This week for Writer Wednesday, we feature an interview with author Ruth A. Douthitt. Ruth, welcome to This Blog Blank.
This Blog Blank: I like to start each interview by giving the author a chance to discuss their work. What can you tell us about your latest work?
Ruth A. Douthitt:
First of all, thanks for having me! I am a writer based out of Phoenix, AZ. My latest project is a YA Fiction series titled “The Warfare Club” and it is about a group of teens that rescue people within their dreams by battling the supernatural forces of evil. It will be a 7-book series. The first draft is complete; I am now adding scenes and characterizations.
TBB: What was your inspiration for writing the story?
RAD: After I finished my first book, “The Dragon Forest,” written for middle grades, I thought about my next project. My son was now a teenager so I thought about what books were out there for teens. I visited our local library and browsed the teen section. This was in 2009, so the vampire/werewolf craze was hot. I noticed that most of the novels and graphic novels were about paranormal stuff—very dark and dreary.
It depressed me because there really wasn’t much out there for Christian teens to read. I wanted a book that had an important encouraging message. I decided to write a series about how teens can be victorious in Christ. I hope the series will be a set of graphic novels someday.
TBB: I had a very similar reaction, and wrote The Stream series for the same reason. Good versus evil is a grand theme – however, it doesn’t always have to star evil.
TBB: Here’s a hard one, but my favorite question. Can you share a quote, a sentence, or a paragraph that is one of your favorite pieces of writing?
“We do not worship the book, but the One whom the book reveals.” – Oswald Chambers
This quote is from a devotional by Oswald Chambers.
TBB: Why did you choose the previous selection?
RAD: This quote moved me because so many people think Christians worship the Bible. We consider it to be the Word of God … but we worship who the book is about: GOD.
TBB: The publishing industry is in flux now, with distributors like Amazon encouraging writers to publish directly. I find most writers to be on one side of the fence or the other – Indie or Traditional publishing. Where do you see yourself in this debate – “Go Indies,” “Give Me the Book Deal,” or “Who Cares, Just Show Me the Money?”
RAD: I am a huge supporter of traditional publishing because I think writers should be paid to write. However, I am also a fan of self-publishing and do not think writers have to choose one or the other … but can easily do both!
I am planning on self-publishing a couple of books that will be companions to The Dragon Forest series. I also plan on self-publishing some non-fiction titles.
That way, I can submit my work to my publisher and while I wait for the release of my books, I can be busy getting my work out to and further develop that fan base!
TBB: I (gasp) stopped reading fiction for over five years. I read a lot of non-fiction, and learned a lot about behavior and history. I also wrote a TON of business proposals. In retrospect, it was part of a long process that turned me into a better writer. What life experiences have you brought to your writing that made you a better writer?
RAD: Ditto! I hardly ever read fiction. I have always loved history books, autobiographies, and books on theology. I didn’t delve into fiction until I wrote fiction.
But now that I am pursuing a writing career, I find that my love of non-fiction, my graduate degree, and my work as a curriculum developer has helped me hone my craft because I learned a writing or development process. I learned research and how to obtain information to support claims.
As a result, I now have a better writing process that I follow in order to write fiction. I am reading more fiction now than ever before and am enjoying it.
TBB: Let’s Play a Little “This, or That?” (Some of these may be tough J)
– Plotter, Pantser, or OMG, I think I have OCD? I have to plot. I am not OCD about it, but I have to plot. I am a visual person, so having everything set out before I start just makes sense to me.
– Great Writer or Great Re-writer? Re-writer. Thanks to my editor, I am a much better re-writer!
– Grammar Nazi or I Only Brake for Periods? I only brake for periods. I let my editor work out all the grammar!
– Mood Music or Total Silence? Mood music all the way! I tend to listen to movie soundtracks while I write because that music is already written to a storyline, so it moves and has a set pace already. But I am also listening to Christian music that teens listen to. It helps me visualize my characters.
– Writing is my Art or Writing is my Job? Art for now … hopefully, a job in the very near future? Lord willing…
– Character-driven, Dialogue-driven, or Plot-driven? Plot driven for now. I hope to write character-driven books soon. I am not quite there yet. For my YA book, I tend to have more dialogue.
– My Book has a Message, or My Book is Pure Entertainment? A message—absolutely! I write with a purpose. The message may not be blatant, but it is in there: morals, values, ethics, biblical principles like honor your vow, stand up for what is right even when no one else is, endure through trials with honor, fight the good fight, be willing to die for your faith.
TBB: What book are you reading now?
RAD: I am reading about four books right now: On Writing by Stephen King; The Order of the Phoenix, by JK Rowling; Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation by Deneen Borelli; and I have about one chapter left of The Hunger Games. All these in addition to the Bible daily and a devotional daily. Whew. I am tired.
TBB: I love to ask writers this one. What book(s) do you wish you’d written? Why?
RAD: Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Lee DeMoss because I bought into those lies she writes about when I was younger. I wish I had written this book! It’s a great book and has helped many women come to the knowledge of the truth.
I’d like for my non-fiction books for women to do this someday.
TBB: When I write, I tend to see it in my head, often beforehand, as a movie. It’s either that I’m a visual thinker, or I have a brain tumor. When you write, how does the story unfold for you?
RAD: I am the same way! I think it’s because I am a child of the 70’s and was raised by the television. I saw Star Wars 26 times in the summer of 1977. So, now I see my stories as movies inside my head. I have often been told that The Dragon Forest reads like a movie plays out on the screen.
TBB: What’s the last book you read that made you want to start reading more books?
RAD: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. She is an amazing writer of history! Her book made me want to read more books on WWII, my favorite historical period.
TBB: When did you first consider yourself a writer? What inspired you to start writing?
RAD: I suppose when my first book came out and people told me they enjoyed it. I think that’s when I first started considering myself a writer. I have a long way to go, still, and look forward to learning more about the craft.
I was inspired to write by my love of art. I thought I could combine my writing with my art in a children’s picture book. My son inspired me to change it to a chapter book. That idea is what got me going and 20 years later, I held the published book in my hand!
TBB: Do you call yourself an artist when you are around non-artists? How about when you are alone?
RAD: I am known as an artist because I paint and draw. It took me decades before I considered myself to be an “artist” in every sense of the word. But now I have no issue with the title because I’ve earned it.
I feel I still have to earn the title of “writer” but I am on my way!
TBB: There are almost infinite definitions of success as a writer, or just as a person. What’s your definition of success?
RAD: Completion. It took me 20 years to complete my Bachelor of Arts degree. I never felt successful until I completed it. It took me 20 years to see my first book published. Completing my first book was success to me even if it never sold one copy. To me, completion means success.
TBB: What would be your stretch writing project, if you found the time and the nerve?
To write a WWII history book!
Ruth, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and be with us today.
For those wanting to learn more about Ruth and her work, you can reach her via the links below:
The Dragon Forest is available now on Amazon:
“Ten-year-old Peter might be the Prince of the kingdom of Illiath, but he feels pretty useless. His father is too busy running the kingdom to have time for his son, and his mother is dead. Now the forces of the evil Lord Caragon threaten war, and only one weapon can save the kingdom: the powerful scales of a dragon.
Illiath lies at the edge of a mysterious forest ruled by a fierce Dragon the King has sworn to protect. But what if Peter can best the dragon and bring back the scales? As Peter and his horse, Titan, plunge into the trees, he has no idea of the surprises awaiting him…..”