Welcome back to our monthly interview. This month we are welcoming Rose Channing.
Hi Rose, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Why is it that authors can write hundreds of pages about the worlds inside our heads, and yet when we’re asked, “tell me about yourself,” we completely freeze? Probably because you already know the most important thing about me: I’m an author. I live for chasing magic and dreams, so questions people ask about my “real” life seem irrelevant. But, for anyone who wants to know, I grew up in Oregon, graduated with a degree in psychology, now I work in a grocery store, and… Who cares? Let’s get real.
I’m in love with Jenna Marbles. I can’t go a day without acapella music. I’m a hardcore, stereotypical introvert, and enjoy staying indoors on rainy days with a cup of tea and a book. My introversion can turn to a cynical attitude at times, but I’m also an optimist at heart. More than anything else, I want to share Crossworlds with this world—actually, to be honest, that was a secondary dream. The real dream is to actually live in a magical world, so bringing one to life here was only the next best thing. I also have a tendency to go off on tangents that can turn into rants. I also have an intense fear of running out of time, and I don’t know why because I’m only 27 years old. But, time seems to move exponentially faster as we grow older, and there’s so much I want to do and become before it’s over. I could go on, but you only asked for “a bit” so I should wrap this up. If you really want to know who I am, read The Mansion’s Twins. You’ll know me better than my own parents.
What is your inspiration for writing and what genre do you focus on?
I’ve always been in love with magic and fantasy, and anything that lifted me out of the real world. My desire to capture that led me to a lot of places, from childhood games and backyard exploration, to practicing lucid dreaming so I could capture and control an unreal world. I’ve been inspired by every part of the search. Dreams, games, books, it all played a part, and I discovered I could make something about of nothing. That, to me, is real magic. Once I discovered what daydreaming and playing around could lead me to create, I gave myself permission to go further, even though others considered it childish or lazy. Permission to play was my most powerful tool for inspiration. Obviously, my genre of choice was fantasy. I also wanted to stay in the young adult realm to capture both the magic of childhood, and the discovery and adventure of growing up.
How do you get into your characters to make them real and who is your favorite character?
My sister used to make fun of me for having imaginary friends, thinking it was “just a phase.” I defiantly responded with “I’ll still have imaginary friends when I’m a teenager!” Guess who was right? I still have them as an adult. I would pretend Ellie and Savannah would talk to me through the mirror in my room, like they were talking to me from the other world, and that’s how I got to know them.
Character development has always been one of my favorite parts of writing, combining my love of studying people’s minds with my love of creating stories. When people ask me what I’m going to “do” with my psychology degree, sometimes I’ll laugh and say “character development?” like it’s a joke. Truthfully, it’s been very helpful to put myself into their shoes and really explore their perspectives.
I found the twins easier to form because of my many “conversations” with them, and because they have almost opposite personalities. I learned who they were by contrasting them against each other.
But, I think my favorite character is Eva. A dancer with purple hair, strong magic, and a dark secret? What’s not to love? She was one of those characters who always drew my attention back to her, who said, “hey, I’ve got something incredible going on! It’s even better than Ellie and Savannah! You need to tell my story too!”
Have you been influenced by any authors, and which author do you read most?
I’m sure I was influenced by JK Rowling, as the Harry Potter series was the beginning of my love of fantasy. Another influential author is Cornelia Funke. I loved the idea of characters from a book coming to life in the real world, like in “Inkheart.”
But my all time favorite series is Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. It’s what first opened my eyes to the existence of other worlds. Wow, that sounded weird, but it’s the truth. These books stuck with me most for several reasons: They made other worlds seem perfectly real and plausible (I’ve believed ever since), I fell absolutely in love with hot air balloons and people who fly them because of Lee Scoresby, and these books smashed my heart to pieces in ways I didn’t even think possible. Really. That thing that happened toward the end of The Amber Spyglass was the most devastating thing I’ve ever read, and nothing has even come close to topping it. I’ve actually had to hide the books for years to avoid re-reading, simply because I know I can’t handle it emotionally. Also, these were the books that inspired over half of Crossworlds: I was reading The Golden Compass when I paused and thought, “I want to meet these people.” I then stared into space for about twenty minutes, and the second half of the Crossworlds series was born, where Rose meets her characters, and tries to figure out whether or not she has real power over their lives.
Do you have any hobbies and do they inspire any of your writings?
I’ve tried out a variety of creative hobbies, because they all help to keep my brain active and ready for new ideas and inspiration. I grew up with ballet classes, and soon included tap and jazz. I played the violin, and took some acting classes. I joined the dance team in high school, and sang in the choir. It’s a secondary dream of mine to be in an acapella group, but despite auditioning multiple times in college, I never made it in. But, maybe someday I’ll sing in my very own Summer’s Angels. Anyway… I also love trying to draw my characters, despite having zero talent for it. Whenever I find myself putting off my writing, I try to ease back into my world in another way, which is usually drawing or singing.
What are you currently writing and can we have a sneaky peek?
Right now I am working on the prequel to The Mansion’s Twins, which will take us way back in time, all the way to the days of Claire and Dimitri. Stories of the Early Days will reveal what really happened between Claire, Lidia, and Dimitri, not to mention, you know, the entire start of existence in this magical world. I’ll go ahead and give a little glimpse:
“What has he been telling you?” Lidia said.
“Dimitri, of course. I heard all the strange questions your little twins asked, wondering why we even wanted immortality in the first place. Who wouldn’t? Aren’t I right, Claire? Don’t you still want everything we dreamed about?”
“I…” She paused. Lidia could see right through a lie. “I do, but…”
“If we go to the mansion, we can’t hurt anyone who lives there. It the center of the world’s magic, we don’t have the right—”
“The right? Don’t you think we’ve earned the right? I see what he’s doing to you. You think you love him, don’t you? But would you hold on to that for nothing in return? No one’s going to remember your name if you stay with him. He’s holding you back! I’m not asking you to hurt him—I’m not asking you to hurt anyone, all I want is to get inside the mansion. Why haven’t you even taken me there?”
“Lidia, I—I’m sorry.”
“You promised me no more secrets.”
“I didn’t want to put my twins in danger, I—”
“I know, Claire, I know. But now they’re gone. You’ve been to the center of magic, you can lead us there too!”
“I didn’t go alone,” Claire said. “I don’t know the way, not by myself.”
“Then we’ll find a way. But first, just between us… What was it like?”
“I… I don’t have words for it…”
“You don’t have to. I can see it in your eyes. Don’t you want that feeling back? What if you could have it all the time?”
Claire was silent. She couldn’t deny she wanted what Lidia described, but that didn’t matter. Dimitri was worth more. Wasn’t he?
Can we have links to your Facebook Twitter Amazon etc?
What do you find frustrating about publishing, and what advice would you give authors?
I think the most frustrating parts have been learning to format my books and covers. Other parts of the process, the writing, editing, even the marketing, can certainly be frustrating, but they’re far more fun because I can still live inside the world of the story. Formatting and struggling to learn the weird techy side of it sometimes feels tedious and like a waste of time. Which of course, drives me up the wall because I’m terrified of running out of time. I should be building my world…
Anyway, I think the advice I’d give authors is to remember why we started. Remember the joy of it. If you set out to publish, and your first priority is fame and fortune, you’re doing it wrong. Of course we all want that, and anyone who says they don’t care about it is straight up lying. So, if that’s high on what you want, well, of course it is! That’s not really going to help or hinder you—actually, it might help if it drives you to keep going. But if there’s no joy, you won’t get far. Of course you want the fame and fortune, but I’ll bet that’s not why you started writing.
I’ll bet you set out because of something deeper. You fell in love with the magic of books. You fell in love with this magical ability to create something out of nothing, taking people to new worlds using only 26 letters. Isn’t that crazy? Doesn’t that make you believe in magic again? Whenever you feel that frustration, remember why you started, and what you’ve already accomplished. You have an actual magical ability. Be proud, and don’t give up.
What was your first attempt at writing, did you publish it or file it?
That’s hard to say, because when I first began “writing” I was only trying to capture a secret world so I could remember it later in life. I wanted to remember the magic of my childhood, and carry it with me. I thought I was terrible at “writing” because I was always limited to school work, I didn’t even realize I was already doing it! But eventually I realized scribbling in my notebook to keep these dreams and memories was my favorite part of every day. I loved talking to my imaginary friends through the mirror, pretending they were really coming from another world. I watched a story form, which turned into a book, which turned into two, and so on. Ellie and Savannah’s world was always my home, that’s where I began and that’s where I’ll stay. I think The Mansion’s Twins was my first attempt at writing, and many years later I did publish it.
Rose we thank you for this insight into your writing world and wish you success with all your books.