“One man’s past becomes another man’s future” is the tagline for Glendale author J. Carson Rose’s debut novel “The Grey Woods,” but it could very well describe how her own past helped to shape her future.
Rose was born in Glendale and has lived there for most of her life. She went off to college in Vermont and spent some time working on her photography in Charlotte, North Carolina, but eventually her past pulled her back to Glendale.
“New York is the great old boomerang that always brings you back. There’s nothing like New York,” Rose said. “I wanted to be back [in Glendale], number one, to be with my family, but to be back to what felt familiar, back to what felt cozy, something that I knew. So I very specifically bought a house in Glendale, without even seeing it. I bought it from Charlotte, because I knew what I wanted and where I wanted to be.”
“The Grey Woods,” the first book in a series of six, is a tale of personal journey and self-empowerment set in two different time periods, highlighting how decisions from the past play an important role in creating the future.
“At the heart of the book is my own exploration of self-empowerment and learning to be a better person,” Rose said. “It’s my own journey of doing really, really well for myself, taking good care of myself, taking good care of people that I love and leaving a positive impression on the world.
“The most interesting thing about the book is that it is told in two different time periods, so kind of bending time and bending past and present, making both equal in the story,” she added. “Bending the idea of how your past influences your future so much.”
To help write her novel, Rose hearkened back to her time spent in Queens, where she also works as a real estate agent, to create a world with a diverse set of characters, languages and beliefs.
“I think being in New York, specifically Queens, there’s so many different people here and everybody is somehow represented in the novel,” Rose said. “I have every different culture, and every different kind of person in the book because I’m exposed to it here. There is such a wealth of knowledge just in Queens, and even though the story is in this medieval setting, Queens is definitely food for those ideas.”
Rose, whose real name is Jessica Mileto, even uses her pen name as a tribute to her past. Carson is her middle name, while Rose is her grandmother’s name, as well as her mother’s middle name, she explained. By using the name J. Carson Rose, she keeps her identity, but pays homage to the women who helped shape her past and influence her future.
On Friday, June 17, Rose will be at Book Revue in Long Island signing limited-edition hardcover copies of “The Grey Woods” at 7 p.m.