Author Interview & Giveaway: The Rose of Washington Square by Pat Wahler

The Rose of Washington Square: A Novel of Rose O'Neill, Creator of the Kewpie Doll by Pat Wahler

Publication Date: January 20, 2023
Evergreen Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

She set out to make her way in a man's world, rising from obscurity into one of the most famous women of her era.

Self-taught artist Rose O'Neill leaves the Midwest for New York in 1893, determined to become an illustrator in a field dominated by males. Mindful of her duty to the impoverished family she left behind, Rose’s obligations require her to yield to the men who hold the reins of her career; as well as the men she grows to love.

Yet despite every obstacle facing her, she excels at her craft, eventually designing a new character, the Kewpie. Her creation explodes into a phenomenon, but Rose’s disenchantment with the status quo fosters new ambitions. She must decide whether to remain within the boundaries dictated for her, or risk everything she’s gained to pursue the creative and personal passions that ignite her soul.

With grit and tenacity, Rose O'Neill blazed an unforgettable path during the tumultuous times of the early 20th century.

Available in eBook


“Rose O'Neill was a trailblazer of her time, and her life is a testament to the power of perseverance in the face of impossible odds.”
—Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House

“A classic reinvention of the life of Rose O’Neill, the creator of the iconic Kewpie doll.”
—Nina Romano, award-winning author of The Secret Language of Women

“From start to finish, this story honors the talent, devotion to family, and the success that was such a huge part of Rose O’Neill’s life.”
—Readers’ Favorite

Interview with Author Pat Wahler

Hello Pat and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Rose of Washington Square!

Thank you so much for hosting me, Amy!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m a native Missourian with a family I adore. In addition to my family, my major interests lie in books and animals. Funny how books and animals tend to be two things that resonate with many of the writers and readers I know.

As a kid, my mother took me to the library where I’d check out a stack of books each week. I’d read until she glared at me and ordered, “Get your nose out of that book and go outside!” I believe avid readers often transform into writers, and so it happened with me.

What inspired you to write about Rose O'Neill, the creator of the Kewpie Doll?

My first historical novel, I am Mrs. Jesse James, focused on a woman with Missouri ties. This worked out conveniently in terms of research as well as opening for me many venues who were interested in the book. I decided to find another woman connected with Missouri and Rose O’Neill quickly jumped to the top of my list. She lived a fascinating life; one that included much more than the Kewpies. From artist to sculptor to writer to philanthropist to activist and suffragist, it seemed to me Rose did it all.

What research did you undertake when writing the book?

I spent about a year reading and taking notes on anything I could find about Rose. Books, articles, and newspaper accounts to name a few. I spent a day at Rose’s home in Walnut Shade, Missouri, with incredible volunteers who are the keepers of Rose O’Neill’s legacy, before I started to write the story.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s almost like asking who’s my favorite child. If I have to choose, I suppose it would be the beginning, when Rose sets out full of hopes, dreams, and determination to make her way in a man’s world.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

There were several scenes related to deaths of people dear to Rose that were difficult, but the toughest death scenes related to two of Rose’s family members. I cried while writing both of them.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As I mentioned earlier, I do think most avid readers at least consider the possibility of writing something of their own. I can remember at the age of six, writing five pages I illustrated, where Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty got married. (I couldn’t understand why the Gunsmoke writers couldn’t manage to make that happen when clearly it needed to!) As time went on I got braver (and a little smarter about writing stories) and began to submit my work. When the first piece was accepted, I was hooked.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Routine? I’m supposed to have a routine? I tend to operate on deadlines, and sadly I cannot seem to multi-task. This means I need a project that’s been researched and outlined before I can actually write it. I do prefer to write in the morning when my mind is fresh, but I make a point of getting up periodically to walk, even if it’s only for five minutes. I found out the hard way that too much sitting is bad for the back.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I have to start with an outline to know where I’m going with a story, but when the book begins to take on a life of its own, I don’t mind making changes in the original plan. Perhaps that makes me a plantser?

Do you write in a linear fashion (scene by scene) or do you jump around?

My brain works best when I keep things in chronological order. If I have thoughts about a future scene, I’ll jot down notes on it to expound upon later, rather than risk forgetting an inspiration.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast?

That’s a tough one. Maybe Amanda Seyfried as Rose and Emma Stone as her sister Callista. I could envision Marcia Gay Harden as Meemie. I’d better stop there since it’s kind of fun (but time consuming) to Google people and try to match them up to my characters!

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Trying to juggle too many balls. There are an unbelievable amount of hats that must be worn by a writer these days, and most of them don’t involve writing at all. I suspect this is not a challenge that’s unique to me.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Oh my. So many literary talents. Harper Lee boggled my mind with the simple beauty of her prose. Writers like Susanna Kearsley, Paula McLain, Kate Quinn, and Kate Morton never disappoint.

What was the first historical novel you read?

As I youngster, I gravitated toward historical fiction. Little Women. Black Beauty. Beautiful Joe. It seems I always enjoyed reading about the past. Probably my first adult historical novel was Gone With the Wind. I read it in middle school.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I just finished reading The Surgeon’s Daughter by Audrey Blake, and really enjoyed it.

What are three things people may not know about you?

In my former career, I spent decades as a Juvenile Officer, working with kids who had run afoul of the law.
I’m a totally committed tea-drinker that cannot abide even the aroma of coffee.
If life gave out a report card, I’d get an “F” for multi-tasking. In research mode I can’t do anything else. In marketing mode, same problem. Ditto with writing. Sigh.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love reading and writing historical fiction because it brings the past to life in a way history books do not. It’s as simple as that.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

I’m pulled most toward mid to late 19th century and early 20th century stories.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I enjoy spending time with my family (I have the most adorable grandson who loves to read!) and I’m addicted to buying books. Stacks and stacks of books.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I have in mind a woman I’d like to write about who made her mark in the field of medicine. However, as of yet I haven’t even started researching. (Did I mention I’m terrible at multi-tasking?)

About the Author


Pat Wahler is a Missouri native and avid reader. She is winner of Western Fictioneers' Best First Novel of 2018, a Walter Williams Award winner, and the winner of Author Circle Awards 2019 Novel of Excellence in Historical Fiction for I am Mrs. Jesse James.

Pat has also authored a three-book contemporary romance series-the Becker Family Novels, and two holiday-themed books; all named Five-Star Readers’ Favorites. A frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, Pat is an avid reader with a special passion for historical fiction, women’s fiction, and stories with heart. She makes her home in Missouri with her husband and two rescue critters—one feisty Peek-a-poo pup and a tabby cat with plenty of attitude.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 20
Review at Dive Into a Good Book

Wednesday, February 22
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, February 24
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Monday, February 27
Excerpt at Books & Benches

Tuesday, February 28
Review at Girl Who Reads
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Wednesday, March 1
Review at Novels Alive

Monday, March 6th
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary


Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Rose of Washington Square

Cover Reveal: The Orchid Hour by Nancy Bilyeau

Today on the blog I am stoked to share with you all the gorgeous cover for the upcoming release by Nancy Bilyeau, The Orchid Hour! I absolutely adore it and cannot wait to read it. I've read every book Nancy has written and loved them all, so this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2023! If you'd like to pre-order it now there is a special price for the eBook!

The Orchid Hour by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: August 10, 2023
Lume Books

Genre: Historical Thriller

There is a certain hour, in the dead of night, when the orchid’s scent can put you under a spell…

"Nancy Bilyeau has created a beautifully layered and utterly seductive tale… and, at its living, tender heart, a strong-willed and magnetic heroine." – Emilya Naymark, author of Behind the Lie, finalist for the 2023 Sue Grafton Award

Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Blue, returns with a tantalizing novel about one woman caught up in a secret nightclub that one can only reach through a certain florist on a cobblestone street.

New York City, 1923. Zia De Luca’s life is about to be shattered. Having lost her husband to The Great War, she lives with her son and in-laws in Little Italy and works at the public library. But when a quiet poetry lover is murdered outside the library, the police investigation focuses on Zia. After a second tragedy strikes even closer to home, Zia learns that both crimes are connected to a new speakeasy in Greenwich Village called The Orchid Hour.

When the police investigation stalls, Zia decides to find her own answers. A cousin with whom she has a special bond serves as a guide to the shadow realm of The Orchid Hour, a world filled with enticements Zia has shunned up to now. She must contend with a group of players determined to find wealth and power in New York on their own terms. In this heady atmosphere, Zia begins to wonder if she too could rewrite her life’s rules. As she’s pulled in deeper and deeper, will Zia be able to bring the killers to justice before they learn her secret?

To be published August 10, 2023, in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia, in original paperback and ebook.

The pre-order is on a special discount for the ebook:

Praise for Nancy Bilyeau

The Crown:
“Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical research throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine, pick of the month

The Blue:
“Definitely a winner!”
—Kate Quinn, author of The Diamond Eye

“I could practically taste the salt-water taffy and smell the ocean air as I read Bilyeau’s latest, set in 1911 Coney Island. Beautifully written and impeccably researched, DREAMLAND is a rollicking ride.” —Fiona Davis, author of The Magnolia Palace

About the Author


Nancy Bilyeau is a historical novelist and magazine editor based in New York. She wrote the Joanna Stafford trilogy, a trio of thrillers set in Henry VIII’s England, for Simon & Schuster. Her fourth novel is The Blue, an 18th-century thriller revolving around the art and porcelain world. Her next novel is Dreamland, set in Coney Island of 1911, to be published by Endeavour Quill on January 16, 2020. A former staff editor at Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and InStyle, Nancy is currently the deputy editor at the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College and contributes to Town & Country, CrimeReads, and Mystery Scene magazine.

To learn more, go to You can follow Nancy on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Cover Reveal Schedule

Wednesday, February 15
Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 16
I'm Into Books
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Impressions In Ink
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Friday, February 17
Miranda's Bookscape
Dive Into a Good Book

Saturday, February 18
One Book More
CelticLady's Reviews

Sunday, February 19
The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, February 20
The Lit Bitch
Books In Their Natural Habitat
History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, February 21
Amy's Bookshelf

Wednesday, February 22
Reading is My Remedy

Excerpt & Giveaway: The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland

The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Akasha is a precocious girl, born into a world where oceans circulate in the sky waters. She dreams of releasing the Surge, the next evolutionary step for an embryonic human race. But it’s dormant, trapped inside every human.

Horque is a Solarii, a tribe of angels who’ve manifested in human form and settled in ancient Egypt. Desperate to return home, they must first undo the devastation caused by the Helios, another tribe of angels who came to Earth to deliver the Surge and instead left humanity on the brink of extinction and sired a race of interspecies monsters: the hybrids.

When Akasha foretells the falling of the sky waters and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Author Justin Newland reads an excerpt from The Genes of Isis


About the Author

JUSTIN NEWLAND’s novels represent an innovative blend of genres from historical fiction and crime, to supernatural thrillers and mystery. His stories deal with the themes of war, religion, evolution and speculate on the human’s spiritual place in the universe.

Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he found his way to the creative keyboard and conceived his debut novel, The Genes of Isis (Matador, 2018), an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies.

Next came the historical fantasy, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), set in Ming Dynasty China in the shadows of the Great Wall.

His next historical fantasy, The Coronation (Matador, 2019), speculates on the genesis of the most important event in the modern world – the Industrial Revolution.

His fourth, The Abdication (Matador, 2021), is a supernatural thriller in which a young woman confronts her faith in a higher purpose and what it means to abdicate that faith.

His work in progress is a two-book series, The Island of Angels, set in Elizabethan England. The first novel, The Mark of the Salamander, explores the significance of Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world. The second, The Midnight of Eights, culminates in the repulse of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

He was born three days before the end of 1953 and lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads


We have two copies of The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Genes of Isis

Kickstarter Book Blast: The White Sails Series by Emma Lombard

The White Sails Series: Special Hardback Omnibus by Emma Lombard

If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

Are you a fan of sweeping romantic adventures?
Do you fall for tall, brooding Naval Officers?
Love a feisty female lead who makes you yell aloud?

Then hop aboard Emma Lombard's hardback Collector's Edition of The White Sails Series, and batten down the hatches!

But Why?

Well, firstly, let me tell you what my Kickstarter campaign isn't. It isn't a plea for donations, it's not a beg for money, and it's not just another retailer.

Okay, so what is it then?

Kickstarter is a wonderful way for me to give more to my fans.

It allows fans access to a special collector's edition that is not (and will never be) available from online retailers.

It allows fans to have each and every copy personalised, which is just not doable on retailers.

It also allows fans a more intimate view of the story behind my series.

And best of all, it allows fans to get involved in my next series, whether through an exclusive sneak peek of the first draft or even having a character named after them.

Oh, and did I mention there's an opportunity to win the original oil painting of the cover?

Where else in the world do you get all this extra cool stuff thrown in just because you bought a book?

What's in it for you, Emma?

Without wanting to sound too cheesy, I'm beside myself to put such a pretty book out in the world. I'm mean, just look at that dreamy sunset! I'm not going to lie, I love a chunky book. This collector's edition fulfils my ultimate author dream—to be able to hold (and smell) a weighty tome. I'm not the only one—I've had folks walk up to my books at the market and pick them up just to smell them! My kind of peeps!

I know it's taboo to talk about money, but the pledges received for this campaign will help me recoup some of the upfront expenses that I have already laid out, like editing, book cover design, audiobook narration, and it will give me the momentum I need to invest in those same services for my next series, The Gold Hills Series.

You'll be helping keep the indie publishing ecosphere turning, which in turn lets me keep creating more stories.

So, what's The White Sails Series about?

One of my readers described it best: If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

The idea for this series was born from a tiny nugget of family gossip that my grandmother shared with me. She told me how my 3x great grandmother left her well-to-do family in England to elope with an English sea captain, and live aboard his ship with him.

I took the basic concept of this story and had a blast creating an entirely fictitious imagining of what it might have been like for a woman to live aboard a ship in those days. Quite ironic considering that I get terribly sea-sick myself.

Curious? Never seen what a Kickstarter campaign looks like?

Just looking: Take an exclusive pre-launch look at Emma's campaign to see it in detail, click HERE.

Note: clicking on this link will not sign you up to anything, it's simply an exclusive behind-the-scenes look.

To follow the campaign: Open the campaign, and click 'Notify me on launch' button at the top of the page

Note: this will not commit you to any pledges, it's how you will be able to have ring-side seats to watch the campaign play out.


Batten down the hatches, m’lovelies, for a chance to win an exclusive, personalised, hardcover Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series: Fill out the entry form HERE.

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