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I grew up in a big family that laughed a lot and went to church. My mother was a great reader; my father was a Tulane football star who had played in the Rose Bowl. Vacations were spent at Panama City Beach or Greenville, Mississippi, where I pored over old family photographs and leafed through signed first editions of Faulkner (who knew? just a native son.)

Flash forward to a young wife in London, spilling her groceries in front of the Duke of York’s Barracks on the King’s Road and suddenly deciding: I want to know everything there is to know about the American Civil War. Who was I in relation to my own ancestors and what part--if any--of their lives was I responsible for? Being an Enneagram One who loved beauty but was always occupied with judging between Right and Wrong, I created my characters to explore this issue, but they lay there, inert, for a long time, resisting my judgments. Then, when I had turned my back, they rose up and began to live their rich and complex lives without me, signaling: "Assume nothing. Listen backwards, and look."

Elisabeth Payne Rosen was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and educated at Hollins College, Virginia. After working in New York City, she moved to London with her husband, Martin Rosen, a film and theater producer, where they stayed for thirteen years. An ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church, she lives and works as a hospital chaplain in Marin County, California. This is her first novel.

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Elisabeth Payne Rosen featured in American Rose
The Magazine of the American Rose Society

September/October 2009

"On the day we moved into our charming fixer-upper in Marin County, I walked straight through the house and into the back yard, heading for the shade of a tree in the hot afternoon sun. It was a smallish lot, shaped like the state of Nevada and crowded with dozens of "orphan" plants and trees the previous owner had brought home from the nursery where he worked. That first afternoon, while the children ran up and down the stairs exploring, I sat barefoot on the patchy lawn, just happy to be connected to the earth."

Click here to read the article (PDF document will open in new window).

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