(I’m so jealous.) Popular author Jan Ruth from North Wales is up at my country manor today. Jump in and join us (there’s a free book involved). Jan writes romance without the fluff - she likes grit and drama in her stories!
Take it away, Jan:
Are there cowboys or country manors in any of your stories?
No. But wait… (ah ha!) I love a guy who knows what to do around horses and this leads me very nicely into talking about Midnight Sky. We don’t come across many cowboys here in the Welsh hills, but we do have plenty of horses and my
character is a hunky horse-whisperer/ trainer, so if you like the cowboy connection then it may appeal. It just has more rain and mud. Is it sexier than sun and sand? You’ll have to read it to find out!
See? All writers can find a way to discover a cowboy in their stories, even if they're only doing it to make me smile!
The country manor is something the UK is very well acquainted with. This has me in mind of Jilly Cooper, and my style has been a little linked to hers which is flattering. My fictional residences tend to be farmhouses, but I have the big rural
backgrounds in all my books, throw in some horse whisperers and country estate-agents and voila!
She’s got the lot!
Will you tell us about yourself and what genre(s) you love writing?
I live in North Wales, UK and it’s very rural, with a famous mountain called Snowdon not too far away. I am inspired by the landscape very much and it kick started my stalled writing career when we moved from Cheshire to Wales sixteen years ago. All my books are set in Snowdonia and they all feature the scenery to some extent, and usually dogs and horses too.
I write contemporary romance but it isn’t very flowers and fluff, it is quite dramatic with lots of black humour, family relationship problems and the odd spot of manslaughter and arson. Not your average visit to North Wales!
I'm from North Wales too - and I visited the wonderful, majestic Snowdon (Eryri in Welsh) many, many times. (I’m trying hard not to appear jealous - is it working?)
How can we harness the future if the past will not set us free? An emotive story of love, loss and letting go.
Opposites attract? Laura Brown, interior designer and James Morgan-Jones, horse whisperer - and Midnight Sky, a beautiful but damaged steeplechaser. Laura seems to have it all, glamorous job, charming boyfriend. Her sister, Maggie, struggles with money, difficult children and an unresponsive husband. She envies her sister’s life, but are things as idyllic as they seem?
She might be a farmer's daughter but Laura is doing her best to deny her roots, even deny her true feelings. Until she meets James, but James is very married, and very much in love, to a wife who died two years ago. They both have issues to face from their past, but will it bring them together, or push them apart?
Praise for Midnight Sky:
'...Jan has wound in realistic conflicts, a must for horse lovers too, plus some lovely romantic scenes...but, will it be a happy ending? Midnight Sky, takes you to the final pages before her story concludes and it isn't always how you might expect.'
I've read Midnight Sky - loved it!
What were/are the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your current story to life?
I write what I know best, and in a very basic form that boils down to relationships, horses and the area where I live, which sounds simplistic but this forms the foundation. I’m a strong believer in the old adage ‘write what you know’ and depth of knowledge has to come from experience to be authentic. I like to give my characters plenty of problems though, and this is usually where research comes in. I wanted a serious illness in White Horizon, something which affected a sufferer in a certain way and that took a lot of searching the net as well as speaking with a real life sufferer. Medical facts have to be absolutely correct.
I think it’s a responsibility to balance the story with real conclusion; what lessons do these characters learn from their actions? This is almost like playing God and the Devils advocate in the same breath, but vital for the genre I write. The
challenge is to achieve all of this without cliché.
Three couples in crisis. Multiple friendships under pressure.
On-off-on lovers Daniel and Tina return to their childhood town near Snowdonia. After twenty five years together, they
marry in typically chaotic fashion, witnessed by old friends Victoria and Linda who become entangled in the drama, their own lives changing beyond recognition.
But as all their marriages begin to splinter, and damaged Victoria begins an affair with Daniel, the secret illness that Tina has been hiding emerges. Victoria’s crazed and violent ex-husband attempts to kill Daniel and nearly succeeds, in a fire that devastates the community. On the eve of their first wedding anniversary, Tina returns to face her husband- but is it to say goodbye forever, or to stay?
What writing project did you put aside to answer these questions?
I am currently working on a novel called Silver Rain, and features… brace yourself… two main characters in their fifties!
I like to steer clear of the tried and tested.
What kind of research do you do for your stories?
Unless it’s very factual, I tend to rely on my own experience, imagination and instinct. The internet has to be most valuable tool to a writer. There is much information out there, no excuse to get hard facts wrong!
Will you name one entity you feel supports you outside of family members?
I’m not sure family members are always terribly supportive! I’d have to say my author groups on Facebook have been a tremendous source of help and information. Also, there are a number of local outlets such as tourist information places,
who are always happy to give my work some space, and this is the up-side of my novels being set in the local area.
Well, that's the long and the short of it from Jan Ruth - No, wait! A free book available 26th & 27th June:
The Long And The Short Of It by Jan Ruth
An emotive collection of stories and excerpts from the Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia.
Five short stories, followed by a full chapter from each of Jan’s three full length novels. Over thirty thousand words of humour, the complications of relationships and the poignancy of love.
Thank you, Jan Ruth, for reminding me of North Wales, Eryri and Welsh tea cakes! Take care of that beautiful country manor - and don't forget to add a touch of cowboy to some of your male heroes!
I've downloaded my free book. Off to read.
Here’s where you find and follow Jan Ruth after I wave her off at my country manor door:
Please feel free to leave a comment, we'd love to hear from you!
Jennie & Jan
"We may not have everything in life we want but at least we can have it all in a book." ~ Jennie Jones