Debut author Rose McCauley is a Christmas belle

Rose McCauley has been writing for over ten years and has been published in several non-fiction anthologies and devotionals. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for 43 years, she is also mother to three grown children and their spouses, and grandmother to three lovely, lively kids! You can reach her through her website or blog at, and if you visit her blog this week, you can find out about a  free giveaway.

Rose, tell us about your new release:
Christmas Belles of Georgia is an anthology pubbed by Barbour Publishing. It is the story of four quadruplets who are adopted at birth but who are reunited on their 25th birthday. 
How did you come up with this story?
Jeanie Smith Cash is the author who came up with the overall idea and asked me, and two others, to join her. We each wrote the story of one sister.
Was there a specific ‘what if’ moment?
I did ask myself “what if a former spoiled rich kid meets up with a guy she treated horribly years ago? Is there a chance for them?”
Did anything strange or funny happen while researching or writing your book?
I enjoyed doing online and telephone research with a couple of business owners in Monticello GA, the town where the story is set, and plan to visit and hold a booksigning there this fall and stay in the same Bed and Breakfast where my heroine stayed.
Every novelist has a journey. How long was your road to publication?
Over 10 years.
How did you find out and what went through your mind?
My contract was announced at the 2010 ACFW conference in Indianapolis in front of over 600 other writers. My roommate, Jennifer Johnson, stood up and cheered before I realized Becky Germany, editor at Barbour had called my name! Jen and I had just talked that morning after I read my Bible and devotional, and I told her God was still telling me to wait! She already knew about my contract, but managed to keep it from me on the 4-hour drive to conference and the first day and night of conference until my name was called.
Do you ever bang your head against the wall from writer’s block?
No, that would hurt!
If so, how do you overcome it?
I usually do something else for awhile. Take a walk, read, scrapbook, anything to let my mind go off in another direction for a while so it can subconsciously work on the problem and its solution.
Do you consider yourself a visual writer?
I am not a very visual person. I do not see scenes in my head like so many writers/readers do (wish I did—sounds like fun!), but since becoming a writer I have trained myself to be more observant.
If so, what visuals do you use?
Sometimes I look for pictures in magazines of people and settings to help me describe them more realistically.
Novelists sometimes dig themselves into a hole over implausible plots, flat characters or a host of other problems. What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?
The hard part for me about plotting is making the situation go from bad to worse!
How do you overcome it?
I don’t like conflict in my own life, so have had to learn to make my characters go through conflicts and heartaches to make the story more interesting and to teach those characters the lessons they need to learn!
Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy attic nook?
In a corner of my dining room. My desk and computer are bookended by a filing cabinet and printer on the left and a floor to ceiling bookcase on the right.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Like most women, I don’t have a typical day since I have a husband, three children and three grandchildren who seem to need wife/mom/mimi’s help quite often! After breakfast, I always start my day with Bible reading and prayer while drinking two cups of green tea with lemon juice or lemon balm.
I sometimes substitute teach or help my daughter in her dental office, but If I get the luxury of staying home all day with my characters it depends on what stage of writing I am in. During the beginning stages, I interview my characters, brainstorm ideas for the book (sometimes alone, sometimes with friends online or in person), and jot down some important scene points. If I am working on the first draft, I read over the last scene I wrote the day before then write till lunch, and continue after lunch. Sometime during the day I will walk for about an hour either alone or with my husband or a friend. This can be a great time for thinking or talking out ideas with them.
Since receiving my first contract I am still learning to juggle writing with edits, galleys and marketing—setting up booksignings, doing interviews, blogging.
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins or do you have to tweeze each word out?
I wish! I have a very creative 10-year-old granddaughter who tells me stories faster than I can type them, but I usually type a while and sit and ponder awhile, then type some more then erase some…then repeat this sequence over and over. I once did a Book-in-a-Month challenge and wrote over 50,000 words, so I have had a few 5000 words writing days, but more generally it is around 2,000 to 3,000 words in a day. Then there are the editing days when you erase more words than you write. Hard to do, but it usually makes the story better!
What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard?
BICHOK-bottom in chair, hands on keys. No matter how creative you are or how well you write, if you don’t sit down and do it, that book will never get published!
Do you have any parting words of advice?
I would encourage all fiction writers to join ACFW. The online classes and loop are chock-full of great info. Also attend conferences for the classes and for the encouragement and joy of being around other writers!
And a big thank you to my friend Ane who has encouraged me and so many others every step of this writing journey! Your contagious smile and bubbly personality has gladdened our friendship as well as this interview with joy and delight. May God richly bless you in all your writing for Him! Rose
Surprised by Life—and Love—at Christmas
Four letters are mailed from Monticello, a small antebellum town in Georgia. Sisters once, now heirs to a historic plantation, each young woman must come to terms with the circumstances of her birth. . . .
When she learns in a letter she’s adopted, Holly feels betrayed by her parents—and she books a flight out of Missouri immediately. Will she ever be able to love again?
Raised in a wealthy, loveless home, Carol rushes to Monticello from college in Atlanta when she receives her letter. She’s searching for family, but finds instead a boy she once mistreated. Will he remember her? . . .forgive her?
In one year, Starr has lost her parents, boyfriend, and job, so she’s sure her letter is more bad news. When the attorney flies to California to offer proof, Starr takes a second look—at the message and the man.
Noelle always knew she was adopted—and she’s always loved the foreman on her father’s Texas ranch too. But he’s so distant. . .perhaps a trip to Georgia is the break in life she needs.
Will the sisters receive a traditional Christmas gift. . .of love?