Friday, September 16, 2011
DEBUT AUTHOR: Ruthie Robinson
Ruthie Robinson resides in Austin, TX with her husband and two teenage children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Clark College and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Texas in Austin (Hook ‘em horns!). She worked for more than a decade in the banking industry before turning her love of stories into a second career.
How did you start out your writing career?
I took up writing as a hobby and through the course of completing my first book, entered the Genesis Press writing contest and was fortunate enough to win.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned the importance of rewriting.
The first draft of Lights Out was more than 120,000 words. I didn’t pay attention to my word count as you can see. It was originally a story of both Joe and Piper as well as Piper’s father, Mac, and his wife, Christina. Needless to say, I had to lose more than a few words—almost half of my book. I was heartbroken to say the least. I really loved all those words.
It actually ended up being a really good process for me. I learned to consider my scene choices, and critically review which scenes moved the story along and which ones didn’t.
There is this quote in the Fiction Writer’s Handbook, written by Hallie and Whit Burnett, that I found after I’d finished rewriting Lights Out that explains it best:
“It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn’t advance the story.”
Good to know now.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
This was Joe’s story. I wanted to show the story behind the man, what made him the person he is, which is a good guy with a big heart, albeit well guarded. Piper was perfect for him in that she had the same commitment to family as he, but she’d dealt with the craziness of her parents differently. She was the kind of woman he needed to help him move beyond his past. She was someone who he could entrust his heart to. I think it’s what we humans seek and hope for.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
It wasn’t just one character, but several. The kids==Taylor, Kennedy and Shane—and the two dogs—McKenzie and Pepper—were all fun to write about.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I’m most surprised at how much fun it is to write. It’s work, but it is fun, too. I am surprised at how much I like telling stories. I didn’t grow up with dreams of being a writer, ever, but I’ve always loved stories in any form—books, movies, all kinds, And romance was and still is my heart.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love creating stories. Publicity and marketing writing are two things I’m not sure I’ll ever embrace totally.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I had known that as a new writer, I needed to be patient with the process of writing, of figuring out how I write and with learning to tell better stories.
I wish I had known that each story takes time and may require different amounts of time to write, depending on the topic.
I wish I had known how often I’d have to tune out everything but the voice in my head, to close my eyes and just write; no second-guessing, just letting go. That’s scary stuff.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do write what you want to read.
Don’t let others deter you.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It’s fun, but it is also work.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
I don’t have one.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Hang out with my family, volunteer, read, and watch movies.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
Readers can contact me via my website (http://www.ruthierobinson.com/)
Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?
SORMAG ads and interviews.
This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?
Yes! Thank you for providing a forum for authors to connect with each other and readers. The interviews are helpful and inspirational for me.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know that love is the answer.
I know that the greatest of these is love.
I know that God is love.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Mariah Sullivan is a tattoo clad, multi-colored hair, sometimes bruise covered, kick ass roller derby girl, who doesn’t put up with people who mistreat others. The outside view of her masks a woman who is loving, compassionate and fiercely loyal to those she loves.
Adam Barnett Jr. is a dentist, like his father, who returns to Austin to take over his father’s dental practice while he recuperates from a motorcycle accident. The timing couldn’t have been better for Adam, having just broken off his engagement to a woman he thought was perfect, both inside and out.
He meets Mariah at her regular dental appointment. She is definitely interested in Adam, and willing to put aside her normal reticence and actually give men a chance. Adam, however, assumes the worst about her, given her outside appearance. Mariah, with assistance from Adam’s father, has a thing or two to teach him about passing judgments.
Over the course of the story, they come to realize that underneath all of their assumptions are two people who have more in common than they think, and are not so different after all.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I can be reached on my website, http://www.ruthierobinson.com/
Piper Renee Knight was sole proprietor of two coffee shops located in Austin, Texas. Lights Out Coffee opened two and a half years ago as a joint venture with her father, Macarthur “Lights Out” Knight, former boxing great turned businessman.
Joe and Piper meet during Joe’s second visit to her shop and exchange not only cash for coffee, but banter as well. After a short flirtation they agree to take their attraction further. But before they can start, Piper’s father asks her to look after his two younger daughters after his third wife has left him.
Piper settles her sisters into her life, locating a school for them nearby. She decides that Joe is not an option for her now that she has the girls, He gets her message and stops coming by the shop.
When they happen to meet again at the kids’ school, Piper finds out that Joe has been raising his nephew for the last two years, after his sister’s unexpected departure. During the school year, Joe and Piper support each other and Piper falls in love. While Joe likes her, he’s not sure with his nephew and prior life experiences that he’s in for the long haul.
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