Hey everyone! I am SO delighted to be bringing you an interview with Roseanna M. White.
It wasn't very long ago that I read (and reviewed and loved) Jewel of Persia, Roseanna's book. It quickly became a new favorite for me. You can read my review here. So I contacted Roseanna and she kindly agreed to do an interview with me! But first, the back cover blurb.
How can she love the king of kings without forsaking her Lord of lords?
Kasia grew up in a poor Jewish home with more siblings than luxuries. But when a chance encounter
forces her to the palace of Xerxes, she becomes a concubine to the richest man in the world. She alone, of all Xerxes' wives, loves the man beneath the crown. She alone, of all his wives, holds the heart of the king of kings.
Traveling with Xerxes through Europe as he mounts a war against Greece, Kasia knows enemies
surround her, but they’re not the Spartans or Athenians. The threat lies with those close to the king who hate her people. She determines to put her trust in Jehovah–even if it costs her her marriage.
Years of prayers are answered when Kasia's childhood friend arrives at the palace after the war, but
even as she determines to see Esther crowned in place of the bloodthirsty former queen, she knows the true battle is far from over. How far will her enemies go to see her undone?
Combining the biblical account of Esther with Herodotus's Histories, Jewel of Persia is the story of a
love that nearly destroys an empire . . . and the friendship that saves a nation.
*happy sigh* It's such an awesome book. Okay, on to the interview. My questions are bolded, directly followed by her answers.
So, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sure! I great up in the mountains of West Virginia, right across the river from Maryland. I’ve loved
writing since I learned to string subjects and verbs together, and I finished my first novel at 13. After
attending St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (known as the Great Books School), my hubby
and I founded the Christian Review of Books (http://www.christianreviewofbooks.com/). Soon after that
we started our family and moved back to the Maryland side of the same mountains we grew up in. We
have two adorable kids now, and are homeschooling the oldest—the baby of the family’s only three. =)
I have two biblical novels out with WhiteFire Publishing (http://www.whitefire-publishing.com/), for whom
I’m also the senior acquisitions editor. My historical romance, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland
will release this December from Summerside Press.
Is it hard to write fiction while sticking to the Biblical and historical facts?
There were definitely times when the facts made me bang my head against the wall, LOL, but those
were more the facts of Herodotus’s Histories than from the Bible. It was a bit hard to make a hero
out of Xerxes. ;-) But weaving accurate history into fiction is one of my passions, actually. I love
nothing more than expounding on and bringing to life Biblical stories and truths through my fictional
What was your favorite part of "Jewel of Persia" to write?
Oh, I had so much fun with this book! In typical writer fashion, my favorite parts are when all the bad
things happen, because those practically wrote themselves. ;-) Least favorite was the ending, when it
comes to writing. Or rather, to rewriting. My endings always require two takes to get them right.
What gave you the idea or inspired you to write "Jewel of Persia"?
Esther has always been my favorite Bible story, so when I was trying to brainstorm an idea for
another biblical novel, I thought, “Hmm, how could I write an Esther story, but my way—using a
fictional heroine?” I started thinking back to a little Bible School play I’d written about it, and one of
my favorite lines sprang to mind, about how if she hadn’t found favor in the king’s eyes, she would
be “just another wife.” Aha! Another wife! And what if that wife were another Jewess . . . say, Esther’s
childhood friend? And Jewel of Persia was born. =)
Okay, fun question. What were your favorite books as a child?
Are we talking Green Eggs and Ham or the ones I read myself? ;-) I actually hated reading until
somewhere around age 8, when we finally determined that my problem was with the material
available. Once I raided my older sister’s shelf, the world opened up. =) So my first favorites were The
Chronicles of Narnia. Then anything and everything by L. M. Montgomery. And we can’t forget The
Secret Garden. Or Little Women and Little Men. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. And one that will forever
stick with me though it probably doesn’t belong in the same category as the others, LOL, was a fantasy
called The Faraway Mountain. I’ll stop, but I could so go on!
I love hearing what books other people like. :) Those are some great ones! Another fun question...what does the M stand for in your name?
Magnificent. Kidding, kidding. ;-) It’s Marie.
Very pretty. So how long did it take you to write "Jewel of Persia"?
From start to finish, including chopping about 30,000 words from it and editing it to a shine ready for
publication, six months. Which is considerably longer than most novels take me. Though it was twice
as long as most of my other novels, so I guess that’s okay, LOL.
Is there any special story about the cover?
Oh, yes, yes, yes!! A couple, actually. =) First, the bracelet. When I began brainstorming cover ideas, I
knew I wanted the bracelet to be on there, the one that symbolized the love between Kasia and Xerxes.
So I did a Google image search, found the perfect one, and followed the link back to the Greek Jewelry
Shop (http://www.greekjewelryshop.com/). I knew I couldn’t just steal an image, so I sent them an email on
their contact page asking if, by chance, they’d be willing to let me use a picture of the lion-head torc
on a book cover. I honestly didn’t expect a reply, LOL. But lo and behold, the next day I received a
message from the owner of Vaphiadis Jewelers in Athens, Greek, saying he would be honored for his
design to be on my book! Not only that, to celebrate the release of it, he sent me the bracelet!! How
generous and wonderful is that? Makes the book I sent him pale in comparison, LOL.
Then came the model hunt. I live in a very small area that isn’t bursting with beautiful teens who look
Middle Eastern. So I asked all my friends if they knew anyone. As it happens, my good friend, crit
partner, and fellow WhiteFire-er, Dina Sleiman, married into a Labanese family, and the Labanese
are close cousins to the Jews. Through her husband’s friends she met Perla a couple days after I asked
about models, and apparently within minutes of being introduced Dina said, “Hi! Would you like to
model for a book cover?” The girl ran away, LOL. But she came back later that evening and asked
Dina what in the world she was talking about. They sent me some pictures of Perla, who is in the
States for college, and I knew I had my Kasia. So Dina’s professional photographer friend set up the
shoot with Perla, and the result was just amazing. You can see some additional shots in the companion
guide I put together for my book at http://www.roseannawhite.com/index.php/books/jewel_of_persia/companion_guide/.
Wow, that's really interesting! What kind of research did you do?
Lots. ;-) My primary sources were Histories by Herodotus, which was the Ancient Greek recounting of
the Greco-Persian war, which took up the first few years of Xerxes’ reign. And of course, the Bible. I
also found some awesome documentaries on Persia, and read articles and books on the culture. But the
British Museum called their Persian exhibit “The Forgotten Empire” for a reason—not much about it
has made it into Western histories.
Thanks so much for coming, Roseanna! How can my readers learn more about you or contact
I love to chat with readers! I always welcome emails at roseanna [at] roseannawhite
[dot] com, and you can visit my website at http://www.roseannamwhite.com/, my blog at
http://www.roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/, and find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/roseanna.white .
Okay, from here on it's me. :) Again, thank you for the interview, Roseanna! I really enjoyed learning about you. :)
Now, I have a giveaway for you! Roseanna kindly offered a free download of the digital copy of Jewel of Persia to one of my readers! And for the rest of you, if you order Jewel of Persia from her mom's book store, you can use the code BLOGGER to get 20% off a SIGNED copy! Isn't that awesome? I highly recommend you do just that. Click here to go straight to the bookstore and order! FYI, that's cheaper than Amazon!
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!!!!
Now about that giveaway. This time, I'm going to say that anyone can enter! Mandatory entry: leave a comment telling me you want to be entered. You can leave an email if you'd like, but it's not required.
Please leave one comment for each entry! I mean, you can put them in all in one comment, but I will be using a random number generator according to how many comments there are, so you want as many as possible!
+2 if you follow Austenitis!
+2 if you follow Photographer at Heart!
+2 if you follow Roseanna's blog, Writing Roseanna!
+1 if you have my Austenitis button on your blog!
+3 if you blog about it! Make sure you leave a link so I can check out your post. :)
You can get one more entry if you have my Photographer at Heart button on your blog, but if you want that entry, you have to comment over there. :) Okay, start commenting!
FYI, this giveaway closes on July 11, 2011. Winner will be announced soon thereafter!