Rosie Goodwin is the author of several historical novels and lives in Nuneaton, where many of her books are set, with her husband and dogs. She worked as a placement support worker and for a social services department before turning to writing, and also fostered many children over a period of years. Her latest book, A Precious Gift, is published by Zaffre as a hardback and eBook on 31 October 2019.
1. Who were your literary heroes and influences growing up?
I have always read anything and everything I could get my hands on, but when I was old enough to read adult books, I became a huge fan of Dennis Wheatley and Catherine Cookson. Two very different genres, witchcraft and sagas, but they were my favourites.
2. Your background before becoming a writer was in foster caring and social services. At what point did your writing hobby become a full-time career?
It wasn’t until I had been published for quite a number of years that I gave up fostering, but I gave up my job as placement support worker shortly before my first book came out so that I could spend more time on my writing.
3. Your writing has certainly put Nuneaton on the map! How do you choose the time and place you want to set your characters in when you are plotting a new book?
I tend to take my characters abroad more now than I did in my earlier books because my readership has grown, but I always try to begin or end the stories in Nuneaton. Sometimes the ideas for a new book will make them begin somewhere else but my home town will always pop up somewhere.
4. Can you give us a flavour of your latest book, A Precious Gift?
In A Precious Gift we meet Holly Farthing and Ivy, her maid. Holly decides to leave home rather than marry a man her grandfather has chosen for her to marry and Ivy decides to go with her and so their adventure begins when they leave Nuneaton for London.
They are destined to follow very different paths. Holly’s will lead her behind enemy lines helping the French Resistance in war-torn France and both girls find themselves in danger of a very different kind.
5. How difficult did you find it to create your own identity as a storyteller, when everyone is inevitably compared to Catherine Cookson?
Although a huge admirer of Catherine Cookson who was my inspiration, I think every author has their own style of writing. It was a huge honour when I was the only author in the world to be allowed to write sequels to Catherine’s trilogies but although I had to follow the characters she had created, I believe I still wrote them in my own style.
6. What is on your ‘to read’ pile at the moment?
I am reading a number of books at the moment that I have been asked to review but I always have a pile of books waiting to be read. I will read any genre so long as it has a good storyline and it is well written.
7. Your books are regularly near the top of lists of the most borrowed library authors. Do you have a message for your many Suffolk library readers?
It’s always a thrill to hear that my books are popular in libraries and I love it when I get to do library events where I actually get to meet my readers. Hopefully I will get to a Suffolk library one day, when I can thank the readers in person for choosing my books to read.
8. Can you share one thing about yourself that your readers may not know?
Hmm, that’s a difficult one! Readers perhaps wouldn’t know that when I have any spare time (which isn’t often!) I love mooching around antique and curio shops! I’m certainly no expert but I love browsing through things with history attached to them and I just love the atmosphere in those places.