AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Ruth Saberton

RuthSaberton.jpgHaving recently read Ruth Saberton's upcoming novel Katy Carter Wants a Hero, I have to say that I can't WAIT until the official release - this book is absolutely fantastic (and Ruth's writing is hilarious.) We'll have to wait until April, but recently Trashionista interviewed Ruth about her dreams, her writing and her ver own hero!

Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer.
Goodness, this is really hard!  No wonder I write novels with thousands of words to play with!  OK, here goes:

"A story about friendship, family, following dreams and realising love is found in unexpected places."

What inspired you to write Katy Carter Wants a Hero?

I've always wanted to be a writer and when I was a child I wrote loads of really dire pony stories that I forced my poor parents to read.  After discovering Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins I progressed onto bodice rippers that were equally dire and although I still have them will NEVER see the light of day.

A few years ago I decided that rather than just dreaming about being an author I was going to really go for it.  I wrote a novel called Clover in about five months and writing it was the easy bit.  There then followed endless rejections from agents and publishers and it was soul destroying.  Some people were helpful and encouraging but my impressive collection of rejection letters was starting to get me down to say the least.  I was on the brink of hurling my manuscript and myself off the nearest cliff - rather too easy to do when you live in Cornwall - when I decided to abandon writing about exotic locations and the super rich to concentrate on something a bit closer to home. Writing about what I knew was the key and soon I'd started Katy Carter Wants a Hero, the very fictional tale (honestly!) of an English teacher who dreams of being a best selling novelist. I worked away night after night and all my friends forgot who I was but it was worth it because this manuscript attracted the attention of literary agents and publishers.  Lots of editing, despair and rewriting later the hard work paid off and Orion bought the book! 

Do you have a hero of your own?

Let's hope my husband doesn't read this interview because his head will never again fit through the door, but he truly is my real life hero.  He's a genuine Cornish fisherman and goes out deep sea trawling, which is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world so I guess he's also pretty brave.  I get seasick in the bath!  Fishing's very physical and all the lifting fish boxes and hauling nets means he's really muscled and fit, unlike little spaghetti arms me. (Sitting down typing for hours doesn't exactly tone you up and I probably burn more scented candles than calories)  We've been together for over ten years now but my stomach still flips when I catch sight of him.  Sorry!  That's really quite sick making!  Anyway, I've used him as the inspiration for one of the heroes that Katy Carter meets on her travels.  When you read the book I'm sure you won't find it very hard to spot which hero this is!
Where do you write your books?
To be honest there isn't one place because I write everywhere!  Writing's a bit of an addiction with me and I don't really feel myself if I'm not tapping away on my laptop or scribbling in a notebook.  If I'm at home I'll write straight onto the laptop either from my favourite corner of the sofa (I have to push the cat off which really annoys him) or, if its really cold, propped up in bed with the electric blanket cranked up to full power and the feather duvet up to my ears.  I also do lots of train journeys up to London to visit my family or my publisher so great chunks of my novels have been written while travelling over the Liskeard to Paddington stretch of railway track.  If I'm on the go I'll have a notebook in my bag and I'll carry on writing long hand then type it up later.  It's actually really nice when I'm editing and rewriting to read a section and remember where I was when I wrote it - especially if it was by a pool somewhere hot and sunny!

What is your favourite chick-lit book?
I absolutely adore chick-lit as a genre and I get really annoyed when the mass media sneer at it. I suppose this is because it's a women's genre.  Grrr.  Don't get me started on that issue!  Anyway, I read pretty much everything chick- lit that comes out and I have lots of favourite authors, Catherine Alliott and Sophie Kinsella for example, but if I really was pinned down and forced to pick my favourite chick lit book then it would have to be the mummy of the genre, Bridget Jones's Diary.  That novel really captured the zeitgeist and opened the door for lots of new authors.  Suddenly it was fine to write about all the things that really concern young women, which I really believe was an incredibly freeing moment in literary history.  And come on, who hasn't had a big pants day?

Who is your favourite heroine, and why?

I know she isn't strictly a chick lit author but I absolutely love Jilly Cooper and I must have read every single novel of hers about ten times. My favourite heroine has to be Taggie Campbell Black from Rivals because she's a bit of a Cinderella figure.  She's sweet, kind, loves her family who totally take her for granted, and spends a lot of the story nursing a broken heart. Taggie's also dyslexic and Jilly Cooper does a really good job of conveying her embarrassment and distress when other characters treat her as though she's stupid.  Although she's often put down and ignored Taggie is never bitchy and eventually her kindness wins through when gets her well deserved happy ever after.  I'm not ashamed to admit I still cry when I read the bit where she finally gets together with the super sexy Rupert. I guess I like to believe the underdog can triumph! 

Do you have any tips for readers who would like to become published authors?
   1. Write about what you know and what interests you, not just what you think might sell.  You need to write with conviction if you're to succeed.  Boy wizards and vampires are all very well but are you really an expert on these?  It was only when I started to use my own world as inspiration that I found success with Katy Carter Wants a Hero.
   2. Read.  Read.  Read.  Be an expert on the type of book you want to write.  See how other authors use language.  Don't copy them but take away an understanding of what works and what doesn't.
   3. Write.  Sorry to be boring but there's no getting away from this bit.  The difference between published writers and people who think about being published is that published writers sit down and make themselves write.  Even when they don't want to.  Especially when they don't want to.  Ignore Facebook/ebay/the biscuit tin and just get writing!
   4. Never give up! If you are rejected take it on the chin and move on.  Be angry, be disappointed, be sad.  Then pick yourself up and move on. Publishing is full of stories about writers who've had zillions of rejections but gone on to have fantastic success.  Just ask J K Rowling!  I bet all the agents and publishers who turned her down are still kicking them selves! If you've got talent somebody will spot it.  You just have to believe in yourself and keep going.

What are you currently reading?

I'm a real bookworm!  I must get through about four books a week and my husband always jokes that a drug habit would work out cheaper! (at least I think he's joking) At the minute I'm half way through the Booker Prize winning "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel.  It's all about the life of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's Master Secretary, who has always been a rather shadowy figure.  It's a really complex novel charting Cromwell's rise to favour as he clears the way for Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn.  I love anything to do with the Tudors and this huge tome is a real treat.  I'll be sad when it ends.

I'm also reading "Fairytale of New York" by Miranda Dickinson.  This is a lovely romantic comedy and beautifully written.  Although I'm only fifty pages in I'm already in love with the characters and am dying to know what happens next.   I've got a terrible habit of reading the ends of books first but I'm trying to resist in this case!

Are you working on anything else at the moment, and if so, can you tell us?

I'm really busy with all the publicity for "Katy Carter Wants a Hero" at the minute.  I've got a column with a newspaper in the pipeline as well as a slot blogging for Now Magazine Online as "The Real Carrie Bradshaw"(!!)  In terms of novels I'm working on my next book for Orion.  It's called "Second Thoughts" and is about a girl who gets cold feet on the eve of her wedding and starts to wonder whether she's chosen to marry the right boyfriend.  That's not based on fact, I promise!  I also write for Little Black Dress under the pen name Jessica Fox.  I've written the Hen Night Prophecies series for them and right now I'm half way through book number four which is called "Unlucky in Love".  And I'm still teaching English at Bodmin College so I'm marking lots of coursework! Phew!

Thanks, Ruth!

You can read more abour Ruth Saberton and her books at her website.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Ruth Saberton - Comments

  • Sheila

    Katy Carter is a brilliant book! As I know Ruth I've had a preview read and I laughed all the way through! Highly recommended. I love 'The Hen Night Prophecies' series too.

    Keep up the good work, Ruth. Can't wait for the next one! xx

  • Great interview, I really enjoyed reading that! And I can't wait to read Katy Carter - it sounds just my kind of thing! :D

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