The Debutante Ball Welcomes Caroline Starr Rose

Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books, composed poetry on an ancient typewriter, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape.

Caroline has taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. In her classroom she worked to instill in her students a passion for books, the freedom to experiment with words, and a curiosity about the past. She’s recently returned to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she lives with her husband and two sons.

Caroline’s debut, MAY B., a middle-grade historical novel-in-verse released just last month to great acclaim, receiving starred reviews from both Kirkus and Publisher’s weekly.

May is helping out on a neighbor’s homestead—just until Christmas, her pa promises. But when a terrible turn of events leaves her all alone, she must try to find food and fuel—and courage—to make it through the approaching winter.

From MAY B.:

I watch the wagon

until I see nothing on the open plain.  

For the first time ever,

I am alone. 

And now for the interview:

  1.  Talk about one book that made an impact on you.

There are many books that have stayed with me over the years, but SILENCE, by Shusako Endo, has probably left the deepest impression. SILENCE follows the persecution of a seventeenth-century Jesuit missionary in Japan.

Rodrigue is captured for his faith and in one chilling scene is irritated by the “snoring” he hears in another cell. Later, he learns this snoring was the sound of a fellow believer trying to draw breath in the midst of torture. Rodrigue, of course, didn’t know any better, but he is almost destroyed by his initial, callous response.

What I can’t escape is what this scene says about my own life. To quote Endo from an earlier part of the book, how often have I “walk[ed] brutally over the life of another …[and been] oblivious of the wounds [I’ve] left behind”?

2. Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?

I love Francie Nolan from A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN and have always thought we would have been good friends (you know, if she were real). We could have talked books and dreams of the future. I’ve always felt I’ve understood her soul.

3. What time of day do you love best?

Though I’m not as much of a morning person as I used to be (I feel like I’ve never recovered from all those early morning feedings with babies years ago), I still love the early morning, just around sunrise. The air is fresh and the scent of certain flowers is present only at this time — like a secret for those awake and aware. I love the promise a new day holds, too.

4. Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.

Weird, goofy things my husband has said or done over the years, like the time he walked into the room with a severed sweat pant leg towering on his head like some strange stocking cap.

The two of us are often humored by the same thing, like the Fraiser clip where Dr. Fraiser Crane makes an announcement on the radio that he’s not a man who won’t stand by his principals, only to be cut off mid-sentence. What airs is this — “People who know me will not be surprised by what I’m about to say: I am not a man.” I bet we’ve watched that clip 50 times. We crack up every time.

5. What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Remember two things: your work can only get better if you keep working at it, and you have something unique to say that no one else can.


Thanks for being with us today at the Ball, Caroline! You can find out more about Caroline from her website or her blog.

And now, for our readers, Caroline has graciously offered up a copy of MAY B. to one of our lucky commenters, and she will even send internationally, so please comment below, telling us about something that is guaranteed to always make YOU laugh.

14 Replies to “The Debutante Ball Welcomes Caroline Starr Rose”

  1. Hi, Caroline! So happy you could be with us here at the Ball. MAY B sounds incredible. I have to admit I’ve never read a novel in verse–I’m so looking forward to the experience.

    Oh, and I love that Frasier clip–it cracks me up every time.

  2. Thanks for being here, Caroline! I adored MAY B. and have found myself reading a few verse novels lately and really enjoying them, despite being very new to the genre. I think verse especially works in your book, because of May’s struggle with dyslexia. It’s a beautiful book that I think everyone will enjoy!
    As for what is guaranteed to make me laugh? Off the top of my head, I love the movie Bowfinger and can watch it again and again and it’s guaranteed to elicit guffaws from me and for days after watching, I will walk around muttering, “Keep it together, keep it together”. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend!

    1. Oh yes, me too. My boys and I love looking at my younger son’s travel journal, something he kept when we went to Switzerland a few years ago. He was six and mainly drew pictures (and added a few words here and there that really had nothing to do with what he was drawing). For some reason, most of the family sported mohawks. The three of us look and laugh until our stomachs hurt.

  3. Great interview, Caroline, and as you know, I love MAY B.! What makes me laugh is usually something random that happens late at night when I’m starting to feel punchy. Those are the times I can’t stop laughing. Also, the movies The Birdcage and Groundhog Day.

  4. Hi Caroline! I was just telling Joanne yesterday how I went to check out an excerpt of MAY B. and was so deeply and instantly riveted by it, I ordered a copy promptly. I have two very little girls but I have a feeling it will be a wonderful addition to their library when they are older (and in the meantime, I will get to enjoy it!)

    Wishing you all the very best–and thank you so much for stopping by the Ball today!

  5. I think this is such a moment: the first time you are ever alone in the world–what a great moment to write a story about! I know this story will be enduring, and I have my copy on order from my Indie bookstore. I love Frasier too–my favorite is the one where they all eat the birdseed: If Kenny gets birdseed, we all get birdseed!

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