Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books, composed poetry on an ancient typewriter, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She’s taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. Caroline’s the author of May B. (2012), Over in the Wetlands, (2015), and Blue Birds (2015). Visit her at her blog and website.
What is one place you want to visit before you die?
What are you currently reading?
A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman
Burning Sky by Lori Benton
Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
The Case of the Black-Hooded Hangman (Hank the Cow Dog #24) by John R. Erickson
Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller
What’s your passion?
Kids, words, and books.
If the past year of your life was a slogan, what would it be?
Slow and steady wins the race.
What’s one of the last things you remember buying?
The Garden Harvest plate at Flying Star Cafe. I’m eating it as I work on this interview!
Puzzles or board games?
Board games. My husband and I once played through all the Trivial Pursuit cards in six weeks. We taught our boys to play the card game cribbage when they were six or so, and it’s something the four of us play all the time. The boys often skunk us (beat us by 30 points) or double skunk us (beat us by 60 points), but we always come back for more.
Name someone who supported your writing journey outside of family members.
My dear friend, Jamie C. Martin, has been a huge support over the years.When I’m stuck or feel like I’m trying to tackle a topic, style, or piece of history that’s too big and scary to take on, she reminds me I have important things to say (even if I’m not sure what they are yet) and encourages me to stay brave, because good work is often hard work.
Was there ever a time in your writing career where you wanted to seriously give up? If so, how did you find the motivation to continue?
Oh, yes. There’s a point when you’re pursuing publication that you start to get positive responses to the work you’re submitting (I started in the late nineties, when most new writers were subbing directly to editors, not agents). When manuscripts are requested, the stakes suddenly are higher — and the disappointment is increased tenfold when you’re told no. Yet even when I thought of quitting, I’d wake up the next day curious about my characters. I found I was interested in the writing for writing’s sake. It was easier to keep going than to try and stop.
What’s your favorite writing quote?
“Learn to write this book.” — Elizabeth Bear
I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but this quote has freed me up to write each book as it needs to be written. I tend to be a rule follower, even when no official rules exist! Knowing I don’t have to commit to the same system or approach for each book has been liberating for me.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
These two things kept me going the twelve years it took for me to sell my first book: 1) Remember you have something unique to say. 2) Your writing can only get better if you keep working at it.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Katherine Paterson. I adore her, have such respect for her, and generally want to be her when I grow up.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing? What comes easily?
All of it is challenging! But particularly drafting. I’m terrified of starting something new. The whole experience is so overwhelming. I’d much rather have a finished draft to work from, even if it means throwing it all away. It’s much easier to make something from something than something from nothing. I don’t think anything comes easily for me, yet I keep at it. It’s what I love and what I do.