Interview With Author Rosie Scott

Please introduce yourself and your books!

Hi there! I’m Rosie Scott, and I write bloody but character-focused speculative fiction. Currently, I have two completed series out. The Six Elements series is epic military fantasy and follows the growth of a battlemage, necromancer, and war general as she builds a rebellion to take over her home country and liberate it from magical oppression. The New World is a gritty dystopian thriller series set in a futuristic America that follows a band of rebels and assassins as they sabotage the government and assassinate its leaders in order to take back the country.

The Six Elements series has so many characters and fans that I am currently amidst writing character origin stories. Rise of a Necromancer features a fan-favorite character and came out in March 2019, while the first book in the Shapeshifting Seas Trilogy, Origins of the Tainted Bloodline, comes out this Friday, August 30.

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What are the real-life stories behind your books?

Most of my books are born from “what if?” questions. The New World series came about because my father came back from an overseas vacation and said he didn’t mind going through the TSA checkpoint despite the privacy concerns. I couldn’t understand that mentality, so my imagination went wild. The prologue of the series (in Book 1, The Resistance), is the ultra-violent rendition of where I feel the TSA might go. The rest of the story developed from there.

As for the Six Elements series, I wondered, “What if an ultra-powerful necromancer rose into political power and the story was from their point-of-view?” Normally, necromancers are villains in fantasy, but I wanted to create a series that was more morally ambiguous. Instead of writing about the boring goody-two-shoes heroes who try to stop a threat to their world, I wanted to write from the perspective of the threat herself.

What inspires your creativity?

Video games and real life equally. There have been plenty of times where I’ve played a video game and wished there were books that could capture the same feeling, so I write them. For example, in the PC series Mount & Blade, you start out as a simple mercenary soldier in a medieval land of warring factions and must gather recruits, train them, and build your power by allying with factions, rebelling against them, and eventually taking over the country with total domination. Each game takes hundreds of hours and is a lot of work! While playing one time, I realized I wanted a book series with a focus on seizing land, offensive warfare, and lots of brutal magic. That inspired the Six Elements greatly.

Inspiration comes from real life as well. News stories, personal experiences, and the people I meet all have had influences on my work before.

How do you deal with creative block?

I used to just stare at the screen until my head hurt, but now I force myself to take gaming breaks. Pulling my mind away from its kerfuffle will often solve it with time and distance.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Invoking apathy in the reader. I’m sure I’ve made some readers angry or animated because of unconventional plot points or character decisions in my books, but at least I made them react at all. I avoid the safe route in my novels and tend to err to the side of controversy because I find it most interesting.

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

I rebel against common advice in this respect and have artistic control over all my covers. Personally, I want my covers to be accurate (in terms of character and environmental design) and convey a particular mood. I want prospective readers to know that my books dip their toes into darker territory and aren’t sunshine and rainbows. So while my covers can be colorful, they are also dark in tone. As a reader, I avoid books with generic covers. By developing covers that attract me, I hope to attract like-minded readers.

Titles must convey an accurate mood as well. Rise of a Necromancer indicates a rise to illicit power. Origins of the Tainted Bloodline indicates the origin story of a troubled character. For series, I like titles to have a common aesthetic while remaining true to the themes of the novel. The titles of my New World series give you an insight to the story arc (The Resistance, The Betrayal, The Acquisition, The Insurrection, The Calamity), and the titles of my Six Elements series not only list the six elements (Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Life, Death), there are themed reasons for the order of the elements. I go into more detail about the naming process on my website, but let me just say I put a lot of thought into titles.

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Bad reviews aren’t helpful to me as an author. Most criticisms are subjective and irrelevant to the direction of the story or its intent. I learned to stop reading reviews a long time ago so they don’t affect my artistic integrity. If authors changed their stories to fit everyone’s desires, they would be unreadable messes.

How has your creation process improved over time?

Writing used to be only one career out of three, so I used to write whenever I had time. Since seeing success with the Six Elements series, I’ve been able to focus on writing. I’m a workaholic and usually spend 60-100 hours a week on my books and brand. That includes researching, plotting, editing, advertising, working with cover artists/marketers, and writing itself. I’m better at everything than I was just two and a half years ago. Because all of this work has helped more readers find me, it inspires me to write even more. I’m releasing multiple books per year now when I used to go a long time between releases.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your books?

The best thing I encountered while writing the Six Elements was success. I finally started gaining a following with it when I almost didn’t publish the series because I thought it would be too outlandish for the fantasy genre.

The worst thing was losing 30,000 words of Life (The Six Elements Book 5) due to a computer crash. Included in the loss was the introduction of a character, the highly-detailed history of seven years of the war from one perspective, and an entire city takeover. That was heart-breaking, but it led to some good things. I learned to back up my novels in multiple ways and when I re-wrote those chapters I wrote them better.

The most surprising thing is that I realized I have much more resilience as an author than I ever anticipated. An early negative review for Fire (The Six Elements Book 1) nearly killed the series because it was one of the few reviews it had at the time. I almost quit the series because I felt it was doomed. But I kept writing and promoting, Fire found its audience (and lots more positive reviews), and the series became the reason I can pay my bills with royalties. I’m the kind of person who learns from experience, so if Fire failed I wouldn’t have kept publishing. The fact that I stuck with it and went on to find the success I have really surprises me. I’ve also endured failed costly promotions and multiple family tragedies during these last few years, but I keep bouncing back. It’s a welcome development, for sure!

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I love my readers and I’m so happy they found me, but I have to be selfish on this one. Personal satisfaction is my main drive. I have unconventional tastes in literature, so I have to write what I want to read in order to get it at all. To write for the masses would be dishonest to myself and the reasons I want to write when I get up every morning.

Having an ever-growing fan base has changed me in one respect: I write books faster than I used to because I know readers are out there waiting for them. I also sometimes send out reader polls and I love getting fan mail and reader comments on my website. I’m always interested in hearing which characters and novels are resonating the most with readers. It might influence what I write next, but not how I write it or what I do with my lore and characters.

What role do emotions play in creativity?

Emotions are everything. I write from a first-person perspective and deal with many flawed/troubled/controversial protagonists, so delving deep into each character’s psyche and what drives them is how the story develops for my books. Because I “become” each character when I write as them, I get so invested in the world and its characters that each death, climax, rage, and triumph is an emotional powerhouse for me. Personally, I believe that when emotions run high for the author, the reader will sense it from the writing and hopefully appreciate it.

Do you have any creativity tricks?

One thing I love to do to spice up my writing is to give life to inanimate subjects in descriptions. Rather than describe it as a cloudy/stormy day, say the clouds choked the sunlight. Rather than simply say it rained, describe it as a song. I love this type of description as a reader but so few do it justice.

What are your plans for future books?

After Origins of the Tainted Bloodline‘s release on August 30, I’m starting on Book 2. Once the Shapeshifting Seas Trilogy is completed in 2020, I’ll have to see what I feel like writing next. I’ve been writing Six Elements Origins stories for a while and there are more to tell, but one story set after the Six Elements main series revolving around another war has been tickling my creative bone lately. Who knows? Six Elements Immortal Era: Code Name Naharan Civil War might be next.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.

I’m adopted. I’m early doing most things in life. I started a real estate business at 15, met my husband when I was 16, got engaged at 17, married at 20, and still believe marriage is awesome at 31.

As a child I dabbled in a lot of things: I modeled in my pre-teen and teen years, won awards for my sketches at the local art fair, competed in Western horse sports, and built a fort in the woods that I designed on graph paper to look like a keep from the video game Age of Empires II.

We have a gaming room at home with thirteen video game consoles (doubles of three), a gaming PC (that I write my novels on), weapon replicas, gaming statues and artwork, and our collection of a few thousand games.

I have a love for hardcore gore, cringe content, and indecent humor. When I first met my best friend way back in 2013, he tried to find the line to cross with me and determined it doesn’t exist. That’s why we love each other.

Despite my focus on darker/gritty themes in my books, I have a crippling weakness for stuffed animals. There’s this company called Squishable that makes plushies based on customer designs, and many of them are stuffed food items. I own 34 Squishables and have another 11 on my wishlist. Most of my favorites are food items. I wrote the final chapters of Origins of the Tainted Bloodline while cuddling with a stuffed baked potato. I think I need an intervention.


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