As part of my Around the World Tour, I would like to introduce author, Ruth Long, a writer of sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, paranormal romance for adults, and young adult readers.
How many books have you written and which of these are your personal favourites?
Gosh, I’ve almost lost count at this stage. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember. Of the ones that have made it to publication, or will get there soon – I’ve written six novels and two novellas. I write fantasy romance as R. F. Long and fantasy for Young Adults as Ruth Frances Long. I’ve two coming out this year – one paranormal romance and one YA.
It’s hard to choose favourites though. I suppose if I had to it would be my paranormal romance Soul Fire and my Young Adult fantasy The Treachery of Beautiful Things. That is, until the new ones come along… 😉
I see you live in Ireland. Are you able to network with other writers there?
Definitely. Ireland has a thriving community of writers in all genres and they’re very supportive of each other. Sites like Writing.ie help us all keep up to speed. And of course, as a country, we’re rather famous for our sociability. Twitter helps a lot too. I spend a lot of time on Twitter (@RFLong).
Has Ireland inspired you with your writing?
Right from the beginning. Irish myths and legends are a great passion of mine. They are such an amazing source for a writer. Our legends are deeply embedded in our landscape and our lives. Every hill, every river, every valley seems to have a story connected to it. More directly my forthcoming YA book, A Crack in Everything, is based in Ireland, and deals with a lot of Irish fairy folklore, especially the idea that the fairies were angels expelled for refusing to take a side in the war in Heaven. It’s due out in Autumn 2014 from O’Brien Press.
There is also a certain humour, a way of using language, and weaving stories together that is peculiarly Irish, and I tend to run to that sort of lyricism at times. Thank goodness for good editors! 😉 We like things to be beautiful, we like things to be tragic and above all we like a good story to hang it all on.
From your web site http://www.rflong.com I see you have an agent. Many writers dream of having an agent. What have been the advantages for you?
I wouldn’t want to be without my agent, Sallyanne Sweeney, for a moment. I can’t make head or tails of legalese and she is fantastic when it comes to contracts. She negotiates for me and lets me get on with the creative side of writing. She helps with edits, reads my work critically, lets me bounce weird and wonderful ideas off her and gives me someone to contact in times of blind panic. She’s really encouraging and supportive. Having one professional person to do all that is a godsend.
Are you a member of a writing association? Do you think it is important to belong to a group when first starting out as a writer and why?
I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Children’s Books Ireland. Writing tends to be a solitary pursuit so contacts made through groups like these are really important. I’m also a member of online sites such as Romance Divas, and I’m part of a critique group with a number of writers I met there. This is more personal group in that we read for each other, listen to the upsets and rants we would never want to make public, and constantly support and encourage each other. Life is hard so you need friends who understand what you’re up to, why the voices in your head won’t shut up or do what you tell them and how that’s perfectly normal. Plus getting to know other writers means finding out about loads of awesome new reads.
Do you prefer to read a paperback or a Kindle?
I alternate between the two. Some books I have to read on paper, but the convenience of ebooks is really attractive too. I had a Sony reader for years, but recently got a Tablet so I have the Kindle reader on that. It’s also very handy for proof-reading and critiquing for friends. My day job as a librarian, often dealing with rare books from the 15th and 16th centuries onwards right up to brand new publications, tells me that print books aren’t going anywhere, but there’s no reason why the two can’t happily co-exist.
How did you learn to be a writer? Did you attend creative writing classes or have you always had a natural ability.
I’ve always wanted to tell stories, from when I was very little. And fantasy was always my genre of choice. I learned to read early and soon read my way through the junior library and headed into the adult library. Romance came a little later in life but as I read I discovered that if a story didn’t have a romance in it, I usually made one up myself. I found that I tended to put characters together in my mind whether it was there in the story or not so I suppose romance stories were always in the offing. I’ve done one or two courses, mostly online, and I learned a lot through membership of online writing groups and through critique groups.
What kind of books do you read? Who is your favourite author?
All sorts, from fantasy and YA to thrillers and crime novels, Historical, both fiction and non-fiction. I think writers should devour books as well as produce them. Reading widely teaches you about storytelling. It’s an advantage of life as a librarian, especially when I worked in the public libraries. My favourites are Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I’d read them forever. But I tend to be more of a fan of individual books than specific authors.
Do you have another book in progress toward 2015?
I have two coming out this year – a paranormal romance called The Mirror of Her Power from Taliesin Press, and my YA fantasy A Crack in Everything. So I’ve edits for them in the offing. I’m already working on the sequel for the A Crack in Everything, called The Hollow in the Hills, and then I’ll start on a sequel for The Mirror of Her Power. Of course, I’m never just working on one thing, so I have two other stories I’m whittling away at in the meantime. I’m going to have a very busy year.
Where do you see your writing life within the next ten years?
I’m happy to just keep on writing. It would be lovely to be able to make a living from writing full time but I don’t think I’d ever want to give up my day job. So enough to be comfortable I suppose. I hope to grow my readership and still be able to vary the type of stories I tell.
As an author, what is your next big ambition?
To write the best book I possibly can. Always. To do credit to the stories that come into my head and get them to print in as perfect as way as I possibly can.
If I’m going to go for the full fantasy wish-fulfilment answer – I’d dearly love to see one of my stories on film. 😀
Thank you Ruth, it was a pleasure to hear your story. You are an inspiration to all.
Please go to Ruth’s web site for more information http://www.rflong.com or leave a COMMENT below