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About Last Night
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Ask An Author, Win A Book Corner > AC: Ruthie Knox of About Last Night (June 12-13)

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message 1: by Fran, Moderator (last edited Jun 09, 2012 10:23AM) (new)

Fran | 11053 comments Ruthie Knox, a Contemporary Romance author; will be joining us for a Q&A and book giveaway from June 12 - June 13, 2012.

Meet Ruthie:

Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use. These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to-earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie abhors an epilogue and insists a decent romance requires at least three good sex scenes



Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Giveaway: Ruthie will be giving away 1 copy of About Last Night, winner's choice of format, ebook or signed paperback. This giveaway is open to everyone.

message 2: by Fran, Moderator (new)

Fran | 11053 comments Welcome Ruthie, it's a pleasure having you with us!

I hope you enjoy your time with our members; and good luck to you all!


Members, if you can please write the questions in bold; it would be easier for her to know that you have asked a question and less chance that it will be missed. Thanks!

Janeiowa Greetings from Iowa, Ruthie.

I discovered you with Ride with Me, and I'll be looking forward to downloading your new one.

Keep those new titles coming, please.

Lisa Hutson I love Ruthie. But wont be able to be here. Congratulations on your success so far, Ruthie. Love your stories!!

message 5: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) Thank you, Fran, and hello, everybody! Ask me anything you want -- I'm game. :-)

Oh, and I'm also an editor for Entangled Publishing, so if you have any sort of behind-the-scenes book production questions, I might be able to answer those, too.

message 6: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) Thanks, Jane! I went to college in Iowa (Grinnell), and my mom's whole side of the family lives there, so I have big love for your home state. Thanks for giving Ride with Me a try -- I'm glad you liked it!

My uncle Mike rides in RAGBRAI every year as BananaMan -- and sometimes my aunt Garnet rides with him on a tandem tricycle in her own costume as Mrs. BananaMan. I have strange relatives. :-)

message 7: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) Ruthie loves you, too, Lisa. Thanks for the congratulations! I'm so happy to have fans. Such a thing seemed impossible just last year. :)

message 8: by Janeiowa (last edited Jun 12, 2012 06:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janeiowa Ruthie...I thought of RAGBRAI often when reading Ride with Me. My husband's ridden it 10-12 times, so I know all about "strange" costumes and riders' teams!

I just bought your new one. Looking forward to some enjoyable reading!!


message 9: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) Thanks for buying! Hope you enjoy it. Your husband is probably best friends with my uncle and we don't even know it, LOL.

message 10: by Dee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments hi Ruthie - thanks for joining us, I just bought Ride with Me

with your PhD in Modern British History, have you ever considering writing a historical romance?

message 11: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Dee -- I never had, but I'm starting to think, "Never say never" on that front. I've been reading some amazing historicals lately -- Sharon and Tom Curtis's classic The Windflower, Black Silk by Judith Ivory, Courtney Milan's new novella The Governess Affair, and just this weekend LaVyrle Spencer's Morning Glory, which TOTALLY KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF, and I've been thinking ... hmm. I think as a historian I have a grittier sense of the past than most people do. My dissertation was on infanticide in 19th-century Britain, so it's hard for me to read the standard regency historicals and not feel like they're too fairy-tale, you know? But on the other hand, I do get ideas for awesome historical novels with some frequency. Like, I'd love to read one with coal miners and unionizing in 1930s Pennsylvania, sort of like the movie Matewan in romance novel form. Someday, one of those ideas is going to bite hard enough that I won't be able to resist writing it. :-)

message 12: by Dee (last edited Jun 12, 2012 06:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments lol, my biggest pet peeve about historical romance is that they are wall-paper historicals. part of the reason I love Eloisa James is that she has that background having a PhD in shakespearean english and all that ;)

I do have to admit that Morning Glory isn't my favorite Spencer - The Gamble or Years was a sad day for the romance readers when she retired

message 13: by Priyanka (new) - added it

Priyanka | 20 comments Hi Ruthie!

I'm yet to read Ride with Me (the reviews are literally begging me to read it already!!) :)

I have always wanted to ask an author this and lucky for me that I found you! ;)

Would you ever write about yourself as the lead character or is it too personal?

Congratulations on your new book and hope you publish many more..

message 14: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Dee -- It was my first Spencer! I'm definitely going to read more. Now I can savor them all. I'm pretty new to reading historicals.

And yes, love Eloisa James, too. Awesome writer.

message 15: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Priyanka -- Thank you! Hope you do enjoy Ride with Me and/or About Last Night (my latest) when you get to it. I know what it's like to have a big TBR list!

Would I ever write about myself -- good question! I *do* write about myself, to some extent, with every character, because I have to find some kernel of similarity that makes me love and sympathize with the heroines that I write. But to be even more honest, my very first manuscript (which hasn't been published, and won't be without a major revision) had a heroine who was very close to a semi-idealized version of myself. The problem is, she wasn't very interesting. :-) I think in romance, we really need characters who are larger than life and have larger-than-life problems, and I'm just . . . not. But it's fun to mine little details of my own life and my friends' lives for my writing!

message 16: by Dee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments if you like EJ - I just finished her Paris in Love: A Memoir last night which is about the year she and her family spent in France - loved it - it is written mostly in short vignettes, kinda like what you would see on a facebook post or twitter

message 17: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Dee - Yeah, I want to read that one! She seems like a really interesting and REAL woman. :)

Denise ~The Procrastinating Book Diva~ (procrastinating_bookdiva) | 15 comments Hi Ruthie!! How ironic that today is your book giveaway - I just bought About Last Night yesterday!!! I've heard really great things about your work and should be diving into ALN later this week :-)

message 19: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Denise -- Irony, or good planning? :-) Hope you enjoy ALN -- thanks for buying it!

message 20: by Priyanka (new) - added it

Priyanka | 20 comments hmmm, I guess you are right about the "larger than life problems"..
I hope you publish that book with the *semi-you* as the lead too.. It could be fun! :D
Trust me, I would love to read about anybody's life (other than my own because that would be a total bore!) ;)

Wish you luck!

message 21: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Priyanka -- Thanks! I will probably revise that first book some day. Have to add more conflict, but I do still like the characters (how could I not like ME?), and the sex scenes were HOT. Also, it was pretty funny. So we'll see. So much to do, so little time!

willaful (Don't enter me.)

I would love to see a grittier historical! I like a little grit. My husband always wishes I would wash our lettuce more thoroughly. ;-)

message 23: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @willaful -- Have you read Spencer's Morning Glory? Starving ex-con! Pregnant widow farmwife with two kids! Depression Era Georgia! Looooved it. I would've accepted even more grit, though. Good for the teeth. :-)

message 24: by Priyanka (new) - added it

Priyanka | 20 comments ohwwwww!! Did you say HOT?? Then I definitely want to read it!! ;)

So, another question:: Who got you hooked to romance novels? When did you start writing your own? :)

message 25: by Dee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments have you seen the movie with Christopher Reeve of Morning Glory?

Ruthie wrote: "@willaful -- Have you read Spencer's Morning Glory? Starving ex-con! Pregnant widow farmwife with two kids! Depression Era Georgia! Looooved it. I would've accepted even more grit, though. Good for..."

message 26: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Priyanka -- I read my first romance in high school, an old Loveswept called Warm Fuzzies by Joan Eckhart. The heroine owned her own shop that sold teddy bears she made herself; the hero was an injured womanizing quarterback named Acer Mullaney. Hero meets heroine when she delivers a six-foot-tall teddy bear to his house. The book hasn't aged well, but I was totally hooked! I read a ton of Loveswept and Silhouette Desire as a teenager, but then in college & grad school I got away from it. It wasn't until after my son was born that I started reading romance again. I was breast-feeding and had a hard time holding a book open with one hand, so I bought a Kindle, and Harlequin was giving away a six-book introductory pack freebie. I read them in a rush & then started buying romance after romance after romance. That was three years ago, and I haven't stopped! I started writing my own about a year and a half ago after I got an idea for one at yoga class. I've been having a blast with it. :-)

@Dee -- No, but clearly I MUST. I didn't know there was a movie! Although sometimes I have trouble falling for the characters in movies when they don't look like the people in my head.

message 27: by Priyanka (new) - added it

Priyanka | 20 comments Just marked Warm Fuzzies as "to-read"! :)
It's a never-ending list but I'll read it someday..

message 28: by Fran, Moderator (new)

Fran | 11053 comments Welcome Ruthie!

I have Ride with Me on my kindle and I can't wait to read it. About Last Night also looks great and it's on my tbr list.

Did you choose your own covers?

Those guys abs are spectacular! And very eye-catching- I say great choice :)

message 29: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Fran -- Great question! In fact, I haven't got much to do with the covers. The good news is, my editor, Sue Grimshaw, is the one who develops the cover concepts, and she's brilliant at it. I love both the covers I've been given, but it's very much an "I've been given" situation, because the publishers put on the covers what they think will sell books. At some publishing houses, authors get a form to fill out with their suggestions for what the cover models should look like, what they do and don't want on the cover, and so on. But those are only suggestions, and they don't necessarily have much bearing on how the covers end up. I've heard that some big-deal authors negotiate cover input or approval in their contracts, but I've never known anyone who did this.

message 30: by Priyanka (last edited Jun 12, 2012 08:56AM) (new) - added it

Priyanka | 20 comments @Fran

I know, right? I always fall for the bare-chested men on book-covers and have sometimes been disappointed by the synopsis... :(
But these covers go well with the synopsis! ;)

message 31: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @priyanka, @Fran -- How do you feel about their headlessness? Do you care if they have heads or not? I always like them better with heads, but my editor tells me that lots of readers prefer no face, because then they can imagine what the hero looks like.

message 32: by Fran, Moderator (new)

Fran | 11053 comments That's a good question Ruthie. I know headless covers are very 'in' right now. I like both. I don't mind having a face to go with the body. For me it doesn't hinder my own fantasy imaginings of what the hero looks like. I will still probably put one of my fave actors faces that match the book's description on my hero. That means I read a lot of romance books starring Ian Somerhalder, Channing Tatum, George Clooney, A. Skarsgard and Joe Manganiello, LOL!

message 33: by Priyanka (new) - added it

Priyanka | 20 comments I like them headless!
The head can take it's shape when I start reading and imagining what he'll look like.. I like to imagine and images on the cover kinda kill it for me..

message 34: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Fran -- As you should! I do the same thing. If something in a book isn't the way I want it, I just change it around in my imagination until it fits, so the cover model doesn't stick in my mind as the be-all, end-all. On the other hand, sometimes I don't think the man who's chosen is attractive, and then it's hard for me to want to read the book. So I suppose that's one argument for headless covers!

message 35: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Priyanka -- You must be the Ideal Reader. :-)

message 36: by Janhvi (new)

Janhvi | 6 comments Hi Ruthie,

I agree a decent romance should definitely have at least three good sex scenes :) My question to you is Are the characters you write inspired from someone you know or are they totally your imagination?

message 37: by Desiree (new)

Desiree reilly (desitheblonde) | 37 comments first off i like the covers of t he books and then do you use the same the person for the book are you planning on doing more books and then when you write the books do you have certain people in mind when you write the books

♡Karlyn P♡ (karlynp) Hi Ruthie!

First I just want to say thanks for that awesome contest you ran last month giving 100 readers a chance to read an ARC version of this book. I was one of the lucky ones! I had such a great time reading it, and especially loved that it was set in England.

Will you write more contemporary romances set outside of the US?

message 39: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Janhvi -- Glad to hear it! As for the inspiration question, it's a bit of both. I tend to start with a problem/question/setup. For my most recent book, About Last Night, the setup I had in mind was sort of "What if a Chicago bad girl living in London gets drunk and has to be rescued from the train station by an uptight Englishman?" From there, I think more deeply about the characters -- who these people are who've gotten themselves into this situation, what they want from life, what their backgrounds are. In that process, I do tend to draw on inspiration from life. My heroine in About Last Night, Cath, is based slightly on a friend I had in college, and she's also a teeny bit inspired by this one scene in Lady Gaga's video for "Telephone" where Gaga is strutting down a prison hallway in her underpants and ankle boots -- totally bold, confident, and sexy, even though she has stick legs and is not conventionally sexy. But the more I write the book, the more the characters become their own people, until the original inspiration fades and it just becomes, "What would Cath do in this situation?"

message 40: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Desiree -- Thank you! I do have more books planned -- lots! I have two more books contracted with Loveswept for next year, both set in small-town Ohio & revolving around a brother and sister, Caleb and Katie Clark. Those books are called Along Came Trouble and Flirting with Disaster, and they should be out next spring (but no official publication dates yet). I also have a novella coming out with Samhain as part of an anthology of novellas called Strangers on a Train. That was a really fun project that got organized through Twitter, of all things. And I'm in the midst of working on a Christmas novella, a prequel to my next two Loveswept books that will probably be a freebie, a sequel to Ride with Me, and a bunch of other stuff! :-)

I've never written a book with a certain "character inspiration" in mind, though I know a lot of authors do that. I can usually see the characters in my head, but their faces aren't based on any particular real-life people.

message 41: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @♡KarLynP♡ -- Hi, Karlyn! You're welcome! That contest was a lot of fun for me. Hope to do it again next time. :-)

I'm not sure whether I'll write more contemporaries set outside the U.S. England is somewhere I've lived, but I haven't otherwise lived abroad, so I'd have to feel confident in my research. But I'd love to take a vacation somewhere interesting & then write a novel about it. I *did* go on a backpacking honeymoon to Italy with my husband. Now that I think of it, that would make an interesting novel . . . especially that time he got us lost . . . ;-)

message 42: by Nikki (new) - added it

Nikki (nikkit23) | 121 comments Hi Ruthie! I have Ride With Me and its next on my never ending TBR list! I've read the blurb for About Last Night and will be getting that one too! :)

Not sure if this has been asked, but are the two books related?


message 43: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Nikki -- Hi! Thanks for buying Ride with Me -- hope you like it!

No, the two books are unrelated. They're quite different, actually. Ride with Me is a bit lighter and funnier, with a tortured hero, whereas About Last Night is on the angstier side (though still pretty funny, and people are calling it "cute," so I guess it's not *too* angsty), with a tortured heroine. :-)

message 44: by Lanny (new) - added it

Lanny | 3 comments hi ruth, glad to see you. never read your book, i wanna ask, if you have a chance to colaborate to write a great story, in contemporary romance, who author will you ask to join in that book?

message 45: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Lanny -- Fun question! I would love to collaborate with Meg Maguire (who also writes as Cara McKenna). She's a brilliant writer & comes up with incredibly interesting, dark male characters. It would be fascinating to try to write a novel with Meg!

message 46: by Isha (new) - added it

Isha | 500 comments Hi Ruthie! I like reading an epilogue to books that I have enjoyed as it allows us to see a glimpse of how the couples relationship is going

Is there any reason why you don't like them

message 47: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Nikita -- To be honest, I'm starting to come around on the subject of epilogues, simply because so many readers have told me what you just did. Readers love them. The reason I don't is twofold. (1) I feel like most epilogues are just . . . smarmy. Love and kisses and three babies, and here are the names of all the babies, and everything is awesome and wonderful. It doesn't feel real to me; it feels like a fairy tale. Which is connected to the second reason: (2) I think of the resolution of a romance novel as a moment of pause in the conflict, not a promise that there will never be conflict again. Because there will -- this is life! But epilogues always focus on these placid, serene moments, and I guess that's not what I enjoy about watching characters interact. I want to see heroes and heroines falling in love and enjoying each other *despite* the difficulties life throws at them, not in the total absence of difficulty.

But I think all that means I have to figure out how to write an epilogue that works for me AND for readers, not that I should turn my nose up at them altogether. :-)

message 48: by Ruth (new) - added it

Ruth (rms94) I just want to say Ride With Me was a great book! I loved it!

message 49: by Iris (new)

Iris (ipro) | 277 comments Hi Ruthie thanks for answering all our questions today!
I discovered romance novels myself when I was in high school. It was also a Loveswept novel, unfortunately I don't remember the name. However, I do remember that the first romance novel was followed by many many more.

What made you finally go from reader to writer? Do you write full time now or still have a "daytime" job aside from being an author?

message 50: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie Knox (ruthie_knox) @Ruth -- Thanks so much!

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