Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award–winning author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna crafts a masterful tale of espionage, counterintelligence, and self-sacrifice with the release of her first time-slip novel to date, Yesterday’s Tides.
In this interview, let’s see what she has to say about this exciting new novel.
FF: Can you please tell us a little bit about your new novel Yesterday’s Tides?
Yesterday’s Tides is set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina—one of my favorite places on earth—and follows two generations of innkeepers on Ocracoke Island as their respective worlds fall into war, both the First and Second World Wars. With espionage, intelligence work, betrayal, and soul-deep love, my two heroines learn that yesterday’s tides are what shape tomorrow’s shores for us all.
FF: Yesterday’s Tides addresses themes such as giving up and reclaiming your dreams. Can you tell us a little more about how this idea comes into play in the lives of your two female protagonists, Louisa and Evie?
Louisa was accustomed to working hard for everything, and she always knew that if a dream was worthwhile, it was worth sacrificing for. She also faces something so many of us do: the reality of trading one dream in for another as life throws surprises at us. Evie, on the other hand, never lived a life of want, but she still had to make choices that dictated whether she lived humbly or in luxury. Ultimately, she sacrificed her gilded world for the simple island life…and now has to live with all that entails.
FF: This novel has it all—WWI, WWII, dual-time, romance, intrigue. What inspired you to write a novel with timelines in both world wars?
This story has honestly been with me for nearly two decades now! I first wrote it as a contemporary but decided as I began writing First World War novels that I’d love to reset it then. One year as I was vacationing in the Outer Banks and reading up on some of the fascinating history of the region, I was bemoaning that all the really good stories were from the Second World War, not the first. Which is when it hit me—a time-slip! A way to tell not only Louisa and Rem’s story, but Evie and Sterling’s too! I fell in love with the idea and spent a blissful week plotting out just how to do it. Something I learned through all my research of the Great War was that it was at the root of nearly everything from WWII. That was a theme I loved exploring in this book.
FF: What type of research was required for writing about the events leading up to these major conflicts?
Most of the research for this one was actually done on the ground, in Ocracoke! I often can’t travel to the places my books are set, so it was amazing to get to spend a week on the island—the very week in which the book opens—and explore the forests, beaches, and archives of the preservation society, as well as walk pretty much every street and lane in the village as I hunted up where each event would happen. It was so cool to be able to record sounds, images, impressions, and historical musings from the exact places my characters would be!
FF: Was there anything that you found particularly interesting in your research that you included in your book?
In the realm of big events, definitely the one that my book opens with: the sinking of the HMT Bedfordshire, a fishing boat that had been converted by the British into a warship to help protect America’s vulnerable East Coast before we’d had time to spool up our navy. After the boat was hit by a torpedo, seven sailors’ bodies washed ashore on Ocracoke, and the locals buried them as heroes and still preserve the British Cemetery to this day. In smaller things, I loved learning about how the wild ponies on the island dig down to the roots of the seagrass for fresh water, and about yaupon, the only tree native to the United States whose leaves contain caffeine. Locals have been using it to make tea for centuries.
FF: You’ve written novels set in a variety of historical periods. Would you say that WWII is the time period you find most interesting, or do you have another?
This is actually my first foray into the Second World War—but after so many novels set in the First, I was really looking forward to exploring how these two worldwide tragedies are so intertwined! I’ve really enjoyed diving deep into the 1900–1918 era through my past series, and it was fun to follow those threads forward into the next generation. I always used to say the 1940s were way too modern for historical-loving me, but I’ll admit I’ve had a few other ideas take root while working on this one!
FF: What do you hope readers take away from this story?
Ultimately, I hope that readers come away with the certainty that love is the greatest current that will ever draw us; that prayer is as solid and true as the sea glass and shells that make a mosaic of our lives; and that the God who raised Lazarus and parted the Red Sea can orchestrate miracles for us still today.
FF: Can you share what you’re working on next?
Of course! Up next for me is an Edwardian series called The Imposters, which will launch next summer with A Beautiful Disguise. This series follows the antics of an aristocratic brother and sister who become private investigators to keep their estate afloat, spying on their fellow aristocrats using the skills they picked up from the people who colored their childhoods: acrobats, actors, and circus performers. These stories mix intrigue and even espionage with circus themes and high fashion and have turned out to be so much fun!
Roseanna M. White
Genres: Historical Romance, Split-time Romance
Release Date: January 24, 2023
In two world wars, intelligence and counterintelligence, prejudice, and self-sacrifice collide across two generations
In 1942, Evie Farrow is used to life on Ocracoke Island, where every day is the same–until the German U-boats haunting their waters begin to wreak havoc. And when special agent Sterling Bertrand is washed ashore at Evie’s inn, her life is turned upside down. While Sterling’s injuries keep him inn-bound for weeks, making him even more anxious about the SS officer he’s tracking, he becomes increasingly intrigued by Evie, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.
Decades earlier, in 1914, Englishman Remington Culbreth arrives at the Ocracoke Inn for the summer, never expecting to fall in love with Louisa Adair, the innkeeper’s daughter. But when war breaks out in Europe, their relationship is put in jeopardy and may not survive what lies ahead for them.
As the ripples from the Great War rock Evie and Sterling’s lives in World War II, it seems yesterday’s tides may sweep them all into danger again today.
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