Friday, December 19, 2014

Author & Book Feature: Ruth O'Neil ~ Belonging

I am happy to introduce to you author Ruth O'Neil. Ruth has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in dozens of publications as well as a few books. In interviewing Ruth, I discovered we had quite a bit in common. We even talked about how we are sharing something of a "Ruth & Naomi" experience as we are doing a blog swap. Ruth is visiting my blog today. I visited hers last Monday. 

Ruth loves encouraging others, and she describes herself as very loyal to her friends, even if they aren’t necessarily in return. Ruth said, "I love helping people and being there for them with a hug, a word of encouragement, or a little something to lift them up." I hope you'll enjoy getting acquainted with this prolific author and her writing.

Ruth, describe the genre of your writing so readers can be better acquainted with you, and tell us about your most recent book.

I write inspirational fiction. I love to make people laugh and cry. If they do, I know that I’ve touched them in some way.

My most recent book came out this past July. It’s entitled Belonging. After the death of her father, painfully shy and introverted Shelly finds her world turned upside down. She is forced to speak with people and she may even have to move from her comfortable apartment. Sorting through her father’s possessions at his house brings back many memories, including how they would research her mom’s genealogy so that in a way, she could get to know her mother’s family who are all deceased. Shelly wonders why her dad never researched his own family and she never remembers any family events. Why? She begins a journey that takes her to places she never dreamed. Throughout the entire story, God nudges Shelly to get out of her comfort zone. That’s easy for some, but for Shelly it may almost be impossible.

I've noticed we have several things in common. Besides the fact that we are both authors, we are also both veteran homeschoolers, and share interests in camping and hiking with our families. How have you managed to work writing into your full time career as a homeschool mom?

In a word…it ain’t easy! When my oldest child was getting ready to go to school, I looked forward to the day. In fact, I couldn’t wait for all of my children to be in school so I could spend my days writing. Well, as with many of my plans, God changes things. When it came right down to it, we just didn’t feel that we could send our kids to public school and we couldn’t afford private schools. Even though I really only get to write part time, it brings in enough money to feel like I’m helping out financially. We consider ourselves an income and a half family. 

As far as writing time, I learned long ago that small bits of time can be very productive. I do a lot of thinking when I’m doing menial chores around the house so that when I can actually sit down to write I can just scribble away what I’ve been contemplating. As the kids have gotten older, I find I have a little more time (not much, but some) for writing. But I never allow it to come before my family.

What are some of your most favorite places for outdoor adventure, and do these kinds of places or family activities ever make their way into your stories?

There is one campground not too far from home that we visit a lot. We are fortunate to live 30 minutes from the Blue Ridge Mountains, which gives us plenty of places to choose from for hiking. Our camping spot did make it into one of my books, Come Eat at My Table. Due to some financial circumstances the family decided to make camping their vacation one year and visit a lot of local historical sites.

It seems we also both enjoy mentoring aspiring writers. For those who may be starting a writing journey, tell us about the writers' forums you are involved with.

I have two different forums that I host. One is on breaking into freelance writing and the other is about writing a novel from beginning to end. I am actually using the novel forum and stretching it out teaching at a homeschool co-op. I am LOVING working with the kids, and some of them are sooooo talented. I can’t wait to see their finished novels. 

I have only been able to teach these forums locally, but I am in the process of developing them for online classes. The want-to-be writer will receive a lesson a week as well as personal mentoring along the way.

What is the most important word of writing/living advice or thought on your heart you'd like to share with readers today?

Do what you love. I am fortunate enough to have a job that I enjoy doing. When we go on vacation as a family, my work goes with me. (Can’t risk an idea being lost just because I’m not “at work.”) God has truly blessed me and our family by allowing me to write and do what I love on a daily basis. Not everyone can say that. But, if at all possible, do what you love.

Ruth O'Neil invites you to visit and learn more about her at:

1 comment:

Ruth O'Neil said...

Thanks for having me today, Naomi!