Thursday, January 5

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, January 05, 2017 4 comments
Today's guest Rachel Rossano has taken her love of history to a whole new level--creating an alt-history world that resembles Renaissance Europe, with some unique twists in how she brings faith elements to bear. She especially has wonderful tips on world building and peopling a fantasy world.

Let's give her a hearty Laurel's Leaves welcome!

Tell us a little about the culture/world in which your story is set. What sort of research was required to create it?

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The world of the Theodoric Saga is very loosely based on 1400s to 1500s Europe. Most of the nations are ruled by monarchs and ordered on various renditions of feudal societies. There are clear differences between the nations, as you can experience by reading some of my other books based in the same world, but they all are historically inspired.

The nation of Anavrea is mostly inspired by early-to-mid-1500s England. The rough edges of the upper crust of the court have been smoothed a bit. Knowledge and learning are beginning to be appreciated, but there are still those nobles far from court who are barbaric in their behavior and sensibilities.

I did little research specifically for this book. Only a few forays into exploring general midwifery practices of the period were necessary. My heroine takes a very practical, unsuperstitious approach, which was not common but is very in keeping with her personality and background. For the rest, I drew on my life-long research of history and the people who came before us.

How do you approach faith-oriented content in your work? 

The world of the series is very similar to ours. They have a Bible, though they don’t call it that. They believe in God and His Son, Jesus, but they refer to them by different names. Salvation comes by grace through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The most common word used to refer to Jesus is Kurios, which is a transliteration of the Greek word for Lord. I think of it as somewhere between the writing of the Bible and the founding of the church something changed the course of history enough to take this pretend part of the world on a very different path.

What special challenges did you face writing this book? What surprised you as you wrote?

I have a confession to make. I wrote the first draft of this novel a very long time ago, perhaps twelve years or so ago. My memories of my challenges are a bit faded with time, but I do recall being very frustrated with Jayne for most of the writing of the rough draft. She is a stubborn character which made convincing her to trust Liam so much harder.

What advice would you give other writers interested in creating a historical/fantasy setting for their stories?

Draw on history. Read history, research history, and delve into the mundane and profound of past events and people. Focus on the people, why they did what they did and how they interacted with each other and how they reacted to outside forces. Ask yourself questions. Even when creating a sci-fi setting, history gives us insight into how societies of people react and interact.

Although little of it might reach the actual pages of the novel or short story, make sure you, the author, know the governments involved, the economics, the weather, the seasons, the climate, the kind of food they eat, the monetary system, and the country’s history. Make sure they all make sense together.  They will come into play in subtle ways and it is better to have thought it all through before beginning than to accidentally make a bad choice that will come back to bite you later.

Put yourself in the world and consider how you would function in everyday life there. How would your character find food? How would they earn money? The more realistic the setting is to you, the more realistic it will be for your character and your reader.

In general, everyone has friends, acquaintances, and people they meet only to forget. Your character doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Part of establishing a setting is populating it with secondary, tertiary, and throw away characters.  Each of these characters have lives, motivations, and a story of their own. That doesn’t mean you need to tell them in the current book, but you need to give the reader the impression that they are glimpsing into other people’s lives beyond the main character.

About the Author

Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a
bit of science fiction.

About the Book

She couldn’t hide forever.

A hard life taught Jayne to avoid men, powerful men most of
all. When a new nobleman arrives to take over the vargar, she takes her family and hides. But the new baron seeks her out and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: protection. However, once they were sheltered behind the dark stone walls of the vargar, who would protect her from the new master?

His reward isn’t what it seems.

King Ireic of Anavrea charges Liam, a former bodyguard, with the task of retaking and taming a corner of the northern wilds. Upon arrival at Ashwyn Vargar, Liam finds challenges beyond his military experience. The keys to the vargar are missing and so are the field hands who should be harvesting the fields. Once he finds the keeper of the keys, she raises more questions than answers.

Available from Amazon


Rachel is giving away one of her favorite CDs to listen to while she writes. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of music she likes to listen to, you can check out the CD on Amazon and then come back here and enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

January 2
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Intro and Book Review
Bokerah-Guest Post

January 3
Queen of Random-Book Spotlight
Rachel Rossano's Words-Book Spotlight

January 4
Stephany Tullis-Book Spotlight
Ember's Reviews-Author Interview and Review

January 5
Frances Hoelsema-Book Spotlight
Laurel's Leaves-Author Interview

January 6
Shout outs-Guest Post
Rebekah Lyn Book-Character Spotlight

January 7
Bookish Orchestrations-Giveaway Winner

 If you were to write about a historic era and tweak it a bit, which would you choose? Any questions for Rachel?


  1. Thank you so much for the interview, Laurel! It was fun answering your questions. :)

    1. You're most welcome. Wishing you all the best with your launch!

  2. This sounds like such a wonderful book! Thanks for the introduction, Laurel.
    I agree that knowing history and thinking through the way a world works really helps with world-building in a fantasy or science fiction setting. It's always hard to know how much to put on the page, but yet, we always need to know that there are farmers and midwives in addition to knights and kings, and that there's a sense of reason to the world that's been built.
    Excellent post, Rachel!

    1. I agree! I think this is why some stories have flopped hard for me--the world doesn't functionally make sense. People always need food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and training or education. Rachel's summary about this point is spot-on.