Welcome to the blog tour for The Rose Master by Valentina Cano! (You may remember that we also revealed the cover a while back.) It released on June 24 from REUTS Publications, and it’s called “a little bit of romance with a lot of spooky” by its publisher – which sounds totally fine by us. Today we’re doing a short interview with the author, Valentina herself! Enjoy her witty and thoughtful answers to our questions below.
1. The protagonist of The Rose Master, Anne Tinning, sounds so intriguing! What was your favorite part about writing her?
The most exciting part, as well as the trickiest part, of creating Anne was getting her voice just right. As a parlor maid, she needed to be outwardly subservient to her superiors, but I wanted a contrasting irreverence in her internal monologues. I wanted her thoughts to be completely free from convention and for those thoughts to slowly become her real voice as she gains more freedom in Rosewood Manor.
2. If The Rose Master were a food, what would it be?
A rich, dark chocolate cake with tart raspberry filling.
3. What is your favorite writing spot?
I have an antique desk that’s been in my family for a long time. There’s a window right next to it, so I get some natural light and I get to see one of the ducks around my neighborhood who loves to fly over my fence and eat the cat food I have out for stray cats. As soon as I start writing, my mynah bird, who is free around the house because I can’t abide seeing birds in cages, flies to me and sleeps either on my shoulder while I write or right on the laptop.
4. What’s something bizarre or disturbing that you learned as a result of writing The Rose Master?
I learned quite a bit about what maids went through during this time period. I knew a bit of it from all the Gothic reading I’ve done, from Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, but the details of their lives was truly astounding to read about.
5. What do you do when you run into writers’ block?
I take long walks. There’s a park a few blocks away from my house, so I put on my sneakers and head out when I’ve come to a stand-still in a novel. There’s something about walking that is able to bring ideas forward to where I can access them.
6. Are any of your characters based on real people?
Not really, at least not people I personally know. When I wrote Lord Grey, I pictured him a bit like a young Benedict Cumberbatch, but he became a much richer character as the novel progressed, so he lost the resemblance.
7. That said, which of your characters do you think is most like yourself?
In appearance, probably Anne. She is small like I am (I am only 5 feet), with brown eyes and curly, brown hair. But in personality, I am more like Lord Grey. Slightly sarcastic and not the best when dealing with authority.
8. How did you go about finding The Rose Master‘s lovely title?
Well, the manor in which the action takes place is full of roses that bloom at all times. Lord Grey is the master of the manor, so it is appropriate to call him the Rose Master. There are other reasons, as well, but I don’t want to give too much away.
9. Okay, we here at Literoses absolutely adore the cover for The Rose Master. But how much does it reveal about the story? (Non-spoilery, of course!)
Isn’t it beautiful? I loved it when I saw it. It really captures the mood of the novel, as well as the most important symbols. The crow is important, as well as the mirror and the roses. The skull lets you know the story is going to scare you, fingers crosses, bringing in some of that Victorian gothic atmosphere I’ve loved since I could read.
10. Any more books in the works that we can hear a little more about?
I already have the sequel to The Rose Master planned out, so I just have to sit down and write it. I also have a contemporary paranormal novel I’m polishing up that I hope to get out there some time soon.
About The Rose Master:
The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that’s hardly the most upsetting news. She’s being dismissed from the home she’s served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she’s never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:
There’s something wrong with Rosewood Manor.
Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.
As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them–some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.
When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn’t prepared for. The creature is very real, and she’s the only one who can help him stop it.
Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she’s grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.
About Valentina Cano:
Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.