About Ruth O’Neil:
Ruth O’Neil was born and raised in upstate New York and attended Houghton College. She has been a freelance writer/editor for more than twenty years. She has published hundreds of articles in dozens of publications as well as publishing a few books. She has spent the last few years working in publishing, working closely with writers editing their books and preparing them for print. She helps writers learn about the publishing world through her writer’s forums. One of the things she enjoys doing most is helping others see their publishing dreams come true.
When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping, and hiking with her family.
What inspires you to write?
Everyday people and situations. I can be out running errands and witness a situation, hear a conversation and all of a sudden my mind is running with a new idea. I hope the reality of my books is what makes readers see themselves in my stories and keeps them coming back to read more.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am an organized person and my writing life is no different. I find that if I don’t organize and plan from beginning to end, my books go no where. I have a drawer full of unfinished manuscripts that started out unplanned. I need direction. This doesn’t mean that my stories can’t change along the way; I just need a guide of where I’m going.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t know if I actually hear voices or not, I try to put myself in my character’s shoes. I pay attention to real people who have similarities to my characters and watch how they react in certain situations. If something pops into my mind while observing, I quickly take notes.
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep at it. Writing doesn’t happen overnight. I once had a “writer” (and I use that term loosely) tell me, “I wrote my story last month. I don’t remember it anymore.” He thought he had a novel, and I had to keep myself from telling him he didn’t. I put a lot of time and effort into my books, so do many other writers. That’s what writing takes – blood, sweat, and tears. Most importantly, write because it’s what you love to do.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I worked with a local publisher. She was just starting out her business and wanted my books to help get her going. I tried going with bigger publishing houses, but most would not even respond to me, or if they did, they would not look at my work until I had more books out. I was already an established freelancer with plenty of writing out there. Most big publishers won’t give a puny author the time of day if they don’t think they can sell a million copies right away. I actually received this advice from a very nice editor who had just quit with a publishing company I had sent a manuscript to. Right now, I’m just working my way up.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s changed so much in the last few years and I see constant change for the future. People have learned they can do a lot for themselves, sometimes better than a traditional publishing house can/will do for them. I just hope people don’t throw words together as fast as they can and put out their first draft. The market is almost becoming saturated with new authors and books. An author really needs to stand out of the crowd to make a difference.
What do you use?: Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Christian fiction
What formats are your books in?: Print, Both eBook and Print