My author interview for today is with someone I have come to know through LinkedIn originally, but also on Facebook where we exchange comments often and have a lot of fun doing so.
Ruth Ann Hixson
When did you know you wanted to become and author, and why?
About 40 years ago. My sister was taking courses to write children’s books. After reading a very poorly written book, I said, “I can do better than that.” I did not know where that decision would take me. I was 40 years old and I wrote my first book in a notebook. It’s never been typed but I still have it. It’s a post Vietnam novel written in a contemporary time frame. After numerous rejection slips I knew I needed a writing background. I wanted to take a creative writing course but since it wasn’t a credit course, my rehabilitation wouldn’t pay for it. So I went for the course in journalism. After all, that’s writing. At age 42 I went off to college to study journalism. After I graduated in 1988 with an Associate’s degree, I went to work at a newspaper. I still wrote in my notebooks over the years but I still couldn’t interest a publisher except Harlequin. They wanted a rewrite and I didn’t have time.
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
Too long ago. I can’t remember.
What was your biggest problem in writing your first novel?
Getting it typed. I had an old Underwood typewriter.
How long did it take you to publish your first book?
I had no luck trying to get my work published traditionally. In fact, for a while I gave up and quit writing. But I always had a book going on in my head. Then I began writing again. I wrote a series but I still didn’t hold out much hope of being published. Then along came the internet and e-publishing. Nothing has been the same since. My first book, a romantic suspense No Plans for Love, was published by me in 2012. Since then I have published five more: three mysteries, a western and an anthology of my poetry.
What is the biggest thing you have learned in the process of becoming an author?
Writing is hard work but I keep plodding along. Learning never stops. My writing style is constantly evolving. Another thing: you can’t take everything someone says in internet posts as gospel. I take what I can use and delete the rest.
What would you most like to see changed about your own writing, if anything?
I’m not sure how to answer that. I know my writing could use improvement but so can every writer’s. I just write the story and then edit it. Put it away for a while and edit it. I edit it again for grammar, typos and misspellings. I can’t afford to hire an editor. I know I should but before long summer will be over and we’ll have to buy heating oil again. And so the cycle goes.
What is your genre?
I have a few genres: Mystery/crime, western, romantic suspense, poetry and short stories. I have already published an anthology of my poetry–Poetry A to Z. I would like to do an anthology of my short stories.
How many books and poems have your written?
I can’t think of them all off hand. Perhaps 30. A similar number of poems. I have enough ideas to last the rest of my life and they keep coming. Such is the life of a writer.
Have you written anything else?
Of course. I worked for a newspaper. I wrote a weekly column, hard news (I used to do police reports) soft news (I was Lifestyles editor) medical news and anything else.
Do you have aspirations of your work becoming a movie?
I have no illusions that my books will ever be movies. I’m not saying they couldn’t be. In fact I think they would make good movies. I’m not even trying along those lines.
Do you have a biggest fan?
I can’t think of one except possibly my one niece who told me she read all my books.
How much time do you spend writing each day?
It varies. Some days I don’t write. I read. And I still must do the essential chores of cooking, laundry and such. My son usually does the sweeping and mopping.
Where do you like to write?
At my computer desk in the living room.
If you could go anywhere, where would you most like to go to write?
At my computer desk in my living room.
Are you an avid reader yourself?
Definitely. I always have a book I’m reading. I read novels, non-fiction, just about anything I find interesting.
Who is your favorite author (aside from yourself, of course)?
I have several: Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, Nora Roberts, Mary Higgins Clark and more.
What is your favorite novel from another writer?
I cannot say which is my favorite. There are too many.
What is your own favorite novel?
Of my own, I would say A Cowboy’s Love.
Do you have a favorite character in any novel, including your own, and why do you call this character your favorite?
I have read too many books and stories to have a favorite character. There are just too many options. Of my own published book, I would say Charley Hampton, the main character in A Cowboy’s Love. A lot of Charley’s character was based on my son.
Are there other writers in your family?
I have a nephew who has the ability but he prefers to garden. I told him he has the soul of an artist. His daughter has been interested in writing since she was about four.
When do you think your next book will come out?
I don’t know. This one is a little different in that it is a Christian mystery. The Title is One Man’s Loss.
Do you have any words of wisdom for future authors?
Don’t give up. Persistence pays.
Where can your readers and future readers contact you?
I have a blog page on WordPress at: newhopeinlove.wordpress.com
Where were you born?
I was born in my grandparents’ farmhouse in Lewis Township, Union County, PA.
Where did you spend most of your life?
Union County, PA
What experiences in life have contributed to your writing?
Oh, I have lots of experience to draw on. 71 years worth. Good, bad and indifference. In fact, I’m lucky to be here. When I was just over 1 year old, I drank coal oil. Daddy said when he carried me into the ER I was blue. He thought I was dead.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
There isn’t a lot to tell. I grew up on a farm. I graduate from Lewisburg High School in 1961. I worked in various jobs until I had elbow surgeries, both arms. Hence the rehabilitation to pay for my college. I graduated with an Associate Degree in Individual Studies, Mass Communications. I went to work at Park Newspapers until I retired.
I married Kerby Hixson and we had three children, two boys and a girl. My oldest son was killed in a shooting accident when he was 19. I was married 45 years when my husband died. My daughter lives about three miles away and we currently aren’t speaking. My other son, a confirmed bachelor, lives with me. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
Thank you for allowing us to learn more about you…
Ruth Ann Hixson, the author
It has been a pleasure to interview you. We will definitely be looking for more of those books that you said you have still in your head. God bless you.