I haven’t done one of these in a while but thought I would today. 😀
Rambling a bit about my past (feel free to skip):
The first book in this series was written in 1996 when I was in college (getting my Psychology degree) at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota. I love North Dakota. It’s one of my favorite places to visit. I especially love Medora and Bismarck. After I graduated college in 1998 from the University of West Florida (I only stayed in Fargo for one semester), I moved to Bismarck, North Dakota.
I would have stayed in that state had I not married an x-ray tech in the Air Force and had to move to Florida, Alaska, and Nebraska. I don’t regret moving around to these different places. Looking back, I’m glad I got a chance to live in different places and check them out. And I love Nebraska and am staying here for the time being. Since my husband retired from the military, we can actually stay in one spot. But…there is that part of me that will always love North Dakota.
Now for the actual post:
So anyway, while I was living in Fargo, I didn’t have a car and relied on my roommate/friend/fellow author Melanie Nilles, who was also in college, to drive me around. There were times when I’d have to wait for her to be done at work or with her classes. So to fill up the free time I had, I decided to write a story. I asked myself, “If there was anything that could happen right now, what would I want it to be?”
And the answer was, “How cool would it be if some guy from another planet came to me and told me I was going to be a queen on his world?”
I thought the idea sounded pretty neat and started writing. The world I chose was called Raz (which wasn’t all that original since all I did was use my initials “Ruth Ann” but then added a Z at the end because I rarely ever see “Z” anywhere). I was also reading fantasy novels at the time. My favorite fantasy book was Isle of View by Piers Anthony in the Xanth Series. I have read a couple of other books by him because I loved his humor. He took fantasy and made it a lot of fun. These were light reads, and from time to time I like to take a break from the serious stuff out there.
Quick side note: I remember reading in his author’s notes at the end of one of his books that he was a fast writer. I don’t remember his exact words, but he said it didn’t take him long to write a book. And that freed me up so much because up to then, I thought if an author could write a book in a couple months, then the book wasn’t any good because it was rushed. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Some writers work fast. The ideas are there and they just flow out easily. That’s how it is with me. Piers Anthony was a huge inspiration to me as a beginning writer.
Back to the post:
So taking into account how fun Piers Anthony made his fantasies, I thought I’d try my hand at a light-hearted fantasy, too. Back then, I loved a great romance but was too afraid to focus too much on the romance lest my family give me grief about it. So the romance was toned down and the fantasy dominant.
In the rewrite I’m doing right now, I’m focusing more on the romance because romance is the really interesting part to me. The fantasy that is woven around it is fun and light for the most part, and I enjoy that too, but without the romance, the whole thing falls apart.
This is probably the most personal I have even gotten in a book. At the time, I was hung up on this ex-boyfriend who I named “William” in the book and was looking for the hope of a “Hathor” (someone in my future I hadn’t met yet but would be even better than William). I should state that “William” was a good guy. It’s just that I did move while in high school and that was why we broke up. I did move from Ohio to Florida. From there, I went on to college. I met Melanie Nilles while going to the University of West Florida. She got me tuned into fantasy, which is how I found Piers Anthony. She had grown up in North Dakota which is how I ended up in Fargo in 1996 as her roommate.
So at the time, I was looking for a hope that my life wasn’t going to be doomed to live in the past (which is the purposeless life the heroine in A Royal Engagement feels at the beginning of the book). He had moved on, but I hadn’t. And I was struggling look forward and believe that someone else would come along and that he would be my prince (which is why Hathor was the son of the Queen). Everything Hathor was in the story was my dream guy.
The Palers (who were the enemies) developed out of a nightmare I had about these 7-foot thin white creatures that look similar to what we think of as aliens (except when we think aliens, we thing short creatures with big eyes). These Palers went around eating people in my dream and one was lurking near me, hunting me. So when it came time to come up with a suitable enemy for this story, I decided to go with the creatures in my nightmare that I named Palers (since they’re completely white).
I just happened to put it all into the context of a fantasy setting because of the fantasy books and movies I was reading and watching at the time. It was a lot more interesting than being stuck in class taking notes. 😀 So when I went to all these different planets in the story, I was getting away from the tedious boredom of the days where I did kept wondering, “What the heck am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
I did get a Psychology degree, but it was only because I didn’t know what else to do. Raz represented the perfect job I would love, that thing I was meant to do but had no idea what it was. Now I know that the thing Raz represented was writing romance novels. 😀
Today I have a husband (Tony) and four children and am doing what I love most: writing romances.