Ruth Saberton was born in London but now lives in Polperro, a fishing village in Cornwall. Discovering a love for Jilly Cooper at the tender age of 14, she fell in love with writing and she has followed in her heroine’s footsteps. Ruth has written three successful books, all fantastic fun and packed with quirky characters. Her most recent book, “Amber Scott Is Starting Over” is now available to buy.
- Your latest book “Amber Scott Is Starting Over” is about a young woman’s move to the country that doesn’t go quite to plan. What inspired you to write this type of book?
That’s a really good question! I think that I was at a stage in my life where I was thinking about making some pretty major changes and the novel really just evolved from there. Living in Polperro, which is an idyllic Cornish fishing village, I also see a lot of people moving down full of high hopes that they are about to live the good life. Of course, it doesn’t always work out quite the way that they think it will as all the problems from the old life just come with you. When I watched a new couple move in across the road, already rowing about who had pranged the Range Rover, the seeds of “Amber Scott is Starting Over” were well and truly sown!
- All your books covers have been quite eye-catching over the years. Do you find that you judge a book by its cover?
I think we all do to some extent! I think that the cover draws the reader in if they are unfamiliar with the author. Publishing houses also use the cover to brand an author’s identity. My books all have similar styles on the covers but because “Amber” is slightly darker than my previous novels I was pleased to see that the cover wasn’t pink or pastel hues this time.
- Many book lovers have a hard time excepting screen adaptations of classic and popular stories. What film has been your favourite book to screen to adaptation? If any?
I absolutely love the BBC’s version of “Pride and Prejudice”. I just don’t think you can beat it. The screenplay is so faithful to the text and the casting is simply brilliant. Whenever it’s a bit rainy and we don’t feel like moving from the sofa, my boyfriend and I stick the DVD on and have a P and P marathon. He likes to quote all the things that Darcy says and as for me, well every romantic novelist enjoys the Colin Firth wet shirt moment! Just ask Helen Fielding!
- What authors do you admire?
I love anything by Jilly Cooper. Her book “The Common Years” has to be one of my all time favourites as it describes all the lovely walks she used to do with her red setter. One day I aim to have a red setter because they are my favourite breed of dog – Olle has one in “Katy Carter Wants a Hero”! I love the gorgeous alpha males, ‘ravishing’ women and, of course, the horses in Jilly’s books and the pure glamour and escapism. Whenever I feel down I pull one of my Jillys off the shelf and curl up with it. She’s also been incredibly kind and supportive of my own writing. My biggest ambition is to meet her one day. I also love Fiona Walker’s books because they are well written and crammed with twisty-turny plot lines, have wonderful characters and are big chunky reads! In terms of caricature and satire nobody beats Jane Austen, of course, and for wit and pity comments I adore Oscar Wilde.
- Of all the characters in the books you have written, which has been the one you relate to the most?
It has to be Katy Carter, in “Katy Carter Wants a Hero”! They say that all first novels are largely autobiographical and as a short, red headed English teacher who wants to be a novelist Katy certainly shares some of my qualities! She also has a horrible breast cancer scare which is something I went through. Writing about this in the book was really cathartic for me and I hope that it was handled with sensitivity as well as a light touch. Katy has a happy ending when she finds her hero and the same is true for me! And just as it was for her, my hero was right under my nose too…
- Of all the books that you have read, which one would you have liked to have said ‘I wrote that’?
Wow, that’s a tough one! Can I say “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”? That way I would have made enough money to retire from teaching and concentrate on writing full time!
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
The first thing I’d say is don’t just think about it, write the novel! The only way to ever improve your writing is to write every day. Be realistic about all the hard work. Being a real life writer is fantastic but you have to be dedicated. It’s hard work, time consuming and you tend to grow a big bum from all the sitting down typing! And forget having a social life, writing is all consuming! You have to write because you love it. It’s a lot of work but it is the most brilliant job in the world. And of course, never, ever give up!
- If you were ever stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
I’d bring my battered copy of “The Canterbury Tales”, Jilly Cooper’s ‘Riders” for entertainment and “Lord of the Flies” so that I knew what not to do on a desert island!
- I’m always reading and I’m always on the look out for book recommendations from reliable sources. What are you reading at the moment and would you recommend it?
I’m reading Jenny Cogan’s new book “Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams” at the moment and it’s wonderful!
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
My cat Freddie is always useful for chatting to about plot lines. He’s also good for stress relief!
- And finally Ruth, do you have any new projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the blog?
I’m really excited because my new book “Amber Scott is Starting Over” is published on Thurdsay 12th April! At the moment I am flat out with promotions and publicity. I am also working on my new novel, “Rock Chicks”, which should be out next spring. It’s about 3 girls who go to the Cornish seaside town of Rock to find rich men. Things don’t quite go according to plan…