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:
- 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.
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.