Comments (6)

On September 10, 2009 at 11:00 AM , Nikki Duncan said...

Good morning Rosemary. Thanks for being here.

 
On September 10, 2009 at 11:44 AM , Rosemary Clement-Moore said...

Thanks Nikki! You are so sweet. I got a little teary just reading the introduction to my own interview. Yes, I'm that big a dork.

(Readers--Nikki took good care of me when I was flying home after the RWA Conference and the Rita ceremony the night before. I was a little... out of it.)

 
On September 10, 2009 at 2:43 PM , Kris_Cook said...

Rosemary - great Blog - Books sounds wonderful! Good luck!

 
On September 10, 2009 at 4:32 PM , Andrea said...

Hi Rosemary! I'm Andrea.

I'm reading your book Prom Dates from Hell. It's really good. I like it.

Was reading or English your favorite subject in school?

 
On September 10, 2009 at 10:26 PM , Mary Marvella said...

Southern Gothic? Perfect, Rosemary. Sounds like a keeper!

 
On September 11, 2009 at 9:12 AM , Rosemary Clement-Moore said...

English/reading was always my favorite subject until I got to high school, and then it depended on the teacher and the reading list. Let's just say there are probably a couple of teachers who'd be really surprised I ended up being a published writer.

I've always had the flaw that I've worked very hard at things I wanted to do, and not at all at things that didn't interest me. When I moved my parents a few years ago, I found that written on my third grade report card.

Some things never change. I always get to the end of a manuscript with all the fun scenes written and the hard transition/exposition scenes left to do.