Friday, August 24, 2012

Margaret Dilloway

Margaret Dilloway was inspired by her Japanese mother's experiences when she wrote The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, and especially by a book her father had given to her mother called The American Way of Housekeeping.

From Dilloway's Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:

I adored the heroine of your new novel. She really starts off so prickly, and then gradually, she begins to unfold, much like a flower, and I ended up being totally in love with her. Where'd she come from?

I had the idea to write a book about rose breeding, so I began research. When I found out that many rose breeding hobbyists are retired scientists or engineers, the voice of Gal popped into my head. She always thinks she’s correct, she loves order, and she has a very methodical way of doing things. But, she’s extremely passionate and wants what’s best for everyone. She’s partially based on my late sister-in-law, whose lifelong struggle with kidney failure ended last Christmas. I think Gal has developed a take-no-prisoners attitude toward life because that very attitude is necessary for surviving her chronic illness.

The details, both about roses and kidney dialysis, were fascinating. Can you tell me about the research process? What surprised you?

For rose breeding, what surprised me most was the amount of chance involved. So much of it depends on luck. The breeder who helped me most, Jim Sproul, breeds many Hulthemia roses. He told me his child got a perfect specimen on the first try. Jim was the first one to get Hulthemias to the consumer market this year—they’re called the Eyeconic Lemonade and Pink Lemonade.

For the dialysis/kidney stuff, the biggest surprise came with how many times medical doctors...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Margaret Dilloway's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns.

The Page 69 Test: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns.

--Marshal Zeringue