Saturday, June 15, 2024

Author interview with R.K.J. Adams

My next author interview is with R.K.J Adams who has indie published five books in the two years since retiring - although I'm not sure you can call that giving up work! She's a multi-genre writer, creating stories and poetry for both adults and children, as well as an autobiography, so let's meet her:

'I was born in the heart of the Black Country, in the Midlands. My husband and I set off on a crazy life-changing adventure in our forties, giving up our jobs, selling our three-hundred-year house in Derbyshire and leaving family and friends to follow our dream of living in the northern Highlands. 

There were never plans to become a writer, as a lifetime in education was all-consuming. Fast forward almost thirteen years, I’m retired, the author of five books and a photographer, with a particular passion for Aurora Borealis images.'

And she has a tweetable version for us (tweet here):

'I like to make readers ponder, and if I’m honest, always offer an element of surprise.  “No one puts Baby in a corner!” is my sentiment when asked what I write. Expect the unexpected is my motto.' 

What inspired Ruth to become a writer?
'My mother read stories to me at bedtime from a very early age. Those times were magical and I grew to love the world of books. 

When I learned to read, I wanted to create worlds and characters like Enid Blyton and Lucy Maud Mongomery of Anne of Green Gables fame.'

Don't you think Ruth's mum sounds wonderful? It seems a big jump, from teacher to writer, so what are her writing credentials?
'I specialised in English as part of my degree but writing just became part of my job, completing reports and writing lesson plans and newsletters.

Over the years, I completed several writing courses but something stopped me from pursuing my dream. In October 2021 I listened to a Davina McCall podcast that changed my life. She talked about her friend running a Masterclass in how to write, publish and sell your book. A week later, after joining the group, I had written my first chapter and the rest is history!

Of late, I have experience as an editor and a proofreader, and am working towards a qualification in editing.'

Oh my, she's so busy! But how fortuitous that she listened to that podcast. Does Ruth have a daily writing routine?
'Open one eye, hoping it’s still dark. Once up, and all the morning chores done, it is time to settle down for an afternoon of writing. I do short writing sprints of seventeen minutes, exercising my eyes and body for three minutes between sprints. I sometimes write for just a short period, but on other days, when into a good flow, I have been known to write for five or six hours until the dogs start howling for their dinner!'

Fabulous answer 😂 What does she enjoy the most about writing?
'As a photographer, I find a place of solitude and peace looking through a camera lens. Writing is very much like that for me. I love the places writing can take me in my mind, the characters I can create, and the situations I can imagine. Writing brings a sense of achievement when I read and edit a paragraph.'

And the magical part is they take us there too! What has she found the hardest part of the publishing process? 
'As a naturally shy person, I dislike reading aloud in public. As a published author, it is expected that you will want to read and promote your work. It’s something I find incredibly difficult.'
Aww! Knowing how much her mum fuelled her love of books, does she have a favourite? 
'How do I choose one? It’s impossible to give a definitive answer because on any given day I might choose something different depending on my mood. 
Today my answer is Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. I studied it at school. Not only do I adore the character flaws the author created but whenever I reread it, it takes me back to my teenage years.'
Me too! So, are there any books or authors who have inspired her more than others?
'Every book I read inspires me to learn. I love phrases or choice of words. Sometimes it’s a twist or turn in a plot. Sometimes a character becomes a friend. 
I have also read authors who haven’t engaged me and I use their books to learn more about why their writing was off-putting. This information is gold to an author.'

That's fascinating. How long does it take Ruth to write a book?
'My first took nine months from the first word to printed publication. My shortest time was two weeks.'
Two weeks.....? I mean, wow! What's the best money she's spent as a writer?
'Buying a Macbook. I shall never go back to a Windows computer. The quality of the machine and the experience of typing are unbelievably different.'
So she's learnt to use Apple and written 5 books? I doubt she's had time to sleep in the last few years! So let's move onto her writing career. Can she list her published books and tell us which, if any, we should read first?

'Wasn’t Me, Miss! - a semi-autobiographical book about a life in teaching for adults

Birth, Death & The Bits In Between - an anthology of poetry for adults

What shall I be? - a rhyming non-fiction book for children between the ages of 3 and 8

Who’s that snoring? - a rhyming storybook for children between the ages of 3 and 8

It’s not fair! - a rhyming picture book for children between the ages of 3 and 8 explaining neurodiversity to siblings or friends of young autistic children

To get a true picture of me as an author, Wasn’t Me, Miss! should be read first. It’s funny, sad, and covers some serious and heart breaking topics. Ultimately, it’s about following your dreams.'

Can she give us a tweetable extract? (Tweet here)
'I give a quick shake of the head to inform the child not to continue. The hand moves back to its owner, but I spot a leaving present in the form of slimy green snot smeared on my black tights.'

That had me laughing and cringing at the same time - excellent! What have been her writing highs and lows?
'The highlights were receiving my first print copies of Wasn’t Me, Miss! and holding my book in my hands. 

I haven’t had any lows apart from the odd day when I procrastinate rather than stay on task.'

Don't we all! Does she have any plans for future books?

'Yes. A murder mystery, set in the northern Highlands, is almost finished. It’s called She Who Was and is nearing completion for publication later in 2024.'

How exciting! It seems that now she's started writing, there's no stopping her! It makes me wonder, if she could go back in time and talk to her younger writing-self, what would you say?
'You can do this, and you will! 

It makes sense if you read Wasn’t Me, Miss!'

Good advice for us all, I think! And talking of advice, what does Ruth consider the most common trap for aspiring writers?
'Don’t always think you need a publishing deal to see your book in print. Why let an agent and publisher take a hefty profit from your book leaving you with not enough change for a coffee? Gone are the days of vanity publishing. Welcome to the world of Indie!'

Hear, hear! And finally, does she read reviews of her books and how does she handle them?
'I read all the reviews. Believe it or not, it’s hard to get readers to comment. Months down the line they will contact me and enthuse about a book but haven’t left a formal review. I guess like many readers, I am guilty of doing the same.'

I think we all are and I'm going to mention this again - if you're not sure how to write one, please visit my post here which shows just how easy it is! So, have the reviews been good?

'So far, I have had no poor reviews and all have been five stars. Probably the first bad review I receive will be the one I learn from most.'

What an inspirational lady! If you'd like to find out more about Ruth and her books, please click onto her links below:


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out by following here