For me the lure of time travel has led to many wonderful stories filled with adventure and romance. My early favorites included Rip Van Winkle, A Connecticut in King Arthur’s Court, The Time Machine, Outlander and Knight in Shining Armor and, as I read more, I’ve added others to the list. What is it about time travel that readers find it so compelling? Time travel stories provide a unique writing device where characters can reunite with someone they’ve lost, they can fix a past mistake, or they can look into the future. I was interested in looking at the past. Contemporary stories really didn’t interest me but the past was a treasure trove to me. My debut story, Knight of Runes, is a historical time travel.
How did you come up with the idea for Knight of Runes?
I was curious how people centuries ago would respond to someone from our century. Tossing an alpha female back in time led to some interesting possibilities, and challenges. More than just survival skills, her feminist attitudes would hit a wall. How would a lone woman deal in a male-dominated era? It was a conflict made in heaven.
Can you give us a brief look into what your writing schedule is like?
Even with our children all on their own, I have a very full schedule. I have a full-time job, my husband Paul and I take ballroom dance lessons, and I’m active at our County Shelter for victims of domestic violence (I’m on the Board). I’m also active with several RWA chapters. That said, I make time to write. I take care of email on my morning commute. I eat lunch at my desk and draft notes or scenes usually finishing them on the commute home. My largest block of writing time is on weekends.
For the release of Knight of Runes I’ve had to be diligent about my schedule. Researching promotional ideas and developing them as well as writing blogs for my blog tour was an investment in time that needed my attention. I broke down my available time into blocks and scheduled time for each task. I found out early on I could get lost for hours researching and lose valuable hours that should have been spent writing. I still get lost in the research but I find quick time checks help keep that under control.
About how long did it take you to complete your first novel?
I started writing the story April 2009 and finished it four months later in August. The plot and characters were in my head for months, if not a few years.
What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?
I proudly say, I am a linear plotser! I start with page one and write sequentially. If a scene pops into my head I have learned to jot it down and tuck it away for later. I used to think I’d remember them but quickly learned I forgot more than I remembered.
I start with a story idea and then my characters. I do write out their goals, motivations and conflicts. I do a rough outline of the story to make certain I know where key points should go, more of a direction rather than a hard and fast roadmap. Sometimes the side trips I take are really worth it. Sometimes my characters actually amaze me with how they develop the story.
Who has had the most influence on your writing?
My favorite authors have influenced my writing. I enjoy Clive Cussler. His Dirk Pitt adventures always start with something historical that he weaves into the story. I love Lynn Kurland’s time travel and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. I think I’ve read every Jude Deveraux, Amanda Quick, and Johanna Lindsey book written. Each has influenced me in some way.
From a craft point of view, several people have been instrumental in helping me fine-tune my skills. Lisa Verge Higgins was one of the three authors who first critiqued my story. She believed in my writing and encouraged me every step of the way along with Caridad Pineiro, Terri Brisbin, Pat Mihailoff, Roni Denholtz, and Leanna Renee Heiber. My critique partner Jennifer Sampson was great. I knew I could count on her for spot-on feedback and support. It was Jennifer who saw Angela James’ request for my full posted on the FFnP website before I did. It was Angela’s request that led to the offer from Carina Press.
What advice do you have for other writers?
- First and foremost, keep writing. It’s like anything else, practice, practice, practice.
- Read your genre and others for inspiration, understanding craft, and just the joy of a good story.
- Learn all you can about your craft from multiple sources. No one person has the ‘the way’ for POV, showing vs telling, or any other craft issue. What works for one writer doesn’t always work for another.
- Join a writing group. I belong to several RWA chapters. Some are geographical and others are special interest. When called upon, the members are eager to help. I’ve made deep friendships with all levels of authors around the world. Even when I’ve been heads down with edits or writing I’ve been able to stay connected.
- Get a critique partner and help each other. Truthfully, I love to brainstorm an idea or scene. It really makes my creative juices flow.
- Don’t take rejections too seriously. You’ll be among some of the greatest authors, Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), and James Joyce (Ulysses) to name just a few. Rejects (actually I call them passes) are only one person’s opinion.
Would you tell us your story of getting “the call?”
In October 2010, I participated in an online pitch to Angela James of Carina Press sponsored by Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal (FFnP), an online RWA special interest chapter. Angela requested my full manuscript. I gave it one more polish after taking Eliza Knight’s class, Edit Your Book in a Month, and sent it off in January, right after the New Year holiday.
February 11th, I got a call from Angela. Carina Press wanted to publish my story.
After making her repeat her name—I must have heard it wrong, it sounded like she said Angela James—it finally sunk in. This was THE CALL. All that practicing in the shower going over and over what I would say when The Call came in, how sophisticated I would sound, and the brilliant questions I would ask, must have floated down the drain. I sounded anything but coherent and witty.
For days I thought, Angela must be mistaken or she must be calling everyone that pitched. So many agents and editors told me that time travel romance wouldn’t sell. I was certain Carina Press would change their minds. When the contract came I had to admit that it was real.
What’s your idea of romance?
To me romance is soft and tender quiet words spoken, small things done without asking, It’s time alone as well as time with friends. It’s a touch, a kiss, a whisper, and sometimes even silence.
ABOUT KNIGHT OF RUNES: It’s the 21st century and time travel is still a Wellsian fantasy but not for Rebeka Tyler. While on an impromptu tour of Avebury, she takes a misstep at the standing stones, and finds herself in the right place but tossed back into the 17th century. When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style he is intrigued.
Rebeka is desparate to return to her time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to help find out what’s killing Arik’s land to get access to the library. But as she decodes the ancient runes that are the key to solving his mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.
As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. To defeat him, Arik and Rebeka must combine their skills. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.
BIO: Ruth A. Casie was born in Brooklyn, New York. For twenty-five years she’s been writing for corporate America. Encouraged by her family and friends this ballroom dancing, Sudoku playing, aspiring gourmet cook has given way to her inner muse. She’s let her creative juices flow and started writing a series of historical time travel romance stories. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.
Win a free copy of Knight of Runes!
Win a free copy of Ruth’s debut novel, Knight of Runes (epub or pdf format) by leaving a comment with your email address on Ruth’s blog at www.RuthACasie.blogspot.com. One person will be randomly selected on November 11.