Q:How personal is The Ruby Seat? Do the characters represent people you know?
A:My “story behind the story” answers the deepest part of this question, but the whole story is personal in enough ways to fill this page. And many of the characters are people I know or have known in the past. I believe they are life-characters—I think we all know a funny drunk (Datus) or a nervous mother (Ann) and everyone knows a hard to reach, angry teenager (Eva). As far as personal, Eva is a mirror of me when I was young. I loved the Adirondacks and my camp on Union Falls Pond more than any other place on earth. All of Cyril’s thoughts and words are my true beliefs and how I live today.
Q:How long did it take to write the story?
A:Eight months for a very rough draft. My story was complete and on paper but it took me another year of polishing certain sections until my ears were happy. I read out loud, in the morning with a large mug of coffee. It’s the only way I can edit and work with words.
Q:Have you always been a writer? Does it come easy for you?
A:I have always loved to write. It’s been my first choice of communication for as long as I can remember, especially when problems arise in life or there’s conflict. Writing has always allowed me to express myself much more clearly than talking. I get tongue-tied easily and lose my train of thought—the main reason I shy away from public speaking. But all in all, writing does not come easy in that I always have to go back and fix my flow of words—but that’s the fun part, and when I finally nail a difficult paragraph I find it very rewarding. I love words on paper. They are permanent and can be powerful in a good way.
Q:Was finding an agent and publisher difficult?
A:In this question, “difficult” is a mellow word. It was near impossible and many times I gave up completely for several months at a time. But because I believed so strongly in the story’s message I would plow on in my search for just one professional person to actually read part or all of my story. It was a very frustrating 2 years until I got the attention of Terry Whalin who is the acquisitions editor for Koehler books and MorganJames. Terry is one of those rare individuals who listens and puts himself in the shoes of the other, no matter who that other is.