Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chocolate Cafe Chat with Ruth Logan Herne

She's known for her sassy personality on Seekerville and her poignant dialogue, story-line, and characters in her fiction. For me, Ruth Logan Herne has been an encourager and 'writing mama'.

Pull up a chair and join Ruthy for some cinnamon sprinkled hot cocoa and double fudge chocolate chip cookies.

So Ruthy, why do you love Anne from your newest Indie release, Running on Empty?

I love this character because she's run the gamut, trying desperately to put her life back together after being seduced by a teacher/coach at age thirteen. She doesn't see what the world sees, a predator. She sees a stupid, foolish girl who let her emotions get the best of her. Paying the price for her mistakes... year after year.... seems deserved and justified. But it's not, of course it isn't, children should never be preyed upon. It takes Anne nearly fifteen years to see that. To come forward and help protect others while trying to forgive herself. Life isn't always kind to children, but worse? Young people are prone to taking the blame for so many things out of their control. Anne recovers her faith, her hope and her self-respect in "Running on Empty". But will she ever be truly accepted in her hometown, an Americana-style village that loves its beloved coach? Or will she have to run again?

What makes the hero fall in love with her, Ruthy?

He'd loved her once and it nearly killed him. He can't dare love her again, it would be public emasculation. She'd walked out on him once, without a word.

But something about Anne pulls him, has always pulled him. Chief of police Joe McIntyre is a caretaker... and she needs someone to watch over her. But pride and self-preservation rein him in until he realizes he held the key to Anne's happiness all along. If only he'd been man enough to use it.

The book is amazing! It hits some hard issues, but is told in a real and beautiful way.

Quote for today:

“Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.” 
― C.S. Lewis


Walt Mussell said...

Ruthy, I still have this in my TBR pile. Will read soon.

Pepper said...

It's one of her BEST!

Anonymous said...

It's one of my favorites too once I got into it. I'm not a fan of long separation stories so was a little nervous reading one but I read all of Ruthy's stuff so not much choice LOL! I laughed at John..think that's the guy's name..the other woman's father when he got the news at the end :)

Anonymous said...

An excellent read, even for those of us shy of angst. Well done Ruth!!!

Anonymous said...

Yep I don't do angst too well but was snapping at anyone bugging me once I got into this one about(I don't recommend reading this one at work or if others are around to bug you or dog wants to be taken O-U-T cause around the middle or so you can't put it down. Cowrorker wasn't too happy but these things happen! Of course I filled her in because she isn't a reader..

My other faves are winters end, Yuletide hearts, and just read yesterday the one in the love finds you book about the Salvation Army bell ringer and the hunky cop with a soft heart :-) hard to remember titles since I do ebooks and the covers are so little. Winters end read where u can cry..think you'll be semi ok on the other 2 at least in comparison.


Susan Anne Mason said...

I agree, Pepper! This was such a good book! Ruthy handled a delicate subject with grace and class and heartfelt emotion.

I also loved "Try, Try Again"!

Highly recommend both titles!!


Audra Harders said...

Ruthy, I love how you showed another side of your wonderful writing wit. The story was so deep and emotional, I fought the fight right along with the characters.

Running On Empty and Try, Try Again. Two of my favorite reads : )

Pepper said...

Isn't it great how she brings those secondary characters to life so well too? Gifted writer!!

Pepper said...

Tina! You're shy of angst? I've read your books too...(raising a brow)

Pepper said...

Winter's End is one of my other favs of Ruthy's too. Great choices, Susanna.

Pepper said...

I have Try, Try Again on my TBR list. (and it's already downloaded onto my kindle) :-)
Can't go wrong with one of Ruthy's books!

Pepper said...

Waving to Audra!
Oh yes, definitely fighting alongside the characters and FOR them!

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

I think Karen O’Leary, the heroine in “Red Kettle Christmas” is the strongest and most sympathetic of all your characters. She had the burden of being a known social pariah as a unwed mother, the responsibility of being a very young single mother on her own, the layer of guilt in letting other people think she was a war widow, and the spiritual energy expense it took to get the education she needed to become a nurse. She was also dedicated to helping other less fortunate people. It was not simply all about her angst. Karen O’Leary is the Herne heroine in whom I could most easily find an HEA.

Since I was on the location of the story in the year the story took place and since the way you wrote the story is the way I remember NYC at the time, I think your ‘highest and best use’ may be writing historical fiction.

This reminds me of the C.S. Lewis quote: I think you may have been the most interested in “Red Kettle Christmas”. I know I was. : )


P.S. I also gave "Try, Try, Again" and "Running on Empty" five stars but of all your books, I'd tell people to read "Red Kettle Christmas" first!

Vince said...

Hi Walt:

I hope you were able to watch the end of the Alabama game. : )

Nancy Kimball said...

It's in my TBR still too which is a terrible injustice as Ruthy is one of my favorite authors. Romance with life lessons and stories with meat on their bones. Great to see her in the Alley. =)

Missy Tippens said...

I just finished this book last night. EXCELLENT! Ruthy does such a good job touching on emotional, tough issues.

Love the characters!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars, I was gone this weekend. We did Thanksgiving late and it was our 40th anniversary, so time got away from me... I stopped by Saturday morning and there were no comments yet.... so I love seeing comments now!!! Pepster, thank you for having me on the Alley, I love being over here, hanging wi' youse.


Walt, this is a book that several editors loved... and no one contracted.... so how blessed am I that indie publishing opened a door for Anne and Joe's story to be told???? LOVE IT!!!!

Susanna!!!! You can't get fired from your job so be careful.... but I love that your excitement over my stories carries over into your life! You honor me so much by saying that. And I know, I give you reason to buy tissues, but come on.... isn't the roller coaster of life like that??? Ups and downs, like Laura Story's "Blessings" song? We learn from the rough times... and cherish the good ones! Glad you stopped over here!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pepper, I love Try, Try Again, too.

And that story was another one that an editor loved, an ABA editor. In her words "I couldn't put it down, I couldn't stop reading, I had to see what happened to Conor and Alicia and your client did not disappoint in any way, shape or form."

She didn't contract it, but I believed she meant what she said. And their story, set between Manhattan and high-brow Princeton was so much fun to write, the characters just made me smile. Marriage is such a TOUGH THING sometimes, and in the throes of grief, bad things happen.

How nice to know our God is the God of Second Chances!!! (Just watched Saint Maybe on Spirit Clips this weekend... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that movie!!!! Vince, if you watch it, you'll see why. :))

AUDRA Um, aren't you supposed to be writing, darling????

(See, Pepper???? I don't just pick on YOU!!!!!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Nancy, hey!!! Aw, thank you, my friend!!!!

And you're supposed to be writing, too, just like Audra and Pepper, et al.


But I'm so glad youse are here, I've got some eggnog.... And yes, I did wait until Thanksgiving week to have some and it is DELICIOUS!!!! Happy, happy!!!!

Nancy, I think you'll love Running on Empty. It's a true love story (in Vince's words "Romance Realism") and I think it hits all the right notes. When they're story came to me I was listening to Keith Urban's "You're Gonna Think of Me" and I could feel the hero's story come to life... The anger and the loss and the work to move beyond her leaving... but the pride that prevented him from going after her.

Anger can be a vicious tool and it feeds pride very nicely. And in small towns, images can be way too important, whether they're about a coach or a marriage or a running prodigy or a sweet sage of a friend, running a woodcrafter shop...

"Brooks" from Made to Order Family is "Boog" in "Running on Empty". I love that my first North Country book has finally found a home!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

VINCE!!! I love Red Kettle Christmas.

It came to me in such a roundabout way, the contract that is. Someone else couldn't or wouldn't fulfill it and Natasha presented me as an alternative... and I said YES!!!! And then we realized it was the Historical!!!! :)

And I said "YES!!!!" again, because I've always wanted to do a historical! And how fun it was, to change up my voice, to immerse myself in 1947 and I was waiting, holding my breath for real, to see what you thought because I knew you were there then! And it was huge to me to hit the right notes with someone who enjoyed NYC in 1947.

How wonderful that makes me feel! I love Karen O'Leary's story... and Mike Wolzak. I had a more Polish spelling for his name but we lightened it so people could pronounce it! And the neighborhood church is really a Catholic church, but I wasn't sure if they'd let me do that overtly, so I kept it ecumenical. Most Polish immigrants were either Catholic or Jewish at that time, but there was one rogue schismed Catholic church in Greenpoint (Brooklyn) so I relied on that fact!

Vince that was truly a God-given story. I had nothing. NOTHING. Except that I'd said yes and had not too many weeks to write it... And in my head I envisioned the images of NYC at Christmas in 1947... and one of those images was that bellringer we see on commercials, standing strong, a long cape/cloak, the bonnet, the bell crying out for the poor, the oppressed, the victimized, the drunkards.... and that gave me a heroine, but why would a young, beautiful woman be ringing the bell???

And then I remembered the Booth Homes for Unwed Mothers, they were across the country! So I contacted my kid at the Salvation Army in NYC and he hooked me up with Reverend Jay Sinclair and Commander Bill Groff and we went to town.

How blessed I was to have these two fine gentlemen talk to me... share their memories, and those of Salvationists who worked prior to them.

I love that story, Vince!!!! Thank you for your beautiful reviews on it! You bless me, my friend.