SALT LAKE CITY —It was Rosalyn Eves’ LDS mission to Hungary that helped inspire her to write a historical fantasy set in that country.
The Utah author knew she wanted her story to take place in the 19th century, and she was fascinated by the Hungarian Revolution, thanks to an 18 month mission she served for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that country. Many hours of research later, this idea turned into her Blood Rose Rebellion young adult fantasy series.
"Lost Crow Conspiracy," the sequel to Eves' debut novel, "Blood Rose Rebellion," comes out this month and continues the story of Anna Arden, a young British woman who's found herself wrapped up in the Hungarian Revolution, especially because of her unique magical abilities.
In the sequel, Anna is in Vienna living with her sister while her brother-in-law works for the British embassy. Congress is meeting to decide the fate of the magical beings she released in the previous book, and, of course, nothing is going the way Anna hoped it would.
Eves introduces a second perspective character in this novel who, the author said, is very different from herself — making him particularly fun to write. One of the differences is the amount of swearing he does, which Eves said her children were scandalized by.
"I don't know how to write a 19th-century nobleman without swearing," Eves said. "It wasn't like I sat down and said, 'OK, he's going to be a little more vulgar.' It's just how he came out."
She also enjoyed adding some 19th-century Hungarian bandits to this book, something she researched heavily, discovering that Hungarians loved to romanticize their highwaymen. One famous bandit was even pardoned during the revolution to fight for his country, though after the war he went back to being a bandit and eventually died in prison.
But bandits aside, the central conflict in the book, Eves said, is within Anna.
"I think Anna is really feeling powerless," she said. "She had a lot of naive ideas in the first book about how society works and how much inertia she had to fight against."
Eves was working on "Lost Crow Conspiracy" as advance copies of "Blood Rose Rebellion" were being released. She suffered from a massive anxiety attack during this time.
"I realized I was letting people into my head, people I didn't know, and it was really terrifying," she said. "I've had anxiety most of my life, and it just flared up and I had to talk to people and get medication.
She was surprised by how this anxiety bled into Anna's character development in the second book.
"It actually worked really well because she'd been pretty confident and then discovered things weren't as neat as she thought they were going to be," Eves said. "It wasn't flawless and she didn't have the power she thought she was going to have. She spends a lot of the second book and even into the third book trying to figure out, 'What does this mean for me? Do I have a voice? How do I have a voice?' I think those are questions a lot of us grapple with."
Eves also admitted to struggling with writing the second and third books after getting a book deal for the first.
"Every time I would sit down and write, I would look at it and think, 'They're paying money for this and it's terrible,' because most first drafts are terrible. At least mine are," she said.
She's learned not to read reviews. Even good ones, she said, saddled her with expectations that made it hard for her to write. Though feedback is helpful while she revises, during the drafting phase she can't focus on what other people think.
Eves has a Ph.D. in English from Pennsylvania State University and has wanted to write novels since she was a little girl. She lost track of that dream for most of her 20s, then came back to it after graduating, marrying and having a couple kids. After writing her dissertation with a baby, she knew she could write a novel with kids too. She realized if she didn't do it then, she never would.
"Blood Rose Rebellion" was the second novel Eves wrote as an adult, and it only took her a few months after finishing it to get an agent and a book deal, which she emphasizes is not ordinary. She calls herself "lucky."
Now, she hopes readers will continue to enjoy the series as much as she does.Comment on this story
"The weird thing about writing is you put a lot of heart into it, but you never know until it comes out (how readers will receive it)," Eves said. "Writing is for you as a writer but once the book comes out, it's for the readers."
If you go …
What: Rosalyn Eves book signing
When: Thursday, March 29, 7 p.m.
Where: Provo Library, 550 N. University Ave., Provo
Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.