I met Odessa Rose when I purchased her first novel, Water In A Broken Glass, several years ago. The story was captivating and memorable in a read-it-again-soon way. For those who haven’t encountered it, the novel, in Rose’s words, tells the story “through the artistic lens of sculptor Tonya Mimms” and “explores a woman’s inability to accept her homosexuality and the problems that arise in her quest to deny her own existence.” It is a riveting tale that is by measure serious, humorous, and mysterious. I came to know more of her as a person the evening I heard her being interviewed as a guest of Kat Williams’ SIPPIN ON INK Internet radio show. Later, we became Facebook friends, and I can honestly say Dessa Rose is a wonderful woman, who loves her family, friends and fans, her art, her life and her city, Baltimore, MD!
Recently, I caught up with Odessa Rose to celebrate the release of her new novel, IN THE MIRROR. Rose’s Facebook challenge to engage fans in the celebration of the novel wowed me! I loved it! She invited us to post a picture of what IN THE MIRROR looked like to us. And what follows is one of my picture responses!
Me meeting the In The Mirror Challenge
I am and have always been the type of writer who is ever fascinated with writing, reading and the love of other writers, my joy wrapped in communicating with them to appreciate their words, understand the magic of how they do what they do and delight in shining a spotlight on the writers who intrigue me. We learn much and are richly blessed when we bow in creating our own art to celebrate another engaged in doing what we do; therefore, it gives me great pleasure to share ODESSA ROSE with you!
1.) When did you first realize you were a writer?
I first realized I was a writer in my late twenties. When I was nine, I told my mother I wanted to be a writer, and she said, “Well, write, baby.” And I did. I started writing short stories and tried my hand at a poem or two. In the 90’s I started hanging around a group of poets and reading my fiction at coffee shops on poetry night. One night after a reading I made the mistake of saying that I was an aspiring writer to a wonderful poet named Juanita Jackson. In a very caring voice, she scolded me, saying, “You write so you’re a writer. You don’t have to be ‘published’ to call yourself a writer.” I’ve looked at myself as a writer ever since.
2.) What is your writing process?
My writing process is not very complicated. Typically, a story takes hold of me and doesn’t let me go until I get the first draft down. So, I’ll write without regard for spelling, grammar, or structure. I usually know the ending and write until I get there. That doesn’t mean the ending will stay the same once I begin the editing process, which is my favorite part of writing. This is the time the story and characters begin to really take shape and their personalities, voices, motives, cares, and fears come to the surface. It is also the time that they take complete control of the story and tell me what they would and would not do or say. So, I guess in short, I write the first draft, edit, edit, edit, and edit until the characters say, “Well done. You’ve got me down pat.”
I got my copy of the novel! Yeah!
3.) Where is your favorite place to write? Time?
My favorite place to write is at home. I have a little corner in our dining room with a table and my laptop, and around 12 midnight, when everyone is asleep and all the household chores are done, and the house is quiet, I write until about 2 am. I’ve tried to write during the day on the weekends, but my creative juices flow better in the middle of the night. I think it’s because I’m a wife and a mother and I feel guilty taking time from them. At night, I’m totally free.
4.) Do you have a writing muse?
For me, I think my muse is writing itself. I just love to write. I love telling stories.
5.) How did the idea for the latest release come to you?
I was working on a story entitled Kizmic’s Journey when the idea for In The Mirror invaded my thoughts. The news was inundated with the sad tales of the other woman, and I wondered what she would do if she had the opportunity to see her married lover with his family? How would she feel? What would be her story? Who is the other woman? Is she this horrible home wrecker everyone screams about? Is she the psychopath people characterize her as being? What does she have to do in order to survive in her role as the other woman? I couldn’t finish Kizmic’s Journey until I’d answered these questions.
6.) What are your writing goals for 2014?
My writing goals for 2014 are to finally finish Kizmic’s Journey and to start my next novel, entitled The Subway. I’ve been working on Kizmic’s Journey since 2000. She is my baby. I can’t wait to introduce her to the world. The Subway has been in my head for a few years now. I can’t wait to start putting it on paper.
7.) How did the writing process differ between the writing of Mirror and Water?
The process didn’t differ too much. I never use an outline. The idea comes and I just start writing. Now, I’m a lot better at telling a story than I was when I first wrote Water. So, I have a better understanding of how to convey my ideas and themes and flesh out my characters through imagery, dialogue, and setting.
8.) What advice would you share with writers at this point on your writing journey?
The best advice I can give other writers is to believe in yourself and your work. If you don’t believe in it, no one else will. And even if you manage to push out a book, if you don’t believe in it, you’ll have a hard time convincing people to buy it, which is the most difficult part of being a writer. Most think that writing the book is hard, and it is. It takes a lot to write a book. But selling it takes everything you got and then some.
In the Mirror
Water In A Broken Glass
Kizmic’s Journey Coming Soon
ODESSA ROSE’s website is a writing treasure trove and paradise! Her novels can be found on AMAZON and other venues where books are sold.