Tiffany Rosenhan: Writing Her Character's Story

In this post, Tiffany Rosenhan shares what inspired her debut novel Girl From Nowhere, what surprised her about the publishing process, and more.
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Tiffany Rosenhan is a mother to four young daughters and the granddaughter of Oscar-winning actress and author Mary Astor. She has a degree in political science and often travels the world with her family and husband, who is a critical care physician. She lives in Millcreek, Utah. Girl From Nowhere is her debut novel.

Tiffany Rosenhan

Tiffany Rosenhan

Learn more at tiffanyrosenhan.com.

In this post, Rosenhan shares what inspired her debut novel Girl From Nowhere, what surprised her about the publishing process, and more!

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Name: Tiffany Rosenhan
Literary agent: Webster Stone
Book title: Girl From Nowhere
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: July 21, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

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Elevator pitch for the book: A modern spy thriller/romance!

What prompted you to write this book?

My protagonist, Sophia, has been in my head a long time. I was 19 years old and living in Taipei, Taiwan for the summer. My identical twin sister and I had gone to the night market for dinner and at some point we became separated. Suddenly I found myself alone, on a dark street, in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, unsure of where I was or how to get home. 

As I began running back in the direction I'd come, searching for my sister, Sophia emerged. I began to wonder: What if I was running from someone? Who would be chasing me? Why? What skills would I have to avoid being caught? Sophia's story evolved from there. 

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Two years later, I had graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of Utah and chose to stay home raising our oldest daughter while my husband began his medical residency in Kentucky. I write often, for fun, and over the years, and as I had more daughters, Sophia became clearer. So, eventually, I wrote her story! 

It was so therapeutic—I couldn't make my four daughters do every single thing I say, but I could make my characters! Ha.

Additionally, I've been fascinated by linguistics, tradecraft, diplomacy, geography and travel since I was a little girl! Each of these interests influenced the book.

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How long did it take to go from idea to publication?

As the story has been circulating in my head for so many years, it's hard to say! I love writing, this story and others, but for a long time, my sole focus was on mothering. 

Publishing was never really on my radar until suddenly it was. Fortuitously, I received my offer from Bloomsbury in September 2018, the week my youngest began attending school all day!

And yes, the idea evolved . . . and evolved . . . and evolved! I'd never written fiction before, so I had to learn "how to write" at the same time I was trying to understand what it was I was trying to say. It was both exciting and exhausting. Many books (both fiction and nonfiction) provided inspiration and structure.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

Yes! Writing is easy. Editing is hard. 

I was unfamiliar with a publisher's editorial process. It is thorough, disciplined, and designed to enable authors to tell their story in the most clean, effective way. It truly takes an entire team to make a great book. My editor is brilliant, of course. 

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Hopefully, next time I'm a little faster!

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Daily! Apparently, I have a habit of writing myself into messes I can't untangle. Then I have to circle back and start over. Sometimes this proves creatively beneficial, other times it adds unnecessary complications! 

The biggest surprise was learning that even if I am free-writing, maintaining structure and order are imperative!

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope they feel exhausted! I hope they feel adrenaline, excitement, and a greater interest in languages, cultures, and locations around the world. Ideally, young girls see a little bit of themselves in Sophia.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

READ EVERY SINGLE DAY. And read everything! Except what you don't like. Nobody has time for that.