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We Are Young - Fun

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Please help me welcome Ruth Hartman into the moonlight today. Ruth is the author of My Life In Mental Chains and her newest release is an anthology, Must Love Cats. To learn more about Ruth, follow her at her blog:


GRACEN: Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions like watching a Lifetime Channel movie marathon, spending the day with your significant other, writing, etc.? Do you have a favorite movie that you love to watch or a book you like to read on Valentine’s Day? Is there any movie or book that you’ve saved for this time of year? If so, what’s the title?

RUTH: My husband and I always go out for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day. He’s very romantic. I also usually get flowers and a stuffed animal (which I love!).

GRACEN: Many of us feel that Valentine’s Day is just one more day that has been overly commercialized and isn’t something that should only be celebrated once a year, but at least once a day. What was the most romantic gift you’ve ever received, when did you receive it and who was it from?

RUTH: I received my engagement ring on Christmas Eve, 1981. I was 18 years old. I can’t imagine a more romantic gift, ever!

GRACEN: Since this is the time of year when many people (teens included) feel the need to find a significant other, what suggestion(s) do you have for our readers as to what trait(s) should be added to their list?

RUTH: I’m blessed that my husband is also my best friend. Romance is wonderful! But you also need someone you can talk to, and do the everyday things with, as well.

GRACEN: There are many relationship superstitions out there such as, “rain on your wedding day is bad luck,” are you superstitious when it comes to love or relationships? Why or why not? If so, what superstitions do you believe have merit?

RUTH: No. I’m not superstitious about that. If you’ve found the right person, that’s all that matters.

GRACEN: Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in the power of love? If so, do you think that love can exist beyond this life and carry over into the next or has the power to keep a soul attached to the mortal coil never to cross over? Do you believe that ghosts have the ability to effect humans in a sexual manner?

RUTH: I believe there are spirits. I know for a fact the Holy Spirit is real! And the power of true love is very strong. I’ve heard of a person dying, and their mate died shortly after. They were so much in love, they couldn’t stand being apart, and the person left behind died of a broken heart. Once they passed on, they were together in heaven.

GRACEN: Please tell us, if you have any, 3 funny, strange or silly things that happened to you, or someone you know, on past Valentine’s Days. Any rendezvous fiascos that you now find humorous to tell? Have they ever been inspiration for some hi-jinks in your stories? Which ones? (Sharing may help others not feel so bad if it happened to them, as the saying goes, “misery loves company”)

RUTH: The only one I can think of, is when my husband and I hadn’t been married very long, he went to all the trouble of buying shrimp and all the ingredients for a whole romantic meal he wanted to cook for me. When I got home that day, I tried to unlock our front door, but it wouldn’t budge. This was before cell phones, so I had no way to call my husband to warn him before he got home. I walked over to our neighbor’s house. The older gentleman who lived there was kind enough to get the door open for me, and even offered to put a brand new lock on the door. When my husband got home from the grocery to make the romantic meal, he was shocked to see our neighbor bent over our door lock. It took our neighbor quite a bit of time to fix the lock, and we were very grateful. Needless to say, the evening wasn’t very romantic! I’ve never used that in a book, but I think I should!

GRACEN: For years, romance readers have experienced flack from non-romance readers saying or implying, “that’s just porn for women.” What can you say that might help non-romance readers understand the current essence of the romance genre?

RUTH: Romance writing isn’t all fluff. If a non-romance reader would take the time to look, a really good romance has all of the usual elements of any other story: interesting characters, plot, pacing, excitement, an element of surprise or mystery. The element of romance is just a wonderful bonus.

GRACEN: Now, let’s get to your writing, Ruth…What genre is your work considered to be? Why this genre? What was the draw for you?

RUTH: Mine is contemporary, sweet. And my latest, due out this year, is also fantasy. I write in this genre because it’s what I love to read. When I’m picking out a book off a bookstore shelf, it’s what I migrate toward. I find writing contemporary romance to be second nature. I’ve never been one for a lot of research, for example, historical fiction. But I deeply admire writer’s of that genre, and enjoy reading them, too.

GRACEN: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please be creative and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

RUTH: Goofy, klutzy, real heroines that make tears of laughter roll down your cheeks.

GRACEN: Do you prefer romantic gifts (flowers, chocolate, jewelry, etc.) or romantic acts (massages, dinners, fun night out, etc.)? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

RUTH: I like getting gifts. I mean, who doesn’t? And the female characters in my books like them too. But I also just like holding hands with my husband, or when he hugs or kisses me. That too, shows through in my writing.

GRACEN: What school of thought are you when it comes to romance, love at first sight or that love takes time? Does this show through in your writing? If so, how?

RUTH: Love at first sight. Because that’s what happened with my husband. And yes, it does show in my writing. All of the couples in my stories are immediately drawn to each other, even if they can’t admit it at first.

GRACEN: When reading stories, many of us find secondary characters to be as interesting as or more interesting than the main characters. Are there any secondary characters that you plan on giving their own story? Or any that readers have requested have their own story? Are any of them your favorites? Why?

RUTH: I’ve never given thought to writing stories for my secondary characters, but that being said, it’s an intriguing idea. Some of my favorite series that I read are based on that concept. I may just have to try it!

GRACEN: Of all of your heroes, who would you say is the most romantic and why?

RUTH: I’d say, Graham, in “Pillow Talk” (due out June 2010). He works so hard to figure out why Trixie won’t go out with him again. He’s determined to make her see that they belong together, no matter what. To me, there’s nothing more romantic.

GRACEN: Of all of your heroes, who would you say is the least romantic and why?

RUTH: I think all of my heroes, Max in “Purr” from the anthology, “Must Love Cats,” Bruce from “Flossophy of Grace” (due out March, 2011) and Graham from “Pillow Talk”(due out June, 2010) are romantic, probably because they’re all somewhat based on my husband.

BLURB of PURR in the anthology MUST LOVE CATS:

Max's son must work at Roxy's cat shelter to complete his community service. Can they help Derek overcome his fear of cats and explore their growing feelings for each other?


“Now just what have you guys been up to since I left? Hmmm?” No one answered. Seventy-two eyes stared at her from half that many faces. Furry faces. And the eyes that stared at her were of the feline variety. “Have you all got each other’s tongues?”

Roxy never liked being the center of, well, anything. That’s probably why she chose running a no-kill cat shelter. No one expected you to be dressed up, or wear makeup, or comb your hair. She did actually do the third one, and occasionally the second. Never the first. She was a jeans and Henley-shirt kind of girl.

Another reason for her career choice? The woman was absolutely, one hundred percent cat-crazy. There was no denying it. She had been in love with cats since she was in the womb. Her mother, who was also a cat-person, would hold one of the fluffy creatures against her stomach when Roxy was on the way. The womb-enveloped baby would smack, poke and shuffle. Anything to get closer to that amazing motor-like purr she later discovered was a cat’s expression of delight.

Her job was her life. Period. There was no husband, boyfriend, or male anything else. Except of course, about half of her cat population. That’s not how she wanted it. That’s just how it was.

“You’re here early, Roxy.”

She looked up to see her assistant, Teresa Lynn. “Hey, yeah I decided to get an early start on those adoption forms today. Never can have too many willing pet-parents, now can we?”

Teresa Lynn smiled. “Exactly.”

The two women went about their morning duties. Teresa Lynn checked through their huge stack of mail, hoping to find an elusive donation.

“Found one!” she waved the envelope at her boss.

“Great!” said Roxy. “See if there’s any more. We’re coming up short on the mortgage this month. Not that it hasn’t happened before.”

“I’ll keep looking.” Teresa Lynn continued to flip through the stack. “Sorry. Just the one.”

“Rats,” Roxy muttered as she made her way down the narrow corridor between the cages of stray cats. She then turned her full attention to her charges. “Who’s hungry? Anybody? Raise your left paw if you want some breakfast.” Every fur-bearing creature in the place began to pace and howl. Roxy quickly filled bowls with cheap dry cat food (the only kind they could afford). One by one, cats purred and pranced, eager for his or her turn to gobble their rations.

Along with breakfast, each cat received a quick chin-scratch. Later on, they’d be let out of their pens in stages to frolic and mingle. At that time, Roxy and Teresa Lynn could give them more individualized petting and attention. During the kitty “happy hour”, the purr level usually reached the three hundred-decibel level.

“There now, doesn’t that feel better?” Oliver, the orange tabby, practically smiled as Roxy quickly brushed his long, tangled fur. “You just need a haircut, don’t you, my little man?”

Teresa Lynn giggled as she watched them. “You talk to them as if they were human.”

“Well, they think they’re people, so I guess I see them that way, too.” She smiled sheepishly.

Both women looked toward the front door as someone rattled the doorknob, trying to get in. Roxy stood up and put Oliver back in his cage. She walked to the door to peer through the glass. “We don’t open for another two hours. Sorry.”

The boy standing outside the door was frowning. His navy, hooded sweatshirt was too large for his skinny frame, and he needed a haircut, badly. Roxy waited for him to leave, but he stayed planted right where he stood.
She made a second attempt to dissuade her frumpy visitor. “Um, sorry, but we’re closed. Can you some back at 10:00?”

The boy simply stared through the glass at her. As she looked closer, she realized he was crying.

“I can’t stand it,” she muttered. “Why is this kid standing out there using the waterworks?” She unlocked the door and opened it for her unwelcome guest.

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3 Moonbeams (comments):

Ruth J. Hartman said...

Thanks, Gracen, for hosting me today :)


Sheila Deeth said...

Cool! I enjoyed the interview, and the read. Thanks.

Ruth J. Hartman said...

Thanks, Sheila :)