Rosie lives at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand with her husband. Their children have left home now, but the days are full with gardening, music, photography and, of course, writing. Walking on the beach or swimming in the hot salt water pool, both two minutes walk down the hill, keep the illusion of fitness.
In her other life she was a doctor. Now she enjoys reminiscing. An incurable romantic, she delights in the opportunity to combine both in her medical romances.
Interview Rosie Graham
Barbara Wilson Wright
1) What in your opinion makes a good writer?
For me, writers are good if they can get right inside the mind of their characters and then find the right shade of word to describe them. Add a good plot to this and I’ll love it. But I lose interest in the trickiest plot if there are no real characters to play it out.
2) In your story do you focus more on character or plot?
My natural inclination is to focus more on character but I accept the discipline of plotting and in fact plot in detail. I’m not a ‘seat of the pants writer’. I like to have the way ahead clear—floodlit even—so I can set up what’s coming. This helps me to keep the big picture in mind and not, as I realize I’m prone to do, get too preoccupied with individual words and sentences.
3) What was your first story, essay, book or writing attempt? Looking back at it did you ever think you would become a published author?
To answer the last question first, no. That only happened to other people. My first writing effort was a romance novel and it was AWFUL. I cringe to remember that I sent it in to a competition. It was, of course, marked low but the remarks were the kindest I’ve ever had. They took pity on me obviously. One judge said she looked forward to the sequel, and I was so encouraged. I’ve never forgotten their thoughtfulness and keep it in mind when I mark competitions now.
As I wrote more I gradually learned the hard lessons, but at the beginning it was difficult to keep them all in the front of my mind while I was writing—it’s like learning to drive a car and trying to concentrate on your hands steering and your feet on the pedals and the traffic all around you at the same time, or a rookie photographer trying to be simultaneously aware of a lamp post coming out of her head and a too busy background and where the sun is and hands and feet sticking out and… In time an increasing number of these things become automatic which leaves the mind free to concentrate on the details. I hope I’m to that stage with my writing. (And my photography!)
4) In all your readings, tell me your favorite characters and why you like them. Have you incorporated some of their traits into your writing?
I really can’t go past Jane Austen’s characters, but not all of them. I lose patience with Fanny Price. She’s just too good to be true and Edmund is so noble and pious that they deserve each other. But her spirited heroines are wonderful, especially Elizabeth Bennet. Even when she gives her heroines major foibles, like Emma’s penchant for interfering, they are likeable. Some of her heroes are a bit pallid, but Darcy is to die for. What is it about him that, even with his arrogance, he grabs the reader?
My problem with my characters is to make them strong but keep them nice. I’d incorporate the traits of Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy (and Jane Austen’s light touch in telling about them) into my own books if I could. Wouldn’t we all! But I can’t put my finger on how she does it. I guess I’ll have to continue to search for my own recipe.
5) Tell me about your next project.
Clean up the house, actually. After that, as reward for being good, I’ll allow myself to finish another medical romance I’m part way through. It is beginning to preoccupy me—little snippets of speech intrude into my thoughts—so it’s time I got it out of my system by writing it down. I find myself slipping into flippancy if I’m not careful but this book is not a comedy. Neither is Another Chance at Love.
I like to write humor but sometimes I find it a bit of a strain trying to be funny for 200 odd pages! Writing about sadness is more rewarding because the same things make most people cry. Humor is so subjective. It’s disheartening to giggle myself silly while writing a scene only to leave readers po-faced.
6) What’s one thing about yourself which you’d like your readers to know.
I’d like my readers to know how much I enjoy writing. I’m totally hooked on words and I’m so grateful that someone will actually pay to read them. Thank you, readers.