After her guest post on this blog last year, Ruth Jacobs has taken time out from her busy schedule to talk to us about her life as a writer.
What do you like most about writing? What do you dislike (if anything)?
There is so much that I like about writing from developing plots to having my characters trash them and do their own thing – in fact, I like that best. I love living in the world of my characters, being out of my reality – it’s like a drug. I don’t dislike anything about writing, except not having as much time as I would like to do more writing.
What inspires you to write?
Mostly it’s my own life experience, whether something from the past, or the present, something that I see or feel or hear or something that happens to me or someone else. Sometimes, things just come to me, as if I am told them. I had that happen a lot through my novel, ‘Soul Destruction: Unforgivable’, and it happened again the other day when a poem came to me. I haven’t written poetry in a long time, so it was a strange thing to have happened.
Do you find time to read, if so what are you reading at the moment?
Not nearly as much time as I would like. The next book on my to-read list is ‘Paid For’, my friend, Rachel Moran’s life story surviving prostitution.
Which author(s) has/have had the biggest influence on your writing?
With the issues I have with my memory, I can’t say for sure. Although I know what books I’ve read, and what writers I have enjoyed, I can’t remember why nor remember what the stories were about. I read a lot of Martin Amis and Martina Cole so perhaps they’ve had an influence, I don’t know. I can say, as it only happened last year, that reading Ian Ayris’s novel, ‘Abide With Me’, inspired the voice of my leading character, Trisha, in a short story called ‘Protection’ that was published on Near to the Knuckle.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
Watching television. It’s barely on now, but my activism is taking more of my time than writing fiction currently, though I do need to find a better balance to continue with the rest of the ‘Soul Destruction’ series.
What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
I’m not naturally good at description – I don’t think. I tend to write the story as it’s happening, as I see it playing out in my head. For some reason, I am always focused on what is going on, what the characters are thinking and feeling, who’s saying what, and the action, and not enough about how the setting looks. I tend to go back and put that in after. Perhaps it’s because I’m rushing to report on the action that my fingers, though I am a quick typist, aren’t fast enough to keep up with that and the setting at the same time. Another weakness would be doubting myself and my ability to write. I’m generally very critical of myself. As a strength, perhaps perseverance and determination. Perhaps my life experience too, being able to use that in my writing whether for situations or developing characters, but then I hope my writing has been good enough to carry it off. I love developing plots, but as has been the case with ‘Soul Destruction: Unforgivable’ my plot was shafted by the characters who went off in their own direction. The original plot is now going to be book three in the series, as long the characters play along.
What are you working on at the moment?
Most recently, I’ve been focused on pushing for the Merseyside hate crime model for crimes against people in prostitution to be made UK wide. I’ve been publishing interviews on my blog that show why this is critical and writing articles. One article has been published on Ms Blog in the US, and I have another piece being considered by the F-Word, so I’ve been more involved in non-fiction for human rights. For my fiction work, I’ll be picking up writing the second novel in the ‘Soul Destruction’ series very soon, which I began some time ago. There is also ‘Soul Destruction Diary’, a spin-off series from ‘Soul Destruction’. The first diary, ‘Inescapable’, is partly published on my blog, and I am very keen to finish that. I’m not sure yet if the rest will be published on the blog, or in a book. I guess that will depend on how ‘Soul Destruction: Unforgivable’ is received.
Where can we find you online?
When you’re a famous author and you write your autobiography, what will be the title?
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Not to give up, to keep on writing, and don’t let anyone else’s criticism, or your own, deter you.
What’s been your proudest moment?
Receiving the offer from Caffeine Nights to publish ‘Soul Destruction: Unforgivable’. Shortly after, I also received an offer from a literary agent, and now they are keen to represent the translation rights in non-English speaking territories. Once it’s all confirmed, I can say more.
What would you say to your sixteen-year-old self if you could offer one word of advice or inspiration?
You might want to die at times, but don’t try because you’ll change your mind in time.
Thanks to Ruth for appearing on the blog today. ‘Soul Destruction: Unforgivable’ is free from Friday 24th May until Monday 27th May.
You can order your copy of ‘Soul Destruction: Unforgivable’ now.
Or download it from Amazon.