(Or youse, for Ruthy!)
I am sitting here grinning from ear to ear because I GET TO CHAT WITH RUTH LOGAN HERNE on the blog today!! Ruthy is absolutely a delight to know via social media (I’m sure she’s even more delightful in person), and I really do consider it an honor that she’s taking time out of her busy schedule to hang out with me in cyberspace today.
Ruth Logan Herne has more than half a million books in print, including fifteen “Love Inspired” contemporary novels, a western romance series with Multnomah Books, and two additional contemporary novels with Franciscan Media. Ruth is a founding member of Seekerville, a popular writing collective blog. A country girl who loves the big city, Ruth and her husband live on a farm in upstate New York.
Let’s proceed with our “fast four”…
Ruth: Apples! I live in “Apple Country” we have a big (huge!) apple festival every October and this land along Lake Ontario has long been known to be great orcharding country for apples, so it just would be WRONG of me to vote otherwise! And I love to eat apples!!!! My favorites are Crispins and Galas and Honey Crisp, but honestly, I don’t think there’s a better apple than the Crispin (which was originally the Mutsu apple, from Japan, I believe…) I do a lot of cooking and baking, and apples are right up there in demand. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple cake… SO GOOD!!!!
Carrie: Honey Crisp!!! I’m drooling!! Gonna have to check out these Crispins of which you speak…
Ruth: Is this a real question? Would any chocoholic even think twice here??? I love M&M’s!!! My friend Jeff (the hero in “The Lawmans’ Second Chance” as Alexander Steele) was in the M&M factory two years ago and brought me a bag of M&M peanuts FRESH OFF THE ASSEMBLY LINE…. Oh Mylanta, talk about amazing!!!!!
Carrie: Still drooling….
Ruth: Dogs. I love dogs. I love dogs. I love dogs. Now I’ve got farm cats, and I like my cats, but they’re such creatures of their own resolve…. And they’re here to do a job, to help rid us of mice, rats, snakes and other vermin, right? A cat is a huge necessity on a farm. But the dogs LOVE ME COMPLETELY. I mean they do not even think twice about loving me, they just LOVE ME. The cats tend toward disdainful…
Not the dogs. They’re my buds!
Carrie: Zuzu has authorized me to tell you that she loves your answer and you may proceed with the interview. Oh… and that she would totally be your bud too 😉
Ruth: Pepsi. First, it tastes better, and that’s reason enough, but secondly, Coke is owned in large part by Warren Buffet’s group and I don’t agree with a lot of their politics so when I know they own a major part of the product, I don’t buy that product. So yes, I HAVE POLITICIZED SODA!!!! 🙂
Carrie: <hides my diet coke> 😉
And now for the somewhat more meaningful portion of our interview…
First, I have to ask about The Mighty Finn, your adorable grandson. He entertains me (and countless others) on Facebook every day! I have heard whisperings of an upcoming series of books for kids based on his imaginative adventures. How did Finn get his nickname, and is there any truth to the whispers?
Ruth: Well, The Mighty Finn certainly walks to the beat of his own individual drummer, doesn’t he? He’s got that little old man personality in a tiny fellow, and his Uncle Zach was a lot like that as a child, so we get a kick out of it…. and the rumors are true! Just last week we released the first three “Adventures of The Mighty Finn” books for Kindle on Amazon! They’re “read-to-me” stories about Finn, his adventures, the kingdom and how amazingly wonderful life is through two-year-old eyes! Folks can go to Finn’s new website http://www.themightyfinn.blogspot.com/ or straight to Amazon! I am so delighted to be part of this endeavor with my daughter Beth (Finn’s mom) and you guys know I love exploiting little kids and small animals (in the nicest way!) to sell sweet books!
Carrie: I am so glad these are reality now!! 😀
We all know that you’re a talented author, an incredibly gifted storyteller, but what secret talents do you have?
Ruth: Well, that’s a really awful question because obviously I talk too much to have ANY SECRETS, much to my family’s chagrin. But let’s go with cake decorating… I’ve made my kids’ wedding cakes and used to be a professional cake decorator at home, and then at the local international grocery store Tops Markets… So I can make some pretty mean desserts, and love to bake, but I’ve been known to put together 4 and 5 tier cakes with flowing fountains in the middle. Mostly because I wanted to SHOW OFF!!!! Anything to take attention off the bride, right? 🙂
Carrie: Drooling again….
When did you develop a love for reading/writing/storytelling?
Honestly, that’s more truth than exaggeration because the love of storytelling was born in me. It was passed down from my mother, but then a few years ago I found out that I’m a cousin to Glendon Swarthout (the spelling varies from sibling to sibling, but my grandmother was Myrtle Swarthout and someplace along the way, Glendon (The Shootist and many other westerns) are related, but I haven’t had time to play on Ancestry.com to figure this out. Mostly because I’m too busy writing! 🙂 I love telling stories, for big people…. And little folks, too!
Carrie: I started to say that I would do all the figuring on Ancestry for you so you could keep writing … but I’m too busy reading 😉 Still, that’s all kinds of cool!
It seems that there are as many different approaches to writing as there are authors. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Ruth: Driven, love, enjoyable, linear and grateful. I’ve waited all my life to do this, seriously, ALL MY LIFE!!!! So to have the chance to do it now is YAYUH!!!!! I don’t have to make myself sit down and write, writing is my reward, my candy, my incentive. I love what I’m doing. And I hope it shows!
Carrie: It does! It does! 😀
You just released your latest novel, More Than a Promise, published by Franciscan Media. A marriage-of-convenience story is one of my very favorite “tropes”, and this one has three rambunctious boys as well to make it even more delightful! How do you come up with your plot ideas, particularly this one?
Ruth: This book idea began when I was standing in the church choir area and about halfway through the second reading, just shy of the Gospel, in walks a harried young father with three little boys who looked like they wanted to be ANYWHERE BUT IN CHURCH, LOL! So I started thinking “Where’s Mom? What if????” (while listening to the Gospel and prayers, of course!!!)
Anyway, that’s where it began, and then I wanted to give it a “Sarah, Plain and Tall” mix, so that I could do a Ruthy-style rewrite of that beautiful story by Patricia Maclachlan… So the heroine “Elle” is my version of Sarah, and I love how the story evolved. Franciscan Media has done such a beautiful and heart-wrenching job of presenting my work. I can only hope it does them justice and makes them some money!!! Which means we simply must run out and buy these books.
Carrie: You had me at a Ruthy-style rewrite of Sarah, Plain and Tall 🙂 Readers, stay tuned later today for my review of this absolutely fantastic book!
I love reading your books for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that your romance novels are always about so much more than just the romance. You weave your faith throughout your stories in a very natural way. What theme or message do you hope that readers will take away from More Than a Promise?
Ruth: Carrie, that ranks as “Best Compliment Ever” status!!!
I think the take-away for “More Than a Promise” is that we have to recognize the second chances put before us, hope for them, pray for them, even when we’re in stuck in the ooze of bad choices, failed relationships, betrayal, mistrust… because God made us strong! He made us invincible, with no need for a superhero because we have him! And our strength often goes underreported.
I loved Matt’s faith walk in “More Than a Promise” because he was never a bad person, just totally worldly and focused on trying to do what he could, but unwilling to commit to anything with those boys. And he made that pre-marital promise to the priest and his future wife, never intending on having to live up to it because he knew she’d do it for him, and I know so many couples who work faith that way, like it’s mom’s job.
It took a woman’s vision to show Matt what he missed, and it’s a great reminder that kids deserve two parents whenever possible… but if that is impossible, it’s clutch for the remaining parent to open their vision to see from both sides of the parenting aisle… Which is tricky, isn’t it?
Carrie: Oh I love that – “no need for a superhero because we have him!” And – equally – “our strength often goes underreported.” Ruthy, thank you so very very much for taking time to answer my quirky questions 🙂 I know y’all over at Seekerville have a historical novella collection coming out in April called Spring Into Love. What will your novella in the collection be about?
Ruth: I’m so glad you asked about “Spring Into Love”!!! My novella is “Second Chance at Love” and it’s the third story set in my fictional 1880’s town of Second Chance, South Dakota. We saw Macy’s story in “With This Spark”, and then Nellie’s story in our “Home for Christmas” collection. In “Spring Into Love” we meet Ann, a woman who lost her husband and two children in a tragic boating accident while she was away, and she’s having a wretched time trying to move beyond her anger and her grief, but when expert seamstress and matchmaker Hattie McGillicuddy sprains her ankle, her friend sends Ann out west to help. When that amazingly cute Solomon Eichas needs help with his two kids who’ve just arrived on the prairie, Ann happens to be available. Not willing, mind you… but available. This is the third installment in my “Sewing Sisters Society” group of novellas, and I’ve got a few more fun stories up my sleeve for Second Chance, South Dakota! The collection is releasing on or around April 15th…!
Carrie: What a great pick-me-up for tax day! 😀
Ruthy is by far one of my favorite people, and I’m just supremely honored to have had her join me today. Isn’t she fun?!? Speaking of Ruthy (warning: shameless plug approaches) – she is going to be one of the speakers at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat that I am cohosting on August 24th in Nashville. Join me, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, Mary Connealy, Laura Frantz, and my co-hosts Annie JC and Bonnie Roof for this superfun day. In addition to the speakers, we’ll have some praise & worship sessions, author panels (I’m moderating one on Kissing, so y’all really must attend!), speed chats, book signings, and SWAG! Early bird registration starts April 4th – http://christianfictionreadersretreat.blogspot.com/
In addition to being a superfun person, Ruth Logan Herne has also graciously offered to give a signed copy of More Than a Promise to one lucky reader! (US mailing addresses only please)
Widower Matt Wilmot is an excavator by trade, but with his three rambunctious young sons making trouble all over town, he may not have what it takes to dig them out on his own.
The boys’ antics have earned them a riotous reputation in their small town of Cedar Mills. When Matt’s former mother-in-law, a powerful lawyer and judge, threatens to sue for custody, Matt’s sure she means it.
Enter Matt’s new neighbor, Elle Drake. She’s made a successful career for herself as an artist and potter, but after a disastrously public break-up with her millionaire ex-husband, she’s back in Cedar Mills to lick her wounds and set her roughed-up self-image to rights.
After Matt’s oldest son causes damage in Elle’s yard, her common-sense approach forces the boy to take responsibility for his actions—and gives Matt the wake-up call he desperately needs.
Initially adversarial, attraction grows between Matt and Elle as they get to know one another. Matt appreciates Elle’s effect on his sons, and when he gets cornered into having a Sunday breakfast with Elle and the boys, he has fun for the first time in…well, he can’t remember when. Everything changes when Elle hears the boys’ grandmother berating Matt in public and threatening to take the boys. She defuses the situation by pretending to be Matt’s fiancée and the boys’ future stepmother. When Matt decides it’s a brilliant plan and kisses her to seal the deal, Elle knows he’s crazy. But he’s also sweet, funny, engaging, sexy and strong, which isn’t exactly a bad thing!
The newest Christian romance by Ruth Logan Hearne combines heart and humor with a dose of small-town reality.