Author Spotlight: Denise Rossetti

1. Welcome to the Author Spotlight Denise! At the recent RWA conference you spoke about being a writer; what do you think is the most important tip to help writers, especially unpublished writers, eliminate guilt and make writing a priority in their lives?

What’s important – to you? And how important is it – to you? Once you work that out, you have a basis to evaluate all the other priorities in your life. Then you can negotiate, juggle, wheedle… or fold your arms, set your jaw and say, “This is my time. Unless the blood is arterial red, go away.”

Sometimes we need to rearrange others’ expectations of us. And yes, I know it’s not easy, but if writing is part of the wellspring that nurtures your spirit, you’re not being selfish. Work out a way.


2. When is your next book coming out, and can you tell us a little about it?

I’ve just completed The Dark Rose, the fourth and final book in the Four-Sided Pentacle series for Berkley. We’re talking covers at the moment – very exciting! It will be published in September next year. The most recent book in the series is The Lone Warrior. The hero, Walker, is the warrior of the title, his life dedicated to vengeance for his people. His dynamic with the heroine, Mehcredi is delicious. I absolutely loved it. He’s so deadly and she’s so… oblivious.

I’m currently working on another in my Phoenix Rising series for Ellora’s Cave, a male/male romance this time. The fourth in the series, Guilty as Sin, was released last August. It’s a fantasy ménage starring a bad boy thief and two winged Aetherii. They’re so spectacularly good that our bad boy can’t wait to debauch and defile the pair of them. Poor things, how they have to suffer! *snork*

You can read all the first chapters on my website.


      3. How do you keep coming up with new ideas and storylines?

I dunno. They just… arrive.

Usually, I’ll ‘see’ a particular character first and then another and then I work out the dynamic between them. Like most writers, I play the ‘what if’ game. I’m interested in science and psychology and all kinds of odd, speculative things. Sometimes, a particular concept will take hold of me, or the setting will come first. I really don’t like that at all, because it’s much harder work to give the characters life. But that’s what romance is all about – people and their emotional interactions and that’s what I like – books that are character driven.


      4. Do you feel as if your characters live with you as you write?

Doesn’t everyone? I have whole worlds in my head, full of amazing characters brawling, talking, loving, crying.

Quite often I park the car at my day job and wonder how I got there. I’ve been somewhere else for the entire journey. Bit of a worry, really. On the other hand, I’m never bored at staff meetings!


5. What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started writing?

I wish I’d known what a jealous mistress the Muse can be. She’s messed with my head, distanced me from my non-writing friends, eaten up my leisure time, given me sore shoulders and a spreading rear end. I still wouldn’t want to be without her, though.


      6. What do you love most about being an author?

The most? Oh, that’s hard. There’s an infinity of joy and satisfaction to be had in writing.

Dorothy Parker said she hated writing, but loved having written. Me too. I never find it easy, words don’t flow from my fingertips in a glittering stream, but there are times I actually enjoy re-reading my own work, especially after the passage of time. I used to mourn the fact that I’m not ‘creative’, in that I can’t draw, dance or play a musical instrument. Now I relish that I get to play god(ess) in my own world. I create entire people from scratch and then take them on a journey full of adventures, challenge and deep emotion. If I decide to hurl someone off a cliff, who’s to stop me? That’s real power! I also love the way the Muse works, all sneaky and in my subconscious—and it always works in the end, no matter how anxious I become.

Then there’s validation from readers. It never ceases to thrill me that a complete stranger should take the time out of their busy day to tell me I made them sigh or cry or even jump their beloved’s bones. It’s even better if I’ve helped them forget their troubles for a while. Writing is the nearest thing to real magic I know, a kind of astonishing telepathy between author and reader. Think about every book that’s moved you. The characters are only paper people. They don’t exist, except in your imagination, but they make you laugh, make you weep. Isn’t that amazing?

And finally, through RWA, I’ve made the most fantastic friends, here and overseas. Only someone who is similarly obsessed can truly understand where a writer is coming from. The romance writing community is incredibly supportive and generous—and oh-so-talkative! I love it!


      7. How important do you think it is for authors to be actively engaged in self promotion?

To be honest, I have no idea. My agent says it doesn’t matter, but I always feel guilty because I do so little. If someone could work out a way to test reliably for Return on Investment, I’d be forever grateful. Nonetheless, the bottom line is that if you don’t write, you have nothing to promote, so… The best marketing tool is a terrific book, that’s what I tell myself.


8. Describe yourself in three words:

Small, noisy, talks-with-hands. (The hyphens mean it’s technically one word, right?)


     9. If you could be invisible for one hour, what would you do and where would you go?

I’ve really thought about this one, and I’ve decided I would truly hate to be invisible, even for an hour. First there’d be the horrible sense of disconnection and then there’d be the fact that observing others without their knowledge makes me feel a bit squicky. I can’t imagine anything good coming of it.


Connect with Denise online via her website, blog, facebook, and twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter here!
Thanks for participating in our Author Spotlight Denise! 🙂

Leave a comment


  1. Great interview, Denise. Can’t wait for The Dark Rose 🙂

  2. Hi Erica. I can’t wait to see the cover! It’s always such a thrill. I have my fingers crossed it’s the same artist, he’s amazing.

  3. Hi Denise. I attended one of your talks at the Conference in Melbourne and loved all the information you shared. Incidentally, isn’t it funny our perceptions of people?
    I considered you tall. 🙂 Maybe you are right up there in my estimations.

    Loved “The Lone Warrior”, even hubby read it, and of course the cover had nothing to do with the purchase

  4. Hi there, Elle. How wonderful you thought I was tall – I’m beyond chuffed, having felt like a shrimp all my life. Maybe it was the heels. *snork*

    Thanks so much for the kind words about the workshop and ‘The Lone Warrior”. so glad you enjoyed it, I loved writing it. And that your husband read it too – wow, I’m impressed! What a delightful man! Tell him I said hi. 😉

  5. Lovely interview, Denise. If you get the answer to Return on Investment can you share it with me too!

    Look forward to reading The Dark Rose!! And seeing the cover – you always seem to have gorgeous covers!

    • Hi Helene! Yes, wouldn’t it be wonderful to know how effective all that time-consuming promo actually is?

      As for the covers – all I can say is that I must have been a saint in a former life. *snork* I’ve been incredibly blessed.

  6. Hey Denise, you’re taller than me, especially with those kick arse red heels 🙂

    And yes, talk-with-hands IS one word. And one that describes you accurately.

    Good luck with both your series. I have your latest waiting on my TBR shelf. Never enough time, I tell you.

    E x

    • Hi Eleni. Oooh, I’m feeling taller by the minute! Mind you, I estimate those red shoes have five inch heels. I do love ’em.

      Fingers crossed you enjoy Guilty as Sin, that’s the latest. And yep, another to-die-for cover there. 😉

  7. Kylie Griffin

     /  November 9, 2011

    Hanging out for the next in your Four Pentacle series, Denise, cant wait! 🙂 Like Elle, THE LONE WARRIOR is my fav of the series so far – loved Walker and could have hugged Mehcredi. They were both such engaging characters. I cried and laughed and went back and read the book all over again once I’d finished.

    Wondering what they’ll come up with for the cover of THE DARK ROSE? Must be nail biting waiting. Do you get much input into the process?

    • Thanks for the kind words about ‘The Lone Warrior”, Kylie. It means a lot to hear that enjoyed it. I have to admit, I did enjoy the dynamic between Walker and Mehcredi.

      I get to put in my 2c worth for the cover conference, but obviously, I’m not there for it. After that, it’s up to the Berkley art dept as to what info they send the artist. But he’s a pretty good guy and sometimes he asks me for clarification, which is great. I have my finges crossed he gets the job again this time.

  8. Was great to interview you Denise, and this is my favourite quote that you said,… in fact, I might tweet it!

    “Writing is the nearest thing to real magic I know, a kind of astonishing telepathy between author and reader.”


    • Thanks for the chance to talk, Juliet. I love that. 😉

      As for the telepathy thing – I truly believe it’s true. I love the way a reader – if she’s sufficiently engaged – will fearlessly go with your characters into their world. And at the same time, she’s creating a version of that world in HER head. It won’t be exactly the same as mine, but hopefully, it’ll be pretty close. Absolutely amazing1

  9. Denise,
    I’m struck with envy every time I see you in those gorgeous red heels. Oh to have legs like yours- sigh!
    Great interview,


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