The character of Rose Marie Davis is pivotal to the White Rock saga. As the narration shifts view from modern-day to the past, Rose becomes the focus in the 1960’s flashbacks; a fearful yet courageous young woman fighting for her freedom against a domineering mother, trapped in a smothering household infected with despair and unspeakable family secrets.
To write the part of the ingénue, I had to take care to create a character that would invoke sympathy yet still possess the strength to struggle for her independence against a myriad of circumstances. On one hand, Rose is the epitome of naiveté, but she also possesses many elements of her mother’s aggressive nature. I knew this would be a dichotomy that would need to be played out on many different levels throughout the novel.
I had to walk a fine line creating a believable character that could carry the story out of the past into the present. She had to be innocent but not naïve, weak but not helpless, angry but not cruel, pure but not prudish. The story is really about her journey into self-awareness and the consequences of her pursuit of individuality.
To give the story weight and credence, I took time to research and weave several documented elements of the actual urban legend into the storyline, helping to anchor the tale firmly in modern history. One example of this in the story is an account of the ghost being picked up in the 1940’s by the husband and wife design team of Guy and Josephine Malloy, who were employed by Neiman-Marcus. This encounter has been documented in two different books, Frank X. Tolbert’s 1953 release, Neiman-Marcus, Texas: The Story of the Proud Dallas Store as well as Rose-Mary Rumbley’s* Dallas Too, which was published in 1998 by the Eakin Press. I knew by including this well-documented connection between Rose and Neiman-Marcus it would help to give the story a realistic depth. And what better place to have Rose find solace than in the fantasy world of Neiman-Marcus? I wanted her to be pulled into an intoxicating setting that would not only serve as a distraction to her stressful home life but also swallow her, as life seems to do to so many young, impressionable people simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
*Ms. Rumbley has graciously consented to give White Rock a detailed review prior to it’s first printing.