Ruth Reid is a full-time pharmacist who lives in Dade City, Florida with her husband and three children. Her fascination for the Amish began twenty-years ago when she skipped college classes to watch a barn-raising. Today, she’s still captivated by the simple ways of the Amish lifestyle, and in her debut novel, The Promise of an Angel, she writes about what started her curiosity with the Amish—a barn raising. When Ruth is not working, she loves photography.
Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?
After entering a young author’s contest in grade school, I was hooked on storytelling. Looking back, I’m sure my introverted personality and the fact I could entertain myself with observation, played a major role in developing the book characters.
How long did you write before you sold your first book?
It seems writing has been a part of everything I’ve done. Several years ago, I completed an instructor’s guide for teaching children to pray. When I offered it to be used in my church, I became the designated instructor. As far as novels, I didn’t pursue publication until after my second novel was completed.
Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?
Use your God given senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and scent. You’ll find it enriches the story through your character’s point of view. I still struggle with sensory details. Something I’ve done after I’ve finished a scene is underline each time a sense was used with a different color highlighter. It helps to point out what areas are lacking. If you have a page with no color, the scene is usually flat.
Excellent advice! Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.
My day-to-day life rotates in 7 day increments. I’m a pharmacist 7 nights and a writer 7 days (sometimes nights). Then it all repeats. In the meantime, I’m a wife and mother of three children 24/7. We have a Weimaraner named Zyvox and a Jack Russell named Lady Bird.
Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?
Since The Promise of an Angel is number one in the Heaven on Earth series, I haven’t had any time to think of other ideas to submit. There’s no doubt I’ll have future ideas rejected—that’s the book business.
Tell us a little about your latest release:
Interrupting the ordered routine of the Mecosta County Amish settlement, an angelic visitor awakens Judith to a new faith, but not without obstacles to overcome.
If you could only share one line from The Promise of an Angel, which one would you choose and why?
The line would have to be when the angel asks Judith, “Do you believe, Judith?”
In some ways it reminded me of when Jesus asked Peter what he believed. Who was Jesus to him? Peter’s answer cemented his decision to follow Christ—no matter the cost. In the book, Judith’s answer carries consequences in her Amish settlement.
Writers often put things in their books that are very personal—like a funny story that happened to them, a spiritual truth they learned through difficulty, or even just a character trait that is uniquely theirs. Is there something in The Promise of an Angel that only people close to you know is about you or someone you know?
Probably not so much in this book, but in Brush of Angels Wings, book 2 in the series, the heroine is a bad cook and unable to keep her stitches straight. I’m not a good cook. I cook on one temperature—high. I sew on one speed—fast. I eat a lot of burnt food and I spend way too much time tearing out stitches.
Readers often talk a lot about the hero and heroine of a story, but today I’d like to know something about your villain. Does he or she have a redeeming quality? Why or why not?
My heroine’s sister, Martha, is the villain in The Promise of an Angel. The beauty of writing an inspirational story is that God’s grace is not just for the main characters. His love and mercy extends to the villain as she struggles to recognize her own flaws. Most readers won’t think Martha deserves forgiveness, but that just shows the extent of God’s love.
What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?
Since there is such a vast difference in the individual Amish districts, the primary source I used to research for The Promise of an Angel was through individual interviews with my Amish friends from the Michigan settlement. They were very kind to open their house and explain many of the misconceptions between their district and the Lancaster Amish.
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
Currently, I’m finishing up book two of my Heaven on Earth series titled: Brush of Angel’s Wings.
The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?
Don’t wait until tomorrow to start. Ask others to read it and listen to what they like and dislike. Use their advice to improve. Most of all keep writing—even when you don’t know what to write—write.
What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?
I’m not usually afraid of answering questions. Of course, I’m not on video feed so you don’t ever see my deer-in-the-headlights stare. I’ll be in trouble when video becomes the norm for interviews.
Links where I can be found: