Interview with Rosslyn Elliott

» Posted on May 19, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Rosslyn Elliott

This week I’m hosting Lynette Eason with A Killer Among Us and Rosslyn Elliott with Fairer Than Morning. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (May 22nd) evening.

Interview with Rosslyn Elliott:

What made you start writing?

I have to credit my father for introducing me to poetry and great tales from a very early age. He showed me the power of language, and I was fascinated by it. I wanted to do my own experiments. One of the earliest poems I can remember came out when I was 6, and I had to entertain myself at a mostly grown-up party where I had nothing else to do. Writing was an endless source of interest and entertainment. It helped that I grew up with a twin sister who is also a talented writer. We egged one another on and wrote things together.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

Though I trained in playwriting and poetry as an undergrad, I didn’t find the nerve to try writing novels until I completed my doctoral dissertation in English in 2006. It took me two years to write my first novel because a major interstate move got in the way. In 2008, Rachelle Gardner offered me representation for that first novel, and it garnered some interest from publishers but no contract. I finished my second novel in July 2009, and it earned me a three book contract with Thomas Nelson in 2010.

How do you handle rejections?

If I think they’re fair (and they usually are), I’m pretty sanguine. But I think every writer gets some rejections that sting and others that don’t seem to matter as much. I think I paid some of my writerly dues in seven years of grad school, and that spared me from getting more rejections than I could handle. We all pay our dues in different ways.

Why do you write?

That’s a tricky question to ask a debut novelist! I’m still adjusting to the life of a professional writer and how it differs from life without deadlines. If you asked me this question a year ago, I would have told you that I write stories to spread the news about God’s love and compassion. I think I will remember that feeling after the adjustment period is over. LOL! I’ve been editing for so long I think I’ve forgotten the passion and rewards of creating a new work. I look forward to feeling that joy again.

What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

I would be working in children’s ministry. I was active in that area before I signed my contract, and I hope to get back to it. But the reality is that we only have so many hours in a day, and writing is very time-consuming. I do miss teaching and seeing those bright little faces.

What are you working on right now?

I’m starting the developmental edit for the sequel to Fairer than Morning. It’s going to be a challenge, but I have the help of an outstanding editor, for which I am extremely grateful.

Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I do. Every major character is a piece of me, stirred into a mix of other traits that aren’t me. I am always grateful for my very diverse life experiences, as they allow me to understand a wide variety of characters and create them with sympathy. I lost my faith as a teenager, and ten years of agnosticism broke me in some ways. But from that brokenness, I returned to faith with more humility and compassion for others.

Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Fairer than Morning is an adventurous heroic romance based on the true story of the Hanby family of Westerville, Ohio. Here’s a brief description of the story:

Ann Miller could choose a life of comfort and beauty with her poetic suitor, but her compassionate heart calls her to help another man whose life is in danger. Is it love, or freedom, that will prove to be Fairer than Morning?


The story behind this first series of mine captured my imagination when I visited a small house museum in Westerville, Ohio. When I learned about the family who had once lived in that house, I knew I had to novelize this incredible story of love and courage that involved the Underground Railroad. The whole time I was writing the first and second novels, I was just praying to do justice to the story. Since I had been blessed with the opportunity to tell it, I wanted to tell it really well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I’d really like to read more outpourings of the author’s soul in Christian fiction. Every soul is beautiful, and if you can get down to that deep level where you’re really being transparent and real through your story and your characters, your book is going to move me. I realize not everyone wants to read fiction like that, but I love it!

How important is faith in your books?

It’s vital. I think of it like a heartbeat. We may not always notice it, but without it, there’s no life in the story. Sometimes faith makes itself evident in a very natural way through the storyline, and we see how it changes everything for a character. My editor has commented that my first novel has a very strong faith story, so I defer to her opinion.

What themes do you like to write about?

Forgiveness, generosity, courage, heroism. I also like a classic theme first popularized by Jane Austen. I try to point to the difference between a blinding trick of brain chemistry often called “love,” and real love based on clarity and understanding.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

Ha! Right now, it’s Fairer than Morning, because it’s FINISHED. I look forward to the day when I finish editing Sweeter than Birdsong and move on to drafting the third novel in the series, Lovelier than Daylight. I think when I finish them, they will make me happy in different ways. Fairer than Morning was blessed by a lot of inspiration from above, so I find it very humbling to see that in its pages. Sweeter than Birdsong is going to involve a lot more perspiration, but I think I will look back on it when it’s finished and be gladdened by how hard I worked and how far the story came from its beginnings four years ago. Lovelier than Daylight is kind of a quirky, unusual story that I’ve already plotted out. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of personality it takes on as I progress.

What is your writing schedule like?

As a homeschooling mom, I find my schedule is not always predictable! My husband usually takes over for one day a week, and I use that time to write. Other than that, it’s squeezing in whatever time I have around the cracks of the day and evening… mostly the evening.