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The story behind the story: How Roseanna M. White wrote the book that launched a house


Author Roseanna M. White
Photo credit: RM White

Roseanna M. White grew up in the mountains of West Virginia. After attending college at St. John's in Annapolis and studying everything from philosophy to physics, she moved back to the Maryland side of those same mountains. A member of ACFW, a historical group called HisWriters, HEWN Marketing, and the senior reviewer for the Christian Review of Books, Roseanna's days are filled.

When she isn't at her computer, she's focused on being a wife, mommy to two small children, and chasing dusty bunnies back under her couch where they belong. Roseanna has one book out with a small press (A Stray Drop of Blood from WhiteFire Publishing) and is represented by the Benrey Literary Agency.

I recently asked Roseanna to share the story behind her story A Stray Drop of Blood. Here it is, in her own words

A Stray Drop of Blood – The Story Behind the Story

I've written a lot of books. I finished my first at thirteen, my second at sixteen. During my years of college, I wrote eight more. Since then, I've added another nine to the list. Needless to say, it doesn't usually take me all that long to write a book. Three months these days, round about. Except for A Stray Drop of Blood—it took me six years to write the first draft. It's an intense book, and I was working on it while attending an intense college.

After the hardback released in 2005 as the launching title for WhiteFire Publishing, I joined a writer's association and promptly learned all I had done wrong when writing the book. I nearly groaned whenever another author asked to buy a copy. Did I really want to let her see all the broken rules? But I still loved the story, so I signed a copy and sent it to her. I'm so glad I did! She responded with a glowing endorsement and a gushing review that has led to more sales than anticipated—enough to require a reprint and paperback release.

I took the opportunity to do some rewrites, bring the writing up to my current level. The story deserved it. So many times over the years I had wished that I had just waited to write this book, waited until I was writer enough to deserve the plot. But as I went through it again, word by word, I realized something: I could not have written this book now, five years after leaving college. It wouldn't have been the same story. It wouldn't have been so firmly grounded in the setting, which I was studying in school. It wouldn't have had all the references to classical literature that I spoke fluently then but which I've since forgotten in the face of Playhouse Disney and toddler-talk.

One of the projects I spearheaded for the re-release is a Companion Guide that expounds on some of the references and historical details that play into the story. As I went through the book to come up with this stuff, I saw again and again that the level of research I put into it, the sheer number of dialogues and books and manuscripts that influenced the characters was staggering. Yes, there were some historical things that I hadn't looked up, and which made me roll my eyes as I rewrote it. (Why, again, did I not do a simple Google search on housing of the day??) But the feel was there. The anchor. The culture. It would not have been, had I chosen any other time of my life to develop the story.

I am so humbled at where the Lord has brought me. I enjoyed going through Stray Drop again, loved knowing I was making it better as I immersed myself in this story that still awes me. But what I loved most was realizing anew that I had written it originally in the perfect season. That I was rewriting now in the perfect season. And that the result is a story that still grips my heart and a book that I can be proud of.

To find out more about Roseanna White and her books, visit her website

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