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Monday, 6 December 2010

Author Interview with Ruth Wheeler

Ruth Wheeler has always enjoyed anything artistic from writing, drawing, sculpting, music, acting and even the martial arts. From a young age Ruth was praised for her creative writing and her teachers asked her to read her short stories in front of the school; which is not easy when you’re not the most outgoing pupil. Choosing a career path in the arts, she went on to do a degree in Fine Art at Solihull college. Graduating in 2002, she has since been paying the bills working as a graphic designer. After years of recreational writing, at the age of thirty, her debut novel was released.

Tell us about All Aliens Like Burgers in a few sentences.
   
All Aliens Like Burgers is a story aimed at teenagers and adults and tells of Tom Bowler - an intelligent, quiet young man who has barely ever ventured out of the small English town where he grew up. So when he applies for a job in a fast food restaurant at a “local” service station during his gap year he is rather surprised to discover that the vacancy is in fact based on Truxxe, a planetoid stationed between local galaxies Triangulum and Andromeda. He's surprised further still to find himself becoming friends with a purple alien and that he has strange feelings for his android supervisor, Miss Lolah. Tom soon discovers that Truxxe has many hidden secrets - just what makes it so special? And why is its terrain so rich and varied that it can be used for fuelling such a diverse variety of intergalactic spacecraft? What are the Glorbian space pirate brothers Schlomm and Hannond plotting? And just what is it that they put in those burgers?

How did you come to write this particular book?

I was inspired to write All Aliens on a stop at a motorway service station one summer. They are a world in themselves – so generic and devoid of any distinctive character. They seem to be designed to disorientate the weary traveller and make you ask that question “So where exactly are we?” It got me thinking that, were you a sleeping passenger, would you know whether you were in Exeter or Carlisle? Then I began to think bigger. Perhaps you could be on a different planet altogether. I have always had a passion for science fiction and surrealism – placing familiar objects in unfamiliar surroundings. And this was where the initial ideas for my novel were born.

If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?

My favourite character has to be Raphyl the purple Truxxian. He is Tom's colleague at the intergalatic burger bar and I like him because he never worries about anything and he takes life as it comes. Nothing fazes him and he is content with his lot. Or so it seems...

How can people buy your book?

It is available from all the usual outlets - WHSmiths, Waterstones (and can be ordered in or from their online shops if it is not on the shelves) and Amazon. Or signed copies can be obtained direct from the publisher www.hirstpublishing.com. I also do quite a few signings countrywide so if you catch me at one of them I will be happy to sign a copy.

Do you have any signings coming up?

Yes, I will be signing at Gallifrey One Catch 22 Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles 19th - 20th February 2011. You can always check the publisher's website for updates or my Facebook page which is constantly updated.
And I will be signing at the Kennet Shopping Centre in Newbury on 11 December 2010 between 10.00 and 16.00 - please come and see me if you're in the area.

What qualities make a successful writer?

Perseverance, the ability to take critisism and rejection and still carry on, a good imagination, perseverance and perseverance!

Do you have support, either from family and friends or a writing group?

I have the support of my friends and family and also fellow authors for which I'm eternally grateful. I'm glad that they can put up with me rambling on about my characters and plot until the space cows come home!

If there’s a single aspect to writing that really frustrates you, what is it?

The things which frustrate me the most are technology (I have literally cried at losing work that the computer has "eaten") and blank page syndrome. 

Is there any aspect of writing that you really enjoy?

Yes, all of it - the writing is the easy bit as many authors will tell you. It's telling people the book is out there that is the hardest part. I enjoy discussing potential plots with my husband and he may say one word which inspires me and I'll be, "Right, that's it - I need to get to a computer now as I have 3 chapters formulating in my head." It's great fun. 

Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

Interesting question - with me I feel as though I have creativity wanting to escape and stories wanting to be written. I do think that writing gets better with practice so in that way it is an aqcuired skill. But it also needs fuel to feed it which is why writers need to read a lot to put their work into context and stir their imagination. I think that everyone has the potential to be a story teller. Even if they're not particularly academic. 

What are you writing now?

I am currently writing the sequel to All Aliens Like Burgers which is called Do Aliens Read Scifi. It is due to be launched in May 2011, but pre-orders are now being taken.

Many thanks

Ruth Wheeler
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Twitter: @ruthwheeler


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