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Bookcase Focus: An interview with Ruth Richards
Wales Literature Exchange interviewed our Bookcase author Ruth Richards, about her writing and her influences.
What first inspired you to be an author and where do your ideas come from?
Having either ignored, or half-heartedly failed at much of what was expected of me, middle age and diminishing expectations finally gave me the freedom to do what I had always wanted to do - write something.
Ideas emerge from a long period of gestation. I first heard the story of Elin Evans (the subject of Pantywennol) as a child; I found her, and her story, fascinating. I then filed it away, only for it to emerge as an obsession several decades later. It has been much the same with the novel I'm currently writing, about the ludicrously glamorous 5th Marquess of Anglesey.
How would you describe your writing?
A necessity - for me - by now.
Which authors have influenced you the most?
It's so difficult to say, and so easy to unconsciously borrow solutions from other authors. While writing Pantywennol, I was convinced that it would betray the influence of the classic, and much-loved Welsh novel, Un Nos Ola Leuad. On reading the first draft, however, I was surprised that Emily Dickinson had found her way into a Welsh text; probably via the influence of the Welsh hymn-writers. You can never tell who or what may enter ar any time.
In your opinion what are the biggest challenges that writers face today – and do you think these challenges have changed since you started writing?
I only started writing four years ago, but I imagine the challenges I face are of an eternal nature: how to equate the time and effort involved with money earned, the horror of bad reviews, and the prospect of seeing your work in the bargain bin.
What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?
The hardest part was daring to write; challenging the assumption that people would think that I had something to say, when I never thought I did. I'm still not sure that I have, and it's probably not for me to judge; but, obvious as this will sound, anything that anyone has to say can only come out through the process of saying, or writing it.
Writing itself, when an idea is perceptible and knows where it's going, is easily the easiest part.
Which writer from Wales would you recommend to readers and why?
I would recommend all of us: we need the attention; and we'll not waste a moment of your time.