Interview with M. L. Ruscsak , Author of “The New Reign (Of Lite and Darke Book 1)”

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

Personally I’m not, nor do I ever plan to be. I tend to write how I speak rather than use proper anything. Now my editor who believe it or not is my teenage daughter… now she is the grammar Nazi. It has to be completely right before it will pass her inspection.

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

II have always been a fan of the supernatural and fantasy type movies and books. For me it is much more interesting to write about people that can basically so anything then to write about a character that has to figure something out just using their wits. However, I do still love to read those kinds of books.

How important is research to you when writing a book?

The only research I tend to do is the meanings of names. It is very important for me when writing about mystical creatures and such that their names have some link to their abilities no matter how remote.

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

Prior to 2011 I wrote everything with pen and paper then transferred it to the computer. However because of medical reasons hold a pen is something that I cannot fully do, I now solely rely on the computer and sometimes on voice command prompts.

What inspires you to write?

I would have to say dreams and my husband. Usually he will say something completely related to a very serious discussion. Whatever it is will then be tossed around with in my mind sometimes for a few hours or a few days. Then I start relating that phrase or thought to something completely off topic. After that, it may become a novel or some creative writing project. With me, one can never be too sure.

How often do you write?

I write something every day. It may be a few lines to a book that I am working on. It could be a creative writing piece that allows my mind to wonder. Or it could be something completely random. But unless I’m unwell I write constantly. My mind is always in motion coming up with ideas.

How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?

Starting a new writing project comes naturally. Finishing it on the other hand is a completely different story. I have files on disk from things that I have started and have yet to finish. One day, they well all be complete, or at least I hope they are.

 

Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

Absolutely not. I find when you say you have to complete “X” amount of words by this time… your mind fills with everything not related to whatever you are writing. In turn, what does get to paper is then rubbish and needs a complete rewrite. However, by saying ok I have one year to complete this book my mind can wonder and the story will come out naturally.

Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?

Complete truth for as far as I know. Growing up I always preferred to be mostly alone or in very small groups. As I have gotten older those groups have become much smaller and tighter. Even in family gatherings I may chime in on occasion but I’m not really comfortably. I love my family but personally I prefer small gatherings to big functions.

Do you think writers have a normal life like others?

There’s a normal? In all seriousness life is what you make it. If you want that 9-5 job with the house and white picket fence, that’s great. Some writers even may be able to set a time everyday that is their “work” time. I can’t. If inspiration hits me, I have to write. If I need to go to the store, I’m going to go to the store. I live for now not for normal.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

In this, I’m odd. I always write the last chapter first. How I get there I have no clue until I write it. But everything I do write has one thing in common. It’s all about perception and what the reader chooses to believe.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

When I’m not writing or I’m stuck on problem within my story then I read. And if I am reading I won’t stop until the book or series is complete. As in the Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop. I have read all the books at least two dozen times and have already replaced three of them because of how worn they have became.

Other authors I enjoy can range from Jessica Day George (Yes I know she writes children’s books), Kiera Cass, Victoria Aveyard, and Catherine Asaro just to name a few. There are many other authors that I enjoy but they are too many to name.

Have you ever designed your own book cover?

I designed the original cover for “The New Reign” but when I couldn’t get it to come out perfect my editor took over. However I did design the cover for the second book in the series.

Do you attend literary lunches or events?

I have not however if one was close to where I live I would go in heartbeat.

Do you read and reply to the reviews and comments of your readers?

I do. I find it very important to communicate with my readers. It could be a simple thank you for the e-mail. To addressing any question they may have about the book. If I don’t have an answer at the time I will send a second correspondence after I have an answer.

Does a bad review affect your writing?

Not at all. I get not everyone is going to fall in love with my work. That’s fine. But I do write for those who do enjoy the story and I will continue to write for them.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Do not take no for an answer. If you believe you wrote the best book that you can then publish it. Even if that means doing so yourself. Don’t be afraid to submit it to the big name companies. What’s the worse they can do? Say no?

Take that “no” and prove them wrong. Let that be your fuel to write something truly magnificent.

Do you read any of your own work?

I reread my first novel all the time. I have to just to make sure The next installment lines up with it. Truthfully I think the second and third book will make the first much easier to read.

Do your novels carry a message?

That depends. On my currently published novel “The New Reign” I didn’t put much though into a message. However, in the following ones readers may or may not pick up on one. Again, it will depend of how they read the story and whom they choose to believe.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I don’t make myself as a character but I do but my emotions into the story. If I happen to be having an awesome day then whomever I am writing about will have good things come their way.

But if I’m upset or in pain. Then so is those in the story.

Are there any books that you are currently reading and why?

Not at the moment. I do have the “Red Queen” series waiting for me but I can’t write and read at the same time.

Have any new writers grasped your interest recently?

I don’t know how new they are but Victoria Aveyard and Renee Ahdieh have caught my attention.

Who are your books mostly dedicated to?

Anything I write is dedicated in some way to my Husband who is my muse. My daughter who is my editor. My mother who reads almost every word even before my daughter. And my grandpa who raised me.

Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?

All around my family is supportive. My husband encouraged me to get my work published. However my mom has been reading my stories since I was still in school. Without both of them I wouldn’t have been able to write my first published work.

Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?

I have a muse. I write so much better when my husband is near me then I do when we are a part.

Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?

For me this is a loaded question. As I think, it has a lot to do with not only the state of mind of the poet or writer but also on what is happening in the world that they live in. If the writer lives in fear and despair with no help, friends or anything then the possibility of becoming a stereotype becomes a high probability.

Where as a writer who has a good supportive family and friend. Or who just likes to write as a way to release themselves is no more a harm to themselves then they are to anyone else.

Again it all depends on the individual and their inner strengths.

Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?

From my personal view, it’s so far from the truth. My husband and I are both live on a fixed income. We are constantly finding ways to save money. I wish I had the money that people think authors automatically have.

From all that we have been hearing and seeing in the movies, most writers are alcoholics. Your views on that?

Again this a stereotype. I don’t drink, don’t smoke or do anything else for that matter. Neither does my husband. Nor do want to. We talk about it but why? There is nothing there for us, so we don’t.

Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?

I would love to travel or even take a long walk somewhere. Realistically I get outside long enough to take care of my chickens. And maybe sit with them for a bit.

Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?

I don’t. and if I’m being honest I highly doubt until my daughter edits it that my final draft is word-perfect.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

I was lucky. I didn’t try to submit it to the publishers until I published it myself. After selling a handful of copies then I submitted it to Dream Big Publishing and it was picked up right away.

Have any of your books been adapted into a feature film?

Not yet but I do hope to see it made into either a film or t.v series. Of course a video game would be good too.

They say books die every time they are turned into a movie; what do you think?

As I have seen several movies that were books firs I have mixed fillings about this. It seems to me the movies that have the original author on set and working behind the scenes are much better in the presentation then those that the author had no part in.

Personally if my novel “The New Reign” became a movie I would have to help with everything .This is my baby so to speak and no one would know better than me on how I see it in my own mind. But that is me.

Which of your books took you the most time to write?

I have a novel that is yet to be published that I started and finished the first draft to back in 2003. I am currently re-writing it in a finished manuscript in hopes of getting published.

Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?

Of course I do. I am a firm believer of never having too much marketing.

Are you “there” where you wanted to be?

Not yet. I have two goals then I can say I’m “there”. First off is to be a bestselling author. And secondly getting the series made into a movie.

What do you do in your free time?

Free time? I’m a mother and wife free time is hard to come by. However, I do enjoy playing video games and watching the Hallmark channel movies.

How do you feel when people recognize you in public and appreciate your work?

I love praise don’t get me wrong, but I would much rather hear why they like the book. Or their thoughts on the next one.

What is your motivation for writing more?

I started writing “The New Reign” knowing it was going to be a series… so my motivation is completing what I started.

Are you friends with other writers?

I have a few Facebook friends that are authors. And yes I have read some of their works… but no I have no close friends that have published anything.

Do you keep a diary?

No. I cannot keep a diary to save my life. I have tried several times and I either forget about it after a week or burn it in the fire pit. It is waste of time for me.

Do you think you still have a story to tell to the readers?

Oh, I have lots of stories to tell it’s just a matter of getting them all to paper.

What does the word ‘retirement’ mean to you? Do writers ever retire?

You know my husband is always saying we need to retire. I’m not sure how to do that. I need to do something at all times. If not writing then needle point and working with yarn.

Was there a time you were unable to write, At All?

There was. In 2011 I became deathly ill and required surgery. Now I won’t go into detail unless someone really wants to hear all of it. But post surgery I was unable to do simple things. My keyboard was like a foreign object from outer space. It took a good amount of time to relearn it. But writing was my first skill to come back completely.

How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?

My husband took me and our daughter out for a steak dinner. We even did our “raising of glasses” in toast.

Do you prefer writing over reviewing the work of others?

Oh I love writing but if someone asked my to review their works I would happily do so. However if I don’t like the book I will write them and tell them rather then submit it.

How critical are you in your evaluation when you are reviewing someone’s work?

That depends if the author wants a completely honest review or just a glossed over opinion. As I am comfortable doing both. I prefer however being completely honest in a private e-mail and then making a formal review for wherever they need it for. Either way I will not submit it until the author knows my thoughts.

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

I have a such a wide range of books within my library. From those made for school age children to historical fiction. Fantasy and sci-fi to cookbooks. Really I will read almost anything.

Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

All the time. Every draft after I write the second copy is placed in the fire pit. The only draft I keep is the completed one that is sent to the publisher.

Can you tell us about your current projects?

Currently I am working on the third book in the “Of Lite and Darke” Series. This a collection of  roughly four short stories that will all tie into the last book.

In addition I am writing my novel from 2003 in hopes of getting that one published as well. However, that one is not a fantasy and does carry several messages and a few life experiences.

When can the readers expect your next book in print?

I’m hoping this winter before Christmas but it could be as late as next year.

Did you ever change sentences more than five times just because it didn’t hit the right notes?

All the time. My husband can tell you how frustrated I can get while I’m writing and the wording isn’t coming out right. I have been known to take a full week just to get one sentence penned the way that I want.

Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?

How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?

I have one daughter who is autistic. Writing , editing and anything computer comes so naturally to her. It’s the reason that she is my editor. I can trust that she will not only make sure it’s right but also makes sense. Doesn’t’ hurt that she has no filter and will tell me exactly what she thinks of a chapter no matter how “hurtful” her opinion may be.

How possessive are you about your work?

I am very possessive over my work. This is my baby so to speak. I created it, I nurtured it and sent out to the world.

How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?

For some e-books are great. For those that have already downloaded my e-book. Thank you. However, for me I have to feel the pages being turned. Smell the ink on the paper. And really see the book in my hands in order to truly enjoy it.

I really thinks the younger generation is missing out by buying traditional books. They lose some of the magic when you read it off a screen. But That’s me.

Do you encourage your children to read?

I don’t have to. My daughter would prefer a book to doing anything else. My trouble is keeping her up to date on books. She tends to pick a series and not leave it for months on end.

Do you have a library at home?

We don’t have a formal library but we do have several bookshelves all dedicated to different types of books for easy reference.

Have you ever written fan-fiction?

I have. It is the only creative writing that I can do to clear my mind from writers block. Currently I have over twenty fan-fiction stories mostly unfinished.

Do you read the fan-fiction your fans write online? And do you enjoy it?

I would love to see what fans think of. It’s really neat seeing how different people who read the say story come up with different ideas. Who knows I may even reach out to them.

Do you mentor?

If someone asked I most certainly would make the time.

Have you ever made a fake account to interact with fans over comments online to get some insights?

You know I have never thought about that. No, I don’t need to do that. My daughter keeps me well informs me about anything she reads on the computer.

 

 

How long do you take to write a book?

It depends. Both the first and second book for “Of Lite and Darke” series took just over year to write. The third one seems to be taking a lot longer.

Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?

Of course not. Personally I have translated the first book into six languages and submitted them to the publisher for printing. I think having a book in more languages gives more readers a chance to read it and experience it.

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