Rose Catherine Khan
Rose Catherine Khan is a fantasy illustrator from Orlando, Florida. Over the past decade, she has created designs and illustrations for clients across the country. Her artwork sells internationally and her collectibles can be found in gift shops around the world. She particularly enjoys illustrating puzzles and designing figurines for companies including Ravensburger Games, Buffalo Games, Aquarius and Pacific Giftware. In December of 2019, Rose completed a series of puzzles that can be found at retailers including Target, Walmart and Michaels. Since 2019, she has continued to populate the world with intricate puzzle artwork, completing her 17th puzzle at the start of 2023.
In addition to fantasy illustration, in 2014 Rose released her debut fantasy novel, Centernia: Return to the Castle. In 2018 it was followed with Mark of the Castle. The third, Whispers in the Azure, arrived in 2022, and Rose has a second edition lined up for 2023 (along with a fourth book). When not illustrating and writing, Rose is a professor of art.
Rose is represented by Tate Licensing.
The Rochester Institute of Technology interviewed Rose in 2020, the full article can be found here:
Alumna Lives out her Fantasy as illustrator and author
➜ RTTC Questions about the Story
What age is Centernia intended for?
We added a parental guide to answer this question. Click here to read it.
I just finished Return to the Castle, when is the sequel coming out?
IT'S DONE! IT'S ON AMAZON!
When is the sequel set?
The sequel begins approximately a year and a half after the close of Return to the Castle, in the summer before Jessi's senior year of high school.
Is there a third book?
YES! IT'S DONE ALSO!
What about a fourth?
Yes, it's on the way too! Sign up for the mailing list so you don't miss it.
How do you write?
Music is an absolute critical part of my writing process. I create playlists that inspire certain scenes or characters. When I'm at the gym or out running, I usually put together a scene. I have a strong sense of the dialog and pacing and will often listen to the same song on repeat to rehearse the scene in my head (and this is why my husband has banished me to headphones...). After I have a solid understanding of the chapter, I type it up. I usually write dialog first, then flesh out the details in the revisions. I love writing unique locations and descriptions, but without the conflict, a chapter falls flat.
How do you world build?
World-building in Centernia has been a life-long endeavor. I often akin it to the background process of a computer. I always have a Centernia thread running, observing the world and trying to make pieces fit into the Centernia puzzle. Anything can trigger it. I could be washing my hands at the sink and suddenly understand the clandestine relationship between two characters. Sometimes the influence is more direct. My experiences learning how to canter translated into Jessica's trouble learning how to ride a bicorn. The personalities of the bicorns are drawn from the defiance of my cats.
Do you have an agent or editor?
Yes, in addition to a half dozen beta-readers, my books were edited by professional copyeditors. This website however, is not, so don't be too hard on me. Luckily, my studio assistant combs through whenever she gets the chance to catch any errors, so thank goodness for that.
I am open to agents or larger publishers to expand Centernia's reach.
What happened to the webcomic?
Centernia, the novel, was created before Centernia, the webcomic. The decision was made to take the comic offline as it had become a bit dated and it did not adhere to the plot of the book.
Do you draw all of the Centernia artwork?
I've drawn all of the existing artwork on Centernia.com and related promo materials, but you might see some different styles appearing soon as my studio assistant will add some graphics here and there.
How did you learn to draw?
I've been drawing my entire life. I went to college for illustration. Most of my work is a hybrid between traditional and digital, each work starting as a pencil sketch, and finishing with digital paint. You can check out my full portfolio of fantasy work at www.RoseCatherine.com
Are you okay with fanart and fanfics?
Yes! Send me links!
More About Rose
Where did you get the idea for Centernia?
This is always a difficult question for me to answer, because the truth isn't really a happy story. Centernia has been in production for a very, very long time. Inspiration has come from many veins, some conscious, some not.
After many years of writing short stories and fanfics, I started writing Centernia in 1997. The acknowledgments page in Return to the Castle recounts my experience watching Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. Inspired by the city, I dreamed up a story of a girl who rescues a cat who turns out to be a prince.
Though this was the moment I started writing, it wasn't the emotional inspiration. That was a much sadder experience. My godmother died earlier that year, and in an Italian family, a godmother is a big deal. The sad truth is, I didn't even know I had a godmother. Her death revealed an entire branch of my family tree previously obscured. My childhood memories of strangers suddenly had context, and I was sad for losing people I didn't know were missing from my life. I was eleven years old, and the only way I could deal with something so frustrating was through ink on paper.
Jessi was lucky, she reconnected with her lost family. I never did.
Who is the Muse you talk about in your dedication?
Muse was a cat, whose name was actually Muse. He was an excellent listener who I was amazingly not allergic to. Muse's kidneys started failing as I was in the midst of the working with my editor for Return to the Castle. The diagnosis was FIP, a really nasty virus with no cure. He died the day the first proof of Return to the Castle was printed.
Do you visit schools, libraries or participate in panel discussions at conventions?
Yes! In my little portfolio of experience, I happen to have a masters degree in education. As any of my former students will tell you, if you give me an audience, I'm happy to speak, share knowledge, and tell ridiculous stories.
I always see art updates on your networks, but no writing. Can you please just focus on the fourth book?
I try to spend several hours every a day writing. Despite the fact it is my way to de-stress, burn out is a real possibility. Art is really important to my process and helps me build creative connections. Also, art pays the bills.
Random Questions about the Story
*** If you haven't finished Return to the Castle, Spoilers Ahead***
What is the age difference between Jessi and Nico?
A little over four years. At the onset of Return to the Castle, she is fourteen and he is almost nineteen, some readers have pointed that out to be a little bit...questionable. The age difference is deliberate. I wanted to be able to explore Jessi's high school years throughout the books, so she needed to start young enough. Nico needed to have a much more vivid memory of the events of the past, so his age had to reflect why Jessi barely remembers him. I will stress that their relationship in Return to the Castle is not physical. Likewise, Teren respects the laws of Earth and does not sleep with Lee.
Is Jared gay?
There is no social stigma in Centernia in regards to sexual preference. As a result, most people are regarded as bisexual with their own personal preferences along the spectrum.
Who are the Sarkisians?
Well, that is an interesting question... You should read the next books!
Was Malachi a Sinari? If not, how did he influence the castle?
Malachi was not a mage. Despite the fact our narrators were wary of him, he was well liked by many. He was a very theatrical man who enjoyed parties. His association with the Auroriates gained him favor with worshipers of the goddess.
How do you pronounce x?
There are two YouTube guides on character pronounciation for the first and second novels.
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