Interview with Ruth Burkett Weeks
Ruth, the first work of yours I read was your War Between the States novel, Soldiers from the Mist. I was blown away by the absolute authenticity of the characters. I’ve since heard part of your new book Dixie Dandelion and a section of your paranormal romance and you bring the same life to these characters as well. So, how do you it?
Well . . . to be honest, I cheat.
It would be a lie if I told you I sit for hours developing my characters—what they look like, where they live, their strengths, their weaknesses, etc, etc.. The truth is my protagonists come to me with their stories. All I need to do is listen and type their words. Soldiers From the Mist, for example, was told to me by the ghosts of the Civil War soldiers that haunted my house. Their dialogue and personalities are so real because they were real. My character, Dixie Dandelion was me in a past life, so she’s easy to bring to life. And Raven and Roark in my paranormal romance, The Rook and the Raven, exist in a higher dimension and are quite alive.
So, now everyone knows my secret—I “channel” my characters. However, I’m not alone. I think every writer that gets into that groove we writers love so much—the times where our fingers fly across the keyboard trying to keep up with the words and thoughts of our protagonists, when time disappears and we type for hours without fatigue, and when we sit back and say to ourselves, “where did this come from?”—is a form of channeling.
I know you are more attuned than most of us to the supernatural. You read tarot cards. The inspiration for Soldiers in the Mist came to you, as I understand it, from the ghosts of the historical characters in that book. I’m fascinated by your ability to see through the veil. Tell us about that gift please.
I’m not sure if “gift” is the correct word. Everyone has the ability. Some choose to ignore it, others embrace it, and some just forget they have it.
In my efforts to become more spiritual I attended quite a few guided meditations that took me through quiet meadows, crystal streams, and dark caves to find my spirit guides. I enrolled in the School of Metaphysics and tired to conform to their teachings. None of these things worked. Then I went to a Tarot card class. The instructor told us to keep things simple. That the secret to communicating with the other side and to card reading was the mental pictures we got when we looked at a certain card. So, I started to just look at the cards and say the first thing that popped into my head. That opened the gate. My guides talk to me through mental pictures. I don’t have to physically see anything. However there are occasions, when I do see a misty or shadowed figure materialize before me and as well as auras. I also learned that what others call “imagination” is actually communication from the other dimensions and worlds. So, don’t pooh-pooh your child’s imaginary friend as it well could be their guardian angel standing beside them.
You have an acting background, right? How are acting and writing the same and how are they different in the channeling of creative energy? And how has that background helped you in writing and in promoting your books?
Acting and writing are kissing cousins.
In drama you literally step into your characters shoes and take on his/her personalities. In writing this is called, POINT OF VIEW. In acting the stage crew builds a town or set with nails, glue and wood. In writing this is known as, SENSE OF PLACE. An actor studies his character trying to find the reason he was motivated to do what he did. In writing this is called, INTERNALIZATION. Many times when I get stuck on a scene that I’m writing, I act it out. The only difference between the creative energy is that in drama you act out the words the writers thought up. A writer can exist without an actor but an actor is dead in the water without words to interpret.
My acting experience gives me a HUGE advantage in promoting my books. I’m not afraid to speak in public in fact I look forward to it. I know how stand. How to enunciate. How to “read” an audience and grab their attention. How to never, ever let them see me sweat!
This is a question for Ruth Burkett Weeks the person more than the writer I suppose, but you grew up in North West Arkansas before the rest of the country discovered it for the beautiful place it is. How has the area changed since you were a kid and do you feel a bit like your home is being occupied by outsiders?
I was born and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I loved my home town and when marriage took me away to other states and cities I was terribly homesick. I used to ride my horse on what is now the by-pass, grandma’s house stood on MLK boulevard, it was safe to walk the streets at night. But the quiet little town of Fayetteville has gotten too big for its britches. The University has always played a huge part in Fayetteville’s growth and the politics connected with it have tarnished the town. Hwy 71 looks like the Vegas strip with signs and the god-awful traffic. I won’t live in Fayetteville now. I can’t blame people for wanting to move here but I do long for the good ol’ days.
I’m going to steal this question from you because you posed the query but never answered it yourself. If you could spend an hour with anybody in history, who would it be and why?
Oh,not fair!!!!! Anyone????????? Hmm . . . God. I just got to know what HE was thinking when he started all of this.
Describe yourself in ten words or less. Good luck with this task. I’d take me 1,000 words just to tell how funny you are.
I just laughed out loud. Glad you think I’m funny.
1. I am a child of God and strive to reflect HIS goodness.
5. Full of laughter
7. A little ditzy
10. One of a kind