Author Interview: Roseanna M. White, author of A Song Unheard

Roseanna M. White's back on Just Commonly to chat about her latest release (and a personal favorite), A Song Unheard, the second book in the Shadows Over England series from Bethany House Publishers. 

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, designing book covers, editing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books . . . .to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at

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Interview with Roseanna

1.      Hi Roseanna!  Welcome back to Just Commonly! Since you've been here before, lets jump right into your latest release, A Song Unheard. How about giving us 5 words to describe it?
Oo, okay. Let’s see: Romantic, mysterious, musical, high-stakes, and historical

2.      For those that have not read the first book in the series, A Name Unknown, will they be able to read this one without being lost?
Yep! Though there are a few mentions of the main characters from book 1 (and a brief sighting of Rosemary), I wanted each story to be completely independent of the others, so you’ll find the plot totally new, the main characters have changed (though we meet Willa in book 1), and new adventures awaiting the family.

3.      I've always wanted to know when authors write a series, even if each book can be a standalone, is the premise of each story already thought out? 
They certainly are for me, yes. When I pitch a series to Bethany House, I have to turn in a brief description of each book for approval—and my editor will let me know if he doesn’t like one of them before they make any decisions to purchase the series or not. So I already know the general premise going in, and I also need to turn in a thorough synopsis for approval before I begin writing each book. So while something always surprises me as I’m writing, the general ideas are well known from the get-go!

4.      What was your inspiration for A Song Unheard? Did it come before or after A Name Unknown?
Simultaneously, actually. =) I got the idea for a series that revolves around a “family” of street urchins and orphans who become high-end thieves during WWI and, as I began my research, learned about the things I wanted to feature in each book. I was especially intrigued by two Welsh sisters who sponsored an orchestra made up of Belgium’s top musicians after Germany invaded Belgium. They brought the musicians to Wales, where they created an orchestra who raised money to send home to the Belgian Relief Fund. I couldn’t pass that up!

5.      This one's about Willa, who I find quite dynamic. What kind of fun can we expect? 
Oh so much! Willa is a stubborn character, which sure made her a challenge to write sometimes—she wouldn’t even cooperate with me, much less with the other characters, LOL! You can expect some clever cloak-and-dagger, a taste of music, a too-handsome violinist whose poster she may have had tacked to her wall for years but with whom she is far too smart to fall in love in real life, thank you very much, and a final, dangerous foray into enemy territory to rescue said violinist’s family. We also get a glimpse of life in Belgium under the German occupation through my hero’s little sister’s eyes.

6.      Willa is a music prodigy of sorts. Do you know how to play? 
Not the violin, though I’ve always wanted to learn. But I’ve been playing the piano since age 7, so music itself is a language I know well.

7.      What can you tell us about Lukas and how will sparks fly between the two?
Lukas was the quintessential handsome and famous playboy for the last several years, enjoying the fine things that success in his career has brought him…but when war rips apart his world, he suddenly sees that his mother—now missing, along with his sister—was right all along. That chasing pleasures gets you nothing but emptiness when it really counts. Having been shot already trying to find his family in Brussels, he enters our story on the cusp of epiphany. And when he meets Willa for the first time, he sees something he never expected to find: a woman with the intensity of his sister, the steel spine of his mother, and the brilliance of his father, all rolled into one enigma of a woman. He does the logical thing (ahem) and proposes on their second meeting…then spends the rest of the book realizing he wasn’t quite joking—and trying to convince her of it. But Willa is far too smart to fall for a handsome face, so boy does he have his work cut out for him. Especially since she knows what he doesn’t—that she’s going to have to betray him before it’s all said and done.

8.      Which secondary character in A Song Unheard do you think readers will gravitate towards and why? 
I’m hoping they’ll all fall in love with Margot, Lukas’s fourteen-year-old sister. A mathematical genius like their father, Margot looks at the world in ways most people (and characters) don’t. Which is why she’s going to be the heroine in the first book of my next series—The Number of Love, book one in The Codebreakers—which is set later in the war.

9.      Which part of the book is your favorite? Can you share a line/paragraph (without a spoiler)?
Oh, fun! I’ll share a little snipped from Chapter Eleven, where you can glimpse the sparks that fly between these two.

But that blankness on her face was interesting. He had a sneaking suspicion it was what panic looked like on her.
Yet another tug of her fingers. “Will you please let me go?”
“Of course I will. After I have determined why you are so afraid of touching me.”
There, a flash in her eyes. Apparently Miss Willa Forsythe didn’t like her bravery being questioned—and looked to be the type to rise to the challenge. “Just because I don’t like being touched doesn’t mean I’m afraid.”
A point he would normally grant. But it hardly suited him to do so now. “No? I think if I were to kiss you, you would flee in terror.”
She had to see through him—she was too smart not to. But apparently whatever ghosts in her past made her sink her teeth into a challenge were stronger than her common sense. He saw it flash through her night-greyed eyes.
Then the fingers he held to his chest went from resistant to insistent, knotting in his shirt. She jerked him closer and stretched up on her toes to press her lips to his.

10.  Who can we expect to read about in the next book in the series? Can you tell us a bit about the next book or is it too early?
Absolutely! An Hour Unspent follows the “big brother” of my family of thieves, Barclay Pearce, as he seeks out a certain clockmaker whose work—in weaponry rather than clocks—has gotten the attention of members of the Admiralty. But when Barclay goes to introduce himself to Cecil Manning, he happens across Mr. Manning’s daughter being mugged outside her own home. Evelina, however, doesn’t appreciate the “rescue” of this stranger—she’s perfectly capable of handing a little mugging herself, thank you, being a suffragist and hence no stranger to violence. Nor is she convinced he’s any better than the mugger, given his seeming familiarity with street thugs. But when their lots get tossed together, she soon realizes that the man who wears a fine suit but lives in a house with no furniture has somehow done the impossible—stitched together a family when all the odds were against him. She can’t help but like him…and only partly because her mother doesn’t. But when that mugger keeps returning, they all begin to realize it was no random attack. Is it possible that it will take a thief to keep her own family safe from the enemy?
(Want to know what the cover looks like? Stay tune on Just Commonly, the cover reveal on February 13th!)

11.  I LOVE the fun facts you shared in the last interview. If I were to interview your characters in this series, what would they say about you? 
Ack! Um…they would no doubt laugh at how I tune out the world when writing or reading (“Dangerous thing, to ignore your surroundings,” my thieves would say. Though Peter, from book 1, would totally understand). They would appreciate that I know that family comes first, always. And they might roll their eyes a bit at the fact that I prefer my adventure to come in the pages of a book rather than in reality. They, after all, go out and seek it.

12.  How about would a certain character prefer a different ending or would love for you to give him/her a little more action? 
Well my family of thieves is HUGE—twelve “children” currently ranging in ages from six to twenty-eight. So they’re all clamoring for more attention from me, but alas! I only had three books in which to tell their stories, so they’re just going to have to be patient. (Insert Elinor pouting, Lucy sighing, and Georgie rushing off to sign up, determined to find his adventure in the war if I won’t just write about it in London…)

13.  Now lastly, if we are able to have a private party with your Ladies of the Manor and Shadows Over England characters, who would be in charge of what aspect of the party?
Fun! Well, Brook would pick the location, Rowena would set the menu, Ella would arrange the entertainment, which would include the newest violinst on the scene, Willa Forsythe—and perhaps Lukas De Wilde with her, if everyone was lucky. Rosemary’s job would be reminding the reclusive writer Peter Holstein to actually show up, and Barclay would crash the party…but not bother telling the young lady on his arm that they didn’t technically have an invitation.

THANK YOU, Roseanna for honoring us with this interview! I just LOVE A Song Unheard. If you missed my review last week, click on the cover image below to take you there.

Title:  A Song Unheard
Series: Shadows Over England, Book 2
Author: Roseanna White
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date:  January 2, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction
Links*: Amazon l Goodreads l Book Depository l CBD l Itunes

If Betraying Her Heart Means Saving Countless Lives, Will She Find the Courage?

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I--to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales. 

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won--until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't--that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has.


Click HERE for my review



  1. Thank you for the wonderful interview with Roseanna M. White.

  2. Fun interview! This book sounds so good! I can't wait to read it!

  3. Thank you for the wonderful interview! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this series!

    1. Thanks Andrea. I'm with you there. I LOVE this series!!

  4. hahah. So TRUE Kate! That is one thing I admire some readers that wait until the whole series to do a bingefest! But I'm usually too impatient for those, unless I've already missed 2+ books.

  5. Yaaaayyy!!! I'm so excited Margot gets her own book. I was hoping that she would be involved in the Codebreakers series. Can't wait to read that one AND An Hour Unspent! :-)

  6. Roseanna is one talented writer! She really puts you into the story! Can’t say enough good things about this book! Thanks for the interview! Yes I can’t wait for the next book o4 5he one about Margot! YES!

    1. Thanks Paula. Glad you enjoyed this! I totally agree and doesn't the codebreakers sounds amazing?!


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