Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Courtney Ruggles!
Courtney’s love for writing dates back to short stories on a word processor (What?? Word processor with floppy disks?). Oh yes, she literally had a card filing case full of floppy disks. Now she continues her writing (she upgraded to a laptop) while living in Southern Ohio with her husband and son.
Although Courtney has always lived in Ohio, sometimes closer to the Ohio River and sometimes further away, she dreams of the mountain ranges out west and the sandy Florida beaches. She married the man of her dreams and had a beautiful blond haired blue eyed boy. Before she sought publication for her first book The Sixth Domicile: Book One of the Domicile Series, Courtney worked as a social worker in a mental health agency where she counseled and provided therapy. After she left full time work, she taught social sciences at a local university and began a photography business. The “extra” time gave her the ability to focus on writing again.
Courtney’s background in social work fuels the grit in her stories. When Courtney isn’t writing her next book, you can find her doing homework (drag) and sipping flavored coffee, reading young adult and new adult books (because social work textbooks are only so interesting), or daydreaming about all the future beach houses she intends to buy.
Without further ado, here’s her interview.
I love reading the author bios. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? Yes! I had trouble learning to read, but once I did, I flew with it. I read all the time, imagining me writing these awesome, amazing stories. When I was in the first grade, we had to write a “book” and I still have mine, titled Three Unicorns Dancing. Who wouldn’t love a story about three unicorns who couldn’t stop dancing! Early in junior high, my parents bought me a word processor where all I did was write short stories. But it was my senior year in my creative writing class when The Sixth Domicile came to life, which kept my writing dreams alive for the next nine years.
Why did you choose to write your genre? Because I LOOOOOVE dystopian. Total sucker for dystopian; hooked the first time I read Fahrenheit 451, Lord of the Flies, and Animal Farm. But I also love a good romance and, of course, a good paranormal or horror.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? Well, I only have one book published so far, but three finished which are all a part of the series. Um, I think the strangest thing I’ve written so far… Well, I had to ask my husband how to snare a human being in the woods. I researched survival guides to basically learn how to kill a human the way I needed to for my plot. That was strange for me, researching how to set hunting traps for people.
What are you currently working on? I just finished the manuscript for the third book of The Domicile Series. I am getting ready to start on the last book in the series and then I have a couple ideas for a romance and a paranormal novel.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? The Domicile Series was born as a short story in my high school creative writing class. But I loved the story, so I wrote on it on and off for nine years. After my editor and I began edits, she told me it was going to be a series and I absolutely had to agree! I was so excited to expand Q’s and B’s story and write more about them!
What was the hardest story for you to write? So far, I think the third book in the series. But I can’t tell you why! I think the fourth book is going to be even more challenging.
What process do you use to plan your novels? Fly by the seat of my pants. I usually come up with awesome plot twists as I’m going, but I hardly have anything planned when I first start a novel other than how I want it to begin and I want it to end.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? I think B is my favorite character. He’s just awesome and has to go through some crazy trials in the upcoming novels. Plus, he’s hot.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? I think so. I think Q’s compassion is a trait I have myself. I also think some of B’s traits are like my own. As well as Q437A’s. Because let’s face it, we aren’t always good! Almost all the characters encompass traits of someone I’ve known or who is close to me. Don’t try to guess who Q437A is in my life though, I don’t know really.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Yes. I just give it time. Eventually, something will come to me. Or I contact my favorite author friend and make her do word sprints with me so I’m forcing myself to write in the manuscript. It gets my brain working and focusing on the story again, and I can always change what I write later if I don’t like what I’ve forced myself to do. So far it’s worked 100% of the time.
Which authors inspire you? I’m infatuated with so many authors, it’s insane. Jolene Buccheit is a YA fantasy author and her new book, Trial By Charm is amaze-balls. Scott Westerfeld is amazing, so is Lauren Destefano (The Chemical Garden Trilogy), Darynda Jones (The Charley Davidson series), and my love for Hunger Games and Divergent has to include Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth.
What novel would you read multiple times? Hunger Games and Harry Potter definitely. Also, the Chemical Garden Trilogy is amazing.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) Oh, geesh. If I had the Resurrection Stone, could we have a party? I feel like I should list some profound, history changing person. Like George Orwell or Jane Addams. I’ll just put Theo James down for now (no Resurrection Stone needed!). U218A, a character you’ll meet in The Vrai Domicile: Book 2, was written with Theo in mind. It’d be fun to meet my U218A in human form.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? Unicorns!!! (Hence the Three Unicorns Dancing!) My love for unicorns will never die.
What is your favorite color? Purple. I’m attracted to various colors on different days, but purple seems to be my most consistent. Though I barely have any purple clothes nor do I decorate in purple.
Courtney is a doctorate student in social work, works as an adjunct professor, and runs a small photography business.
Catch up with Courtney online at:
It was a pleasure meeting you Courtney! Good luck with your next book, and I’ll see you in Nashville!
Next week I’ll be posting about the UTOPiA Convention in Nashville. Our next author spotlight will feature Lisa Manifold.