Writer-girl Wednesday: Ruth Briddon
The book blurb: At long last Sarah Banner has finally bagged her perfect man; she can see the perfect house with the white picket fence, hear the distant chime of wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet. It's all going so wonderful well..until it isn't. Follow the often hilarious trials and tribulations of one, ever so ordinary Mum who is left literally holding the newborn baby, whilst trying to keep her job, home and sanity. Battling with what feels like half the cast of a Harry Potter movie, plotting her revenge against Voldermort and tackling the institutions and stigma of single motherhood all take their toll, Will it be the wine, Classic FM or Prozac to the rescue?
Come meet author-girl Ruth, she's awesome.
Describe author-girl Ruth Briddon in a tweet: Single Mum says what every other mum thinks but sometimes daren't say! Where did the idea for your book come from? When you're a Mum, you talk to so many other Mums and they've all got a story to tell. So I decided to collate my 'information' and draw on experiences I'd had and put them down in a book that would let Mums know that they're not alone and that, through me, they can find a humorous side to being a single parent.
Have you always wanted to be an author - if so what made you decide to stop thinking about it and actually do it? I've always loved writing. I can remember getting really lost in writing stories at school. This was before the days of laptops so they were all hand written and more laborious to write! I was talking to one of the dad's one evening whilst watching my son, Alex, attempt karate and he was in the middle of writing his first book. I told him I'd always wanted to write a book and he said 'what's stopping you?' Nothing was, just lots of the usual lame excuses, like 'I don't have time', 'I wouldn't know where to start' but I decided to go for it, and just started jotting ideas down.
How long did the book take to go from idea in your head to actual hold-in-your-hand book? Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process please? Do you have any rituals? Particular times of the day to write? I was very fortunate to have my editor, Kate Osborne, renting office space from the firm I work for. I told her I was writing a book and would she mind having a look to see if I had the X Factor. I didn't expect her phone call to me to be so life changing or inspiring. 'Ruth', she said. 'I didn't expect your writing to be so funny, you've got to write this book and I'd love to work with you'. I cried when she told me this because I found a lot of solace in the writing process. That was April 2010. Alex spends every other weekend with his Dad so I would really look forward to my writing weekends. I would sit at my kitchen table, same spot every time, facing the patio doors, and work solidly from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday and Sunday. I would have a pot of tea and some water next to me and the biscuit tin on standby, just in case! I downloaded a lot of music on my iplayer and discovered that certain music helped me write certain parts of the book. For example, Elton John and Pavarotti 'Live like Horses' was the song I first discovered on Classic FM, couldn't get enough of it. It was the period when my husband first left and it was 'my' music. So, I found writing about Sarah being on her own in the first few months really easy to write because this music brought poignant memories up for me, and I was able to draw on them for Sarah's story.
Do you get writer's block? Feelings of not being good enough? If so how do you deal? I didn't get writers block that much as I had so many ideas to put down on paper, but, towards the end, I did say to Kate, 'oh god, this book is so dull, I'm fed up of reading it'. When you're so close to a project and you know the character inside out, it feels like you've been watching the same film for the last two years. Nothing else in between, just that one film so often that you can recite the whole script. I made myself leave the writing for a few days when I felt like this. Talking to myself became second nature and saying things like 'come on Ruth, you can do this, you're doing so well' really helped me.
Do you have an agent or did you go it alone when looking for a publisher? Kate, my agent, sent my manuscript to several publishers, but Sassy obviously saw potential in it and I'm so pleased and grateful for that.
What's your favourite: Book: Flowers in the Attic (first book I really read and couldnt put down) Author: Virginia Andrews Book to movie: Bridget Jones Place to write: my kitchen table Writing equipment: laptop, pen, paper, iplayer What's next in the world o' Ruth? Are there more books in the pipeline? I'm working towards counselling as my full-time career. I talk at Children's Centres and help parents to prepare mentally for their new career. I hope to talk at more, especially if the book is a success. I'm going to be selling my "Plan B for Expectant Parents" on my Postnatal Support website very soon, which means that people worldwide can have access to the work I do and it will prepare them mentally for birth and parenthood. I also give general CBT counselling at a lovely holistic therapy centre in Torquay, called Ancient Elements. I helped myself heal from depression and anxiety using CBT and want to share it with everyone. Book two has been started, and I am loving hearing what readers think Sarah should be doing next. For more information about the fabulous Ruth and to get the inside scoop on the book, visit: www.ruth-briddon.com to buy your copy, visit: www.amazon.co.uk