Thursday, July 20, 2017

Top 5 Ways to Introduce a Thief by Roseanna M. White, Author of A Name Unknown + Giveaway (US/Can)

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1)
Roseanna M. White
from Bethany House // Baker Publishing

She's out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime—determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family's history, their very name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Ways I Introduced Rosemary as a Thief in A Name Unknown

Rosemary Gresham may have been a thief, but she was a thief who preferred to work in broad daylight.
I’ve written a lot of characters before, but I have to say, A Name Unknown is my first book with an outright criminal for a heroine. That, however, is part of what defines Rosemary—she’s a thief from the mean streets of London, and she’s about to have her world turned upside down when she accepts a strange job from the mysterious Mr. V. So how, as a writer, do I pull the readers into her life, into her world, without scaring them away?
  1. Show the Fear. Rosemary is afraid of the dark—kind of odd for a thief, right? We get a hint of it in that first sentence, and more a couple sentences down, as she’s moving from streetlight to streetlight. Perhaps it was that she knew all too well what could hide in the darkness. Perhaps it was because she had spent too many nights overwhelmed by it as a child, huddling in a dark alley and praying to a deaf God that her parents would live again. Rosemary needs to steal to survive, but she doesn’t want to do it in shadows. She knows how to use them, but she prefers the light—something that will haunt her thoughts and her heart throughout the rest of the book.
  2. Show the History. In that sentence above, we get a bit of her history too. Why is Rosemary Gresham a thief? Because her parents died when she was a child, and she was left to fend for herself in a world where the orphanage system wasn’t exactly fair and just. Rosemary took to the streets because she saw no other choice. She stole food to survive. And other things to fence so she could buy food. In her eyes, this is just what’s necessary. Is it a choice we as readers would make? Hopefully not, but I daresay it’s one we can understand when put on so basic a level: steal or starve.
  3. Show the Exception. We see within the first few pages of A Name Unknown that Rosemary isn’t your ordinary pickpocket anymore. She and the fellow thieves she calls family have taught themselves how to get along in society—Rosemary is a whiz with a needle and has stitched them clothes that blend in with what their “society marks” wear. They’ve taught themselves to speak properly. And more importantly, they have a code: they only steal from those who are well off, never from the poor (an oddity among street thieves for sure). They weren’t exactly Robin Hoods, she muses later in the book, but they were closer to Robin Hood than to a crook.
  4. Show the Love. Rosemary isn’t alone in the world—she’s part of a family that I adore writing about. When she was a child, within months of finding herself on the street, she made her way to the rubbish bin of a pub, and the owner, Pauly, fed her and took her in as best he could. He also introduced her to a few other children in like circumstances. They decided to stick together. And then, a few years later, they decided to adopt a few more down-and-out children into their family. And more, and more, until at the point that the book opens, Rosemary is one of twelve. She’s one of the oldest, so views the little ones as offspring or siblings for whom she’s responsible. Though none of them share a drop of blood, there’s very real, selfless love among this family. They’ll do anything for each other, and that’s a truth clearly evident within the first chapter. They may be thieves—but they understand love.
  5. Show the Fun. The first chapter closes with a fun tradition of my family of thieves—they challenge each other to steal odd, often ridiculous things to prove who’s the best at their chosen field. As the series progresses, the challenges become less physical—by book three, the hero is charged with stealing an hour from Big Ben’s clock—but in this book, Rosemary received a challenge to steal a manor house. Not exactly easy for a pickpocket, but she accepts. And so, when she heads to Cornwall on a job given to her by a rather mysterious employer with whom she’s meeting in that opening scene, she’s thinking all the time about how to take from the hero his rather nice home... and what she might change if ever she were mistress of a place like Kensey Manor.
Unfortunately for her, she has no idea what getting to know her mark is going to do to her ideals, her goal, and her very soul. Or perhaps fortunately. Because though Rosemary doesn’t realize at the start that she needs to change, she soon sees that it isn’t just the night that holds darkness... and it isn’t just the sun that gives light. It’s the Son, and He shines through those who love Him.

So how do you introduce a criminal as a heroine? As someone you can root for, and who you hope will change not because you want her to get her comeuppance, but because you want her to find that greatest score of all: redemption. Something none of us deserve, but which our God gives us freely, with love.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her.

When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself.

Roseanna’s fiction ranges from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of A Name Unknown—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Roseanna's question in the comments below:
Did you have a big fear in childhood? How did you overcome it, or does it still plague you?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Roseanna and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Bethany House!
Giveaway ends August 3rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!