Not only is author Ruth Harris prolific, she has one of the best author photos I’ve seen because she’s sitting and smiling in front of what I imagine are all of her books! She’s also incredibly generous and in one of her emails to me said she’s “open to any & all questions & hope people will feel free to comment away! One thing I have learned is that you never know where your next terrific idea is going to come from. Sometimes it even comes from what you might think is a dumb question! lol”
No wonder I am always saying that authors are amazing. And Ruth Harris ranks right up there. Please welcome her to Women’s Fiction Writers!
Author Ruth Harris Says Women’s Fiction has an Extremely Broad Range of Subjects and Voices
ASN: I read that you were “around” when “publishing was run by editors”. You’re an author but you’ve been an editor and publisher as well. How do you see the current publishing climate and how do you think it affects a genre like women’s fiction (with all it’s permutations)?
RH: If you’re speaking of Big 6 publishing, it’s in tremendous turmoil and only the biggest of the big brand names are getting properly published with all that entails: promo, publicity, store events, maybe, once in a while, even a book tour. As far as women’s fiction, the authors I can think of who are on that level are writers like Jackie Collins, Jodi Picoult, Emily Giffin and Barbara Taylor Bradford.
If you’re speaking of e-publishing, women’s fiction, like every genre, is newly energized and we will see many writers emerge. Since women’s fiction can include everything from the sex-and-shopping epics of the Eighties to Lionel Shriver’s WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and Stockett’s THE HELP, there is an extremely broad range of subjects and voices for writers—and readers—to explore.
ASN: Which leads me to — what is your definition of women’s fiction?
RH: Women’s fiction encompasses the entirety of women’s lives—our public and domestic lives, our professional and personal lives. Women’s fiction is inclusive and anything that affects a female character is worthy of exploration.
ASN: You’ve released your backlist for ereaders. Are you finding a new audience for your books? Was doing so what you thought it would be — or not?
RH: I’m definitely finding a new audience & I’m thrilled by every one who buys one of my books and, even if they never heard of me, decides to take a chance on me. And it’s just about what I thought it would be: lots of work, exciting, frustrating, gratifying, tiring and sometimes overwhelming! You know, just like publishing in the olden days. 😉
ASN: What is your best advice for aspiring authors of women’s fiction — or any fiction?
RH: Read a lot—fiction & non-fic, blogs, magazines, newspapers whether in print or cyber version. Read constantly. Make notes. You never know when a line from an overheard conversation or an interesting but obscure article about sea urchins will be exactly what you need!
Ruth Harris is a long-time NYC editor and publisher as well as a New York Times bestselling author. Her novels, originally published by Random House, Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press have been translated into 19 languages and sold millions of copies in hardcover and paperback in more than 30 countries. They were selected by the Literary Guild, Book-of-the-Month Club and book clubs around the world. Ruth has reverted all rights and is now making her work—new and previously published—available in e-editions.