Welcome to the one hundred and thirty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with Christian suspense novelist and memoirist Rosie Cochran. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello Rosie. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Rosie: I’m an accidental writer. I didn’t set out to be one. I became one to ward off boredom and to keep my mind fresh. It began when our twins reached the “terrible two” stage—times two.
Rosie: We were living in a remote tribal village at the time. Civilization was a 3½ hour flight by a small Cessna plane over nothing but jungle away from our home. Home was a jungle hut with mud and pole walls and a palm roof. Running water meant the water was run up in buckets from the river, poured into our water barrels, and pumped up to higher barrels to finally mimic real running water. We were remote and primitive.
Morgen: A bit like Northampton then…
Rosie: I was in the language learning process of the Maquiritare tribal language when our twins reached that significant age of two. The terrible twos times two. My goal in life became to keep them out of trouble, which meant keeping them within sight. Language learning was tabled. I became bored. That’s when writing became my friend. A pad of paper went with me as I kept the twins in sight. I began to write and fell in love with it. Out of the terrible twos came my first novel, “Betrayed,” written on a pad on my knee as I watched our twins play.
Morgen: ‘Betrayed’ sounds intriguing. And you could write something about twins (my mum / aunt have just celebrated their 80ths!). What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Rosie: Christian Suspense. I’m strongly considering writing a memoir on our time as missionaries.
Morgen: Memoirs are very popular, especially in the Red Cross shop I work in. 🙂 What have you had published to-date? If applicable, can you remember where you saw your first books on the shelves?
Rosie: To-date, I have written three novels: Betrayed; the sequel, Identity Revealed; and my newest novel, A Murder Unseen.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Rosie: As an indie writer, marketing falls solely to me. This is where my learning curve has been stretched. At least now I am living stateside which makes marketing easier.
Morgen: Presumably not in a hut. 🙂 Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Rosie: A Murder Unseen is available in Kindle format at www.Amazon.com, both in the USA and the UK. I would like to get the other books into Kindle as well, but those projects are still a ways down on my To Do List! Watch my website for updates on that! (http://www.booksbyrosie.net)
Morgen: Ooh great. 🙂
Rosie: Warning to the British: though British by birth and raised in Canada, I am now an American and you’ll probably think they’ve corrupted my spelling and grammar as I now write “American!” (Yes, even down to their still strange in my mind placement of quotation marks!)
Rosie: The process?
Morgen: Ah yes…
Rosie: Time-consuming. It would be easier to have someone do it for me, but I really want to learn the process. Time will tell whether I am successful in the conversion or not!
Morgen: I’m going through that at the moment. My editor Rachel has offered to do it (and she still may) but I have a lot I want to ‘publish’ so I’m learning from the ground up. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Rosie: At the moment I am working on formatting “A Murder Unseen” into Kindle format, as well as marketing the book. I am beginning to write the memoir, though am only a few chapters in and undecided as to the direction I want to take with it. Should it be a memoir? Should I write it in first person? Second person? Or from the viewpoint of a young Maquiritare girl watching the strange white people moving into her village? I’m still mulling over the possibilities.
Morgen: Ooh second person! I love second person. I’d say go for that (but I’m biased) but the young girl’s pov sounds good too. I really like your cover by the way. 🙂 Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Rosie: Most days. I do work a full-time job, so time is precious. Between story ideas and two blogs I maintain, it’s rare that I don’t write something each day.
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Rosie: I keep reading that I am supposed to plot out my stories. I always even plan to. It just never seems to work that way. It’s the seed of an idea that gets planted in my mind that just won’t go away and begs to become a story. Sooner or later, I find I’ve written part of a story with the storyline evolving as it goes along. It’s just so much fun. As the story grows, I do write out the timeline, filling in the holes, and watching for inconsistencies. I also write out information for each character: physical descriptions, character summaries, and any idiosyncrasies I’ve given them.
Morgen: I plotted the first http://nanowrimo.org novel I did but it didn’t stick much to it so haven’t really planned anything since then, and as you say it’s fun. 🙂 Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Rosie: As the story becomes real to me, I write out summaries for my characters. They usually become a blend of the characteristics of people I know. This makes them real to me, which in turn, makes them believable. I work at not making them ‘me’.
Morgen: You sound very organised. Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
Rosie: My mother. Mothers are always your best fan, right?
Morgen: Often, but not in my case (my stuff’s too dark although I do send her the lighter stuff and articles I’ve had published).
Rosie: And then my sister, because she’s got the nerve to edit it to pieces for me, to point out my strange way of wording things, and to help me sound more American—and less like a British-born, Canadian-raised, 18-year resident of Venezuela, who now is an American citizen living in the USA!
Morgen: With lots of experience. 🙂 Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Rosie: I’m a full-time secretary. I see something in writing and I instinctively edit it. Fully-formed can still be edited! I have to get to the point when I say enough is enough—and just stop.
Morgen: I’m a secretary (part-time) too. That’s me to a tee… four edits and that’s it (less actually now Rachel’s involved). 🙂 What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Rosie: Chapters begin more like visual scenes in my mind. It’s a movie script playing before me before I sit down. The scene comes together with actions and words—and then it’s time to sit down, pen in hand, and get it into words.
Morgen: Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Rosie: Having begun writing on paper, I wasn’t sure if I could write creatively on the computer. At first, I just couldn’t. Time has a way of changing things. Now I prefer the computer. Creative juices flow into it!
Morgen: Don’t they, although apparently we use different parts of the brain for each format so maybe keeping a mixture is good. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Rosie: I love writing. I only wish I could actually make a living doing it!
Morgen: Don’t we all. Just keep going – as long as you enjoy it that’s the main thing. What do you like to read?
Rosie: I’ve raised four boys. No girls. Romance movies are rare in our home. Action movies reign. Therefore, I guess it should be no surprise that I love reading suspense and mysteries.
Morgen: Me too (older brother, no sisters), nothing wrong with that. 🙂 You mentioned a real mixture of places earlier, in which country are you based now and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Rosie: Though being raised in Canada, I married an American, became an American, and am based in the USA. I feel it is a plus for marketing. Of course, I’m continually watching my spelling and grammar to keep it American, instead of Canadian, as this is where I live.
Morgen: I hadn’t realised they were different. 🙂 Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Rosie: I do go to different forums. I have found them helpful, full of great advice, though my time is so limited at present that I don’t get to go to them as much as I’d like. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great. They keep and build relationships which are invaluable for an author’s platform.
Morgen: They are great, aren’t they. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Rosie: There are several places you can find me, depending on which avenues are most comfortable for you. You can follow me on any of the options below:
– My Website: Books by Rosie (unfortunately only set up for purchases in the continental USA)
– My blogs: Rosie Rambles On and Writing to Marketing
– My Amazon.com author page
– USA: Amazon.com
– I know they are available at Amazon.com in Canada & the UK, but am not sure of the links
– My Facebook page: Rosie Cochran, Writer
– Twitter @RosieCochran
Morgen: Thank you Rosie and good luck with your new book. Oh and the UK link is Amazon.co.uk (currently just £4.98) and Canada is Amazon.ca. 🙂
Welsh-born Rosie Cochran and her husband, Matt, served as missionaries in Venezuela for eighteen years with New Tribes Mission. Currently Rosie is enjoying her varied role as pastor’s wife, home-schooling mom to their youngest two sons, and full-time secretary at their former home church. Rosie is the proud mother of four sons.
Rosie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Intercultural Ministries from NTM. She holds NACPB Certification in Bookkeeping, QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel, and is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Her hobbies include writing, blogging, and website design.
Rosie has written three books: Betrayed, Identity Revealed (a sequel to Betrayed), and A Murder Unseen.
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