Rosalind Noonan has a firm foothold on becoming one of the finest authors of family drama and suspense. One of five children raised in an Irish family, she has traveled Europe and worked as a senior editor for Simon and Schuster. Today, she resides with her NYPD retired husband and children in Oregon.
I mentioned her heritage as Rosalind often speaks fondly of her family and upbringing and maintains a close relationship with her siblings. Yet, this author pens stories that have been termed “emotionally charged” and “provocative.” The fact she has already made the NYT and USA Today bestseller lists early in her career is a testament to her literary skills. Yes, the lady can write, and readers around the world are quickly becoming steadfast fans.
But, what is “early”? Rosalind first entered the world of published author with a number of pocket books such as “Sarah: don’t say you love me” (based on the then hit TV series Party of Five) and “Turning Seventeen #1: Any Guy You Want,” lighthearted, but touching stories designed for readers age twelve and up. Then a more serious side of Rosalind began to emerge.
“Whispers From the Past,” based on the TV series Charmed, became a fan favorite due to the intensity and realism Rosalind injected into the story. She was turning a corner.
The release of “One September Morning,” the tale of a murderer obsessed with living the life of the soldier he kills, and the widow trapped between life and learning how her husband really died in Iraq, cemented Rosalind’s departure from pocket books. “In a Heartbeat” told the story of a mother awakened by the news her son has been beaten and isn’t waking up. The author took readers on a dramatic journey into the unconscious youth’s relationships, and the mother’s inevitable changing perspective of her own marriage and life.
Now, “All She Ever Wanted” has been released. This absorbing story of a new mother’s dreams shattered by sanity-threatening postpartum depression, and the crisis that forces her to rise above her own needs and rediscover the true power of love, exemplifies the author’s ability to see inside us and explore the darkest, and ultimately, the brightest corners of our hearts and minds.
Rosalind has been compared to long established bestselling authors. I submit that Rosalind Noonan is quickly securing her own measure by which future authors will be compared.
Q) Your life appears to be filled with joy and love. What inspired you to write such dramatic and poignant stories rather than the light romances you initially seemed to be destined to write?
A) I do savor the joy and love in life! I’m so glad you picked that up from my profile.
I believe my career as a novelist began with the publication of One September Morning in 2009. Before that, I had been working on series fiction based on characters created and owned by someone else. That was a great experience – the ultimate writer’s workshop with the bonus of being paid to see the world through Julia in Party of Five or Phoebe from the much beloved Charmed series. I loved those characters! When I wrote those books I was working as an editor and learning the craft of writing. When people asked me about the “big novel,” I realized I didn’t have anything important that I wanted to say.
In September, 2004, the government reported 1,000 U.S. military casualties in Iraq. I was chatting with friends in a coffee shop when the subject came up, and the statistic surprised me. Were we at war? A friend downplayed it, saying that one thousand deaths was not a big deal for a country like the United States. I think my jaw dropped at that, and I remember being so perplexed that I couldn’t voice an answer. That was the catalyst for my first novel, One September Morning. Since then, I have learned that I need a source of pain or intrigue as a touchstone for each novel I write. It took me awhile, but at last, I have something to say.
Q) I have to ask. How did you meet your NYPD husband, and why take up residence on the opposite side of the country?
A) If only I had a “meet-cute” story to tell about my husband and me. The truth is that we met through friends. I was dating his partner and we went out for drinks one night in a foursome. When my relationship didn’t work out, I remembered Mike as being a low-key, calm listener. My memory served me well. Some ten years later, we were married.
Our move to the west coast was prompted by a few factors. Mike was able to retire, and we knew our dollar would go further outside New York City. There was a certain spirit of mad adventure, moving thousands of miles and landing far from our family members, who had settled along the east coast from Florida to Maine. Missing family is the big downside of living in Oregon.
Another reason for our move was the fallout from the terror attacks of September 11th. Our children were four and six that day, and we were surrounded by fear and tragedy. My daughter had two classmates who lost their dads in the north tower. Our neighborhood was filled with smoke and ash when the wind shifted. Mike was still working as a sergeant in NYPD, and he had to report for duty that day and stay on for mandatory twelve hour shifts, seven days a week. In many ways we were the fortunate ones – we were healthy and whole – but the trauma took its toll on our children. My son drew pictures of planes crashing into burning buildings, and my daughter had nightmares about terrorists attacking her on the playground, terrifying dreams that persisted until we left New York three years later. In search of a safer environment, we headed west to Oregon, where we had friends in the Portland area. My husband and daughter don’t like the rain, but my son and I are happy transplants. In fact, my son is now thinking of majoring in environmental science or forestry in college. I like to think that’s a result of living under the tall Douglas firs.
Q) As your fame increases, have you encountered folks a tad concerned that you might turn their lives into a story?
A) Ha! I love the image of people worried about a soul-sucking, demonic story-stealer! Usually it’s exactly the opposite. Some people approach me with stories they think would make a great book, and others are delighted to see shades of themselves in my characters. But my characters are pure fiction. Real life provides inspiration, mannerisms, attitudes, but my characters are drawn from a combination of sources. If anyone is depicted in one of my novels, it’s me; as the author, I have to draw on the emotions and voices in my head. Crazy business, isn’t it?
Q) The depth of post-partum depression covered in “All She Ever Wanted” is chilling. Why tackle this subject?
A) Although postpartum depression is a very real crisis for many new mothers, I don’t think our society has taken it seriously yet. Some people I’ve spoken with admit that they don’t understand it. Others view PPD as some type of character flaw or laziness. I wanted to bring this issue to light by putting the reader into the life of a woman suffering from postpartum depression. The early feedback based on Advanced Readers Copies has been exciting for me, with some reviewers going into detail about their own experiences with PPD. It’s as if these readers were waiting for a chance to vent about the ways this crippling depression affected their families. To hit a chord that way – that’s a writer’s dream.
Q) “All She Ever Wanted” has been recommended for book club discussion. How does it feel knowing people may well sit and discuss your work in unvarnished detail?
A) I am thrilled and honored that these readers are picking up my book. Beyond that, I try not to think about it too much. Really. Okay, I’m thinking about it now, and suggesting that book club members should have another glass of wine, as long as they are getting a ride home. We all want the happy ending.
Q) Any parting comments for fans and potential new readers?
A) A word of reassurance that I won’t try to capture your soul in my next book? Or maybe I will. I think that’s one of the marks of my favorite writers. Novelists like Stephen King and Jodi Picoult seem to have a finger on the pulse of society. They tap into the collective consciousness and mirror our anxieties and fears in their writing – and they do it so well. That’s my challenge.
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net