Author on the Couch: Ruth Kaufman
This week on Author on the Couch, I’m conducting a session with…
GIVEAWAY! Ruth is giving away an ebook of her medieval romance AT THIS COMMAND to one person who comments on this post.
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Ruth: Though it was (mumble mumble) years ago, getting into my high school choir for junior and senior years had a profound impact on my life.
First, I’d wanted to be part of the elite group since 8th grade. I worked very hard and took voice lessons to learn all of the technical elements (sight reading, tonal memory, scales, holding your part, etc.) required for the audition with our forbidding conductor. The girl who went before me before me came out crying.
Not only did we sing on TV (and even had our own half hour Christmas special one year on WGN), for the mayor, tour Greece for two weeks and make albums (a big deal at the time), choir was an honors class (so an A was worth more). You couldn’t be in the musical if you weren’t in choir.
That training also gave me the foundation to sing in symphony choirs, which I did in college and graduate school and still do on occasion to this day.
Me: That sounds like quite an experience!
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Ruth: I’d say discipline. Sometimes it’s hard to make myself put BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) and write. Even if you have an agent waiting or a publisher’s contract telling you when a manuscript is due, making time to write can be a challenge. I think it’s even harder to reach weekly page count or marketing/promotion goals when you’re doing everything yourself with no industry professional on your team.
Because my other career is acting, I don’t have as much control over my schedule as I’d like. I might plan to write on certain days, but if I’m fortunate to have a bunch of auditions or bookings pop up, those come first.
Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Ruth: Impatience. Things can take a lot of time in this business, from getting responses to revision letters and submissions to building a readership to waiting for reviews. I’d like results and closure sooner rather than later. I keep busy by moving on to the next task, but sometimes still wonder when, for example, that agent will respond to her request for a full….
Me: What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened?
Ruth: In 2011, the inspirational version of my first book, AT HIS COMMAND, won RWA®’s Golden Heart® award. I got to accept it at a black tie event in NYC before an audience of around 1,500, including agents and editors. The whole experience was a wonderful rush: getting the call that the manuscript had finaled, receiving the heart pin and pink ribbon for my conference badge, special events during National conference week, the interest the honor generated in that and other manuscripts and of course the award ceremony itself.
Me: Congratulations on you 2011 Golden Heart win! That’s such a special honor.
What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path as a writer, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing? What happened? How did you get over it?
Ruth: Harlequin Love Inspired requested the full of that GH-winning manuscript. They sent a revision letter, meaning they were very interested but they weren’t happy with some aspects. I made the changes. Then they sent another revision letter. I made more changes. About two years after their initial request and despite all of the revisions I’d made, they still said no. Of course I was hoping I’d finally get “the call,” and many GH winners and finalists do sell. By then I had so many friends who’d sold not just one but multiple books and some had hit bestseller lists that I wondered if I’d ever figure out how to sell a single manuscript.
Me: Being rejected after two years… Ouch. That hurts.
How many books have you written? How long does it typically take you to write a book? What’s the most painful part of the writing process for you?
Ruth: I’ve written 12 fiction and one non-fiction book so far, with a novella almost done and over half of another novel. The fastest I wrote a book was in 6 months, just to see if I could. I used a contest submission as my deadline. Research can make writing go slower, especially if I’m seeking hard-to-find details about medieval life.
The most painful part of the process is discoverability. Trying to get readers to even be aware of my books much less buy them in such a crowded field, especially now that there are so many free and discounted books, is a constant challenge. I feel like I could work for hours on advertising/marketing/promo and it still wouldn’t be enough.
Me: What’s your life motto? Why does that motto speak to you?
Ruth: I do my best to act on the motto “Someday is now.” How many of us say, “Someday I’ll do this or that,” but then don’t?
Around 10 years ago, I decided someday had to be now. I’d had my my corporate America sales/marketing/training day job for 13 years, and made room for my dream careers of writing and acting around that. I realized I wasn’t getting any younger, and there was no way to know what my health or stamina would be like when I reached official retirement age.
Some acting gigs can take their physical toll…with long hours, lots of standing and/or walking. I had to say no to some on-camera auditions (many of which are short notice) and gigs if I couldn’t get the day(s) off.
So I quit my job to pursue writing and acting full time. I definitely miss the regular paycheck, four weeks of paid vacation plus personal days and holidays, and some weeks when things are slow or I’ve had more rejections than usual I wonder if I made the right decision….
Me: I love your life motto! Someday is now. Wow. I’m totally stealing it.
Tell me about your medieval romance AT HIS COMMAND.
England 1453: The king sends Sir Nicholas Gray to protect the recently widowed Lady Amice Winfield from undesirable suitors. Though Nicholas intrigues her, she yearns to run Castle Rising without a man’s control.
Nicholas has no interest in marriage, but can’t deny his attraction to Amice. He’s surprised to finally find in Castle Rising a place he feels at home. A kiss sparks desire neither can ignore, yet serving opposing factions seeking to govern England threatens to pull them apart.
At court, the king and queen reject Amice’s pleas and choose a new husband for her, a highly-ranked lord who’ll provide connections and coin that Nicholas cannot. How can she follow the king’s command when she’s a scribe for his rival? How can she marry another man when she’s falling in love with Nicholas?
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from THE BRIDE TOURNAMENT.
Ruth: I love these paragraphs because, to me at least, they establish the awkward situation the heroine finds herself in at the start of the book and show how she feels about it.
This was how a deer must feel before the arrow hit.
Before her stood Arthur Stafford, his familiar face expressionless. Her heart melted with sympathy for all he had lost.
“My friends, I have news. There has been a change in plans,” her father said, raising his voice. “Eleanor, meet the man you will wed this day, Richard Courtenay, Earl of Glasmere.”
As her guests buzzed louder than a swarm of bees, Eleanor forced her gaze from the man she longed to marry to the man she must marry.
To purchase Ruth’s novels:
AT HIS COMMAND
FOLLOW YOUR HEART
THE BRIDE TOURNAMENT
You can find Ruth here:
Blog: Gainfully Unemployed www.rjkaufman.blogspot.com
Twitter @RuthKaufman https://twitter.com/RuthKaufman
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/141wfVE
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. Her first novel RACE THE DARKNESS is available for pre-order: AMAZON
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