Today the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour continues and makes a stop in Florida, where we sit down and chat with Ruth Davis Hays author of the new and upcoming book, THE EXCURSION.
I could lay out the synopsis of the entire series, describe each character, or I could sum it up in one word: redemption. The stories are fantasy adventures about three mismatched companions who struggle against dangers, aggressors, and each other. It all begins when a snarky thief gets entangled with a young woman and her lover. The woman is a spell-user seeking greater mysteries to enhance her art. What starts out as a typical quest for a gemstone propels the characters through wars, horrible secrets, and into the hands of death, as they create allegiances to save their home-world.
But, ultimately, the stories are about each of these characters getting to know themselves and how they relate to their worlds. I say worlds because they travel from one planet to another in some of the books.
2. Where does your story take place?
My current series takes place in a planetary system of three worlds. The main setting is Jorthus, the largest of these planets. It is ecologically similar to Earth, but there is a powerful spiritual energy that flows through all things. Most of the inhabitants refer to this malleable energy as the Majiks. There are several fairytale races (such as elf, dwarf, and ogre) with variations on other familiar ones.
3. Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?
Both. I gravitated towards many English composition and creative writing classes in college, even though my major was theatre.
4. Do you have a ritual when you write? (Special time of day, music etc.)
Not really. I write when I have a moment alone, or when the words pound in my head so incessantly that I have to write them down. Otherwise, I may forget them.
5. Do you write in multiple genres?
I do have some “in progress” stories of various genres, though there are fantastical elements in most. There was a vampire story with which I was obsessed in college, but it fell to the side when Jorthus bloomed into being.
6. Do your family and friends read your work?
Yes. I wrote most of the Jorthus stories for my best friend. She lives out of state, so I would send her bits and pieces in email until she finally said, “Just write in all down in order.” Low and behold, it made not one book, but several!
7. Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
Oh, yes. Sometimes the only cure for me is to do something completely different. I put myself in a situation where I can’t easily write down anything that may come to mind, and (Murphy’s Law) that’s when ideas just start popping. I will take a walk, try taking a nap, or just do the dishes.
8. Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?
My best friend, who I mentioned before, is an artist, and she shared her vision of the characters and settings by creating illustrations, cover art, and poster art for me. We collaborate well. My husband helps with plot points and we bounce character development ideas back and forth, as well. My sister helps with editing, but when it comes down to writing and organizing it all, I do it.
9. Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?
I write from the heart, most assuredly. I gave up my vampire story because of trends in movies and books, actually. They just seemed to be everywhere, so I lost interest in my own creation.
10. Who is your favorite author of all time?
That is a hard one. I love so many different ones. I adore the humor of Douglas Adams, and the detail of Stephen King, but I suppose I would have to say it all started with Shakespeare because of my grandfather. He would quote the Bard endlessly and I always associate him with the plays and sonnets.
11. What’s best: Pen and paper, or laptop?
If you want to be able to save your work beyond a shadow, then I would say pen and paper. At times I would have been lost without my notes scribbled in notebooks all around the house. Flash drives are essentials as well!
12. If your house was on fire, what would you save: your computer, or your book collection?
My flash drives, haha! I don’t save on my laptop anymore and I can replace my books.
13. What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?
I don’t do anything too outlandish for most of it. Researching word origins is fun, but as far as ‘strange’ goes… I would have to say talking extensively to some people about BDSM might be considered out of the ordinary.
14. Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?
I would say Yes and No. Sometimes the words flow and, at other times, it is like trying to pluck splinters with mittens on. It is not for everyone. But, if you feel that you cannot express yourself any other way, then it is worth the struggle, the pain, and the uncertainty.
15. What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?
A career? That there is no guarantee. Just because the words are written, doesn’t mean that someone else will take a chance on them. Big publishers are in the business of making money. It is not a path to immediate riches for everyone who puts pen to paper, but sometimes it can seem worth the wait.
Ruth D. Hays is a native Floridian, a graduate from FSU School of Theatre, a wife and mother. She has created costumes for and worked on several independent films, and enjoys drawing faerie art in her spare time. She published her first novel, THE DAWNSTONE TALE, in 2009, followed by the second in the series, THE CONVERGENCE, in 2010. She currently has a short story and recipe in the Second Wind Publishing anthology, SECOND HELPINGS, and will have a fantasy love tale included in an upcoming anthology by Triscelle Publishing. The third book in her fantasy adventure series The Translations from Jorthus, THE EXCURSION, will be available from Amazon soon.