Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Ruth O’Neil was born and raised in upstate New York and attended Houghton College. She has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in dozens of publications.
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.
Ruth sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.
Her books include the What a Difference a Year Makes series titles, “Come Eat at My Table” and “Belonging.” She has also written “Real Food for Real Kids” a cookbook for children, a a devotional entitled “Whispers from God” with a friend. She has also published hundreds of articles and stories in dozens of publications.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Belonging” is the second book in the What a Difference a Year Makes series. (These are all stand-alone books so it doesn’t matter which one you read first. Different characters, different story lines, all taking place in one year.) This book has a lot to do with family and finding a place in the world. If I had to say what/who inspired it, I would have to say my mom. She did a lot of genealogical research on my family and I find it fascinating to see who I’m related to. In my book, Shelly doesn’t think she has any other family after the death of her father, so she picks back up one of their old hobbies and finds out more about herself than she ever imagined.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Probably the weirdest, I don’t even fully understand it in my own mind, is that I have to use one pen until the ink is fully gone. I don’t have a particular brand of pen, just when I pick a pen to use, I use that pen for its entire life. (Does that mean I’m loyal?)
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I read A LOT! So many authors and their books have influenced me over the years. It depends on where I am in my life at the time. One of the things that leaves an impact, is if after reading a book, I need to go and do more research on the topic. In my mind that makes something a good book. It made me care. It made me want to know more. It made me want to make sure the author was correct in their research.
What are you working on now?
My WIP is tentatively entitled “Lunch Ladies,” which will be part of my What a Difference a Year Makes series. I have been blessed with so many great friends over the years and some of the most memorable experiences seem to happen around food. The ladies in this book run the gamut of age and life experiences, but regardless of what those experiences are, they are always there for each other. I think this is lacking in society today. We are so self-absorbed much of the time that we don’t even see when one of our closest friends needs us. I hope this book changes that.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Word of mouth. That’s often how I decide to pick up a book.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just keep at it. It takes a long time to build yourself up. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself – I know, I hate it, too, but it is a necessary part of being a writer. I made myself talk to people throughout last year and it ended up in sales, so it works.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t be afraid to scrap something. It’s not worth it to spend time on a piece that isn’t going anywhere.
What are you reading now?
I read about a book a week, so this changes often.
What’s next for you as a writer?
More of the same. More new things. Promoting myself even more. Setting new goals and attaining them.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Favorites change over time and with more books read.