December 12, 2011

Q&A with Author Ruth Douthitt


Today I’m interviewing a good friend of mine, Ruth Douthitt, author of The Dragon Forest, a fantasy novel for middle-school children.

I’ll split the interview into three parts: her writing journey, some fun get-to-know-her questions, and her bio.

Come say hi to Ruth and get to know her! Also, post a comment here by Tuesday night for a chance to win a copy of her book (be sure your email address is available on the post so I can get ahold of you should you win!).



RUTH’S WRITING JOURNEY

Tell me about your writing journey and your first book, The Dragon Forest.
I first thought of writing a children’s book back in 1989. Since I am an artist, I thought of combining my artistic talent with my love of writing to develop a picture book for little kids. I thought of two boys (one a prince and one a pauper) who enter into a mysterious forest and meet a dragon. I put the idea away for many years and then in 1997 when I took it back out, I realized I wanted to write a children’s chapter book for middle school kids instead.

By 2004, I was enrolled in a creative writing course at ASU and discussed my book with my professor who encouraged me to continue working on it and how to outline the story. I decided then to make the book about Prince Peter entering The Dragon Forest to save the kingdom. With the outline completed, I was able to finally finish the book in 2008. It was released through OakTara Publishing in 2011.

[Note: You can buy the book at Amazon.com (both print or Kindle versions), at barnesandnoble.com, or through the publisher’s web site.]

So, I hear know you are working on a new YA series, The Warfare Club. What was your inspiration for this series?
When I was a stay-at-home mom and working part time, I would visit the public library on a regular basis for books and movies. Since I was finished with first book in The Dragon Forest series and the second book was started, I thought about what I wanted to write next and felt a book for teens would be best since my son is a teenager in high school. I happened to wander over to the YA section at the library and noticed a lot of paranormal books/graphic novels for teens focused on vampires, werewolves, and witches. It concerned me that there wasn’t much for a Christian teen who likes books of a similar genre, but not so much about evil. This led me to develop a story about the supernatural battle between good and evil over the souls of God’s children. Later that year I started working with teens at our church, so it was perfect that now I had contact with my target audience, a chance to teach them God’s Word, and knowledge of the issues teens are facing today. The Warfare Club came together rather easily. I explained the synopsis to my two teenage nieces who were really interested in the storyline. That gave me encouragement to go forward with the books!


GET-TO-KNOW-HER QUESTIONS

Would you rather eat Mexican food or Chinese?
Well, since I am Mexican, my favorite food is Mexican food! I especially love cheese enchiladas. My nana Ruth made the best enchiladas Sonoran style. Very spicy, but delicioso! But my second favorite food is Chinese food. 

What relieves your stress?
I love to exercise. Running is my favorite thing to do to relieve stress. When I run, it is my alone time to think, work out problems, construct scenes to write later, or just enjoy the scenery around me. I also love hiking and cycling too. If I can’t exercise due to weather, I’d say the next best stress reliever for me is reading a good book. I prefer non-fiction books like historical accounts, biographies or memoirs.

What’s the best date your hubby’s ever taken you on?
My husband of 23 years has always been very good at romantic stuff. He’s the best at it! I’d say the best “date” he ever took me on was a summer day trip to Flagstaff, AZ where we ate breakfast, toured some sites, hiked in the mountains, walked around Northern Arizona State University, and then ate dinner at a nice restaurant before heading home to our 3-year-old son. It was a very relaxing day for us. We felt like and acted like honeymooners that whole day.  Very romantic.

Would you rather visit the Rockies in winter or California in summer?
California in summer! I do not ski, so the Rockies in winter wouldn’t be much fun for me. California in summer, however, means beaches, Disneyland, etc. Fun!!

Favorite holiday tradition?
For me, my favorite holiday tradition is Thanksgiving night. After dinner is done and the guests leave, we sit by the fire and watch the first Christmas movie of the season while eating pumpkin pie knowing that the next day is decorating day and the start of the Season. My favorite time of year!! Gives me that warm feeling in my tummy.

You’re locked in a room for a week and only allowed three items (no people allowed!). What are they?
Well, if I there’s wi-fi I’d bring my laptop to write…my Bible to read and glean ideas from…and my cell phone to call people or to surf the internet!  If no wi-fi then I’d bring a notebook to write in instead of my laptop.  I find it’s best to jot down ideas as they come because I tend to forget them later on. It would be a pleasure to just write for a whole week without interruptions!


RUTH’S BIO

My name is Ruth A. Douthitt, and my life took a turn for the better when I returned to college in my late thirties to complete a B.A. in Visual Art from ASU as well as a Master’s in Education from University of Phoenix. After teaching college part time, I decided it was time to complete my first book after working on it for almost 20 years. Our son grew up reading C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien which served as my inspiration for my own bildungsroman-type, fantasy adventure book designed to inspire boys everywhere to go out and make their own adventures happen. The Dragon Forest is part one in a three-part series of adventure books about knights, castles, and the dragon realm. Now working in curriculum development as well as teaching teenage girls in church youth ministry, my desire is to write both non-fiction as well as fiction for teens based on youth issues today.  I live in Phoenix, AZ with my husband, and our teenage son who still inspires me to tell my stories for others to enjoy. For more information on my books, please visit  www.thedragonforest.blogspot.com.

Contact Ruth at artbyruth@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter (@RuthADouthitt).

The Dragon Forest
No one has entered the mysterious forest and lived. Ten-year-old Peter might be the Prince of the kingdom of Illiath, but he feels pretty useless. His father is too busy running the kingdom to have time for his son, and his mother is dead. Now the forces of the evil Lord Caragon threaten war, and only one weapon can save the kingdom: the powerful scales of a dragon. Illiath lies at the edge of a mysterious forest ruled by a fierce Dragon the King has sworn to protect. But what if Peter can best the dragon and bring back the scales? As Peter and his horse, Titan, plunge into the trees, he has no idea of the surprises awaiting him..... A fantastical adventure for the young-and all those young at heart.



Thanks for being my guinea pig interviewee, Ruth! I can’t wait to read your next book in The Dragon Forest series and to see where your Warfare Club series takes you.

Your Turn: Do YOU prefer Mexican food or Chinese food? And what’s the most romantic date your significant other has ever taken you on?

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Ruth! I look forward to reading her book (added to me wish list).

    I really like both food, but I think Chinese MAY win? But I have been craving it lately so I think that is influencing my decision.

    Best date??? not sure, everyday is wonderful with my hubby. He is amazing, but I guess one date that really stands out is when he surprised me and bought us tickets to the musical Annie. He had never seen it (and really had no desire to) but he knew I loved Annie as a child, so he took me to dinner and then surprised me by going to the PAC. It was great!

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  2. Fun interview, Lindsay! Thanks for introducing Ruth. :)

    I'd say I tend to favor Mexican, unless it's going up against PF Chang's. :)

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  3. Hi Lindsay and Ruth. It is a pleasure to meet you. I am visiting for the first time and enjoyed the interview very much. I like what inspired you to write YA.
    As a parent of teens, I know what you mean. My kids love to read but don't want to read about vampires and werewolves. It has been a challenge to find them books they like. If I can't provide Christian ones then they stray into the open market and you never know what they end up reading.
    So, from parent to parent, thank you. I will look into your books asap!

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  4. Oops! I forgot to mention I like chinese food!

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  5. TC- I love musicals! Annie is such a fun one. That's so sweet of your man to take you!

    Sarah- I don't blame you. I love PF Chang's! Sooo good.

    Jodi- Thank you so much for visiting! I'm glad you liked the interview. :)

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  6. I just have to tell Ruth that the Rockies in winter are a lot of fun! There's more to do than skiing! How about a sleigh ride? Or a sled ride (one pulled by Huskies)? Or tubing in the snow? Or snowshoeing -- believe me, you aren't cold!
    OK, back to your questions:
    I love both Mexican and Chinese, but the Mexican has to use corn tortillas because of my gluten allergy. Sigh.
    And my most romantic date? Tough question. My husband's good at this. For a belated 25th wedding anniversary (there's a story there) we went to the Riviera Maya for 10 days. Bliss. Absolute bliss.

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  7. You know, Beth, I don't think I've never been to Colorado in winter...only summer. So my immediate thought was also about skiing. Awesome to know there are more things to do there!

    And that sounds like an amazing trip!

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  8. Hello Beth! You know, I am a native of sunny Phoenix, AZ...so any activity in the cold wouldn't be too fun for me. But I will try Colorado in winter one of these days, I promise! Even if I have to stay at the ski lodge and drink cocoa. ;)

    Jodi-hopefully your kids will like my book when it comes out...someday! Thanks for visiting!

    And i do love PF Chang's...my husband and I eat there all the time.

    Blessings,
    Ruth

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  9. Lindsay & Ruth - It was such a pleasure to meet you both at the ACW conference. It's always great to learn more about the writers we meet. I believe turnabout is fair play - Ruth, time to put the heat lamp on Lindsay! Blessed to have met you both and look forward to great work from you both! Blessings - Matt Patterson

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  10. Thanks for commenting, Matt! It was awesome meeting you as well. :)

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  11. And thanks to everyone who commented! Jodi won this book giveaway. I'll have more interviews and giveaways in the future so you'll have another shot then. :)

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