The Rose of WashingtonSquare follows the life of an aspiring woman and artist who fought to make a name for herself in a man’s world. Where did the idea for this novel come from?
I love writing biographical historical fiction. The protagonist of my debut novel, I am Mrs. Jesse James, had ties to my home state of Missouri, and I wanted to shine a spotlight on another woman from the Midwest. When I searched for possible candidates, I ran across Rose O’Neill. I found her to be an extremely accomplished woman, one who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what she did. For example, she worked tirelessly to help women get the vote. She advocated for women wearing comfortable clothing instead of binding themselves in corsets. She was generous to creatives who had no other support, and she wasn’t afraid to advocate for herself and for others. I think of Rose O’Neill as a true Renaissance woman.
What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the story’s theme?
I spent more than a year in initial research, and another year with additional research while I wrote the book. I dipped into family correspondence, read books and articles, studied newspaper accounts, and spent a day at Rose’s beloved home in Walnut Shade, Missouri. The more I learned, the more excited I became about sharing Rose’s story.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Although Rose produced a prodigious body of work, my intent was not to bring up every detail of her artistic and literary endeavors. Rather, I wanted to explore her relationships with other people, places, and events; using that as a springboard to show how these elements helped to shape her life’s path: her personality, opinions, and decisions. How she evolved from a nineteen-year-old girl to a determined woman of world fame who remained tempered by compassion.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I haven’t started researching in earnest yet, but I’ve identified a potential subject for my next historical novel. I can’t disclose anything more now, but I can say she’s a woman who made waves in the world of medicine.
The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
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