Wednesday, August 27, 2014

John Rosenman ~ Interview ~ Interesting speculative fiction writer!!

Aloha everyone! Today I have John Rosenman with me, a fellow Muse It Up writer. He's a prolific writer and writes a lot of speculative fiction. It's a form of science fiction, but covers a vast array of subjects. I hadn't heard of it either. :-) But it's been interesting finding out about it.
John has a captivating writing style that draws you into the story. He's led an interesting life and answered some great questions on this blog for us. Thanks JOHN! Great to have you here with us. :-)
Tell our readers a wee bit about yourself. What are 5 things you wished you’d done, have done or are still to do, on the Bucket List? J   

1.  I wish I’d gone to see my sister in Las Vegas for our ninth wild vacation before she died.(She flew in from CA; I from VA.)  She was single, richer, eight years older, and she always sent me a $1000 check for expenses.  There’s a moral here.  You should almost never pass up opportunities to see someone you love even if you don’t know they may soon die. 
2.  I wish I’d gone into the Navy at seventeen despite my father’s objections.  What the hell, my whole life would have been different.  Maybe good, maybe bad.   

3.  When I was 22, I hocked my law books, left law school, hopped a Greyhound bus one way from Ohio to New Orleans, a ride which lasted 38 hours.  In New Orleans I slung hamburgers for a buck an hour and lived in an eight dollar a week room trying to write the great American novel.  I’m still trying to write it. 
4.  My first published novel The Best Laugh Last is about a white English teacher in a Southern black college, and it cost me two teaching positions.  If I had the choice whether to do it again, I’d do it again. 

5.  I want to finish the Inspector of the Cross series, wherever it takes me, and perhaps the stories/novels involving Sky Masterson. And maybe get back again to writing short stories, which seem to have dried up. Strange that the only series I’ve ever written would be in my seventies. 

6.  (A Bonus): I wish I had reached all those students I never reached.


Tell us about the genre you write, why do you love it and how did you get into it?  

My main genre, not the only one, is science fiction or perhaps more accurately speculative fiction because it embraces the universe and all universes, all possibilities and all genres, including the one my interviewer writes.  Man, is it ambitious, the ultimate umbrella genre.  Yes, you can have m/m or intersex SF, too. 
I sometimes say speculative fiction makes possible my two major themes or interests, which are the endless, mind-stretching wonders of the universe and the limitless possibilities of transformation—sexual, cosmic, and otherwise. 
For sexual transformation, check out my novel Alien Dreams, where Captain Latimore changes into the giant alien Ragar and makes love to the  great winged alien queen for ten thousand subjective years while changing bodies, orifices, and positions with her in the process. Go ahead, find that one in The Joy of Sex. 
How did I get into speculative fiction?  Check the “About Me” tab on my web site.  (  I grew up saturated with scary, creepy SF/Horror movies and scary, creepy SF/Horror comics.  Also, a boyfriend of my sister gave me a year’s subscription to Amazing magazine.  When I saw War of the Worlds in 1953, it warped me forever.  Then there was The Thing.  It Came From Outer Space.  Them!  Forbidden Planet.  Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  The Day the Earth Stood Still.  And the books . . .  The Martian Chronicles.  The Illustrated Man.  The Shrinking Man.  And so on. 

What’s your most favorite restaurant in the world? Where, why and the best dish/es they make?  

I’m not a gourmet or a sophisticated diner.  I like fast food restaurants.  However, I have celiac disease and have to avoid gluten which is found in wheat, rye, barley and therefore in bread, noodles, fried foods and the like. 

One place I like is Golden Corral because I can roam among all the food islands.  I love soups like clam chowder, broccoli cheese.  Steak.  At KFC I love its grilled chicken.  If it’s done right, it’s heavenly.  I’d like to eat fried chicken but I can’t.  It’s filled with gluten.  I love lobster and Lobster Newberg, but I haven’t had them in years.  I love so many different foods really.

Remember those ads for Expedia (if not, just play along) that asked, ‘If you could go anywhere in the world, but have to go right now?’ Where would you have gone and would you have said to YES to right now? What pulls and entices you to that country?  
Hmmm.  Probably Italy because when I traveled there with my sister in 1994, I was mesmerized by three cities: Rome, Florence, and Venice.  I loved the museums, the cathedrals, and the sites.  Heck, I wrote one of my best stories, which is about a mediocre art teacher who visits the Sistine Chapel and has a vision that he is the reincarnation of Michelangelo. 
It’s the timeless beauty and history of Italy which calls me, the artistic tradition and heritage.  They have cathedrals it took them a thousand years to build while generations of men and generations of governments rose and fell.  Just walk in some of those stupendous cathedrals and look up at the magnificent art and stained glass windows.  Walk in the museums. 
In Florence, I saw Michelangelo’s David, as beautiful as it was the day he created it.  As for Venice, what a preposterous city, as fanciful as those in any of my stories.  If you stray off the beaten path, you have to walk on water.  What beautiful blown glass art of brilliant colors, what romantic gondolas, and St. Mark’s Square.  But it would also be sad to return now that my sister’s gone.
What parts of you, are incorporated into your characters?  

Boy, Meg, this is a big question.  In Turtan, the hero of my Inspector of the Cross series, I put a lot of my wish fulfillment, my desire to be heroic and larger than life.  Also in a big way, I projected into him my desire to help people, to serve them.  I am not a Christian, but Turtan is a self-effacing, self-sacrificing savior who despite his flaws and sinful ways has many parallels with Christ.

Another example: Johnny Roth in my YA novel The Merry-Go-Round Man is my alter ego in some ways.  I gave him a similar name and put him in the school I used to attend though I never name it.  Plus, I make him creative.  He’s a painter, whereas I’m a writer.  (Meg: I have read some of this book. It's excellent, very engaging. Great subject matter!)  
Biggest example: David Newman, the rebel English teacher at the Southern black college in my first novel The Best Laugh Last is me.  Or to be grammatically correct, he is I in many ways.  It’s a whistle-blower of a novel.  Though it was reviewed in newspapers, it never caught the attention of the national media. (Meg: And I would love to read this book, but apparently it's so controversial that John wouldn't republish it when it was offered! Just the type of book I want to read! Seriously.)
While many or most of my characters don’t contain parts of me, I like to think I have what John Keats called negative capability, which is the ability to identify and sympathize with all kinds of people, including those who are completely different from me.   

Favorite male hero/public figure you admire in the world, dead or alive, and why?  

I would have to say my father, for his scrupulous honesty and resolve always to say what he thought, regardless of the cost or consequences.  He was a lawyer, and a fiercely truthful one.  Once he had the nerve to tell a judge he would die for his dishonesty in the courtroom.  And soon after, the man did! 

When I was a small kid, I missed the first two strikes in a baseball game and gave the bat to another boy because I thought I’d just whiff the third pitch. Dad sternly told me never to do that again and always to try and never give up.  He was a good teacher, and I’ve always tried to carry that lesson through life. 

Favorite female heroine/public figure you admire in the world, dead or alive, and why?  

First, my mother, who like my father was not a public figure.  Like him, however, she cared deeply about her family and about being honest and true to herself.  Many of my values and beliefs are derived from her. 

I must mention Irene Sendler, the “female Schindler.”  She died in 2008 at the age of 98.  To quote from a source: “When the Germans finally caught her, the Roman Catholic social worker had managed to save 2,500 Jewish babies and toddlers from deportation to the concentration camps. . . . She was beaten, tortured and sentenced to death by the Gestapo  -  who even announced her execution. But Irena survived, her spirit unbroken, her secrets untold.”  She was uncomfortable being called a heroine.  Sendler said, "The term 'heroine' irritates me greatly. The opposite is true. I continue to have pangs of conscience that I did so little." (
Irena Sendler

That last trait is shared with my epic hero Turtan.  Please don’t praise him, give a speech or dinner in his honor, or sculpt a statue in his magnificent likeness.  It embarrasses him and will piss him off.  He exists only to serve, only to save.  Anything else is not only irrelevant, it can be harmful bullshit. 

Have you ever had a character just “do their own thing?” Have you ever had an argument with one of your characters? Or anything else odd happen?
Usually I’m in control, and they don’t talk back or barge out of the joint.  But lately a fourteen-year-old girl named Sky Masterson gave me problems.  You see, I’m a Pantser, and when Turtan and I first ran into her in Book II in a deep mine on the planet Lauren, I thought she was going to be just a bit character.  A dirty-faced, malnourished kid.  A great acrobat/juggler, a good fighter, but deficient in language skills and dying of cancer. 

But she was so likeable, and I was so proud of her, and well, she grew on me.  And just as bad, or good, she grew on Turtan, too.  And in Book III in the series she surprised me by almost taking over and sharing the billing with my protagonist.  If there were a movie marquee, she’d be right there beneath him. 
Sky loves Her Inspector. And she surprised, bewitched, and completely won me over. Hell, she surprised the Jax, too.  He’s the representative of God, the divine female spirit who reigns throughout the multiverse. I have the Jax appear in every novel of this series, and he tells Turtan that Sky surprised him, too. He never saw this girl coming, and he never dreamed there could be two champions in the universe. All this when Sky is only fifteen years old. 
The problem is, it seems I devoted too many chapters to Sky’s story in Book III, and they took away from Turtan’s story.  So I decided to delete most of her chapters.  Over twenty-five thousand words, baby.  But Sky’s still in there, and she continues into Book IV.  I mentioned an idea to my editor Chris Speakman about a separate novel focusing on Sky on First Station from age fourteen to eighteen, presenting everything from her POV.  Maybe a YA novel, and Chris is gung-ho about it. (Meg: What do we think readers? Hell yes. We love rogue characters. Please... please...please write it John. I'll sic Lea on you LOL. Chris just isn't scary enough. Sorry Chris! :-) Although she's currently threatening my beloved home state with snow. Little does she know, we welcome on Mauna Kea in the winter on the Big Island. :-))
I don’t know.  It’s a great universe, but maybe I’ve got to get out of it.  I do love Sky, though.  Hell, just about everyone does, especially men.  Like Turtan, Sky has transcendent abilities.  But what’s an eighteen-year-old woman doing, giving all her love to a forty-eight-year-old man when he won’t even sleep with her because he considers her to be his daughter even though he desires her.  Men.  They’re so fucked up.  You know they are, Meg.  It’s a doomed relationship, isn’t it?  Well, how would I know?  I’m only the author, and I’m a pantser.  (Meg: Oh for God's sake, just write the bloody thing John! LOL. And so say all of us.)  

You know why this beautiful, exotic, deadly fighter of a warrior won’t settle for any other man, not even for a quick roll in the hay? C’mon, I’ll give you ten seconds to figure it out. Okay, the answer is . . . because Turtan is the best there is and the best there ever will be.  It’s that simple.  Most of us will “settle” or compromise, but not Sky. Never. 

Anyway, Sky took over much of my narrative, and a large chunk of me hopes she doesn’t continue to hijack my keyboard and make me write a book or two focusing on her.  But I wouldn’t bet on it, Meg. You see, I’ve had a real weak spot for women all my life, and Sky knows just how to get to a man. 

What’s your passion in life?  

Well, I’ve already mentioned women, and I won’t dwell on it.  It tells you something that I make God feminine in my Inspector of the Cross series.  I like guys, but I don’t want any God with a deeper voice or a scratchier beard than me. 

My family is my passion, too. My wife.  We have shared a path and a journey for a long time.  Our children are my passion, too. 

My writing is my passion. I want to get inside people and make them cry, laugh, feel better, inspired, and never forget what they’ve read.  I want them to remember it long after I’m gone.  Maybe me a little but more important, what I’ve written, my characters and words and stories.  I try to hone and revise my writing, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction and make it as fine and polished as I can, as memorable and as perfect as possible.

What’s your writer’s routine? Do you write whenever or at certain times? Are you a pantser or plotter? Where do you like to write?
Basically I sit down in my den and bang away at my computer.  No real schedule, especially since I retired three years ago, and in good weather tennis comes first in the morning.  But when I’m inspired and the words are coming and I know where the story’s a-going, I go tap, tap, tap for hour after hour.   And boy is it good.  I have no regular, disciplined routine, though, and I write at scattered times.  
I’m basically a pantser, and I wrote a darn good blog on this subject on my web site (  Just scroll down a ways.  When I used to go to cons, some writers on panels were meticulous planners, even constructing outlines hundreds of pages long with elaborate character sketches.  Others get by on a shoeshine and a smile.  I like to make it up as I go along. In my just finished novel, Defender of the Flame, the conclusion of what I call “The Turtan Trilogy,” I did have the basic conclusion in mind and even the last couple of sentences written, which is rare for me.  
Years ago, with Speaker of the Shakk, published by Mundania Press, I actually wrote out a complete outline and was proud of myself.  But then I changed the novel so much, the outline was little more than a springboard into something else.  Still, it was helpful, and in general I’d recommend that writers use them.  It’s just I like the freedom of marching forth into the wilderness without a map and a compass. 

If you could pick a past life, what time period would appeal to you and why? Would you be male or female? Rich or poor?  

Male, probably neither rich or poor but somewhere in between so I could forge my own future.  Females in general had it rough, limited freedoms even if they were rich or upper class.  And there was always the possibility of complications or dying in childbirth.  Besides, I like being a male.  However, I might be tempted to experience sex and sensibility from a female’s perspective . . . if I could remember what it was like to be a man. 

My favorite past time period: I’d like to come along as a young adult about 1950, the beginning of the Golden Age of Science Fiction before so many of the great stories and novels were written.  Perhaps I could create some of the great stories myself.  It’s not that there aren’t new stories to tell now; it’s just that so many of the classics have already been written.

Web site: http:,
Facebook Author Page:   






  1. Great interview, Meg and John. I felt like I was listening to a conversation between two friends. You two are good together.

    John, you have an interesting background. It sounds like you inherited the gift of honesty from your Mom and Dad which is great.

    Interesting how writer put themselves into their characters. We find ourselves so

    Anyway, I enjoyed this. Best wishes, John, on your novels and I hope you have a long and successful career.


  2. Aloha Susan! Thanks for coming over, reading and commenting. :-) Oh thanks. :-) I like talking to John.; :-)

    Yes, I thought John's background was really interesting too. It's always interesting what shapes people.

    We ARE fascinating Susan! That's why we're writers. LOL

    Thanks again Susan. I appreciate you read. Aloha Meg :-)

  3. What a great conversation, Meg and John. I loved your descriptions of Italy, John, and your reasons for loving those three incredible cities. I always see them as places full of drama bordering on melodrama, which is also how I see most scifi/speculative fiction - a genre I love! Wishing you all the the best with your writing, John, and good luck with finishing your series.

  4. Aloha Helena :-)

    Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!! :-)

    I agree with you on John's description of Italy. I wasn't crazy on Venice, but loved the glass. I have a real thing for glass.

    Thanks Helena for stopping by! I appreciate it! :-)

    Aloha Meg :-)

  5. Aloha Everybody,

    Meg, the blog looks great, and your questions were great, too. I felt like I was having a conversation with a close friend, which you are getting to be. I really enjoyed Italy, and I was tempted to mention France, England, and the Isle of Man too, but the only cities I saw in France and England were Paris and London. I'm glad to see Susan and Helen here.

    1. Aloha John! :-)

      Thanks on the blog. I'm glad you like it. :-) And the questions. You answered so well too! That's what made it! I like talking to you too. :-)

      Oooh France... I LOVE France. I am mad on it. If you ever get back, go to the wee villages. They capture my heart. The market days that have been held for hundreds of years. The food... the people... the geraniums. :-) The National Flower of France!! I so love it. :-) I want to do an ala Johnny Depp and live there at some point.

      Thanks for being on here John! It's lovely. :-) Aloha Meg :-)

  6. What a fine and fun interview! I always enjoy learning more about authors and how they do what they do . . . and why. Very entertaining and enlightening.

    1. Aloha Charlotte! Thanks for reading and commenting. It's nice to see you over here. :-)

      Aloha Meg :-)

  7. Congratulations to you both Meg and John.
    This was a unique interview which I thoroughly enjoyed. John is one of those rare gems you get to know in life in your lucky enough.

    I have seen and known of his incredible patience with students, his peers and even those he mentors for endless hours of grueling repetitious work while hammering out a great story.

    Meg, your questions brought out so many grand traits John offers the world in his life from inside where his characters live and come to life. Thank you for this rare look into an authors life with such honesty and straight forward replies.

    Reading about where he gives his credits in life sure warm the heart and allow those that follow him to know how he is motivated.

    Thank you again to you both!

    1. Aloha Rosemary!

      I agree with you on John, Rosemary. He's very interesting!

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments and reading. We love having new people over here. :-)

      Thanks and aloha Meg :-)

  8. Congrats on an awesome interview. I have to say, I'm curious now. I've heard of speculative fiction, hadn't come across any until yours. :-)

    Looks like my TBR list has grown...again. lol

    Nice meeting you John. Looks forward to checking out your works.


    1. Aloha Alix!

      Thanks for reading and commenting Alix. :-) I'm dying to read The Merry-Go-Round Man from start to finish. :-) That really appeals to me.

      Thanks and aloha Meg :-)

  9. I remember editing John with another publisher and was absolutely wowed by his writer's voice. When he came to MuseItUp, in all honesty, his name rang a bell but when I read his bio and books published...well, let me just tell you I did a YES! YES! YES!...John is a very charismatic man, and a prolific writer.

    Loved his responses...not a surprise that 'women' kept popping up in his answers, though. LOL!

    1. Aloha Lea! :-)

      I so agree Lea. :-) That is neat, that you have edited him previously! :-)

      LOL... on the women.. :-) Did you read that John!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. :-) Aloha Meg :-)

  10. Guys (or gals), you're too kind. But I do appreciate your comments. One thing I notice is that Meg apparently searched on the web and found photos and illustrations for some of the comments in my interview - the Sistine Chapel, the statue of David, Irena Sendler, Tap, Tap, Tap, all sorts of things. It really enhanced my ravings and made me look kinda good. Nicely done, Meg. Thanks for commenting, folks! Hello to Gypsy Shadow Publisher Charlotte Holley and fellow The Write Room Blog author Rosemary Adkins.

    1. Aloha again John! :-)

      Thanks on the piccies. I love adding them in to a blog. I think it makes it interesting and tags what people read with a visual. :-) And actually.. the real reason, is that I love doing collages. And have to STOP myself going over to Pinterest, otherwise I could be on there for 5 hours going from piccie to piccie, pinning away to my hearts content. :-) I used to do them with my Grandmother when I was a kid and I love doing stuff like that. It's fun!!

      Aloha Meg :-)