Our chat with Ruth…
It was when I read Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights that inspired me to want to write a full novel. I want to write a book as dark, passionate, layered and complex. I’m working on it!
Agent 3. I was so excited. Agent 3 was a proper agent, living in London, had been in the business a long time, with crime as her main interest. She loved Jiddy Vardy, we met, talked about lots of things and struck a connection. I signed that day. Sunshine and hope in the air! She sent Jiddy to her contacts. Unfortunately, months went by and no-one took Jiddy. She decided to concentrate on her current authors saying that it was too hard with new authors in the current literary climate. I hit rock bottom. I didn’t write for at least a month or so. Then a new publisher in Manchester approached me. I knew the owner from writing circles in the city. She had faith in my writing. She worked with me editing Jiddy Vardy which I re-wrote as a Young Adult novel. It was copy edited. Then it was proof edited. It is published by ZunTold.
What I’ve learned and would pass on, is decide what you want. I thought I wanted an Agent, I still do, but I’ll be very careful now. What I really wanted was an editor I trusted. I have found that. Sunshine and hope.
To those looking for an agent, don’t take it that they are legitimate just because they are in a well-established writing book. The rules may have changed since I found agents in those books, so apologies if that is the case. But back then, these agents slipped through the net. Most importantly, I’ve learned the importance of editors. I would say are the key. And one day, I’ll maybe dip my toes in the Agency water again but for now, the right publisher with the right team seems more important and I have found that.
This has been the most memorable comment about my writing because it struck such a chord. My Mum made practically the same comment about my first novel. Meeting Coty. I take it means about the way it was written and the way I look at the world. That means a great deal. To have written a book unlike anything someone has read before inspires to go on.
Re-reading the story as an adult though, I was surprised what message was hidden in there that I hadn’t realised. ‘There is nothing so nice as a home!’ A road is going to be built right through Bluebell Wood and the birds, animals, elves and fairies have to evacuate. No-one wants to, but they have to leave as tractors and diggers are brought in. All these lovely little homes have to be cleared. Pookie finds a gloomy wood that they will have to set up homes in. Of course, the animals hatch a plan and all is well in the end, but it struck me how important this is. How people can be moved from their homes without a thought or consultation. I still love the illustrations and I love the story even more than I did then. I really do believe children’s books are for adults as well.
I suppose where I have to juggle it is with my part-time job. Many parts of the job overlap with what I have to do with marketing and connecting with people as an author, so it’s juggling doing the two and giving both a fair chance. As my job is working for a reading and writing award for young people, and it is set in The Portico Library in Manchester, it feels that writing is part of this job too, so I’m lucky, I can stay connected to the world of books every day.