Thursday, June 18, 2020

Guest Blogger Rebecca Rose
Please tell us about your latest book.
Love, Politics, and Survival: A Whitfield Family Narrative Part One was published in late March of 2020. It tells the story of how families are affected in the fictional country of Waldovia after an attempted coup. As the name suggests, there is a particular focus on the Whitfield family, with several other characters interacting with the family members. The first book represents the 'politics' part of the title.

I have just completed Love, Politics, and Survival: A Whitfield Family Narrative Part Two. From its first few pages, this book clearly represents the 'love' part of the title. The book is about the love life and sexuality of many of the main characters. This includes arranged engagements, to their first sexual experiences, to the ups and downs of true love.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Well, this series is actually going to be several books long. I anticipate the third book will have to do with the 'survival' aspect of the title. I have a brief outline done for the entire series and some preliminary writing done as well. I even have enough material when it comes to Howard Forrester, one of my most complex characters. Readers can hopefully expect a companion series about him at some point.

It is my hope, my prayer, and my dream to be able to turn my book series into a television series. It's actually something I've envisioned as my end goal pretty much from the beginning. Thankfully I have some friends I might be able to work with on for this.

How do we find out about you and your books?

I am a Solstice published author and my book is available on Amazon as well. I'm also very active with promoting my book on Facebook, under Rebecca Downs-Goldberg; feel free to send me a friend request!

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

What a great, complex question! Since this series takes place in a fictional country, the politics is exclusive to that country. I believe that readers can and should interpret my writing however they wish to. That being said, I do not consider my writing as a commentary on the political climate.

As far as incorporating my own self and my own ideas, that comes into play with writing about love, sexuality, and relationships. Adam Maier was one of the first characters I created. I think I wrote him, when I was about fourteen and fifteen, as what I envisioned the ideal, almost perfect, man to be. While I believe that nobody can be perfect like Jesus Christ, I do see Adam as trying to be as godly as possible.

My second book is a commentary on sexuality, particularly on virginity. While I'm not so much writing from my own personal experience, I do think a lot of my writing represents what I consider to be the ideal. Everyone has their own experience, their own concept of what's ideal,
their own ideas of what they would have done differently, but I try to put into my writing what I want for myself and for others. That mainly comes down to this sense of love and giving one's entire self to another person. I think that's what makes the first time truly special and a memory worth having.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?

I've been thinking about stories and writing, both novels and screenplays, for as long as I can remember. Most ideas come from the vivid dreams I often have. This present story came to me when I had a dream at 14, to do with a survival story about a brother and sister. They turned out to be Danny and Cassandra Whitfield. I continued writing on this idea over the years, with different characters and plots developing over time.

I also became involved in journalism while in college and in the years since graduating.

This first MS naturally took years to get it to where I wanted to be, mostly because of how I had to hone my experience and skills with age. Having some constructive criticism was also necessary for me to re-evaluate major aspects of the story. I can't tell you how many times the prologue and subsequent chapter were rewritten; likely too many to count! Finally, a couple of years ago when I had all this free time and felt a calling, I decided to really buckle down and was able to write the final version in a matter of months.

Where do your ideas come from?

As I mentioned, many of my ideas literally come from my dreams, and then develop more fully from there. The most fascinating inspiration came to me while listening to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf." I loved that song and wanted to incorporate into my story writing playlist. While on a train ride from Long Island to New York City, I planned out this idea of how one of my main character's could sing that song while doing karaoke and it just turned out into this complex couple of chapters.

Do you feel humor is important in books and why?

Oh yes, definitely. Regardless of the book, it really can add a reason why readers would keep coming back. I think there is an art to it, and that it has to be done well. That being said, I find it easier when I let my characters do the work for me.

My books aren't exactly the happiest out there; they were never meant to be. There are humorous moments though. Howard Forrester is funny though, even if he can be a pain in the behind to be around. I think if this television show ever comes to be, the actor who plays Howard will have to be good at balancing being this real jerk, but also one who has that sense of humor.

What kind of research do you do?

This isn't a commentary on the political climate; it's a work of fiction which happens to take place in a setting where politically involved characters have to deal with political upheaval. That
being said, I still felt it was necessary to know the basics of political systems from the United States and around the world, and how I wished to implement those basics.

Where I've done the most research would be on how abuse, in all of its forms, affects young men. Many of the young male characters have been abused, in some way, shape, or form. For some, the extent is not revealed until later books. This abuse explains a lot about these characters, from addictions to behaviors, to their sense of self and of relationships. This novel certainly isn't all sunshine and roses as these characters have experienced such trauma, but I can assure readers that these characters come to a sense of healing and peace. I think it will be a memorable read to see how they get to that point. I think it's important to mention that, at least how I see it, male victims of abuse don't get the attention that they deserve. This is regards to recognizing them as victims, as well as studying the effects of abuse. I didn't begin writing with the idea of incorporating this theme; it's one which sort of just came up, though I'm glad that it did.

Please tell us about yourself.

I'm from Long Island, not the part that's close to the city as most people assume; I'm actually just as close to Connecticut as I am to the city. My hometown of East Setauket is where the spy ring was during the American Revolution. My husband and I met in quite a providential way. We were both from Long Island, both visiting New York City that night, and both living in Washington, DC at the time. We went back and forth between New York and DC but ultimately ended up in the DC area with our two daughters.

I received my Bachelor's degree from Fordham University and my Master's degree from Regent University's Robertson School of Government.

I'm a Roman Catholic and like to take and talk about my faith seriously, as well as other aspects of my life which are important to me.

What are some of your favorite things to do?

Well, there's reading and writing, as well as watching television shows and movies. I've also taken up walking to get in better shape. I love being close to Nationals Park; I can say I watched most of the 2019 postseason games there, the year that the Washington Nationals became the World Series champions. This might be a millennial thing, but I also absolutely love being on Facebook.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?

My favorite political commentator, Greg Gutfeld, has written some great books, which are all quite funny. Tasha Alexander has written many books in the Lady Emily series. Tom Robb Smith has also written Child 44 and its sequels, which I highly recommend. Seth Grahame-Smith has written some of my favorite books of all time. I'll admit that I still read books by children's author Kathyrn Lasky; I can't tell you how excited I was when she emailed me back once several
years ago. Last by not least, Solstice's own, Paige Etheridge, has written one of my favorite books, Kissing Stars Over the Rising Sun.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I think five years sounds about the right amount of time to be an established author, and to at least be on my way to pitching and developing my television series. I might even have other books published, beyond those in the Love, Politics, and Survival series.

How many books have you written, how many have been published?

So, I've written two compete books, one of which has been published. I've outlined about four or five more books, and have written a good amount of two of those books.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?

Oh yes! Hey, at least I'm doing my part for sales, right? Even if I didn't read it, I think it would be nice to have the book in the home, as an accomplishment I'm proud of. I do read my books, as it's good to have that experience of reading it with different eyes, after all the editing and re-writing has been done. Since I did a live video discussion on Facebook, I wanted to have the story as fresh in my mind as possible, so I have read my book. I plan on buying and reading the others, in part to make sure I'm consistent with the plot across subsequent books. More importantly though, I really do like the story and the characters and seeing how it all develops. If I want other people to read and appreciate my stories, shouldn't I as the author first read and appreciate it?

Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?

I love this question! My second book, which I just submitted, has to be my favorite book. The third book, as it's been planned so far, has some of my favorite chapters.

I can't think of a more selfless and perfect hero than Adam.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

I love how rewarding it is to see others read my books, that we can talk about it, reminisce about our favorite parts and characters, and talk about what happens next.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?

I've tried getting involved in politics, particularly causes I'm passionate about. That didn't pan out, but it means I have my writing.

What is your greatest desire?

I really want to achieve true happiness, contentment, and fulfillment. When it comes to more material desires, I would love to see my series take off, as a book series and a television series.
Being a writer has not only been my dream for a while, but it's finally clear to me that this is what I'm meant to do career wise. I'm happy to say that I am confident I have enough material for this to be what I do for the rest of my life.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

Yes, keep at it! I've had quite a people confide in me that they'd like to write a book, or publish the book they've already written. Now I don't mention this to pat myself on the back. I'm glad these future fellow writers see me as a person they can talk to. I think it's so important to follow any kind of dream, but since this has been my personal dream, I want to see others achieve it. As a young woman, I really want to see other young women really pursue creative projects they have. I would love to see underrepresented groups overall showcase their talents to the world. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, for those who are Christians, or even just want to explore Christianity, I would encourage them to keep in mind Philippians 4:13, one of my favorite verses of the New Testament. It's a short and simple verse, but one which is truly powerful. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

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