Friday 26 March 2021

Interview with Linda Rosen

Linda Rosen is a twice-published author living in America. Formerly a fitness professional, Linda became a novelist when her debut The Disharmony of Silence was published in March 2020. Linda’s second novel is Sisters of the Vine, published in March 2021. Her books are set in the “not-too-distant past” and examine how women reinvent themselves despite obstacles thrown their way. Linda was a contributor to Women in the Literary Landscape: A WNBA Centennial Publication for the Women's National Book Association and has had stories published in online magazines and print anthologies. She is a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association and the Women’s National Book Association where she is National Recording Secretary and Selections Coordinator of the Great Group Reads committee which chooses books for National Reading Group Month. Her website is here.

About Sisters of the Vine

Housewife and mother with a loving husband to take care of her – that’s all Liz, a Fifties gal, ever wanted. Over her father’s objections, she drops out of college to marry Rick, who dreams of living off the land. They buy a farm on a verdant hillside in the Hudson Valley, but can’t agree on what to plant. When they discover French-American hybrid grapes, Liz is confident they’ll be happy. Grapes are classy.

As the rich soil sinks into her soul and the vines begin to thrive, the marriage grows rocky. Refusing to disappoint her father again, Liz is determined to make her marriage work ... until she discovers a photograph hidden in the old barn.

Faced with impossible decisions, Liz is desperate. She has a vineyard ready to harvest and no idea how to accomplish the task. Does she have the moxie to flourish? Or will she and the land turn fallow?

Sisters of the Vine was published in March 2021 by Black Rose Writing. 

Interview with Gail Aldwin

GA: Sisters of the Vine is your second novel. Can you tell us about your debut, The Disharmony of Silence

LR: Thanks for asking. I’m happy to. The Disharmony of Silence is about a clandestine love affair in 1920s Brooklyn that leads to a family secret held for eighty-four years. Carolyn Lee, the protagonist, is desperate for family. When she discovers this shocking secret, she is determined, against all advice, to reveal it. The secret has the potential to tear lives apart. Or, it could bring her the closeness and comfort she longs for. It all depends on how she handles it.

GA: The Disharmony of Silence was published at the start of the pandemic. How did this impact on you as a writer launching a debut novel?

LR: Actually, having my debut published during this time was, for me, the silver lining in this pandemic. With book events all turning to virtual, I was able to “meet” readers from all over, from places I never would have gotten to if events were in person. In addition, the writing community is extremely giving and many well-published authors stepped up to help promote me, as well as my fellow 2020 debuts. Facebook groups were formed with on-line book clubs and podcasts and Zoom took over virtual book talks and interviews. I’ve met so many wonderful writers who I now call friends. And met readers, who I probably never would have met if not for Covid 19 shutting down in-person events. That said, I am looking forward to this pandemic being over and am so very sorry for everyone who has lost a loved one to this horrendous virus. 

GA: A sense of place is important in Sisters of the Vine. How do you choose your settings?

LR: Thank you. I worked hard for the vineyard to come alive. Settings are so important to me when I read a novel that I wanted to make mine evocative. I want my readers to inhabit place, smell the aromas and feel the textures. Therefore, I choose places that I know well, where I’ve walked the streets and ate the food, heard the birds sing, or, as in Sisters of the Vine, stood in vineyards, felt the grapes in my fingers, smelled the rich moist earth and tasted the bold wine. 

GA: I understand the vine to be symbolic of womanhood in your novel. Was this your intention?

LR: Absolutely. The original title for the book was Flourish because as the vines flourished, so did Liz and the women. I’m glad the title changed. Sisters of the Vine is so much better and, as I wrote the second and third drafts, and more, the vineyard became more of a character, more of a metaphor for Liz’s life and for all the women in the story – hopefully for all women in general.

GA: An inherited diamond marquise ring features in Sisters of the Vine. Why did you include a piece of jewellery in each of your novels?

LR: The Disharmony of Silence centers around the mystery of a cameo brooch. The painting in the story, of a woman wearing a cameo, is actually what brought me to write the book. When I added the diamond ring to Sisters of the Vine, it didn’t dawn on me that I had something going with jewellery. When it was pointed out to me that jewellery is part of my brand, I decided to stick with that and I’m adding an emerald to the book I’m working on now. So, to answer your question, I suppose it is simply organic. I hadn’t planned it for books one and two, but now, for future books, I am.  

GA: In Sisters of the Vine, we see the women characters offering each other mutual support. How do you plan character development in your novels?

LR: Before I begin writing, I give my main characters a full biography: birth date, color of hair and eyes, body type, marital status, etc. and then I go deeper to their personalities, their idiosyncrasies, emotional triggers, habits, even if they get along with their mothers. I make them human, to the point that one day I was walking down the street and saw someone coming towards me and almost told my friend who was walking with me that the woman looked just like Carolyn (my protagonist in Disharmony)! Sometimes something happens when I wonder what Liz or Carolyn, Kate or any other character would say. I hope my characters are as real to my readers as they are to me.

GA: You’ve now had two novels published, what’s next?

LR: In addition to being interviewed and having virtual book talks for Sisters of the Vine, I’m working on book 3 set in South Florida in the late 1960s. At this point, I’m getting words on the page. I am what’s called a pantser. I don’t outline or plan too far ahead. I know my characters, my theme, and I have an idea where I’m going with the story and I let it come to me organically. The characters talk to me and sometimes when I wish they would keep quiet so I can sleep! It’s fun. And this has been fun, too, answering all your questions. Thank you for having me.

About the interviewer
Gail is a novelist, poet and scriptwriter. Her debut coming-of-age novel The String Games was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and the DLF Writing Prize 2020. Following a stint as a university lecturer, Gail’s children’s picture book Pandemonium was published. Prior to Covid-19, she volunteered at Bidibidi in Uganda, the second largest refugee settlement in the world. Her second novel, a contemporary story for adults, This Much Huxley Knows, uses a seven-year-old boy narrator to show the adult world in a new light and will be released in July 2021. It explores friendship and community tensions during the Brexit referendum. When she’s not gallivanting around the world, Gail writes at her home in Dorset. Find out more about Gail on social media: Blog: Twitter: Facebook:

This interview was first published on Gail's blog here

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