How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing with the goal of getting published since about 1987. It’s been a long journey, but one I’ve enjoyed immensely. I started out by co-writing a novel with another unpublished writer that I’d known for years. Since we lived in different cities, and ultimately different states, that became too difficult, so I gave that author the book and ventured out on my own. I grabbed whatever time I could during the day to put my thoughts and ideas down on paper, while also taking a two-year writing course to hone my skills. I ultimately became published in traditional romance in 2001 and in erotic romance in 2004.
Has writing always been something you wanted to do?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I began writing poetry in the third grade, then short stories in the fifth grade. In high school, I was part of a science fiction writing group (which is still my favorite genre to write). All of this was just for the love of writing, and I never really considered it as something that I would be blessed enough to be able to do professionally. However, after years of working a very stressful technical job, I began to explore the possibilities. Opportunities arose for me, I latched onto them, and I can say that I’ve never regretted the decision to write for a living.
Currently, I have more than 30 erotic romance e-books available — either through Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press, or self-published. More than a dozen of those are also available as print books. And if you search far and wide, you might come across a copy or two now out-of-print, non-erotic romance books that I wrote years ago.
Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?
When I first started writing, I wrote traditional romance. Now I write sensual to erotic romance stories. I have books in a variety of subgenres of erotic romance. Contemporary, historical, suspense, western, paranormal, science fiction. I love to write all types of tales!
I especially love to write series books and have several in progress.
My most popular series has been “Xylon Warriors,” which is about the lives of alien warriors trying to save their planet from invading enemies. As of today, four books are available in both digital and print forms — “Initiation,” “His Carnal Need,” “Flames of Arousal” and “Ecstasy Bound.” Two more books are planned for the future.
Don’t care for science fiction? I have an erotic romance suspense series called “Undercovers” about a group of police officers trying to protect their own. “Undercovers” is comprised of four novellas and is available as a complete collection in digital or print.
Hunky cops not your thing? I have a historical paranormal series, “Infernal Night,” which takes place in France. The first two books in the series — “Lord Viper” and “Craving Lady Starr” — are vampire stories which actually occur at the same time, so the books can be read in either order. The last two books in the series (not yet released) will be werewolf stories. All the stories are connected through the same family line and include a variety of shifters/creatures beyond just vampires and wolves. These two books are only available in digital format at this time, but they will be available in print in the future.
Don’t like paranormal? I’m currently working on the third book in my “Wanton” western historical series. The first two books — “Wanton Temptation” and “Wanton Surrender” — are available as e-books (with Wanton Temptation also available in print). Gunfights, murder and sex. Oh my! Gotta love cowboys, right?
These are just a few of my series. I have more. I also have quite a few single titles available.
How did you get inspiration for the characters?
I don’t really know how to answer this one. The characters just pop into my head. When I first started writing (just for fun), I’d usually base a character on someone I saw in a movie or on television. Now, I don’t base them on anyone. Each character is unique, and I learn about each of them as I write their story. I usually see a landscape first in my mind, then from that, a character suddenly appears. Just an image. Usually I see the hero first. As I write, I slowly uncover the layers of the character. The journey for me as a writer is a lot like the journey for the reader. It’s just that I get to do it first.
Are the books based on personal experiences?
Not at all. They are all made up out of my head. They’re adventures, some of which I might like to experience! But then, I do also put my characters through many trials that I would never want to endure. I have, once or twice, plucked a line of dialogue from my life, but that’s a rare case. When I write, I totally separate myself from my reality and dive into the fantasy.
Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?
Just don’t give up. It’s not an easy business. It’s full of uncertainty. You’re putting yourself out there for people to either praise or criticize. Often, even when you don’t feel like it, you have to trudge through the bad times to get to the good times. And there are more good times than bad times if you keep a level head and are realistic about the business.
Can you talk a little about the benefits of getting your work professionally edited?
My self-published sensual short stories were not professionally edited. They are short enough (less than 7,000 words) that I felt I could manage them on my own. However, all of my other stories were professionally edited, and I love my editors. Sometimes a writer gets too close to the story, and it’s easy to miss something. Other times, I’ll write something that one of my editors totally misinterprets, so I know that I didn’t do a good job in the writing. I would have missed those things without another set of eyes looking at it. The problem is, that as writers, we know our characters’ thoughts and feelings almost too well, and sometimes we forget that the reader doesn’t have that knowledge, so we have to be extra careful to provide enough so the reader understands the characters/stories, without so much that it gets boring. An editor will spot these things and more. I’ve had more than one plot hole brought to my attention and felt very thankful to have had the opportunity to fix it before the story was published.
Coming from a technical background, I haven’t had as many problems as some. The self-publishing part came a bit easier to me, because I didn’t need help with formatting, etc. Also, doing a website and setting myself up on the social networks, etc. was time-consuming, but there wasn’t that much of a learning curve. The harder part for me came when I was submitting to traditional romance publishers. When you’re getting rejected, you have to fight the self-doubt that comes along with it. If you don’t have a strong belief in yourself and your stories, it’s easy to give up. I kept trying, switched to erotic romance, and in the end, I wound up with two perfect publishers — Ellora’s Cave and Changeling Press — and I’ve been very happy with them.
How did you find time to write your books?
I’m lucky enough to be able to write my books full-time now (for the most part), so it’s not an issue. When I was working outside the home though, before I was published, it was rough. I would steal a few hours early in the mornings or work through my lunch hour and my breaks. It wasn’t easy, and it took a long time to complete anything.
Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?
I’ve always been a daydreamer. Writing allows me to get all those stories/images out of my head (there’s only so much room in there, you know?). Writing also allows me to be not only the good, but the bad and the ugly, too — in real life, you can’t really do those things without negative consequences. So, it’s an outlet for all kinds of emotions and a safe way to experience all sorts of adventures!
Several of my guests have often said writing is therapeutic and relaxes them. Can you talk a little about how writing relaxes you? Any specific examples you can share?
You know, I’ve heard so many writers say this. But, for me, that actually isn’t the case. I don’t know if it’s because, by nature, I’m more technical and so doing technical things is what relaxes me. To write, I have to first be relaxed. If I’m stressed, I can’t write. I can’t pour my own pain into the writing like so many can. Not in the moment. Maybe months or years down the line I can draw on those emotions, but only when they’re a safe distance away. Once I start writing, if it’s going well, then it revs me up and gives me a sort of high, no matter what type of scene I’m writing. Maybe I’m strange! It’s been said.
Has writing made you a better person?
I have no idea. LOL I don’t think I’ve changed from the person that I’ve always been because of writing. It’s certainly made me a happier person, so maybe in that way, yes, I’m a better person, because a happier person exudes better energy.
Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and why?
Yes, though I don’t get nearly enough time to do so. I have a mountain of books that I’ve started but not yet finished. My favorite genre has changed over time. When I was young, I really loved Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion®” series. I still have those books on my shelf today. When I got older, I liked the suspense found in horror novels and science fiction. Then in graduate school, I fell in love with the adventures in romance novels — at first only historical romance — but then all subgenres of romance. Now, I just want a good book. I don’t care what the genre is. I still tend to lean toward reading romance as that’s what I love to write. But I’ll read whatever catches my attention.
Can you talk about how important reviews are to writers?
Okay, this is strictly from a writer’s perspective here (not taking into account that I’m also a reader). On a professional/creative level, good reviews make writers feel better, which helps to motivate us to continue writing. Everyone wants to be appreciated and told that their hard work is worth something. On a business/monetary level, some book sites push books with more reviews to readers more aggressively than books without reviews, so reviews can definitely help visibility, which can increase sales for the writer, and that’s important in building a career.
Have you ever received a bad review? If so how did it make you feel?
Oh, sure. With as many books as I have out, if I had only good reviews, well, that just would seem a bit odd. Even the classics get bad reviews. Of course it doesn’t feel good, but it’s part of the business. My response to bad reviews varies. If a reader gives me a one-star review because my erotic romance book had too much sex in it, then I stick my tongue out and go on. If a reader gives me a one-star review because they say I have no plot, or a stupid plot, or cardboard characters, well, I have to think on that. Bad reviews can be helpful. As a writer, I always want to do better and grow with each book. In the long run, I just hope to receive more good reviews than bad ones.
Ruth D. Kerce was born in Oklahoma, where she first began to write romance as a hobby. Years later, after moving to Nevada, she became published in traditional romance. In 2003, she switched from writing traditional romances to writing erotic romances. Her first erotic romance novel was published in 2004.
Ruth writes in a variety of erotic romance subgenres. Her novels include science fiction, paranormal, contemporary, western historical and romantic suspense stories — with more genres coming in the future.
No matter the genre, she strives to include elements in each of her books that a majority of readers can identify with. She enjoys incorporating humor, suspense, snappy dialogue and lots of action. She loves her readers and hopes to be able to entertain them for years to come.
Find Ruth on the Internet