Interview with Ruu McKinney

What are you working on next?
My main focus at the moment is to finish out the current story arc of Gemsong Saga. I have just started on the second book, and my current material looks to extend for a total of three to four books.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I visit several websites and blogs every morning while I have my coffee, and I tend to find some pretty solid recommendations on http://io9.com/. If you are into fantasy or sci-fi, you will likely find something interesting there.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a big motorcycle enthusiast, so I am usually out riding whenever I can, or working on them whenever they need. I am what my wife calls a "coffee snob", so I roast my own coffee and spend eyebrow raising amounts of time trying out new roasting and brewing techniques in an effort to find the perfect cup.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
While probably not the first story I ever read, reading "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell in early elementary school really left an impact on me. Being abandoned or stranded alone on a remote island would be terrible, regardless of your age, but as a child, there are few things that would be more terrifying. Reading about a child that learns to survive and flourish in conditions that many adults today could not, made me feel inspired.

At an age where most books you read did their best to sugar coat or outright sidestep subjects like death, loss, and loneliness, Island of the Blue Dolphins offered depth and emotion I had never had the pleasure or experiencing before in a book. I remember reading it at least 3 times in a row just because being done with it made me sad.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do. The first entry to my Gemsong Saga series is actually based in large part on the first story I ever wrote. While many of the details and character names have changed, the core plot and setting is pretty faithful to the original.
Describe your desk
I use a custom built standing desk composed of two sections. The left side houses my computer and monitors, and has an horizontal overhead brace that I can clamp rough drafts to while I type them. Not having to repeatedly look down at a page helps me not have a stiff neck at the end of the day. I use a mechanical keyboard as well, as the feedback and noise is somehow conducive to the whole writing process for me, and helps my typing speed and accuracy to boot.

The right side is completely empty except for a nice glass writing surface. The idea is that when I am writing here, it makes it more difficult to see the monitors, thus making it inconvenient to be distracted.
What is your writing process?
Once I have a basic plot line for the entire story laid out, I find it helpful to organize the finer details into a chapter-specific plot overview that I write out before each chapter. This allows me to quickly identify the key points I want to focus on in a chapter, and minimize the non-essential and potentially boring aspects that tend to appear when you're just trying to pound out pages.

Most importantly, I write out all of my first drafts by hand with a good fountain pen. Something about the tactile sensations and sounds that come from putting actual pen to paper help to arouse my creativity. When I type everything into a word processing program afterwards, I can sort of pre-edit things at the same time, which in turn makes final editing a little less painful.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating anything is a daunting task and one that runs the full gamut of emotions. The feeling of inspiration when the ideas are pouring out of you, that frustration you feel after crumpling up 15 pages as you try desperately to find your rhythm, all of these are obstacles and resolutions you must overcome in the journey to completion. It isn't always pleasant, but when you finally finish, and everything is edited and ready to publish, everything you felt during the journey comes back at once.

There is nothing like the feeling of finally seeing something through to the end. It is a personal victory to finish something regardless of its success or failure, and everyone should experience that feeling at least once.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. A story is built upon two key elements - an author to write it, and a reader to read it. When a reader enjoys your story and becomes a fan, they not only give that story life and purpose as they experience it, but they also help to breath life into future stories. Nobody wants to write something that nobody will read, right? But when you have fans of your work, the pen almost seems to move itself.
Aside from books, which medium would you most like to work with?
Definitely video games. I think video games offer the ultimate medium with which to tell a story. You can completely realize every aspect of your world down to the finest detail, and then let the player choose how much they would like to experience, and in what manner they would like to experience it.

Games like Shenmue did a fantastic job of this. You can charge through the story line from start to finish, or you can take breaks and do things like follow around the local townsfolk as they tend to their daily routines, or buy collectables and drink sodas. Many of the activities you can participate in serve no other role than to further immerse the player in the game's world. Regardless of writing ability, I'm not sure there is an analogue in pure literature to that, without things like fan-fiction which the author has little to no control of.
Published 2017-01-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Candle and Quill Monthly Writing Digest Issue 05
Series: Candle and Quill. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,240. Language: American English. Published: March 29, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Horror » General
Issue 05 of the Candle and Quill includes Chapter 05 of the fantasy-fiction novel "A Boy Named Zephyr", Chapter 05 of the horror-fiction novel "Ten Nights", and exclusive short stories "Pareidolia", "Opal Lagoon part 2", and the third and final chapter of "Signals".
Candle and Quill Monthly Writing Digest Issue 04
Series: Candle and Quill. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,540. Language: American English. Published: March 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
The Candle and Quill is a monthly writing digest written by author Ruu McKinney. This issue includes tips for combating burnout, chapter 4 of the fantasy-fiction novel "A Boy Named Zephyr", Chapter 4 of the horror-fiction novel "Ten Nights", and exclusive short stories "Last Flight of the Solaris", "Opal Lagoon", and the second part of "Signals".
Candle and Quill Monthly Writing Digest Issue 03
Series: Candle and Quill. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,690. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
The Candle and Quill is a monthly writing digest written by author Ruu McKinney. This issue includes tips for improving the world building of your stories, chapter 3 of the fantasy-fiction novel "A Boy Named Zephyr", Chapter 3 of the horror-fiction novel "Ten Nights", exclusive short stories "Signal", "Eureka", and the third and final part of "Serpent's Coil".
Candle and Quill Monthly Writing Digest Issue 02
Series: Candle and Quill. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 14,610. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
The Candle and Quill is a monthly writing digest written by author Ruu McKinney. This issue includes tips for improving your writing and productivity, chapter 2 of the fantasy-fiction novel "A Boy Named Zephyr", Chapter 2 of the horror-fiction novel "Ten Nights", exclusive short stories "Sight" and the second part of the "Serpent's Coil", and the creative work "Refuge", as well as several extras!
Candle and Quill Monthly Writing Digest Issue 01
Series: Candle and Quill. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,520. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
The Candle and Quill is a monthly writing digest written by author Ruu McKinney. This issue includes tips for staying motivated while writing, chapter 1 of the fantasy-fiction novel "A Boy Named Zephyr", chapter 1 of the horror-fiction novel "Ten Nights", exclusive short stories "The Narrow Road", and "Serpent's Coil, and the creative work "Dandelion", as well as several extras!
Gemsong Saga: A Boy Named Zephyr
Series: Gemsong Saga. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 73,360. Language: American English. Published: January 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
When a mysterious power emerges that threatens not only his own safety, but the very foundation of the noble dominion, a young boy named Zephyr finds himself swept up in a journey to unravel the riddles of the past and find a place to belong. As his world teeters on the edge of rebellion, Zephyr will join with the most unlikely of allies in an effort to protect the people he has grown to love.