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Meet 2019 Golden Heart Finalist Rosie Danan!!

Today we’re continuing our series of interviews with the Omegas, the 2019 (and final) class of Golden Heart Finalists. We’re delighted to welcome Rosie Danan, whose manuscript NEVER HAVE I EVER finaled in the Contemporary Romance (Long) category and will be available from Berkley/PRH in Fall 2020!!

Rosie Danan writes steamy, big-hearted books, articles, and tweets about the trials and triumphs of modern love. In her spare time, she enjoy jogging slowly to fast music, petting other people’s dogs, and competing against herself in rounds of Chopped using the miscellaneous ingredients occupying her fridge. As an East Coast transplant to Austin, TX, you can regularly find her, sweaty and happy, with a mouthful of taco. As child she appeared on the short-lived (and rather ill-received) television program Bloopy’s Buddies.

Here’s a blurb for NEVER HAVE I EVER:

Clara Wheaton has built her life around other people’s expectations.

The rich and powerful Wheaton family is infamous for their lack of impulse control, except for their careful daughter Clara. She’s never made a rash decision in her life, but can’t resist when her first love invites her to move in with him and shed the shackles of her suffocating blue-blood upbringing. She’s shocked when Prince Charming pulls a bait-and-switch, leaving her to share a three-month lease on a crumbling Los Angeles bungalow with an annoyingly charming stranger. Clara must hide the shameful circumstances that led to her sudden cross-country move. If the Greenwich gossip hounds get their hands on one more story about a Wheaton behaving badly, the family reputation she’s worked her entire life to restore will go up in flames.

 No one ever expected Josh Conners to amount to anything.

Against the odds, he’s made a name for himself in Hollywood entertainment—unfortunately, that name isn’t his own. His on-screen chemistry with his ex-girlfriend won him the hearts (and panties) of American women, but when his ex kicks him out and a power-hungry executive wants to turn his viral success into a million dollar payday, he finds himself back at square one—answering a Craigslist ad for a summer sublet. The last thing Josh needs while trying to decide whether to employ his prodigious talent for questionable means is for his uptight new roommate to find out how he earns his paycheck. But keeping secrets from Clara while they’re sharing a shower is easier said than done.  

I love that premise—“keeping secrets while they’re sharing a shower.” And you clearly have a great sense of humor! I’m not at all surprised that Berkley/PRH snapped this one up! Yay!

Since this is an L.A.-set book, I’m going to arrange some virtual beach chairs by the surf and invite everyone to get comfy while I ask some questions of Rosie Danan. (And, oh, look!! There’s my favorite taco truck!! Tacos on me!!)

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Welcome, Rosie!! I love your title NEVER HAVE I EVER, and the premise sounds fun and original! How would you say your Golden Heart book fits in with the Contemporary Romance genre?

With my Golden Heart manuscript, I wanted to put a modern-day spin on my favorite historical romance trope, “Lessons in Seduction” between a rake and a bluestocking. There are so many wonderful Regency romances about women learning to pursue pleasure with an experienced man and I think the reason the stories resonate with readers today is there’s still a lot of shame associated with women talking about what they want and need from sex, especially since actual sex education can be hard to come by in our country. When I translated that trope to modern day, Los Angeles, I wanted to make sure that my heroine, Clara, is not just learning about pleasure from the hero, she actually decides to partner with him to create a sexy, feminist website that promotes equal opportunity orgasms at scale.

OMG!! I’m loving this book more and more all the time!! “Lessons in Seduction” with a rake and bluestocking is one of my favorite tropes, too! And how fun to transpose it to L.A. and have them make an orgasm-promoting website together!! **high-fives Rosie!** Clearly, you know the Romance genre well. Does that mean you’ve found fellow Romance writers you work with—a CP or writing critique group?

I was lucky enough to get selected as a 2018 Pitch Wars mentee and through that community, I not only got two incredibly talented and generous mentors (who I’m now proud to call CPs) but also a mentee class that has become the best friends and writing community I could have ever imagined. I was fortunate enough to make connections within that program from both inside and outside of the romance genre. The combination of perspectives, experiences, and support I’ve found within that group has been invaluable both professionally and personally and I hope to be able to give back as a mentor myself either this year or in the future.

Oh, that’s awesome!! Congrats on being selected, and turning it into something even more wonderful! And now you’re also a member of the Golden Heart sisterhood, which will bring all sorts of wonderful things as well! Are you going to be at Nationals in New York?

I will be there! I’m counting down the days until I can get together with so many friends, many of whom I only get to see at the conference and some internet pals I haven’t had the chance to meet yet (including the Omegas and all of my Golden Network peers). Last year in Denver was my first conference, and I’ll say I had a huge crisis of confidence the day before where I felt like a fraud who didn’t belong. Luckily, I pushed through that imposter syndrome and met so many lovely people and learned so much. I even ended up pitching my GH manuscript for the first time and the positive responses I received gave me the confidence to get serious about pursuing my writing dreams. This year, I’m really excited to meet my amazing agent, Jessica Watterson, and my badass editor Kristine Schwartz in person for the first time! I owe them both several cocktails for taking a chance on me.

That’s so exciting! How great to be going knowing you’re going to meet your agent and editor, rather than anxiously hoping you’ll somehow find people interested in your work. And, oy, yes, Imposter Syndrome is definitely a thing–even for people who are obviously extremely talented! I think so many of us have those crises of confidence moments. Maybe unusually strongly at conferences since we spend so much of our writing time alone. But it’s so worth it to push through that anxiety to get out of the echo-chamber of our private writing rooms and connect with fellow writers in person. I know I always learn a lot, and get my boundaries stretched in all sorts of ways.  

Speaking of boundary-stretching: our genre is in the midst of a complicated growth period as we’re trying to become more inclusive of voices that haven’t had adequate chance to be heard. As someone who’s clearly aware of the genre as a whole, what would you like to see more of in Romance?

Obviously, our industry and our genre specifically have been having a lot of conversations for years now about making romance novels more inclusive and representative of the world we live in. We still have a lot of work to do, and I’m eager to read more stories from marginalized voices. Recent eruptions of anti-semitism influenced my decision to write a Jewish hero in my current WIP. I’m reckoning with my faith and identity in a world that’s becoming increasingly vocal about hating the beliefs of my family. I don’t see nearly as many Jewish protagonists in Romance as other denominations, though they definitely exist (I’ve recently read and loved books with Jewish characters from Felicia Grossman, Tamsen Parker, and Rachel Lynn Solomon). Romance shines when we embrace that love stories come in infinite shapes and sizes. That’s both the power and the magic of the stories we create.

I agree 100%! Bringing in more voices can only make our genre more rich and vibrant, and I love that you’re writing a Jewish hero!! The sudden rise in racism and anti-semitism in our country is heartbreaking and horrifying, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that reading builds empathy, and books helps us see the full humanity of all different kinds of people. And love stories are an especially powerful way to do that! They open our hearts!!

Okay. Let’s shift gears here with a couple of silly questions. First, what’s one crazy fact about you that most people who meet you probably wouldn’t guess was true?

One summer, I worked on a restoration project for an ancient temple in Delphi, Greece and one of our duties was building new cement bricks to stabilize the structure. The bottom of one of those (new) bricks has my initials carved into the bottom, so in a tiny way, I’m a part of the building’s incredible history.

LOL! That’s so awesome!!! I hope that really confuses an archeologist in a couple thousand more years! Second silly question: biggest celebrity crush?

Crushing is one of my favorite past times. I actually dedicate a post celebrating my celebrity crush of the week every Thursday on my Instagram. It’s a fun way to wax poetic and swoon with my friends. Some recent favorite posts have featured, Harrison Ford, Natalie Dormer, and Dev Patel. As a romance writer, it’s very easy for me to imagine falling in love with all different kinds of people.

Oh, man!! I need to start following you on Instagram!! And crushing is my new favorite word!! Yes, I think Romance writers probably do more crushing than the average person—and isnt it fun??? Its lovely to imagine falling in love again and again and again!!

So, do you have a question for our readers today to get the conversation going in the comments?

What’s the last romance you read that surprised you? What did you find different about it?

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More information from Rosie can be found at RosieDanan.com and you can find her on both Twitter and Instagram as @RosieDanan.

 

56 responses to “Meet 2019 Golden Heart Finalist Rosie Danan!!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Rosie!! So glad to have you with us!!

    Hmmm….I have a huge TBR pile of romances I hope will surprise me.

    In the last year, an unconventional one I really enjoyed was The Essex Serpent. It wasn’t a romance per se, since it didn’t have a conventional HEA, but it had a very strong central romance…or maybe several central somewhat mutually entangled romances. But it dealt with very unconventional Victorian people who felt very real, and who broke all sorts of rules. A female paleontologist, a minister, and I can’t easily describe the rest. Great central mystery, too, and beautifully written.

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Hi Elisa,

      Thanks so much for having me! It was super fun to gab about all things GH and romance with you.

      The Essex Serpent sounds fascinating! I love a good mystery woven in with romance. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that one 🙂

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        I was so intrigued, I bought it in hardback. It should be out in paperback soon.

        Highly recommend! (As long as you can live without the romance HEA. It doesn’t end sadly, for the most part, just…not a conventional HEA.)

        I actually gave away my hardback copy in a Marie Kondo moment…and I’ve regretted it ever since. I want to read it again.

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  2. Okay – I NEED THIS BOOK. I’m so glad it will be coming out in 2020 because it sounds like my catnip. Congrats, Rosie, on your final and on your book deal! I hope NEVER HAVE I EVER sells like crazy, since it sounds amazing.

    The last book that surprised me…I think I would have to say Red, White & Royal Blue – because initially I was a bit leery of the third person present POV (which usually confuses my poor brain), but I was surprised by the way I was so completely engrossed by the story that I forgot to even notice the unusual verb tenses. So. Good.

    Congrats again! Hopefully I’ll bump into you in New York to congratulate you in person – and we can commiserate about our imposter syndrome together. 🙂

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Ahh thank you so much! I still can’t believe NEVER HAVE I EVER will be out in the world next year. Your enthusiasm means so much. I’m always half-convinced my concept is too “out there” to resonate.

      I loved RWRB! I felt the same way about the POV initially but you’re totally right, the storytelling completely sucks you in. I found that book in general really refreshing and the romance beats were a bit different from the standard as well.

      I will absolutely look for you in NYC—can’t wait!

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  3. Lisa Heartman says:

    Rosie,
    This is such great info getting to know you. I love your comment “Romance shines when we embrace that love stories come in infinite shapes and sizes. That’s both the power and the magic of the stories we create.” Everyone deserves love and being able to read a romance novel that speaks to your background is so important.

    Last romance that surprised me, huh, I guess I’ll have to go with Evils Unlikely Assassin by Jenn Windrow. Not a true romance. It’s UF about a bada$$ vampire assassin fighting for humanity and falling in love with a shape-shifter. It’s very snarky and action packed. I was surprised how much I loved it.

    Can’t wait to meet you in NY!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Romance is so special and I love that we’re seeing more inclusive stories from historically under-represented authors. HEAs are universal 🙂

      Oh I vampire assassin sounds very cool! I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer so that sounds right up my ally. I love when we fall for books we didn’t expect and snark is one of my favorite voices to read.

      Looking forward to seeing you in July!

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Snark is always good!

        I think the early snarky dialogue between Brienne and Jaime in Game of Thrones is part of why viewers fell in love with that pairing….especially since they eventually came to respect each other so profoundly in the end.

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  4. Liz Talley says:

    Wow! What a lovely interview! And I love the sound of this story, Rosie.

    I haven’t been reading romance as much lately (I know) but I really enjoyed The Kiss Quotient and liked that the characters weren’t traditionally drawn. I have been trying to read more own voices writers to expand my own boundaries. I tend to get very comfy reading Regency ballroom dramas and wise-cracking detectives. It’s nice to stretch myself.

    Congrats on the final and the contract! Maybe I’ll bump into you in NYC!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Oh, thank you, Liz! It was so fun to answer some questions for the Rubys.

      I know exactly what you mean about falling into comfy reading habits. It can be hard to reach for something new, but I absolutely loved The Kiss Quotient as well. I think that book is a perfect example of a modern romance with heat and heart. Helen Hoang is my hero!

      I’d love to see you in NYC—it’ll be here before you know it!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      It’s SOOO good to stretch ourselves.

      I’m planning a blog post soon inviting everyone to add to a list of interesting Own Voices and other books they’ve loved to encourage more stretching….

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  5. Daphne Chase says:

    OMG, I can’t wait for this book! Hooray for equal opportunity orgasms, more diverse characters, and sharing showers with sexy rakes! Can’t wait to see you in NYC!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      You, lady, are one of the first and best people I met at last years conference! A true highlight of my time in Denver. I can’t wait to give you so many hugs in July.

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  6. Mary says:

    I LOVE this whole concept (and I can’t wait to read the next book too)!! This trope + the equal opportunity orgasms!!! SO excited.

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Thank you, Mary! I’m so glad Pitch Wars brought us together. You mean the world to be and getting to read your books early is a true privilege!

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  7. Jennifer Whitney Bray-Weber says:

    You had me at “jogging slowly to fast music”. Lol!

    Ok…seconding the love for your premise. I think it will be very well received in today’s market. Super excited for you!

    Sadly, I won’t be in NYC this time to meet you. 🙁 But I am totally cheering you on!

    Good Luck!!!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      I jog so slowly it really shouldn’t be called jogging —sometimes I say “wogging” since it’s a walk/jog hybrid, ha!

      I hope you’re right about the market! My book is certainly a little unorthodox.

      Thanks for the kind words and even though we’ll miss you at RWA this year, I hope we have a chance to meet in the future!

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  8. My mouth is absolutely watering at the prospect of feeding my eyes on this book! You’re an inspiration to the hopes and dreams of all us folks in those *imposter syndrome* trenches, and I can’t WAIT to hug you at RWA this year!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Ahh thanks lady! I love having our little support circle as we go on this crazy publishing journey. RWA can’t come soon enough!

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  9. Becke Turner says:

    Congratulations! I love hearing about the successes of my 2019 GH sisters. Loved your premise and the story of the mentee program to pair writers. I’m big on women helping women. We’ve got to keep our voices strong to get what we need and deserve in this world. Sorry guys.

    Can’t wait to meet and cheer you on in NYC.

    My last surprise read was Where the Crawdads Sing, which was more women’s fiction with a romance. To avoid spoiling the read, I’ll just say the ending surprised me.

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Thank you! Absolutely, support networks are essential for preserving writer sanity.

      NYC is gonna be so fun. Can’t wait!

      I’ve been reading more WF lately and love a surprise ending so i’ll keep my eye out for that one

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  10. Fenley Grant says:

    Congrats on your contract, Rosie! Never Have I Ever sounds like my kind of book.

    I tend to stick to the romance genre for most of my reads, but joined my local book club to force myself to try something new. My favorite so far is The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. It features a book club, a book store, and a bit of romance.

    I can’t wait to hear more about your success when we all get together in NYC. Go Omegas!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Thank you, Fenley! I hope so!

      Book clubs are an awesome way to step outside your reading comfort zone.

      Can’t wait to cheer you on at the luncheon 😀

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  11. Tracy Brody says:

    Congratulations on your Golden Heart final, not caving to imposter syndrome, and your sale. Looks like you’ll continue to make history, Rosie! Your story sounds fun and look forward to meeting you in NYC and reading your book.

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Thanks, Tracy! You and the other GH veterans have imparted so much wisdom for our class. Can’t wait to celebrate in NYC!

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  12. Catherine Stein says:

    Great interview, Rosie! It’s been so fun watching your journey to publication, and I can’t wait to hold your book in my hands! See you in NYC!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      You’re the best. I love following your writing journey. Each time you release a new book my heart gets so happy.

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  13. Elizabeth Langston says:

    Rosie, your book sounds great. 2020 seems too far away.

    I loved Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker. I kinda stalked her at a literacy signing a couple of years ago to get a signed copy. I loved the glimpse into the Orthodox Jew community and hope it was accurate.

    My most recent book that surprised me was Twisted Emotions by Cora Reilly. “Nino Falcone is a genius and a monster…” It’s a mafia romance–which I should not like at all. I don’t do violence and cruelty. But I’m just in awe of this author’s ability to suck me in, make me care about these very bad people, and come to understand (if not respect) their code of (dis)honor.

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      I agree, 2020 feels ages away but I know it’ll be here before I know it!

      Craving Flight was the one I read also. I thought it was beautifully done and very emotional.

      Twisted Emotions sounds very intriguing. I can definitely get behind an anti-hero or characters who start out bad and reform. My friends tease me I’m too eager to redeem hot villains in books and movies, hehe

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Twisted Emotions sounds really interesting!!!

      Dang, my TBR pile is growing by the minute.

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  14. Janet Raye Stevens says:

    Terrific post, Rosie! Congrats on your GH final. Your book sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to read it! I hear you on the imposter syndrome; I think we all suffer from it at some level and have to keep telling ourselves to quite it — you are the real deal and have earned every bit of your success!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Thank you! I can always use the reminder. I started a journal to try and be more present in both the positive and negative parts of the journey and it’s definitely helping it all feel more real 🙂

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  15. I LOVE this blurb. Can’t wait to add it to my shelf.

    For those that enjoy PNR/UF, pick up The Beginners Guide to Necromancy series. Hailey Edwards has written the perfect slow-burn, hot but non-alpha, deadly but incredibly sweet hero. Not something you see in the genre that often.

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  16. Elisa Beatty says:

    You know you’re going to have to tell us more about Bloopy’s Buddies….

    Don’t think we’re going to let you get away with just quietly ignoring a tantalizing tidbit like that!

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  17. Great interview! I can’t wait to get my hands on that book!

    The last Romance that surprised me was Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient. I was expecting lots of judgement on the hero’s profession, and there was ZERO judgement. And I loved everything about that book!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Yes! I love that we’re seeing positive, mainstream portrayals of sex workers in romance!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Awesome! I still haven’t read that book, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

      Unfortunately, I also heard she deliberately declined to enter it in the RITAs, so it never got a chance to break through that particular glass ceiling.

      So glad it’s been embraced by readers, though, for lots of reasons!!

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  18. Eagan Daniels says:

    Rosie, I’m so excited for the day I can get this book in my hot little hands. LOVE this premise (and I love your Instagram crush reports, too.) <3

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  19. Claire DeWolf says:

    Hi Rosie,

    Your book sounds great. Can’t wait to read it.
    You are right about Jewish heroes. We need more.

    As for books, I’m going to cull this interview for books. I’m always looking for something great to read. That’s the downfall of being a voracious reader.

    I’m sending you a genuine Hollywood air-kiss from the Santa Monica Mountains. Can’t wait to meet you at Nationals.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      The Downfall of the Voracious Reader.

      I’d read that!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      Hi Claire,

      I think you’ll love any of the authors I listed. They’re also writing in totally different sub-genres so lots of variety!

      The Santa Monica mountains sound lovely!

      😚😚

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  20. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks so much for being with us today, Rosie!!

    What a fabulous reading list we’ve built!

    Can’t wait to meet you in NYC, and to get my hands on NEVER HAVE I EVER!

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    • Rosie Danan says:

      It was my absolute pleasure! Thanks for hosting me! I’ll be looking for all of you in July, and in the meantime my TBR pile just grew exponentially!

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  21. Let’s just say, since I’m in the mainstream with a central romance category, I’m a bit clueless on the ins and outs of the romance genre as a whole. I must say your book sounds interesting and you sound like a delight … smart and funny! I really look forward to meeting you in New York! Great interview!

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  22. Anna Collins says:

    Hi Rosie – just popping in to say your book sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it! 😀

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  23. LL Montez says:

    Rosie, I love you very much and EVERYTHING about this post has solidified this love like the bricks under that temple in Delphi. I am so excited to read NEVER HAVE I EVER and will continue to obsess over your ThirstyThursdays forever.

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