Q: Today, I’m thrilled that we are joined by author Ruthann Jagge who has quite a few short stories out in the wild! If you can, I’d love if you can share a little bit about yourself and what types of stories you enjoy writing as well as which genres you write in?
A: Hi Sara, thanks so much for having me.
I’m originally from Upstate NY, but my home for twenty -five years is a cattle ranch in South Texas with my husband Mike and his animals. We share a large, blended family, so it’s never boring.
I write speculative fiction and horror, my work includes subjects and characters many readers consider somewhat dark, but I also lean towards folk horror and superstition in a lot of my stories.
I typically outline a character or creature, I connect to in some way, not always someone or something I aspire to be like, and attempt tell their story as it relates to a theme.
I do love a good retribution or revenge tale.
Q: What can you tell us about your latest release and where can we find it?
A: This is a fun one. I have a story included in a sensational 3-book collection, published by the dynamic Staci Layne Wilson, an author and film producer with a long career in the entertainment business.
“Rock and Roll Nightmares” is a wild romp through music, mayhem, with bites of horror.
The stories include cultural and band references from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
My story, “Tiny Danger” (Tiny Dancer, 1971) is featured in the 70’s edition.
The books are available on Amazon:
At Barnes and Noble:
The authors have also participated in fun podcasts as well, my segment with Jamie Roxx at Iheartradio:
There will also be a book signing at the famous indie bookstore,
“Dark Delicacies” in Burbank, CA. on August 22,2021.
Staci has also created a companion playlist for each era on Spotify, the 70’s is here:
Q: Speaking of your short stories, what is your favorite one that has been released, and what is it about?
A: I’d have to say my story in “Good Southern Witches” from Curious Blue Press, might be my favorite to date. It’s a diverse and intriguing collection, and my contribution to this book, “Criss Cross Girls” tells the story of “Birdie Montross” a young Texas water witch, carrying on a family tradition of sorts.
It’s inspired by actual events and local beliefs found in my ranching and agriculturally based community.
Q: Would you say that writing energizes or exhausts you?
A: It’s always exhilarating, sometimes to the point of exhaustion 😉
Q: Where were you born (and/or are you from) and how has that affected your writing?
A: Auburn, NY small town in the Finger Lakes region on Upstate NY.
The month of October is always magical and full of natural atmosphere with the changing of the season.
Pumpkins, apples, bonfires, and hayrides were all a huge part of my life growing up, along with Halloween celebrations lasting for several days, complete with homemade costumes.
I have seven siblings, and my parents always went all out, so it’s my favorite holiday!
I try to include a sense of “possibility” in my stories. I think my tendency to find horror and mystery in the everyday and in your own backyard, stems from my love of Autumn.
There’s something about the fading light of the season illuminating fields of corn, and the play of shadows through colorful maple leaves that inspires me deeply.
It’s like being in a painting and sometimes, it watches back.
Q: I know that you are currently working on a novel, without spoilers, what can you share about it?
A: My first solo novella, “The New Girl’s Patient” will be published in Jan. 2022 by D&T Publishing.
It’s about a young woman, hoping for a better life, who works at a facility for the elderly in a rural setting without many options.
She befriends a quiet patient, who leaves her a simple gift, not exactly what it appears to be on the surface. There are others with ulterior motives in the mix, and many dark secrets are discovered in the course of her struggle to survive a terrifying situation.
Q: There is also a collection in the works, is there a theme to it or any connectivity that readers can look forward to?
A: It’s been “suggested” by my beta-readers, mostly fellow authors, my novella mentioned above “should have” a sequel, and it may well happen.
I’m also working on the first book in a trilogy, more gothic in nature, with some very unusual characters.
There are a couple of directions it may go: I tend to create monsters of many kinds, both human and otherwise, and I end up loving and hating them all in the process.
I usually favor strong female protagonists, and I let them direct the course of the story once I start writing. I work with a rough outline, but sometimes their voices end up being stronger than what I have to say, so anything is possible.
Q: Outside of writing, you have quite a few passions that you’ve spoken about from cooking to travel and more! Which is your favorite?
A: I do love to travel, but it’s more challenging lately, and yes, I love to cook because I enjoy great food and company, I’m always up for feeding a crowd!
My favorite hobby, besides reading of course, would have to be sewing.
It’s another medium which allows me to create “something” from scratch, using textures and colors in fabric, not unlike words, to design an original finished product.
It’s also very calming, most days and projects, writing isn’t usually because I’m more emotionally invested, and it can be intense.
Q: Have any of your other passions played directly into your writing?
A: My extensive travel has for sure. I’ve been all over the world, before life and travel became more hectic, and the people I’ve met, stories I’ve heard, and the wonder of being in strange to me places has definitely expanded my appreciation for our world, as well as influenced me both positively and negatively. It’s amazing how willing humans are to open up and share if you’re kind and receptive without judgement or expectation. I’ve experienced some incredible things, from an emergency aircraft- landing in a rice field on the way to view the Terra Cotta Warriors in China, to exchanging sewing needles with Masai women in Africa, and I do draw from the memories of my experiences when I create and write.
I also love exploring the mythology and superstitions rooted in different cultures.
Q: What are your favorite author resources online, from websites to tools?
A: I did a mentorship last year with Crystal Lake Publishing. Joe Mynhardt and his team are awesome and have so much to offer. They have many opportunities for writers or aspiring, and the website is full of great info:
Lit Reactor has inspiring and comprehensive courses, along with lots of insight into the industry, and articles written by some of the most notable names in writing:
I love being a member of the Horror Writers Association, they bring the coveted “Stoker Awards” to the industry yearly, and offer mentorships, scholarships, a wonderful monthly newsletter full of new releases and author spotlights, and much more to the community:
My author, editor, and noted reviewer friend Candace Nola’s gorgeous site includes lots of entertainment and valuable info for anyone looking to learn more about the craft and business of writing. She also offers an affordable mentorship option:
Q: What inspired you to start writing?
A: I’ve always written and journaled, mostly about travels, but I entered a writing contest a couple of years ago. It was sponsored by a noted publishing house, but I didn’t know any better at the time, and certainly nothing about formatting or proper submitting. I randomly sent off my story and received the best rejection letter ever, encouraging me to “please keep writing.”
This was right before our lives changed with the pandemic, so I kept writing and submitting, collecting acceptance letters as well.
Q: Can you tell me about any author friendships that have grown over the years?
A: The community in the genre of speculative fiction and horror is nothing short of incredible in terms of the people involved, it’s very inclusive and welcoming as a whole. I’ve gained many friendships, and a few folks are among my most valued and trusted inner circle.
I think sometimes your “virtual” friends become as close or closer to you as “real life” people because you share common interests right from the start. I value all of my publishers highly, have some great author-buddies and readers, okay victims, in the UK and Scotland and elsewhere, as well as all over the US and Canada.
With video platforms like Zoom and Skype, we’ve been able to get to know each other personally and having these great folks in my life, has enhanced it greatly in so many ways.
I’m very rural, so to be able to message or text, or set up a Zoom chat at any time is truly a bonus, when my connectivity plays nice. Nothing like bouncing ideas off each other at 2am while my husband sleeps.
Finally, if there is anything else you would love to share with our readers, please do so here!
Being able to write and share an original story and have your words not only accepted, but actually read and enjoyed by others, is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.
I’m forever grateful to my author connections, my publishers, and for the support of my husband, family and friends, who don’t always “get” what I write or why, but still cheer me on.
My husband doesn’t even enjoy the genre, but he reads all of my stories and compliments me.
Everyone I am connected to in this crazy journey is invaluable and appreciated.
I do have a couple of amazing projects releasing later in 2021 so stay tuned!
They are “top secret” for now, but I’m humbled to be “invite to join forces with some authors I admire and read personally. I’m in awe of being included in these anthologies so I’m very excited.
Thanks for your great questions and consideration, I’ve enjoyed this interview very much!
You can follow Ruthann’s work on her homepage: https://ruthannjagge.com/
And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ruthannjaggeauthor