I am so glad to welcome Ruth Axtell here today! I read her first published novel, Winter Is Past, several years ago and have been a fan of her writing ever since. Regencies are a favorite of mine, but so are stories set on the Maine coast, and I'm eager to explore this side of Ruth's writing.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ruth's latest Regency, A Heart's Rebellion (reviewed here), which features one of my favorite leading men. I appreciate Ruth's willingness to share a copy with one of you, details of which are at the bottom of this post. Now enjoy getting to know a little more about Ruth and her writing . . .
Q: First of all, tell us briefly about yourself, Ruth - including some of the interesting things you did in the years before becoming a published writer.
I feel I enjoyed my late teens and early twenties by traveling, first spending my junior year abroad in Paris and seeing much of Europe with college friends (there’s nothing like that!), then going as an au pair right after college (when I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life). Then I got married and moved to the Netherlands. It was there, while raising a family, that I began seriously dividing my time between babies and learning how to plot stories.
Q: Ruth, you share a very personal and moving testimony on your website which I encourage everyone to read here. Could you share just a little of that with us now?
My coming to Christ meant understanding what “surrender” means. I had been brought up in Sunday School; I had heard about salvation and saying the “sinner’s prayer”—and had even said it more than once. But when I was 24, and had come to the end of myself, and cried out to God with a surrendered heart—meaning I was willing to try it God’s way, whatever the cost—then God was able to speak to me. I had a powerful, supernatural experience at the altar, so that when I went back to my seat, I felt my life had taken a 180 degree-turn.
Q: If you had a bucket list, what are two things that would be on it?
- Go to the Holy Lands (including not just Jerusalem but Turkey and Greece where much of the early church was planted).
- Go to some of the world’s top-rated restaurants.
Q: Tell us about the novel we're featuring today, A Heart's Rebellion. Is it part of a series or does it stand alone?
It can stand alone, even though it is a sequel to Moonlight Masquerade. So many times when I’m working on a novel, I get curious about a secondary character and want to tell their story. This becomes a sequel, but usually one that can stand by itself as well.
Q: What are some strengths and weaknesses in the main characters, Lancelot and Jessamine, and why should readers care about them?
They say our greatest strengths are also our weaknesses. I like to show this in my characters. Lancelot is a humble man, a Christian with a surrendered heart. But this also means that sometimes he doesn’t have enough confidence in himself.
Jessamine has been raised a Christian, the daughter of a vicar, and has tried to be a good Christian daughter her whole life. Unfortunately, this means that she hasn’t ever really had to come face to face with the reality that she is a sinner, just like the worst sinner. When life hands her lemons, instead of making lemonade, she grows rebellious for a season, only to find that the problem is within her. When she comes to that place of repentance, she discovers God’s love for her—how it hasn’t changed.
Q: Something that I particularly enjoyed about A Heart's Rebellion is the way you contrasted what I think of as "religion vs. relationship" faith. How was that exemplified in the era you wrote about, and do you think it is still relevant today?
There was a whole evangelical movement back in Regency times in England, so while there was a whole traditional religious community, there was a parallel “awakening” among many Christians who were rediscovering the Bible and its message of personal salvation. Lancelot is an evangelical in that sense, one who remains in his traditional church (the Anglican) but who preaches the “full Gospel” of salvation, not by works but by God’s grace alone.
Q: What one thing do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope they will not judge Jessamine too harshly, but wait and see how the story unfolds and see her spiritual growth. I hope they recognize a little of themselves in her. We all have that rebellious streak that must continually be brought to the Cross.
Q: For those of us who enjoy Regencies, who are some of your favorite authors - classical, inspirational, or general market?
Jane Austen, of course, though she is not strictly “Regency.” She wrote in the time period, so she is a contemporary author of that period. I love Georgette Heyer, the inventor of the Regency genre.
Of newer authors, I love Dawn Lindsay, who wrote Regencies back in the 80s. I used to read a lot of the secular Regency romance authors, and many are very good, but I haven’t read them in several years, because the romances got steamier and steamier as my own writing got less and less graphic in that area. I haven’t read a lot of the newer Christian regencies. There is more and more Christian fiction available and my TBR pile keeps growing and growing…
Q: I haven't read all of your Regencies, but I've enjoyed all that I've read. What other type of stories have you written, and do you prefer one type over another?
I’ve written late 19th century romances set on the coast of Maine (where I live) as well as late Victorian English-set romances. I love the 19th century. I never planned on writing Regencies! But the Lord gave me a story idea for one, and I took the challenge, and it became my first published novel (Winter Is Past).
Q: What’s on the book horizon for you, Ruth?
I am editing the first full-length novel I ever wrote (back in the 80s). It started as a challenge between a college friend of mine and me. We decided to write our own romance. She read tons of romances; I hadn’t read many during my college years. After a few chapters, she bowed out, but I continued writing, and have been writing ever since. It’s set in 1830 Poland, a time of revolution, during the Romantic Era. Think War and Peace.
Q: What are some ways we can support and encourage you, both personally and as an author, Ruth?
Readers can best support authors whose work they enjoy by buying their books and then recommending them to others. I just hope your readers will take the time to try one of my stories.
* * * * *
Ruth, I know how busy an author's life can be, so we appreciate really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today. I especially enjoyed your Christian testimony and encourage readers to check it out here. May God continue to guide and bless your writing, Ruth.
To enter the drawing for A Heart's Rebellion, simply leave a question or comment about Ruth's books or something you found interesting in this interview, along with your e-mail address in a safe format. If you're willing, it's also helpful to share about this giveaway on Facebook.
And I'm always glad to have new followers on my blog and "likes" on my Facebook page, The Power of Words Book Reviews.
The fine print:
- E-mail required, one entry per person. Odds of winning are based on number of entries.
- Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, June 8. No purchase necessary.
- Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail on Monday, June 9. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.
- Eligibility: US residents, 18 and older
Thanks for the interview and giveaway ladies! Very interesting that Ruth is going back and editing her very first novel, with hopes of getting it published I assume? I'm sure there have been many changes in her writing and style over the years!ReplyDelete
I thought the same thing, Patty! I also imagine there have been some changes in the publishing industry. Thanks for stopping by today.Delete
When writing a new book were do you like to do it?ReplyDelete
Danie, I always enjoy glimpses of authors' offices and where they are most comfortable writing. You have a unique e-mail address, love it!Delete
Hi Carole, You're right that there have been many changes in my writing in the years since, but I was amazed that the basic story was sound. I thought it would be terrible. I think there's something to be said about when you first start writing--the freshness of your writing & characters. I'm hoping to self-publish this manuscript. Thanks for stopping by the blog!Delete
I sit at my desk. But ideas come anywhere--lying in bed, taking a walk, and I need to write those down as quickly as possible.Delete
Thank you for this interview and the chance to win a copy of this book.ReplyDelete
susanmsj at msn dot com
Susan, you just radiate joy with your smile! Thank you for dropping by.Delete
A WONDERFUL INTERVIEW! I loved Ruth's bucket list!ReplyDelete
I did too, Juanita. It would be fascinating to see some of the sites from Paul's missionary journeys.Delete
I think it's interesting that the heroine was raised a Christian but doesn't realize how much of a sinner she is. I think that is a lot of America. Everyone thinks they are a good person, but we are saved by accepting Jesus and realizing how much we need Him. Thanks for the opportunity! My email is battmam85@yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
You're exactly right, Jaquelyn! In fact, I don't often see the words "sin" and "repentance" in Christian fiction, so I appreciate the way Ruth's faith comes out in her writing.Delete
What a lovely interview! I now want to read this book. I can relate to having a rebellious streak at some point in my life and how God was drawing me to Him. Thank you for this chance to win. ~ Blessings to you ~ lisastifler(at)yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
It's always good to see you, Lisa! The heroine isn't very likeable for a good part of Ruth's story, but that makes her redemption all the better. And I think that "rebellious streak" is something we can all relate to!Delete
I would love to win Ruth's book to add to our shelves in the Church Library.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the giveaway.
Janet, I hope your library is growing! I love the way God uses "story" to reach people.Delete
Been wanting to read this book for awhile!!!!!!ReplyDelete
I hope you'll get to read and enjoy it, Sierra. Thanks for visiting today.Delete
I discovered Ruth's books while flying from Washington DC to LAX. Best flight ever! I finished the book just before we landed and have been a fan ever since. I'm going to buy this, so no need to enter me in the drawing :)ReplyDelete
I love the way authors support each other! Thank you for visiting and sharing how much you enjoy Ruth's writing, Vicki.Delete
And for anyone reading these comments, please check out Vicki Bylin's newest book, Until I Found You, reviewed at http://tinyurl.com/mwckmgm. It is an excellent contemporary romance, very touching - and Vicki will be here with us soon!
Enjoyed the interview and I also would love to visit the Holy Land. TY for the chance to win, as this sounds fantastic.ReplyDelete
I think it would be incredible to visit the Holy Land, Lucy. Thank you for visiting today.Delete
I really like the cover! firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
Me too! I love the model's expression. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
This sounds so good! I love the cover, and I love the concept of Jessamine having to come to terms with the concept that she is a sinner. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! :) jennismith1983(at)gmail(dot)comReplyDelete
Jennifer! Great to see you here. I agree with what you said and am amazed at how rarely we see the concept of sin and repentance in Christian fiction. Best wishes in the drawing!Delete
I am assuming that you are a student of history, submerging yourself into the Regency era; do you anticipate ever writing in a different genre other than historical fiction? rmaney (at) firstarpchurch (dot) org.ReplyDelete
Good question, Rebecca. I think Ruth excels at historical, so it would be interesting to know her thoughts.Delete
I actually have written a contemporary and a young adult, both yet unpublished. I do have ideas for a contemporary series, which I may get to next year.Delete
Hmm I tried to leave a comment yesterday but it didn't go through. :/ Let me try again...I really enjoyed Moonlight Masquerade and would LOVE to win the next in the series! I also REALLY enjoyed the interview especially how you share how you came to Christ Ruth. And I'm really intrigued in your next book! Writing your own love story sounds interesting! :DReplyDelete
Blessings, hope it goes through this time! :)
Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a) Chavez
You made it, Amada! So sorry about the problem, but sometimes the Blogger program acts up like that. Thanks for trying again. I love your name, by the way!Delete
I have not read Moonlight Masquerade, but quickly picked up on that storyline. Really want to read it now!
YAY!!! I completely understand about Blogger acting up! LOL! But it could have also been me. Some times my fingers act up! ;D Thank you!Delete
It was good! Really interesting with the history of France, and filled with intrigue and spies!!! ;) But I do love when authors make it easy to pick up book's storylines without having to read the ones before it! LOL! I recommend it!
I would like to read Ruth's book, "Her Good Name." I really like the cover and plot line. Thanks for the interesting interview. My email is email@example.comReplyDelete
Thank you for visiting, Lori, and best wishes in the drawing!Delete
Hello Ruth. I enjoyed this interview. I loved the part where you talk about surrendering to GOD. That's not always easy to do. I also enjoyed the part about your college days. Thanks Carole for having Ruth here. Thanks for the chance to win this book. Maxie < mac262(at)me(dot)comReplyDelete
Maxie, I really appreciated Ruth's inspiring testimony. And I could relate to the "religion vs. relationship" concept because my daughter is a missionary in Europr, where most people are cold toward God. It's always good to see you here, Maxie.Delete
I appreciate the fact you are a christianReplyDelete
And your stories show that
God bless u
I agree, Chris. Ruth does an excellent job at blending an entertaining story with spiritual truths. Thanks for visiting today.Delete
What a lovely interview! I now want to read this book. I truthfully love reading and would love to read one of your book's. firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
I hope you get to read one of Ruth's books soon, Sky, for I think you would enjoy them. Thanks for dropping by.Delete
I enjoyed this interview very much, especially the part about Ruth's conversion. I'm excited to read this new book as I have enjoyed other books I've read by Ruth. Thank you Ruth for not bowing out years ago, but continuing to use your gift to bless us, your readers, we surely do appreciate it! God bless. Kim. (Wakim98@yahoo.com)ReplyDelete
Thank you. Readers are the best encouragers!Delete
Kim, your comments are always so thoughtful! A lot of Christian fiction today seems light on the spiritual side to me, so I really appreciate the way Ruth's faith shines through in her writing. Glad to see you here, as always, Kim.Delete
Like to win this bookReplyDelete
Be sure to leave your e-mail address, Sheila. Thanks for visiting today!Delete
I enjoyed her testimony also. How true that some say the sinners prayer but never completely surrender their lives to Christ. Thanks for the giveaway and sharing the authors story. I have not read any of her books, and would love to read this one.ReplyDelete
As always Carole, fantastic job!
This is such a great interview.ni haven't read one of Ruth's books yet but A Heart's Rebellion sounds very good and look at that cover! I love it and hope to read it!nthank you for the giveaway!ReplyDelete
I am currently reading Moonlight masquerade. I love that book. Love this interview and would love to win a copy of this book.ReplyDelete
wwchildren at Gmail dot com
Ruth, I truly enjoyed reading your testimony of how you came to know the Lord, and also the interview. I think there is a vital difference between "religion vs. relationship." I look forward to reading about Jessamine's testimony in A Heart's Rebellion as she discovers the wonderful relationship that we can have as believers in Christ. Sounds like such an encouraging read. Blessings to you as you write! email@example.comReplyDelete
Would love to win this book it looks like a book I would truly enjoy readingReplyDelete
Tried this before & didn't work, so gonna keep it short. ;-) I enjoyed this interview & would love to win Ruth's book--thanks for the opportunity!ReplyDelete
vmarney at hot mail
Thank you, Ruth and Carole, for the interesting interview and giveaway!! I have a testimony similar to yours, Ruth, and appreciate books showing the spiritual growth of it's characters!! I would love to read "A Heart's Rebellion"!!ReplyDelete
I shared this post on Facebook and follow your blog and Facebook page, Carole!!
I too, enjoy others in the plot that might not be the main character and like to see them in upcoming books. Like finding an old friend! Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot comReplyDelete
I really enjoyed reading Moonlight Masquerade and am excited to read Jessamine's story. firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
And our winner is Auntrocker, entry #22! Congratulations! I hope you will enjoy A Heart's Rebellion and post a review if you do. I sent you an e-mail a few minutes ago.ReplyDelete
Thanks to all of you who have come by this week. I hope you will discover Ruth's wonderful stories if you haven't already. More reviews, interviews and giveaways are lined up, so subscribe by e-mail if you'd like to be notified.
Most of all, thank you to Ruth for taking the time to do this interview. I always find your books both entertaining and inspiring, and I hope you'll do this again. It has been a pleasure to have you with us, Ruth.