Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Interviewing Jamie C. Ruff

Today we have another Indie Writer as our guest, Mr. Jamie C. Ruff.  Jamie has helped me immensely with editing and revisions in my own stories, and has a diverse field of experience as well as the ability to make you wonder if the story is true or simply fiction.

Ann:  Welcome to my blog, Jamie.  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.  I hope you have as much fun with it as I do.

Jamie C. Ruff:  I’m sure I will. Thank you for this opportunity.

Ann:  So, how did you get started in your professional writing career, and how long have you been a professional writer?

Jamie C. Ruff:  I graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in May 1984 and got my first reporting job that October.  I worked at several newspapers.  I had grown unhappy with my job and was in prayer for God to lead me.  I got laid off almost five years ago, and you can’t get a better sign than being let go.  I knew in my heart it meant I should pursue my dream, goal and desire of being a writer, and that’s what I’ve done.

Ann:  There are many elements involved with the writing process.  What is it about writing that you enjoy the most?

Jamie C. Ruff:  I enjoy everything about writing. I love creating characters… describing feelings, scenes; putting the story together.

I’ve taken to telling people that writing is a lot like chess: with every move there are a thousand different directions you can go in.  Some of them are brilliant and some of them are pretty stupid.  That’s why you always have to think hard and think ahead.

Ann:  I know that you once worked for the Richmond Times Dispatch.  How different is your newspaper writing experience from writing your novels?

Jamie C. Ruff:  Well, contrary to what people think, when you’re a reporter you really have to stick to the facts, and what you don’t know you can’t make up.  When you’re a writer you can fill in the blanks… make the story end like you want.  With journalism, what happened is what happened, and that’s what you write – that’s it!
Colby Black: From Slave to CowboyReinventing the Uninvented Me
Ann:  You have two eBooks already out -- Colby Black: From Slave to Cowboy and Reinventing the Uninvented Me (both available at Amazon.com)  These books are also varying in genre from each other.  What do you use for inspiration in your writing?  How do you start a project?

Jamie C. Ruff:  Yeah, one is a western and the other is contemporary.  I write what I like; whatever strikes my fancy.  An idea will occur to me and I’ll just start making notes.  Scenes will start to come to me.  Seldom does an idea come fully developed.  Sometimes I’ll start with the beginning, sometimes the end.  Sometimes I start somewhere in the middle.  I just start writing and fill every thing in as I go.  That’s not to say I don’t really have an idea what I’m going to do.  By time I’m about a third of the way through the book, I’ve usually decided generally what direction I’m going to take.

Ann;  Tell us about your newest project.  I want everyone to know that, while I don't normally read this genre, I enjoyed your book immensely.  But I will let you tell the readers can expect from you in the near future?

Jamie C. Ruff:  Well, my love for historical fiction led me to the book I’m finishing up.  By the way, thank you again for being gracious enough to edit it.  You did a great job.  The book is set in the 1960s and early 1970s and highlights the friendship between a white man and black man who served in Vietnam together.  They return home and try to maintain their friendship with the changing times as a backdrop.

Ann;  Do you have any specific goals for your writing?

Jamie C. Ruff:  My goal is to be a Pulitzer Prize winning author.

I like to tell people I want to be as prolific as Langston Hughes, my writing as raw as James Baldwin, as clean and powerful as Richard Wright, and as insightful as Ralph Ellison.

Ann;  Where can people go to contact you?

Jamie C. Ruff:  Unfortunately, I don’t have a webpage, so people can reach me through my email: ruffjamie@ymail.com

Ann:  How does your family react and feel about your writing?

Jamie C. Ruff:  Well, my wife has been wonderful. She has supported me emotionally and us financially since I got laid off so that I could concentrate on my writing.  I went from making a pretty good salary to making nothing—well, let’s say just about nothing.  I do freelance work, but there hasn’t been that much.  Overall my family has been supportive. I think they agree with me that it’s just a matter of time before it happens for me. I’ve been successful in the past, and if it’s meant for you, you will achieve it… and I know this is what God has for me.

Ann:  Every writer has their own struggles in life and in writing.  What are some of the more significant struggles that you have overcome to make it this far?

Jamie C. Ruff:  Well, not having money is certainly a difficulty. But I think the real struggle comes from having to wait for your success. You have to trust and believe – have faith -- even when you can’t see anything happening.

Ann:  Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you and/or your writing?

Jamie C. Ruff:  All I can say is listen to that little voice on your heart, in your mind… because that’s where you should be. That’s what I’m doing and that’s what you should do.

Ann:  Thank you so much for joining us.  I look forward to seeing your newest book published.  Maybe you can come back and share with us when it is ready.  Readers can also follow Jamie at the following links.

Keep an eye out for Jamie's upcoming novel The Peculiar Friendship!!!  

Here is my review of it:

The Peculiar Friendship is a powerful and moving story about two men in the Deep South during the Civil Rights Movement.  They are from opposite sides of the tracks, but are drawn together in an unbreakable bond while serving in Vietnam.  Becoming closer than brothers, these two men return from the war zone only to face the fight of everyday life in a changing country.

Jamie C. Ruff writes in a style that makes you wonder if these are based on real people or not.  His characters come alive in a blunt, brutally honest look into the lives of two men forever changed.  His style weaves the historical information into the fictional lives of characters that makes you feel an instant connection.  The emotions and situations are completely believable in an honest look of the friction and turmoil of America during the late 60's to 70's.

The Peculiar Friendship has drawn me out of my normal genre and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys engaging, life-changing stories of struggle and overcoming adversity.  It is a story that extends beyond the time in which it is written.  While I would not classify this as "chick lit," it has a power to it that will touch your heart.

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