Ring of Secrets, Culper Ring Series by Roseanna M. White
1779, New York City
This Revolutionary War novel captured my attention, and never let go. Such a fascinating tale fitted within the perfect setting. Mystery and suspense weaves these historic happenings of America’s first spy ring—the Culper ring—into every day people’s lives. These characters are diverse and interesting, several were born of imagination, while others were actual historic individuals. Winter Reeves is a main character to admire and cheer for, as is Bennet Lane. Other characters such as: Colonel Fairchild, Robert Townsend (Robbie), those difficult grandparents—just to name a few—were quite interesting and always caused me to flip pages well into the night!
I’d never heard about the Culper Ring from Revolutionary times, but I appreciated taking a turn back in time to experience this well told tale involving risk, intrigue and sacrifice. I admit that I was pleasantly surprised to discover the types of individuals involved in this spy ring. Roseanna’s twists, turns and mystery caused me to fall more deeply in love with the 1770’s and the people of that time. Thank you for that Roseanna!
This is and has been a re-read for me. Discussion questions for reader’s groups and for private musings are provided in the back of the novel. Ring of Secrets is the first novel from a three-book series and I recommend them all highly as excellent reads.
QUESTIONS FOR ROSEANNA M. WHITE
You said in your author’s note, “I love little more than redefining history through fictional characters who interact with historical figures, which is what I did in this story.” When did you discover that you could do that? (I must say—I’m so glad that you did!)
When I was in high school, I got an idea for a story that would tell the crucifixion of Jesus, but through the eyes of a “nobody”—a woman who just happened to be there. That eventually became A Stray Drop of Blood, and it also became my standard way of writing historicals. I love including events and/or people who really existed, but focusing my attention on fictional characters, through whom I explain the unanswered questions that history always leaves us with.
Of course, I must ask who your favorite character is in this novel and how did you come up with his or her personality?
Oh goodness—how am I supposed to choose?? I love how complicated Winter is, even though it made her a real challenge to write at first. I adore Bennet’s awkwardness—so endearing! But I also really love Freeman, and all he represents to the story and, eventually, the whole series. Winter’s personality was created largely because of what I needed to fill the role in the story. Bennet, however, was a conscious decision. I’d been about to make him your typical dashing hero. But as I was folding laundry one day while mulling over the story, I just stopped and went, “No! He’s got to be shy and tongue-tied around women! That will be so much better!” And it was. =)
Were any of the imagined characters inspired from people you’ve known or have seen in media?
I use real people as my physical models, just so I have thins on my Pinterest board to inspire both myself and readers, LOL, but their personalities are always totally from my imagination—which means, no doubt, that they take little bits and pieces of all sorts of people.
If you could be Winter Reeves for a day, which day, in the pages of this novel, would you take her place?
I think I’d choose that day at the end of the story, when Bennet looks at her and thinks, There you are. It was a day of danger but victory, adventure but rightness. Exciting, but also relieving. =)
What is your favorite scene in this story? (Only tell us if you do not give away your engaging plot!)
Maybe the roof-slate scene . . . or when Bennet meets Viney, maybe. =)
When you wrote this first story did you already know the following tales you wanted to chase Ring of Secrets?
I knew the basics of them, yes; I pitched the series as a whole to Harvest House, so I knew they were going to be generational, following the family and the Culper Ring in each of the subsequent wars. I had basic ideas of where the stories would go, though I had to flesh each one out as I finished the previous.
Who was the first person to inspire you to write novels?
I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write—I remember one day when I was home sick and at grandmother’s house in first grade. It was boring—she didn’t have much by way of TV—so I asked for paper, sat in a patch of sunlight, and wrote my first epic tale of adventure: The Secret of the Magic Hairbow. Riveting stuff, ahem. LOL. There was no looking back! I always wrote, and my stories got longer to match what I was reading. I finished my first full-length novel at age 13. =)
Who is one of your favorite Revolutionary War time heroes? Why?
I’ve read about so many amazing people! Though I confess, boring as it is, that George Washington remains one of my favorites. A woman in Annapolis (whose words make a brief appearance in Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland) said of him when he resigned his commission in 1783, “He is not just a great man. He is a good man.” From all I’ve read, that’s so very true.
If you were to share an organizational tip or recipe, what would that be?
Oh gracious, I am so not the one to ask! LOL. My house is a disorganized wreck. The only thing I can keep order to is my computer—digital files and I get along just fine, but when it comes to household items…not so much. And I’m okay with that. All that time other people spend keeping their houses orderly, I spend writing, editing, and designing books—and homeschooling my children. A fair enough trade, by my reckoning. ;-)
What would you like to share with your readers today?
Every author has different reasons for writing. But for me, writing is two-fold: first, it’s involuntary—I have to write, it’s like breathing. These characters just live inside me, and I have to get their stories down! Second, once other people actually started caring to read these stories I had to put to paper, I knew that it was also a big part of my ministry. I write for God. They’re the stories He gives me, and it’s my prayer that they’re tools in His hand. So thank you for reading, and I pray always that my books end up in the hands of people who need them in some way—be it for an escape or to learn some truth of Him along with my characters—and out of the hands of anyone that might stumble because of them.
Roseanna’s latest series is called The Ladies of the Manor. These novels are excellent and I will visit those pages with you at a later blog post. Look for Roseanna M. White at:
Design Website: www.RoseannaWhiteDesigns.com
What great answers Roseanna! What a joy to do this interview! To all those readers who are interested in this time period, authors love to connect with their readers, so visit her on FB and blog!