Welcome to my Indie Author interviews! As a new feature on my site, once a fortnight/month I will delve into Twitter and find an indie author to show you what these clever people can do.
This fortnight I’m talking to KS Ruff who writes romance, much to her surprise, instead of being a lawyer.
Inspired by joining not one but two book clubs, KS Ruff wanted to give the writing a crack herself and while teaching as a professor at the American Military University. Writing the Broken Series, KS Ruff is also working on her first YA/MG fantasy novel based on Irish Mythology, Saving Tir Na Nog.
Ok, easy one to start that requires only silly answers to break the ice, what is your favourite Dreamworks movie?
Okay, this one is a little embarrassing. I am so smitten with Toothless from How to Train your Dragon, that I’ve been known to scramble out of my chair, scream, and clap excitedly when he appears on television. I lost my ever-lov’n mind when Toothless made a guest appearance on America’s Got Talent. What can I say? I fangirl dragons. If I stumbled across a dragon in need of adoption, I’d invest in a good sprinkler system and fire-resistant clothing and adopt him. In all seriousness, I wish dragons were living among us today. I’ve got this theory that dragons are a species of pterosaurs that really, truly existed. Science just hasn’t proven it yet. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was a dream come true for me. What if all those beautiful creatures are hiding out in some remote location until we humans behave in a way that is deserving of their love and trust? That thought is so lovely, it gives me goosebumps.
I’ve written seven books now, across three genres, and Saving Tir na nOg is my absolute favorite. Stories that involve dragons and other magical beasts; especially those stories with strong themes of self-sacrifice, unwavering friendship, and love; really tug at my heart strings.
What is your current WIP and what excites you the most about it?
My current WIP is a spin-off novel for my romantic suspense series. What excites me most is this opportunity to further develop one of my favorite characters from The Broken Series. This character, Shae, was inspired by one of my dearest friends. Several scenes in Broken Wings were spun from some truth-is-stranger-than-fiction experiences we had while teaching peacekeeping in Ukraine. Suffice it to say, our lives were threatened while we were there. We were placed on lockdown at the hotel where we were staying until we could safely evacuate the country. Shae is so courageous and kind, I can’t wait for my readers to get to know her better. We should all be blessed with a friend like her.
What do you do when you get writers block?
I close my laptop. Honestly, this strategy works about ninety percent of the time. The second I walk away from my computer, that perfect description, dialogue, or plot twist that’s been evading me whacks me upside the head until I start writing again. This can be annoying when you’re driving or when you’re crawling into bed. When this strategy doesn’t work, I pursue some other activity related to the story. I’ll conduct research, pin images relevant to the story on Pinterest, jot down some notes for an upcoming scene, or edit an earlier scene. If that doesn’t work, I text my editor: What are you doing? That’s code for: If you’re home, I’m inviting myself over for coffee so I can talk about this infuriating scene. Often, by the time I’ve explained the problem, the solution jumps out at me.
What’s been the most challenging thing about being a writer, and the most rewarding?
The most challenging part of being a writer is marketing/promoting books. I don’t enjoy marketing at all. I view it as a necessary evil, and I resent the amount of time it steals from writing. Writing a synopsis runs a close second for me. Asking an author to condense a 100,000 word novel into a five-hundred word summary is just… cruel.
The most rewarding part of being a writer is connecting with my readers. I love hearing how my stories impact them. Did they laugh? Did they cry? Did the plot keep them turning pages through the night? This is especially true for my children’s book, Brave Just Like Me, which was written to comfort and encourage children facing life-threatening medical conditions. Their stories, steeped in courage and strength, are so precious to me. This is why I do book signings, so I can connect with my readers and hear their stories.
What advice would you give to writers out there?
The best advice is to hold off on publishing your first novel until you’ve got two additional books ready for release. I followed this advice for my romance series, releasing the first three books in the series all at once. As difficult as it was to hold off on releasing that first book, this was an effective strategy financially. This strategy allowed me to discount that first book, using it as a loss leader, to build interest in the series. I was then able to recoup that expense and make a profit with the remaining books in the series.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did not follow this strategy for my MG/YA fantasy novel, Saving Tir na nOg. That has hurt me financially, but I couldn’t bear to make my beta readers, several of whom were middle schoolers, wait years while I finished two more books in the series. They took their jobs as my beta readers very seriously. They were sworn to secrecy and were chomping at the bit to share the book with their friends. They wanted to see their names in the acknowledgements. They wanted a hard copy in their hands. And they were eager to attend the book release party with all the giveaways and the food I shipped in from Ireland. I took the financial hit and published the book because I couldn’t bear to make them wait any longer. Trust me, it was worth it in the end.