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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wednesday's Writer - Jan Ruth

Having always had concerns that my books don't sit easily in one specific genre, I was interested to hear that publishers - despite loving Jan Ruth's novel - were unsure where to 'place' it when they were offered it a few years ago, and therefore turned it down.  Well that simply confirms my opinion that publishers often get it terribly wrong.  They certainly made a big mistake in letting Wild Water slip through their nets.

From the very first page I knew I was in for my favourite kind of story written in my favourite style - literary, witty, incisive etc.  And at no time throughout my reading (which was practically in a single sitting) was I disappointed.

Book description

Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set. An unlikely hero, or someone to break all the rules?
Wild water is the story of forty-something estate agent, Jack, who is stressed out not only by work, bills and the approach of Christmas but by the feeling that he and his wife, Patsy are growing apart. His misgivings prove founded when he discovers Patsy is having an affair, and is pregnant.
At the same time as his marriage begins to collapse around him, he becomes reacquainted with his childhood sweetheart, Anna, whom he left for Patsy twenty-five years before. He finds his feelings towards Anna reawaken, but will life and family conflicts conspire to keep them apart again?
Pan Macmillan Books; “It has a good combination of humour and poignancy. The characters are well portrayed and Jan delves shrewdly into their make-up, gradually allowing their traits to become evident and appreciated.” 

WILD WATER is the WINNER of the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, 'Most Popular Self Published book' Competition. December 2011.

Wild Water

This is a truly delightful tragi-comedy that will draw you into its enchanting world from page one and keep you engrossed to the last page.  I defy you not to fall a little bit in love with the long-suffering Jack Redman and positively loathe his selfish, ungrateful and avaricious wife.  Life, work, marriage and kids chuck all the slings and arrows imaginable at poor Jack, but he fends them all off with consummate skill, keeping him out of the victim class and well up there with the best and most memorable heroes.  I would really love a sequel featuring this engaging character.  Oh, and the dogs of course, who become endearing characters in their own right - take a big bow-wow Benson and Hooper!

Jan Ruth is a writer at one with her characters and her landscape and her amazing talent as a story-weaver makes the reader grow to know and love both aspects with equal passion.  Her writing is intelligent, humorous and skillful and her story flows so well that there is no place to say `well this is a good place to stop for today and pick it up again tomorrow' - you just have to continue reading. 

I thought her style was slightly reminiscent of Clive James in what I always considered his best novel ('Brilliant Creatures' starring the long-suffering Lancelot Windhover) but - and sorry, Mr James, although I love you to pieces - rather more approachable generally speaking. It isn't too highbrow but at no time does it ever become trite or predictable (well, maybe with the exception of the obnoxious Philipe's true nature and his revelations at the end - but then I think that was cleverly executed dramatic irony and we were meant to guess those quite early on anyway). 

At the time of reading, I felt the story could benefit from slightly sharper editing, in terms of grammar, punctuation, spelling etc because I happen to have the sort of eyes that refuse to just skim over glitches of this nature. Such a perfect story deserves to be faultless in my mind.  I was therefore delighted to hear that since my reading of it, the novel has been re-edited.  It was a minor niggle anyway considering that this story entertained me so thoroughly and delightfully from start to finish.  So, Ms Jan Ruth - I happily give you my full five cute cats award!

Wild Water has been through twenty years of format changes! It began life on a typewriter (remember those?) Recently re-edited, a second edition is now available.
Also by Jan Ruth, Midnight Sky & White Horizon.
About Jan Ruth

Jan lives in North Wales and writes contemporary, romantic women's fiction. Love stories with strong, identifiable characters. Her feel for the Welsh landscape is evident in all of her books. Her style has been described as between two genres - not light enough for romance but not literature either - it sits somewhere between the two. Her books convey some serious threads with a good blend of humour, a balance of light and dark. They are slightly different from the majority of romance in that she often writes from the male perspective.

Her first attempt at a full length novel attracted a London agent struggling to start her own venture, that of publishing love stories with a difference. When chatting with author Gilli Allan recently, Jan was surprised to learn that they had both been in on this venture (many, many years ago!) which alas came to nothing. Her second novel, Wild Water, attracted another London agent (Jane Judd) but again failed to find the right niche with a publisher. Eventually, along came e-readers and indie publishing, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Amazon kindle has changed the face of the publishing industry and specific genres and publishers budgets, are no longer in the driving seat. It is an amazing platform for writers, in that all books, successfully published or not- are available to a worldwide audience, but most importantly to the reader, who is after all the most important judge.


Jenny Twist said...

Excellent post. Makes you realise what a boon it is to have self-publishing xx

Jade M said...

It's always great to have books recommended from a reliable source and I've really enjoyed most of your suggestions so far. This one looks like another winner. I remember Clive James - a very good writer. Thanks for the recommendation.

Gilli Allan said...

Those were the days, eh Ruth?

ManicScribbler said...

That's true, Jenny - and it can be quite an exciting journey to take. I like to hedge my bets and go both routes.
Jade - so very happy you like my recommendations. I feel sure you will really enjoy Wild Water.
Hi Gilli - thanks for dropping in.

BK said...

Love the post. The book sounds amazing :). Thanks for sharing.

ManicScribbler said...

Thank you, BK.
It is a great story - Do read it, I'm sure you will agree with me.

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