Friday, June 7, 2013

What inspires a great book? Meet author Jan Ruth

Today it's great to welcome Jan Ruth, author of romantic drama, who has kindly agreed to talk about what inspires her wonderful books. 

  As a writer I am often asked where I find ideas and inspiration; how do I start to build a whole new world full of make-believe people, and most importantly, just what are they going to do to make themselves so interesting?

I guess you could say, I have around forty years experience of make believe. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading, and writing. After a period of false starts, I realised that the craft itself had to be learnt and that has taken perhaps half of my lifetime to date. I am still learning and evolving, and always looking for new inspiration.

I am lucky to live in this part of the world. The Celtic history of North Wales is a powerful part of the landscape. Someone said that ‘the centuries of men’s hands on the same stones put the feeling into a place.’

My passion for the Welsh landscape and the day to day things that make me laugh, are just as important as the characters in my books, and I guess all of this is a part of me; and that is the part that the reader will hopefully connect to.

My mention of centuries and landscapes makes me sound as if I write historical fantasy! Far from it. Much as I admire many other genres I tend to be very rooted in truth and reality, and reflect a lot of my own life experiences. I am also a very slow writer; if I have an idea, I tend to incubate the seed over many months, and the characters always come first. During this period, I talk to myself a lot, but maybe that’s down to something else! That’s enough about me, what can I tell you about my books?

I write contemporary romantic drama; my three titles are all set in the local area. White Horizon is centered around Lake Crafnant, Midnight Sky is rooted in Rowen and my first novel, Wild Water, hovers between Conwy and Cheshire.

My main characters tend to be in the forty plus age group, and I write mostly about the complications of relationships. I guess they are love stories, quite romantic but never fluffy. There is always a touch of humour, quite often of the black type, and the odd murder, rape and manslaughter.

So, not the average visit to North Wales.

Jan Ruth
North Wales, UK.

About Jan Ruth

Jan was born in Bowden, Cheshire, and moved to North Wales in 1998, although she has always maintained a strong connection with the area from a much earlier age. Her feel for the Welsh landscape is evident in all of her books.

Jan started writing at primary school, winning prizes for poetry and short stories. Her first novel attracted a London agent, but failed to find the right niche with a publisher because it didn’t fall into a specific category- not quite light enough for romance but not literary fiction either, sitting somewhere between these two genres. Her second novel, again snapped up by a London agent; suffered the same fate. Undeterred, Jan has continued to write, believing her market is out there.

Excerpt from Wild Water:

Anna’s wedding day, the height of midsummer. Swallows and larks darted over the rolling heather on the wild moorland above Gwern Farm.

   She climbed the long rocky track from Rowan up to Llangelynin Church, this was on the site of an old Roman road, and in places so remote as to be almost inaccessible. The dogs scrambled on ahead, tails high and noses close to the ground, exploring this unfrequented walk with unbridled enthusiasm, running back and forth with impatience. The climb was steep and Anna needed to keep stopping for water.

   Presently, she came to the little stone built church and lay on the rough grass amongst the bilberry bushes and the slowly browning heather. There was no need to go inside. This was an ancient, consecrated place and Anna felt its spirit embraced not only herself, but everything she could see for miles and everything she could feel, both inside and out.

   Old Farmer Jones called it Hiraeth. There was no word quite like it in the English language, some Welsh just didn’t translate well, but Anna understood it fully, as she lay on that remote hilltop with the wind tearing at her clothes, and a curlew crying over the marshes.

WILD WATER is the WINNER of the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy 'Most Popular book' Competition 2011. Also listed in the 2013 eFestival of Words Award Nominations!


How can we harness the future if the past will not set us free? An emotive story of love, loss and letting go.



A dramatic story of forgiveness, family and friendship; set in the Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia.
On-off-on lovers Daniel and Tina return to their childhood town. After twenty-five years together, they marry in typically chaotic fashion, witnessed by old friends, Victoria and Linda who become entangled in the drama, their own lives changing beyond recognition.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Billy. I'm glad you like Jan's great post

  2. Great to meet you Jan! I enjoyed the excerpt and think I would like the settings of your books. I recently vacationed to Ireland and loved it, so I'm am intrigued. Thanks so much Katheryn for having Jan. Best of luck.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    1. Thank you Paul. I've never been to Ireland, but I'd love to go there one day.