Monday, August 27, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Author Ruth Axtell

 I'm very excited to introduce my guest for our August interview this month, Ruth Axtell. I first met Ruth when I joined a group of writers who wrote novels set in Europe, and have since been impressed with Ruth's knowledge of writing and general wisdom about life. She's been very helpful to me both personally and professionally, and I'm glad the rest of you get to meet her. Ruth and I also blog together on a site that caters to Regency Romance lovers: Regency Reflections.

Ruth will be giving away one copy of her newest novel, Her Good Name, to one winner. Be sure to leave a comment at the end of the blog post to enter the giveaway.

Tell me a bit about your family. How many children do you have, and if they still live at home, how old are they?

I have three children: a son (on the verge of 21); daughter (on the verge of 19) and a son (17).
They were all home for the summer, but two will soon be off to college again.

Wow! Those are such exciting ages, right on the brink of adulthood. You must be really proud to see your children entering that stage of life. Why did you choose to work from home rather than find a job elsewhere?

For two reasons. I always wanted to spend the early years with my children. I couldn’t imagine missing out on their babyhood. Secondly, my husband had gotten a position in the Netherlands, and that’s where I had all three of my children. It would have been difficult to find work outside the home in a foreign country without first learning the language fluently, and learning the “system.” (Every country has its way of operating). This was also about the time that I decided to pursue writing fiction full-time, and so it seemed an ideal set-up: stay home and raise my children and write historical romances on the side.

The Netherlands. How fun! That must have been a really neat experience for you and your children.What is the most challenging aspect of working from home while raising children?

Carving out that time for yourself. I remember sitting at my laptop with an infant on my lap and typing at my current WIP. You just learn to find those moments (like nap time) when you can get a few pages written or brainstormed. Then when they go to school for a good portion of the day, that becomes your most productive writing time.

Ah, yes. I can completely sympathize with the need to find a little bit of alone time. Did you ever get your children involved with your home business? What advice would you give mothers thinking about having their children help with their business?

 My oldest son read my first published book (and said, “Wow, it sounded like a ‘real’ book.”); my daughter has been my most valued “first reader” (meaning, I can give her the opening chapters of my work- in- progress and get some quick feedback. This gives me a good indication of whether a reader will like it and be drawn into the story. She has read most of my published books, but now with college her reading time is less. My youngest son just recently tried reading one of my books but I don’t think he’s finished it. My son’s girlfriends have enjoyed reading my books!

Oh goodness! I can just imagine my boys handing their girlfriends copies of my novels one day. If those poor girls don't like it, what are they supposed to do? Lie and say it was great??? If you're married, what challenges did working from home present to your marriage, and how did you compensate? 

After his job in the Netherlands, my husband carved out a business for himself working out of the house, so both of us got used to being on our computers. We sometimes had our own separate offices—even if it meant a corner of a bedroom and sometimes shared a real office. We’d take a coffee break together to chat. But it gave us a lot of flexibility with our schedules.

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. My life has changed drastically in the last few years. I’m divorced now and sometimes wish I had not left the working world—or maybe gotten some other kind of training once my children were a little older. I know it’s not too late now. So, I consider myself in transition for the moment, looking—and waiting on the Lord—for where He would have me go next.

Those transition phases can be so tough, but I'm trusting God has amazing things in store for you and your future. Is it worth it? What keeps you home instead of having an outside career?

It was definitely worth going on this writing journey. The Lord played a big part in my ever becoming published. I went through a 2-4 year period when my youngest child was still pre-school age, when the Lord had me put my writing “on the altar.” When He gave it back to me (with my first published multi-book contract) I knew I had the green light from Him to pursue writing, not just as something that fulfilled me in a way other types of work had not, but also as a ministry.

Now, I’m at the beginning of a new phase in my writing (the woman who is designing my new website called it a kind of “rebirth,” professionally); I’m publishing under my maiden name, with two new publishers, as well as having a few self-publishing projects in the works for the coming year. My children are on the way to leaving the nest. I am beginning to see my writing career as running my own business in a way I haven’t up to now.

Ah, tell me about it. There's days I feel like I need a business degree to be a writer, and a early childhood degree to be a mother. Of course, if I spent my whole life going to school to earn these degrees, I wouldn't have time to be a mother or a writer, which are both pretty important to me! 

It sounds like your at a pretty exciting (or maybe scary) place in your career. I wish you well, and hope you sell a ton of books with your new publishing endeavors.

Ruth will be back with us on Thursday, sharing a recipe with us. For those of you interested in the giveaway, you to leave a comment below with an email address. The contest will end Saturday, September 1, at midnight.

When twenty-four year old Espy Estrada, an immigrant’s daughter from the wrong side of the tracks, lands a job in Holliston, Maine’s best neighborhood, she hopes to attract the  town’s most eligible bachelor, only to find that catching Warren Brentwood’s eye is a far cry from capturing his heart.  In the 1890 thriving coastal town, the leading lumber baron's son fights his attraction for Espy. But a church project throws them together and Warren discovers there’s more to Espy than a pretty face. But when rumors circulate about her, Warren believes the worst. Disgraced, Espy leaves her family and hometown for the nearest city with little money and no acquaintances and is forced to spend the night on the street.  A man who heads a mission for the homeless finds Espy and offers her shelter. Espy finds the true love of God while working at the mission. When Warren asks her to come back, will she be able to face the townspeople and return home?


  1. Ah, I can handle the infant in my lap to type the WIP, but it's the toddler I can't figure out how to type around. :)

    1. I know what you mean. Those toddlers are way too into pressing keys on the keyboard!

  2. Informative interview, I cant imagine having a writing career while raising small children.

    Thanks for the giveaway. I have enjoyed Ruth's books in the past and am eager to read this one.
    What a beautiful cover.

    1. It keeps me on my toes, that's for sure. :-)

  3. Very nice interview. Thank you!

  4. Thanks for stopping by. Motherhood is difficult, challenging, incredibly fulfilling, but if I look back on those years when they were babies, I just get tired thinking about it!

  5. It's encouraging to know that you were able to manage time to write with all that was going on in your life. I still struggle with getting everything done. Look forward to reading HER GOOD NAME.

    1. I struggle too, Vickie. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I had a great comment typed, but my internet hiccuped and it went away. :(

    I don't have time to repost it, but I would love to be entered for the book.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  7. Ugh! I hate when that happens, Andrea. But thanks for stopping by. :-)

  8. Ohh, too bad! I can understand your not wanting to re-type it, though.
    Computers can be so frustrating!

  9. Congrats to Andrea Strong, for winning a copy of Her Good Name! And thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter. :-)