Today's Author Spotlight is Ruth O'Neil, a Christian fiction author. I had the chance to interview here and ask her some questions about her new book, "Belonging" and her Christmas stories. Several of Ruth's books are on sale December 8-10, and are listed below.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Ruth?
I have been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in dozens of publications as well as a few books. I enjoy helping others of all ages make their publishing dreams come true. I was born and raised in upstate New York and attended Houghton College. When I’m not writing or homeschooling, I spend my spare time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with the family.
When did you start writing and why?
I was only 9 years old when I wrote my first story. I remember feeling so “big” sitting at the dining room table pounding away on the keys of my mom’s typewriter. She piddled at writing and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Because of her, I am who am today as a writer. She encouraged me every step of the way and gave me opportunities that very few young people have, such as going to conferences and meeting “real” writers.
You write fiction and nonfiction stories. Which is easier to write and why?
Depends on what mood I’m in. I think I enjoy writing fiction more than non-fiction because it allows me to escape to another world for a while. I think that’s also why I enjoy reading fiction more as well. I write a lot of non-fiction for adults. I think it’s the teacher in me that enjoys that.
You’re new release is called “Belonging” and part of the book is about genealogy. Do you have an interest in genealogy and have you spent any time researching your own family?
I haven’t done much research on my own, however, my mother did a ton of it while I was a child. She did it the old-fashioned way, without the Internet! She left me books and books of the family line on both sides of my family. She got us all the way back to Charlemagne on my father’s side.
Tell us more about your newest release, Belonging. What is the genre and what spurred you to write it?
It is Inspirational Christian fiction. I had a tendency to say I wrote women’s fiction, but men have read my books and really enjoyed them, too. Writers get ideas for stories in sometimes strange ways. I think I once dreamed of being able to stay home and just write with no interruptions. (People stop by just to use my bathroom!) That led to Shelly being an introvert. So many people today can easily look up their family history and my mother’s painstaking research on our family history was part of the inspiration for writing. I guess I just want everyone to have a big, happy family as I do.
Was it hard to write a character like Shelly, or were you able to connect with her as you wrote?
Her life and my life are so different. My life is full of chaos while hers is pretty much order, at least inside her house. But I was able to connect with her and get inside her head to figure out what she was thinking and how she would react to different situations.
Since it’s almost Christmas and you have several Christmas stories, tell us a little about them too!
Christmas Faith and Fun is an anthology that I am privileged to be a part of. My short story “Anna’s Family Christmas” is included. This is a silly story based on actual events in our household one Christmas. (Remember the chaos I mentioned a minute ago?) You can find it on Amazon here:
Another Christmas story I have is Christmas at Martha’s House. Talk about chaos! This is a family-friendly story where I imagine every family can see themselves and laugh. This is also based on real events from when I was a child. You can also find this on Amazon for only ¢.99.
Book blurb for Belonging:
After the death of her father, painfully shy and introverted Shelly finds her world turned upside down. She is forced to speak with people and she may even have to move from her comfortable apartment. Sorting through her father’s possessions at his house brings back many memories, including how they would research her mom’s genealogy so that in a way, she could get to know her mother’s family, who are all deceased. Shelly wonders why her dad never researched his own family and she never remembers any family events. Why? She begins a journey that takes her to places she never dreamed. Throughout the entire story, God nudges Shelly to get out of her comfort zone. That’s easy for some, but for Shelly it may almost be impossible.
Book blurb for Come Eat at My Table:
Karin is a woman with a past. About the time she thinks no one will ever know, it comes back to haunt her. The deeper she tries to push it away the more prominently it returns. Forgiveness is a word that isn’t in her vocabulary as far as the people from her past are concerned. She thinks she's fine until someone from her past shows up unexpectedly forcing her to think about what happened. With the help of her family and other people around her she realizes that she must learn to forgive, even if forgiveness wasn't asked of her.
Book blurb for Victory Song:
The United States is a country at war. Andy Richardson sees enlistment as an opportunity to get away from the farm life he so desperately hates.
During his three year enlistment in the army Andy finds out who is really is and who God is. He learns what it is to have a true relationship with the Lord. Saying he is a Christian is no longer good enough.
Along with Andy’s spiritual growth is the growth of a nation - a nation that is stronger as a whole not separated.
Website link for books - http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/books.html