Friday, October 3, 2008

Author of the Week: Ruth Carmichael Ellinger

Welcome to Grit for the Oyster,Ruth!

Can you give us a little bit of information about your publishing history?

I have written for many years now, mainly for Christian ministry, short articles and stories for secular magazines as well. I have always had it in my heart to finish my writing endeavors with my paternal grandmother’s life story. I wove this colorful tale into an inspirational novel published by Ambassador International.

When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

I began the search for a publisher for my historical fiction in 2003, halfway through the manuscript.

What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

The rejections letters are always a challenge to self worth as a writer, but along the way, you learn how to deal with this aspect of the writing journey. If a prospective publisher gives me advice about my manuscript, I try to learn from it and improve my writing.

What has been the best part about being published?

The best part of having a book on the shelf is knowing the message of love and hope that Jesus wanted published is indeed available for anyone to read. I have been blessed many times over by readers telling how my book inspired them to have faith in God, to believe again.

Will you share with us how you come up with ideas for your books?

I began the “Wildrose Series” with my grandmother’s life story and went from there. There is so much wonderful history. It could fill many books. I don’t think I will ever run out of material or ideas.

Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

I have a general idea in my mind and I make a mental outline which occupies my muse for several months, then I create a hard copy outline and character sketch which I adjust as the story leads me on some unexpected adventures.

What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your book?

I want my readers to have faith in God, to believe that no matter what circumstance life may hand them, that He is still there, ready to help, even when we don’t understand His ways.

What are your dreams for your writing?

I want the message of my books to live on, even after I am gone. I want my posterity to know that long ago, someone in their family tree loved and honored God, loved freedom, and loved their family.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given/learned in your life as a writer?

That my works and my life, all that I do, including my writing, are in the hands of God.

What do you wish you had known when you first started out as a writer for publication?

I wish I could have joined a writer’s group when I first started writing in 1975. It is vital to our writing endeavors to be involved in the writing community. I wish I had attended more conferences and workshops.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

There are always bumps in the road and many things to divert us from reaching our publishing goals. Distractions have been the biggest hindrance for me. Writing takes time and concentrated effort. That has been a rare commodity when you are raising a family and have other responsibilities.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Book 1, The Wild Rose of Lancaster, took about two year with no publisher in sight. Book 2, Wild Rose of Promise was written under contract and a publisher deadline in view. It took about six months. I estimate book 3 will be about one year with no definite deadline other than it must be finished in ‘o9.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I have not used an agent, but I have pondered the idea and even queried an agent. Since I am writing for a publisher now, I don’t think it is necessary fro me, but it might be helpful for some writers who have no publisher. Maybe I’m getting lazy. I don’t want to deal with demands from agents or even my publisher!

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A good publicist.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

It is vital for the author to be involved in promoting their book. When the author stops selling, so does the book. Promotion is not my favorite thing to do, but I feel a responsibility to my publisher to spend at least six moths of steady promotion after the book release. The physical setting for my book has opened many opportunities for book venues and speaking events. I chose a real town in an area steeped in colorful local history. I do a variety of book events which I plan myself and author signings in the stores which my publisher supplies. I also have a web site and newsletter and lead a writing critique group. I always have more invitations for book events than I can comfortably handle.

Where can readers find a copy of your book?

Any Christian bookseller can order my books if they are not on the shelf. Most online vendors have my books posted for sale. In Ohio, many of the unique and privately owned stores also carry my books. You can order from my web site and my publisher’s site as well. Just “Google” me up and see where you find me!

Thank you very much, Ruth, for stopping by our blog. We wish you great success!

Thank you for having me!