In honour of the RNA’s 60th Anniversary we’re interviewing some of the many volunteers who work hard behind the scenes to keep the organisation, website and blog running smoothly. Today, Ruby Moone, a member of the blog team, is in the Hot Seat.
Welcome to the blog, Ruby. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what your role entails?
I’ve been a member of the RNA for about five years, and I write gay romance. When the RNA Rainbow Chapter was set up, I was really delighted to join. Originally, I offered to be involved in coordinating some pieces for the RNA blog featuring diverse authors and stories for the Chapter, along with Eleanor Harkstead, but at the time the person who was running the blog felt it was time for them to step down. Eleanor and I offered to take on the coordination of all the blog posts under the guidance of Karen King, and the rest, as they say, is history! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing this and now Catherine Lawless has joined us as Eleanor stepped back and we have some fantastic interviews lined up for this year. I’ve met, in a virtual sense, some amazing authors and I’ve been able to share a little in the fabulous stories. The blog is a great place to catch up on the latest releases and to find out what authors are up to, but there are also some amazing industry interviews that are really helpful.
It’s good to have you as part of the blog team, Ruby. 🙂 Your new novel, People Like Us, was released on 21 July. What was the inspiration behind your book? Can you tell us a little about it?
People Like Us is the second book in the Winsford Green series. One of the main characters, Arthur Fitch, appears very briefly in that book. Arthur was valet to a particularly unpleasant aristocrat and his appearance was largely to demonstrate how unpleasant the man was. However, in that very strange way that minor characters sometimes have, Arthur stayed with me, possibly because I love to write about ordinary characters as well as the aristocracy. They might not be as glamourous, but Arthur certainly had a story to tell. I imagined him having to flee into the night to escape his master, and the whole story flowed from that. Introducing a much younger, gorgeous blacksmith with a huge heart as counterpoint to the frosty, prickly Arthur Fitch was a joy! The story is quite raunchy in parts as Arthur has something of a kink when it comes to activities in the bed chamber that sets the young blacksmith alight. I wanted to create a small town feel and explore how two men in love might be able to find a way to share a life creating a found family around them, hidden in plain sight.
How long did the book take to write? How much re-writing do you do?
I’m a complete pantster when it comes to writing. I find if I plan the characters come along and do their own thing, rarely sticking to the plan! I start at the beginning of the story and write. I tell myself the story and get to know the characters as I go. It doesn’t take me long to do the first draft. I can usually get 60/70K written pretty quickly depending on the time I have to write as I still have a day job too. The time comes in the re-writing. The first draft is pretty rough, but I have my characters, the plot outline, and key twists. Then, I start at the beginning again and go through and refine it. I usually go through this process five or six times, smoothing it out and adding the layers. I then do the checks for all the filler words (don’t ask me how many times I said, just…) and then send it on to my editor.
What kind of research did you do before beginning the book?
I had great fun researching. I always do. I read a lot about the lives of ordinary people. The story is set in February 1815, before the Battle of Waterloo. However, the war with France doesn’t come into it at all. I found some really interesting books on small town life, blacksmiths, shops, coffee shops, clothes… it was fascinating. I set a lot of my books in this period, so I’ve already done a lot of research. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do try and make sure I get it right. Like all authors, I live in mortal fear of someone spotting an error!
When did you realise you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always told myself stories. From being really quite small, I loved to read and my favourite thing when I got to bed after reading a particularly good book was to re-tell the story to myself with me as the lead character and adding in the parts I thought the author had missed. I usually re-wrote the endings. As I got older, I did this with films, TV series, etc. and I think I just thought this was what people did. I sometimes wrote it down physically, but I never had much time and being an author never occurred to me. I think I was in my early twenties when I read an article in a magazine by a Mills and Boon author who said that she used to rewrite books and film in her head in exactly the same way that I did. It was like a lightbulb moment! I started writing, experimenting, playing about with stories and ideas and wrote a book that I submitted to Mills and Boon. It wasn’t accepted, but then family came along, and I didn’t really have much time to write. I still told myself the stories in my head though. About six years ago, I got pneumonia and was at home on my own for three weeks, feeling pretty sorry for myself, but I started writing again. I’ve never stopped.
What was your journey to publication?
I’d been writing traditional Regency romance for a while and had some great feedback from the New Writers’ Scheme. I was reading avidly, and I’d discovered a whole new genre of gay romance. I read authors like Elin Gregory, Charlie Cochrane, Clare London and many, many others and when I saw a call from USA publisher, JMS Books LLC, for shorter fiction, I threw caution to the wind and submitted a story. It was accepted, and I was over the moon! Since then, I’ve written about 11 stories for JMS and self-published four so technically, I’m now a hybrid author.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice, what would it be?
Never give up!
Great advice, Ruby! Congratulations on the publication of your new novel.
Universal Link – http://mybook.to/PeopleLikeUs
Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming, she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.