Odessa Rose was born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland, which serves as the backdrop for her fiction. She spent her childhood surrounded by books, for her mother is a voracious reader of horror, in particular Stephen King. When she was nine, Rose read a short story in Reader’s Digest. The eloquent way in which the author wove words into story so fascinated Rose that she was compelled to announce to her mother that she wanted to be a writer. Her mother’s reply was, “Well, write, baby.” Rose took her mother’s encouraging advice and began writing short stories, which she shared with her classmates during lunch and a teacher, who told her that her writing held promise.
However, Rose did not take her writing seriously until she entered Coppin State University in 1992. She originally planned to major in nursing, but after taking a World Literature course, Rose could not ignore her passion for language. She loved analyzing stories, exploring the way writers made connections to the world through their characters and settings. She also loved the way her words looked and sounded on paper, loved twisting, bending, stretching, pulling and pushing words to have them say what she at times had difficulty expressing or understanding. At times she had trouble believing the words came from her own mind. Rose changed her major to English and began writing her first novel, Water In A Broken Glass, which explores a woman’s inability to accept her homosexuality and the problems that arise in her quest to deny her own existence.
In 1997, Rose gave birth to her first son and earned her B.A. in English. She continued her studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. While helping her husband care for their newborn son and taking courses, Rose began revising Water In A Broken Glass, for shortly after entering College Park, she landed a publishing deal with La Caille Nous Publishing Inc. However, being a wife, mother, student and writer was a bit overwhelming, so Rose took a year off from school. She worked full time and wrote at night. Upon completing the novel, she returned to school and while promoting Water, which was released in September 2000, she became pregnant with her second son, taught freshman English, took courses and completed her thesis.
Delegate Barbara Robinson said Water In A Broken Glass is “A fantastic book.” Talibah Chikwendu of the Baltimore Afro stated, “Mrs. Rose has created real people.” Coppin professor, Ann Cobb, said, “Rose blends music, color and a range of characters and human emotions.” Coppin graduate and radio personality, Doni Glover, stated, “the novel fearlessly speaks to an often invisible culture with the hope that the reader will walk away a little more human…” Whitney Scott of Booklist stated, “Rose’s meditative insights into family closeness and loyalty and her exquisite sense of detail make this a promising debut and a strikingly unusual romance.” Water In A Broken Glass was #6 on the “On-Demand Best Sellers” list. Its sales captured the attention of BET Books. It has been recorded for the Maryland School for the Blind. It is on Towson University’s Rainbow Lounge and Resource Library booklist, was used in a graduate level literature course at Wake Forest University, and is mentioned in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature. Accredited Online Colleges ranked Water In A Broken Glass #17 on their 20 Essential Novels For African American Women. Several book clubs have selected Water In A Broken Glass for their monthly read, and it continues to attract new readers. At present, Lodge Street Films, an independent film company, is working on a screenplay for Water In A Broken Glass.
In 2001, Rose gave birth to her second son and received her M.A. in Literature. Afterwards, Rose went to work as an instructor and counselor at a GED and Job Readiness Program for at-risk youth. While helping kids attain their GED’s, find employment and go off to college, she began work on her second novel and became pregnant with her daughter.
The publication of Water In A Broken Glass opened the door for Rose’s literary future, and on September 10, 2011, dewdrop collective publishing released her second novel, In the Mirror. This long awaited novel centers around a young woman’s struggle to prove that her boyfriend is not in love with his wife. Author Anondra Williams states, “Characters are Roses’ bread and butter, and she does them well, making you fell as if they are our friends and sometimes your enemy. Wondering what makes them tick and what will tick them off. In the end reality bleeds true and life turns out . . . interesting. The closet will never be the same again after reading In the Mirror.”
Rose is fast at work on completing her third novel, Kizmic’s Journey. She is a member of the Black Writers Guild of Maryland. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, their two sons and daughter.