What do you think of when you hear forests, fairies, wonder, and magic? Fantastic fantasy novels? Us too! Maybe…Ireland? Us too! Luckily for us all, with us today we have an expert on both subjects! Ruth Frances Long lives in that wondrous country across the pond that often makes Americans who visit think magic may actually exist after all. Maybe that’s how Ruth was able to write such a wonderful book, The Treachery of Beautiful Things! Before you delve deep into the mystery and enchantment of her novel, though, come along with us and learn more about Ruth!
Name: Ruth Frances Long
Novel: The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Available: 16th August 2012
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Soooo many options. I love so many authors, but I’m going to go back to a childhood favorite whose work informs just about everything I write – Susan Cooper (And I still had to pick between her and Alan Garner!)
What’s your favorite thing about your book? Blending legends and folklore to make something new, especially the scene with Jack and Wayland.
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? This was also tough. Initially I thought Robinson Crusoe, because he’s been there, and knows how to survive. But if I remember right, he’s really whiney. Then –speaking of whiney— I thought Emma, so I could hit her over the head with a coconut repeatedly, but she’s feisty and might hit back and I’d lose. Then I thought The Three Musketeers (I ADORE the Three Musketeers) but there are three of them and I couldn’t just pick one). Peter Pan. No, wait, Robin Hood…
Where do you write? I have a Sheldon Cooper-esque corner of the sofa in our living room. It has a huge pile of cushions, a perfect view of the tv and access to the coffee table. I also write in bed but only longhand. I also write sitting outside my daughter’s ballet class, in the car (when it’s parked) and anywhere I can grab a few minutes to write. I don’t have a fixed workspace really. Or a fixed routine. Or a fixed anything!
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Again I had to make a choice between two. Eleanor of Aquitaine or Gráinne O’Malley. I’ve gone with Gráinne or Grace, an Irish chieftain and pirate from the 16th Century. First of all, she’s Irish, like me. She was known as the She-King (there was no Irish word for Queen), widowed as a young woman, remarried, divorced her new husband under Irish law by taking over his castle, locking him out and shouting “I dismiss you” from the window. She captained ships, traded internationally, was involved in revolutions, hostage taking, and countless battles, both physical and political. She sailed to London to petition Elizabeth I—the two women were close in age—and they came to an agreement which restored Gráinne’s lands to her and removed all charges of treason and insurrection. She stunned the court, won the respect of the Queen and the stories about her visit are very entertaining (they had to search her and remove a dagger which she claimed she only carried for her own protection). She died the same year as Elizabeth and is part of an Irish tradition of powerful women, doing their own thing. Yes, I’m slightly obsessed with her.
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I tweet rather a lot, some might say too much, as @RFLong. The funniest thing is probably something my cat did(the Patchwork Cat, because he was once so ill he had to be put back together), or things my kids say. Twitter is all about the conversation so quite often the funniest things develop. Once my friend and fellow author Kate Johnson was tweeting about her dog walking into a room with her three cats in a scene like something out of a western. Which then developed into the story of a western (Cat playing the piano hits a bum note and freezes, barman cat puts down the glass he was polishing and reaches under the bar for a gun…) which I finished with the dog saying “I’m looking for the cat who shot my paw.” There were a lot of groans, but I couldn’t resist.
What is your favorite season? Summer. What little we get of it in Ireland. Lasts about a day. Then it rains again.
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? (Resisting the urge to type home to bed.) The Ridgeway between the White Horse at Uffington and Wayland’s Smithy – one of the most perfect places in the world. But can I please pick the weather (sunny) and the company too?
Do you have any writing rituals? There never seems to be enough time for rituals. But I do like to use certain types of paper (can’t describe them, it’s down to how they feel) and my good ink pen if writing longhand.
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Family, friends, sunshine, good food, laughter.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Leonard Cohen in the grounds of Lissadell house, Sligo – an open air performance with Ben Bulben in the background. As the sun went down, the lights from the stage became more and more magical. And of course, his voice is incredible, his lyrics sublime, the music wondrous. I was with my best friend for her birthday and we had a ball.
What are you currently working on? I never focus on just one project until I’m quite a way into it so my projects tend to be a bit scattered. It gives me the opportunity to pick something that interests me today and work on that rather than forcing myself to work on something that doesn’t seem to be flowing. When I have a deadline or something is really working however, it’s a different matter and other ideas will be put aside.
I’m currently working on a space opera with hints of pre-revolutionary France, a book set in a magical library (I am a librarian by day so I’m having to keep a check on how many in-jokes I slip in), jotting down some ideas for a high fantasy and maybe another book about Jenny and Jack. Maybe.
Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us, Ruth!
Add THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!