Topic: Author Interview
Sorry for the slight delay in getting this up today--grocery shopping yesterday and a bug have me a bit behind. Today we have a wonderful interview with Ruth Hartman, author of My Life in Mental Chains. Afterwards, please see my review of this book.
Ruth Hartman the person:
What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Kind, funny, empathetic
How do you think others would describe you?
Sweet, funny, a good listener
Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
My husband, Garry. We've been married over 26 years, and he's my best friend.
Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
We have two cats. Both are rescued strays. Maxwell, a grey, chubby male, is almost three years old. Roxy, a jet-black female, is nearly two years old. They love each other, and (usually) play well together. When they start grooming each other, we tell them to "get a room!"
What is your most precious memory?
My wedding. It was perfect. Not only did I get to marry the love of my life, Garry, but my dad is a minister, so he performed the ceremony.
What is your most embarrassing memory?
When Garry and I were dating, we were playing Frisbee at a picnic. He threw the Frisbee, I ran after it, backwards, and plowed into a picnic table full of people. I flew over the table, landed on a chair, broke the chair, and broke my toe. (I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised to know that my nickname is "Grace.")
If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
Actually, I'm also a dental hygienist two days a week. If it weren't for that and writing, I'd probably be a veterinarian.
In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Ruth Hartman loved her family, friends, and God. She loved to laugh. She loved to make others laugh. We will miss her loving spirit terribly, but she is now at peace with her heavenly Father.
Ruth Hartman the writer:
Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?
That happened last November, when "My Life in Mental Chains" was published. That's when I knew. It still hasn't completely sunk in yet, though. When someone tells me they've read it, it hits me again that I'm actually a writer.
What is going on with your writing these days?
I'm waiting on my complimentary copy of a short story I had published in I Love Cats magazine. A couple of days ago, I had an article accepted to You & Me magazine. I'm thrilled about those! It's funny, though, my first writing love is fiction, and I haven't had any of that accepted anywhere yet;
What are your future goals for your writing?
I've written several children's stories. I'd love to get some of them published. Also, I've completed a 25,000 word novelette, that I've submitted to a publisher. I'm still waiting to hear back from that.
Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
Since I work part -time in a dental office, I usually don't have entire days to write. If I'm off work, I'll write in between errands, laundry, and cleaning the house. If I'm really into something, though, my OCD kicks in and I can sit at my laptop for an entire evening at a time.
Why do you write?
I find that if I go too long without being creative, I get a little cranky. I need that self-expression. Sometimes, I like to paint, but I'm finding I get so much more satisfaction from writing.
What writer most inspires you? Why?
I love Mary Higgins Clark. I love her mysteries. I've never tried writing a mystery. I'm not sure my mind works that way. But I love to read them!
How do you define your writing?
My writing so far, is a mix of memoir, humor, and romance. In all of these forms, my favorite thing to do is write short, quirky conversations between two people who know each other very well.
In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
Ruth's writing made me laugh, and feel good about myself.
Ruth Hartman the details:
Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?
I have a website at www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com
Is there a place where readers can reach you?
My e-mail is RGHartman@aol.com
Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
My only book so far is "My Life in Mental Chains". The short story in I Love Cats is titled "A Tale of No Tail." The article in You & Me magazine, which should be on their e-zine in early summer, is "Help From Unexpected Places."
For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
"My Life in Mental Chains" is my true-life story about my daily struggle with severe OCD. Readers will take the journey with me, as I take them through my thoughts and actions during OCD episodes. Also, I talk quite a bit about how I was treated, and my reactions to the ones who treated me cruelly.
Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
I feel so blessed to have had this book, my first, published so quickly. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the ladies on our Premium Green (through WOW! Women on Writing) discussion board. Their support and advice is so valuable to me.
"My Life in Mental Chains" has been cathartic for me. During the writing of my story, I've come to realize just how amazing life can be. When I look back to how I was then, I never dreamed that I would ever be able to live a normal life again, much less write a book about it.
But even more meaningful than how it makes me feel, is how humbled I am to know that what I've written helps others with similar problems. That's what makes writing real for me. That's what keeps it alive. As long as I can help someone, or make them laugh at something humorous I've written, then my dream as a writer has come true.
A Review of My Life in Mental Chains
Many of us have obsessions or compulsions in our lives, little quirks that, while not "normal" , don't interfere with our daily lives. These "quirks" can be simply that, or signs of minor OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). This is a disorder that comes in degrees--from minor one area obsession, to debilitating thoughts and actions that make daily life impossible.
What would happen, if one day you woke up and one of your little "quirks" had suddenly taken on a life of its own-occupying every moment and making it impossible to think of anything else? What happens when you physically can't stop your thoughts and actions-even though you know somewhere inside it makes no sense?
This is what happened to Ruth Hartman. One day she started cleaning and couldn't stop--nothing seemed clean enough. She worried constantly about germs. Her daily life became one constant worry about catching something harmful or being the cause of someone else catching something.
Ruth Hartman describes the thoughts and feelings she experienced. She draws you in so that you can gain a rare glimpse into the thought process involved in OCD. As you follow her journey to find answers and learn to live a life, while not free of the disorder, at least to where her life was not totally consumed by it. You will cry with Ruth-and celebrate her victories. This book is a true inspiration to anyone who has ever experienced OCD--and to anyone who has loved someone who suffers from the disorder.
On the Rainbow Scale of Excellence, My Life in Mental Chains earns a perfect rainbow of seven colors.