Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?
Ah, well, the latest one is “Unexpected Friends”, and you should all read it because it was spawned in THE Book Club’s charity auctions back in April! So there – you’re responsible 😉 Other than that, “The Fourth Musketeer” came out in May, and is a little diversion within my ongoing “Sisterhood” series of novels following the lives and trials of a group of transwomen. “Unexpected Friends” brings them out of their fictional setting into the Real World, and they interact with the winning bidder of the original auction, in a story largely devised by her. It was a fascinating exercise that let us make a few really pertinent points whilst hopefully still being entertaining!
If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?
“Well That Was Unexpected…”
What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?
I’ve not had any, sad to say! Or perhaps that’s a good thing, I don’t know. The people who read my books have been supportive and understanding, and odd requests don’t really come into it. I did once get asked what I made my boobs from – does that count?
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
Oh, so many!! I’m not sure I can choose… Wells, Kipling, Conan-Doyle… they all have qualities in their writing I admire and dream of emulating; in the modern world, Charity Norman, Amanda Prowse, Alan Jones are all new (to me) writers whose work I’ve admired hugely.
Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).
I’ve tended not to keep things secret in recent years, so this could be a toughie as well! I wear my trans-ness proudly, but before I did I wrote books of an entirely different nature (Viking-age historical fiction) under the name H.A. Douglas. I’m in the process of rebooting them. I’m also an accredited priest in the Old Norse faith, which I tend not to tell people about much. Finally – and whisper this one – I’m a model railway enthusiast… :O
Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.
“The Cabinetmaker” by Alan Jones blew me away – such a carefully-crafted novel that is so much more than a mere police thriller!
“The New Woman” by Charity Norman also stunned me: it’s the first novel I’ve read by a cis-writer that really “got” the impact of the trans condition on both the transperson themselves (I’m not going to describe myself as a “victim” or “sufferer” EVER!) and everyone around them. It struck home on so many levels, and should be required reading for anyone trying to seriously understand what it is to be human.
“Another Love” by Amanda Prowse is likewise a powerful and uncompromising look at alcohol dependency and what it can do to people, families, lives. Ms P pulls no punches, and at times reading it was quite uncomfortable!
Who is Roz White?
I’ve been writing stories since my earliest memories: my first masterpiece was two pages of foolscap – with illustrations – about a television programme of the time, and contained more uses of the word “then” than any other. I’d like to think I’ve improved just a little since then; after all, I was only about five.
My English teacher in secondary school didn’t care for the dark, gritty science-fiction I regularly turned in for class assignments either, yet I persisted. I was teaching myself more than she ever did! As an aside, she also ruined both Shakespeare and Dickens for me, but that’s for another time.
So, where to really begin? I’m already in my fifties, although I’ve no idea when that happened! I’m British, English by birth and currently Scottish by residence: I’ve been here for over ten years now, on a remote island that requires me to commute by ferry for the day job – one of the best journeys to and from work in the world, surely! In the summer at least… this provides my core writing time, and with a favourable wind I can turn out a fair amount in that time. My output over the last twenty years or so has included almost a dozen novels and a handful of non-fiction texts, the latter being well-known in their academic field – something of a boasting point, I’m afraid! There have also been short stories scattered here and there.
However… if you look for all these other books under my name, you won’t find them, and here we come to the part of this biography that, for all my years of dealing with it, I still don’t seem to have any proper sort of handle on.
I am transgendered. There, I said it! I am biologically male, psychologically feeling more and more female (whatever that means, but it feels that way to me) as the years go by. My writing allows me a useful window to explore this side of me, and undoubtedly helps keep me close to some semblance of sanity. My family (I’m married with children)are aware of this side of me, and have accepted it without question since the Great Secret coming out – for which I am incredibly, totally, grateful.
I love sharing what I do: I have taken to FaceBook like a duck to water, and I regularly post updates, snippets and recent news about whatever it is I’m doing. I also have a blog, after many years of Luddite resistance, and similarly I am finding this to be a fantastic way of getting this gender-related business out there into places where it will hopefully do a bit of good and promote some understanding – not least in me!