|The cover of Caroline's newest novel!|
Caroline, I know all of your fans are so excited for your new book, entitled, BLUE BIRDS, which will be published in March of 2015.
Can you tell us a little bit about the book?
It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.
Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.
A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.
I know this is another historical fiction book. How much research did you complete to write this? How did you organize this information? Did you make timelines or keep the information in a folder?
I never seem to approach writing the same way twice. For Blue Birds I researched for six to nine months, keeping notes in a journal, before I started any writing. I also had a folder full of photocopies of Elizabethan clothing, timelines, jumbled notes on scraps of paper, and the 1587 Roanoke voyage manifest, as well as website articles. Here’s a blog post filled with my “behind the scenes” work on Blue Birds. http://carolinestarrrose.com/behind-scenes-glimpse-blue-birds/
How long did it take you to write the book?
The first idea came to me in 2008. I began my research in 2010, started writing in 2011, sold the book in 2013, and finished everything in 2014.
What does your typical writing day look like? What time do you start writing? What time do you usually stop writing?
I’m not sure if I have a typical day! Mornings start with getting my two middle schoolers out the door. Then I head to the gym or on a run. After that, I settle down to work. I aim for two hours of writing a day. Of course, I usually work beyond that, especially when on deadline. Writing can be very tricky, so an attainable goal helps keep me moving in a positive direction.
How do you manage raising your two boys with your writing career?
When the boys were babies, I used the same gentle approach to goal setting that I still use today. Back then, though, I aimed for three writing sessions a week. Sometimes they lasted 10 minutes, sometimes as much as two hours. While I didn’t produce mass quantities of writing, it was doable and fit with being a stay-at-home mom.
I returned to teaching just after both my boys entered school. Those few years were probably the hardest as far as maintaining the writing, as I felt like my creativity was spent by the end of the day (and rightly so! My students deserved it). During those years, I mainly drafted during holidays and revised while school was in session.
It’s much easier to write regularly now that I do it full time and both guys are in school. I try to do the bulk of my work while they’re away. Of course, the writing life means I have plenty of days my head is in the clouds. I might not be working at that moment, but my mind is elsewhere. My family puts up with me during these seasons, and I try to remember to be as present as possible!
Do you ever miss your teaching position?
Yes! I miss those long-term relationships with kids and getting to talk about the things I love with the hope kids fall in love, too. School visits feed some of this for me, as does the writing itself. I just tell myself I still get to connect with kids, but now it happens a little differently.
|Caroline and me, at the summer SCBWI conference.|
It was so nice to meet you at the summer SCBWI conference. And I wish you every wonderful success with your new publication!
Thank you, lovely Kathryn!