Today I’m thrilled to welcome author and fellow Scribophile member, Ruth Lauren Steven, to Off the Page.
1. Tell a little about yourself, what you do when you’re not writing, what are your aspirations for the future?
Here’s the official bio: A former teacher with a degree in English, Ruth Lauren Steven now writes full-time. She lives in England with her husband and four children.
So now you’ve read those last two words, you know what I do when I’m not writing! When I do have time for other stuff, mostly I read YA, watch films and spend far too much time faffing around on the interwebz.
As for the future – a publishing contract. Many more publishing contracts, world domination, that sort of thing.
2. When and why did you start writing?
I started writing in April 2010, just after I picked up a book called Twilight (it’s possible you’ve heard of it?) that my son left lying around. I read it and thought ‘I’d love to do that. In fact I can do that!’ (I was especially deluded at the time).
It turns out that I was capable of producing one badly written, unformatted manuscript with cardboard characters, insta-love and terrible dialogue. Still, I had a finished draft in three months, and after joining an online critique group and learning a lot, I had a very well edited manuscript with cardboard characters, insta-love and slightly less terrible dialogue. I queried, but shelved the book after I started writing THE CRACKS IN EVERYTHING and saw how I could apply everything I’d learned to a much more unique story.
So I wouldn’t be writing this now if it wasn’t for Stephenie Meyer and Twilight. I never could resist a vampire.
3. If you could only read one book over and over again for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
ProbablyWuthering Heights. I was sixteen the first time I read it and it’s the only book that I’ve read and re-read and always love. The setting, the intense tragic hero, the wildness of it all, I love it.
4. What inspires your stories? Real life, movies, other books?
All of the above. And sometimes none of the above. My first attempt (which shall never see the light of day) was inspired by Twilight (though it wasn’t about vampires). My second novel – which my agent signed me on – was a reaction to that first attempt, a realisation of everything that was wrong with it and an attempt to deal with characterisation in a believable way. I can’t say that it turned out much like anything I’d been exposed to before.
I’m working on a YA sci-fi inspired partially by the film Blade Runner at the moment.
5. Do you listen to music while writing? Why?
Oh hell no! I find it far too distracting if it has lyrics. I did listen to the Blade Runner sound track while writing parts of my sci-fi WiP though. Mostly I have to screen out Dora the Explorer while I’m fitting in writing time.
6. If you could pick the perfect place to write, where would it be? In bed, on a tropical island, in the mountains?
I did a blog post about all the places I’d like to visit and could imagine myself writing in: http://ruthlaurensteven.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/tagged-part-2-hey-if-its-good-enough.html
But really, I’d love a cottage in the woods where I could write and walk and have a large fridge plentifully stocked with dry white wine.
7. Are you a Pantser or Plotter? Why?
I’m a reformed pantser, and I’ll never go back to it! THE CRACKS IN EVERYTHING wasn’t plotted originally and it’s already been through four re-writes to prove it. After plotting the sci-fi WiP and another YA contemporary that I’m working on, I’m fully converted. The new works will both need editing and re-writing, but I think they have a much better shape for me to work with thanks to plotting beforehand.
8. I know you have a work well on its way towards being published, are you working on any other projects at the moment?
I have my YA sci-fi, and the YA contemp – which is a boy POV romance set in Siberia and London. I also have a weird little story I call the Bomb Book on the go. There’s a startling amount of swearing in that one, and it’s in very early stages.
9. Do you have any tricks to your trade, bottomless coffee, a magic pen, a special muse?
I spend a lot of time staring into space and saying ‘What?’ when someone talks to me. Other than that, I don’t really have fixed times when I get to work, so rituals are out.
10. If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would it be and why?
Can I be Sherlock? I’d love to have a fierce intellect like that. Or – and ok, this is tv not a book, but still – Buffy. She kicks ass and kisses vampires. I love her.
Feel free to leave a message for Ruth below and keep your eye out for works by this fabulous author!