Interview with Ruth D. Kerce

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in the 3rd grade -- poetry. I'm amazed that I actually still have some of those long-ago creations stored in my closet somewhere. Then in the 5th grade, I wrote my first romance story -- an American Indian romance (this one has disappeared; darn it). The story won first place in class. Yea! Then in the 9th grade, I started writing a space opera, all longhand and it filled many spirals (I still have those). All of this writing was just for fun at the time.

After I completed my graduate degree, I took some courses and received a diploma from a writing institute. I wrote several children's stories in the process. Then I started writing a privateer, historical romance novel and then a western, historical romance novel which ended up being my first published book. After that, and also after getting a contemporary, holiday romance published in an anthology, I switched to writing erotic/sensual romances. And that's primarily all that I've been writing for many years now, though some new, non-erotic stories may be popping up from me in the future.
What made you switch from writing non-erotic romances to erotic romances?
At the time, erotic romances were becoming popular. A friend of mine, another author, convinced me to give it a try. In case anyone is interested, I actually have a fun article about it (titled "My First Time") on my website at:

http://www.ruthkerce.com/articles/my_first_time.html

As I was writing my first erotic romance, I really enjoyed the freedom of the format. I could do almost anything that I wanted. I could continue the plot from inside the bedroom if the story called for it instead of fading to black or keeping things vanilla. Basically, I had no restrictions. Some of my stories are more/less erotic than others, but all are romances and it's been a great genre for me.
What is your writing process?
Interesting question. It tends to vary some, but...

Usually, I'll first see a location in my head, then the hero will pop up and kind of tell me the beginning of his story (yes, writers are strange this way). Because I mostly write without an outline, I generally don't know more than the beginning and the ending of a story when I start. The journey between is as much a mystery to me as it is to the reader, which is quite exciting and half the fun of writing it!

I tend to write longhand, then type in what I've written. Yes, that's double the work and slower, but the process works best for me. If I'm writing a long scene and have the whole thing in my head, then I'll type it in from the start so I can get it down before I forget it.

I read and re-read everything a LOT and slowly add details and layers to each scene, such as emotions and conflict. Doing it this way takes me longer, but I feel like I do a better job, miss less, and hopefully have no holes in the stories.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is getting lost in the story. I've always had stories running through my head, for as long as I can remember -- imagining people that I'd love to meet, visiting places that I'll never see in reality, doing anything I want. And now I create those fantasies within the pages of a book. It's even better than reading for me because I'm controling the path, the emotions, the outcome. Although I will say that my characters do often surprise me and go in directions that I never intended when I started their journey.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to indie publish some of my stories for several reasons. I had written a few stories that weren't quite erotic enough for my regular publishers, and they were also a bit short. I could have redone them, but I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to test the indie waters and to publish something where I retained complete control -- control over the cover, the price, the distribution, etc. I think having a variety of ways/places to publish is good for an author because it gives you choices, and choices are always a good thing.
How do you approach cover design?
For my indie, sensual shorts, I wanted a very simple type of design to separate them from my more traditionally-published erotic romance books. So, no hunky guys on the cover (so far) and no couple shown. I also included a tag line on some covers as a teaser. And I very clearly indicate on each cover that these are short stories so that readers aren't expecting a full novel and get disappointed.

For example, with my "Into the Storm" story, I have a cloudy, pinkish background with lightning on the cover. Another example is my "Candy Valentine" short story, I have various types/colors of hearts on the cover. For "G-String Gentleman" I designed a grayish background, with just a bow tie on the front. I wanted each cover to convey the essence of the story in a very subtle way. Or, at least, I hope each cover does!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has made it very easy to distribute through a large numbers of channels without having to sign up with each company separately. I understand that there are advantages/disadvantages to this. But for me, I liked the ease of just uploading to one place and having the books appear at multiple outlets without me having to do additional work. Less works mean more writing time!
What do your fans mean to you?
The fans/readers are everything. They've been so supportive of me. Each fan letter I receive is precious. When you can affect someone with something you've written, it's the greatest feeling. And when the fans start clamoring for the next story, well, it's the best motivation there is to keep going. Writing, as wonderful as it is, definitely is a lot of hard work. Knowing that there are people out there who enjoy what you write makes all the work worthwhile and makes me want to write even more.
What are you working on next?
I'm always working on several stories at one time. I have quite a few non-indie books that I want to get out, but I also have lots more of my indie, sensual short stories that are in progress. I hope to have enough of those shorts out in the near future to combine them into both a digital and a print collection for readers. I don't want to specificially list titles right now because I might switch them around. But more are definitely coming!
If you weren't an author, what would you be doing?
I would probably either be a publisher or a web designer. Definitely something in the field. I worked for a publishing company for several years and learned a lot about publishing from the business side of things. I also did professional web designing for authors/companies and enjoyed that. My educational background is in mathematics/computer science. I have an advanced degree in C.S. and worked as an analyst for quite a few years, which was a great experience. That knowledge and training has given me a lot of options. But I truly can't think of anything that I'd rather do than write. So as long as I'm able, I will continue to create stories for the readers/fans.
Published 2013-09-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.