Ruth White bases her novel on her own mother’s early years in the Virginia mountains. Emerging from a heartbreaking childhood, Lorelei leaves Starr Mountain. As a teenager in the roaring twenties, she is dazzled by the carefree world of flappers and bobbed hair, the Charleston and the IT girl, Prohibition, and the notorious speakeasies. Most important she finds men who are handsome, well-bred, well-educated, and reek of old money. As a mere wildflower, she doubts she can ever compete with the exotic orchids in this new world. But after a sad visit back home she comes to realize her own power, which will help her break the cycle of hopelessness among the women of her family.
Targeted Age Group:
My fiction is realistic, which to me means authentic to the time, place and characters. I try to re-create the way of life in every detail. I am true to the voice of the main character, who is my narrator in first person, using her dialect and grammatical use of the language. I think this makes my work unique, not better than other fiction, because I have read some pretty terrific fantasy, but I think it’s the realism in my books that make them memorable.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
As a writer of young adult novels, I have often been invited to speak at schools. In this setting I tell the aspiring writers to Read! Read! Read!, then Write! Write! Write!
Ruth White grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, and went to college at Montreat and Pfeiffer, both in North Carolina. A former teacher and librarian, she now enjoys her roles as full time writer and grandmother. She lives in Hummelstown, PA.
I have been writing ever since I was able to string two sentences together, but I didn’t begin publishing until I was well into adulthood. I have written and published thirteen novels for young adults, including the Newbery honor book Belle Prater’s Boy. My most recent book – Diary of a Wildflower – is my first novel for adults. As a child I heard all the stories from my mother, so when the time was right, I had the book pretty well written in my head. It is told in the form of a diary in my mother’s voice from the age of four to eighteen.
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