Tell me about your books
I’m very proud to say I’ve written and published three novels.
The Girl in the Scrapbook, my first book, is an emotional, romantic novel of life, love and family. The lives of Emily, Jennifer and Norah become entangled with the discovery of photographs of a girl in an old scrapbook. The search to uncover the girl’s identity reveals tragic family secrets long hidden and a mystery spanning over ninety years.
The inspiration behind it was half of an old photo showing my grandmother, Nora, taken when she was a child in the 1920s, standing beside her father. The missing half, I was told, would have revealed her much-hated stepmother. This intrigued me and the germ of the story was born. I’m a family-orientated person and the heart of the novel reflects this.
My second novel, Who To Trust, is a romantic thriller with many twists and surprises. A baby is stolen; a young child is abducted; a woman is stalked. Three events, many years apart, somehow linked by Anna Blake. As events escalate and danger looms, Anna begins to doubt her trust in the people closest to her. Everyone is hiding something. Who is telling the truth? When my son read The Girl in the Scrapbook, he joked my next novel would be improved with a car chase. I tried! In the opening chapter Anna, realises she is being followed by someone driving a dented, blue Peugeot. The scene is tense, as her fears and suspicions grow, but doesn’t quite deliver on the car chase front!
The Vanishing Encore, my third book, is another fast-paced, romantic thriller. In 2003, a young woman vanishes. Years later, Todd Matheson notices the similarity between the missing woman and Lily Nichol, his daughter’s teacher. Could they be the same person? When, without warning, Lily disappears, Todd is determined to discover the truth. But sometimes secrets should stay hidden. Discovery could spell danger.
I’m proud of all my books and have been delighted by the generosity and support of readers who have enjoyed them.
When and how did you start writing?
I’ve always written! I loved writing as a child and, if I wasn’t reading, I was making up stories. I was first published at the age of nine when a poem I’d written was submitted by my teacher and chosen for an anthology of poetry by children. As an adult, in my spare time, throughout the following years, I attempted writing several novels, only to give up once they were underway, dissatisfied with the quality of my writing.
It was only when I retired from teaching, in 2016, that I decided my first project would be to write a book – a whole book this time. I was determined to reach the end, no matter what. And I did.
Having finished it, though, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I sent it to a few agents hoping for publication and received polite, but encouraging, rejections. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to print off a few copies for friends and family and was blown away by their enthusiasm. This gave me the spur I needed to consider self-publishing and The Girl in the Scrapbook was launched November 2018.
What was your favourite research activity you have done for a book?
I’ve had an enjoyable time researching the history of witchcraft in the seventeenth century for my current book. The persecution of so many innocents and the barbaric trials which took place has made for gruesome but fascinating reading.
Do you belong to any writing groups and if so, how do they help you with your writing?
What writing advice have you been given that really helped you?
To get words down on the page without fussing how good they are. This helps with the flow of the writing and, more importantly, encourages me to stick at it when the going gets tough. I use the editing process as the time to hone and refine word choices.
What do you consider your greatest writing accomplishment? And which was your biggest challenge?
My greatest writing accomplishment was definitely completing The Girl in the Scrapbook. Achieving that gave me the confidence to continue writing which I love.
My greatest challenge … marketing and promoting my work. I’m thrilled to have built up a following of readers who love my work but feel my novels deserve more from me on this score. I don’t enjoy that aspect of being an author though so do have a tendency to avoid it.
What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?
I’ve been so fortunate my readers have been kind enough to post wonderful reviews of my novels but the comment which touched me the most was from a fellow author and it was about my free novelette, Memories Forgotten (available on my website by signing up for my readers’ list). She said the narrative, ‘held me suspended in a place of beauty.’ What wonderful words for someone to say about my writing!
Has a book really touched you? Made you rethink your views on life? If so, what was it?
Lots. I can’t name just one.
What would you do if you didn’t write?
I don’t know. I’d have to do something which fulfilled my creative side. That’s one of the reasons I loved teaching – planning fun, engaging lessons which appealed to the different learning styles of the children in whichever class I was teaching.
What are your current projects? What should we be looking out for?
I’ve just finished the first draft of my latest book, set a fictional village in Suffolk in the UK, and am now busy with the first edit. This novel starts with a witch-drowning in 1645, the repercussions of which colour the views, superstitions and lives of the villagers in the present day. There’s mystery, murder, romance and a colourful cast of characters. The current title is The Wickthorpe Witch but I feel that suggests the wrong genre so I’m still working on it. Whilst it’s a stand-alone novel, I’ve already planned a sequel.
What is your ultimate dream as a writer?
To be the best I can be and to make my books as readable and enjoyable as they can be.
Carolyn Ruffles is the author of contemporary and historical fiction laced with mystery, romance and suspense. She has written and published three novels: The Girl in the Scrapbook, Who To Trust and The Vanishing Encore.
Carolyn loves reading books which tell a compelling story: books with drama and emotional depth; books with characters she loves and whose tales keep her reading late into the night; books with satisfying endings. These are what she strives to write. She is fascinated by human interest stories – ordinary people embroiled in extraordinary dramas and learning about themselves in the process.
Carolyn lives in Norfolk, UK, with her husband, Mark. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys walking her two rescue dogs, spending time with family and friends, playing badminton and looking after her two beautiful grandsons.
Social Media Links
Amazon author link https://www.amazon.com/author/carolynruffles
Book links (also available via my website)
mybook.to/whototrust paperback/print version