Our Lady of the Roses - Guest Post by Janice Lane Palko

Today, I welcome Janice Lane Palko, who will tell us all about her new book, Our Lady of the Roses. Janice, I turn over the website to you.

How a Short Story Becomes a Novel

Many writers look upon their books as their babies. If so, then my latest novel, Our Lady of the Roses, was an unintended pregnancy. I didn’t set out to write this book, but as the late painter, Bob Ross, used to say, I’ve come to regard it as a “happy accident.” One of the marketing tips the experts advise authors to employ is to offer a free short story to readers to introduce them to the author’s writing style and entice them to purchase their other books. I’ve written many different things—articles, press releases, speeches, novels–but for some reason the short story eludes me. My short story always explodes into a novel. I don’t know why, but my main character soon acquires a best friend, backstory and complex story arc.
Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when Janetta, who appeared as a secondary character in my first romantic comedy, St. Anne’s Day, took over the pages to tell me her tale, but what did surprise me was the unexpected muse who wormed his way into the book, unbeckoned.

How Saint Joseph Becomes a Muse for Our Lady of the Roses

Janetta is a bit of a train wreck. She accompanies Bob White, a salon client, as a paid translator, on a pilgrimage with him to the four major basilicas in the Eternal City. After they argue, she takes some time away from him to revisit the home, in Rome, where her late grandmother once resided. There, she discovers that her grandmother’s home has been converted into the San Giuseppe Negozio, the St. Joseph Gift Shop, affiliated with the nearby church of the same name.
While writing that chapter, I thought the owner of the store should give her a souvenir of her visit. When I researched St. Joseph religious paraphernalia to find the appropriate gift, I came across the Sleeping St. Joseph statue. Now, I’m approaching my sixth decade as a Catholic, with 12 years of Catholic education in my background, and I’d never seen the Sleeping St. Joseph statue. After writing the statue into the book and ordering a small replica of it for myself, St. Joseph sort of commandeered the story, sending me ideas and thoughts to insert into the book.


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