Meet Rebecca Ross.
Rebecca Ross grew up in Georgia, where she continues to reside with her husband, lively dog and endless piles of books. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Georgia. In the past she has worked at a Colorado dude ranch, as a school librarian, and as a live-time captionist for a college. The Queen’s Rising is her debut, out February 6, 2018 from HarperTeen.
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Here’s the interview!
I am inspired by your story of the dread questions and later decisions (and failures!) surrounding being an English major. What would you say to someone who is currently dealing with that same struggle of following their dreams vs being practical?
This question totally makes me smile. And I’m so happy to hear my story is inspiring! The first thing I would say would be this: You can do anything and you can do nothing with an English degree. It is whatever you desire to make of it, which is honestly quite powerful in my opinion. Yes, a lot of “practical” people will be skeptical when you say you’re studying English. But when you graduate with a degree in English, you’ll not only have grammar skills that are above average, but you’ll also be trained as a critical thinker with sharp communication skills. You’ll also have the knowledge to see the world in many different ways. Which is pretty much what everyone puts on their resume when seeking a job, right? 🙂 All of this to say…if you want a creative career, you need grit and you need to be prepared to work another job until you get there. If that doesn’t daunt you and all you desire to do is read and talk about books in college, go for English. Why waste 4 years of your life and your money studying something you are not passionate about?
What was the hardest decision you had to make when finding your voice and returning to your writing after being away from it for a considerable length of time?
I think the hardest thing (in the beginning) was making writing part of my daily routine. I was working a full-time job that was somewhat taxing—I came home drained from looking at a computer screen all day—so it was challenging to make myself sit down after dinner and continue looking at a computer screen (I type very fast, hence why I prefer computers over drafting by hand). Finding that discipline was hard at first, but I swiftly found that consistency was key for me: the more words I had flowing, the easier it was to keep going day after day. I found that finishing projects really helped me hone my voice. I wrote several short stories before TQR, and I had one full length fantasy idea that I was whittling away at (a story I have since discarded, but it was good in showing me what sort of discipline was required to write a full length novel). I think a writer truly learns their voice in the editing process, which you get to after finishing something. Editing gives you the chance to really weigh every single word you’ve thrown on the page, as well as gives you the time to focus deeply on your character arcs.
Passion and blood. Did you struggle at any point in The Queen’s Rising when writing your characters and their fight against what side – passion or blood – to be loyal to?
I actually did not struggle with it—I’ve always known what the ultimate outcome was going to be. But it is interesting when I look back at my earlier drafts of the story. Brienna’s conflict wasn’t nearly as emotional and intense as it is now, so that was something I had to really delve into with each round of edits.
What is your favorite scene (without spoilers of course) in The Queen’s Rising? If you can’t say exactly, or can’t pick, tease us with something from the book!
Ah, my favorite scene is absolutely a spoiler. And you’ll probably know what it is when you get to it. So, let me give a little teaser. I am a shameless sucker for slow burning romances, as a reader and as a writer. I like to build friendships that slowly edge into something more, the sort of romance that sneaks up on you. TQR definitely features this sort of thing.
Why do you feel self-discover so important in YA literature?
I think it’s because teens experience so many different things at this time in their life. They’re going through a lot of “firsts” as well as making decisions that can potentially impact their lives later down the road. Who am I, where have I come from, and where am I going are three things that I thought of a lot when I was teen. All three of those questions help us discover who we are, which resonates with readers at any age. I think that is why YA lit is so powerful, and why it’s not just teens who enjoy these books. I’m 30 years old, and I feel like YA books have made me feel and experience countless things that adult books haven’t.
Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?
Thank you so much for the interview, Rae! I’m so excited to share this book with the world, and I really am so thankful for all of the bloggers who have reached out to me on social media with kind words and beautiful pictures. As an author, nothing compares to hearing from readers!
Thank you Rebecca for stopping by A New Look On Books!
Stay tuned for the release of The Queen’s Rising next month!