Tess Rosa Ruiz’s first collection of prose and poetry, ‘Freefall into Us’ was published last year. I asked her a few questions about her book.
Could you tell me a bit about your book, ‘Freefall into Us’?
Hi Sonya, and thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to have a chat about ‘Freefall Into Us’. It is short stories and poetry that poured out of me when I was going through a tough time in my life. The poetry is evident of a crumbling marriage, an affair, cancer, addiction, and the ending short story, ‘Freefall Into Us’ of an almost psychopathic boyfriend I encountered on a dating site. The characters in the short stories could be any of us. It’s about life, love, and the struggles of making sense of it all.
It seems to me to be a treasure trove of short stories and poems. Is the idea that people can dip in and out of your book?
Yes, exactly. I have always been told to write what you like to read. I love the simplicity of the short story. The quick pleasure I get from writing one. And nine times out of ten, it has to be well written and to the point. No meandering. It needs a quick beginning, middle and end. I don’t really have the desire to write a novel. It just seems like a very long uphill climb. I love the instant reward and gratification I get from short stories and poetry. So yes, I like the way you said that, ‘Dip in and out.’
Do you think it’s a book that both men and women will enjoy?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, most of my readers in the beginning were men. They all seemed to love my work and they were the ones that told me this was my calling. I can’t believe how many men have said that they had never read or desired to read poetry. But, after reading mine, how swayed they were and how much they enjoyed it. I think some women get put off by my vulgarity and constant swearing. I definitely think being raised with three brothers had a huge impact on me. Being ‘ladylike’ is not my forte. Lots of women have given me praise for saying how they have felt, but they never had the ‘balls’ to say it. I am glad to be their voice.
Is there going to be a follow up?
I am currently working on a book of poetry, titled ‘An American Slumber’ that will come out in September of this year. In late 2017, I will be putting out a short story collection titled, ‘The Art of A Dour Act.’ I have been asked by many to make one of my short stories, ‘The Pasture/Europa’ (In ‘Freefall Into Us’) into a novel. I am currently considering this very much. I want my readers to stay with me. 😉
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in journals when I was very young. It was an escape for me. Growing up with boys was at times very difficult. There was never much peace in our home, and it was then I would hide myself away and write. I mostly wrote poetry. I took a creative writing course in high school and my instructor told me I would be a writer some day. When I was 19, I moved to Seattle, worked my ass off to keep up with the cost of living here, and stopped writing. I got married at 28, had two daughters, and when one was off to college, picked up pen and paper and started ‘Freefall’ at age 50.
Do you make a note of your ideas as soon as they come to mind?
Yes! I use to tell myself, ‘I’ll remember, no need to jot it down.” Big mistake. I let two amazing story ideas escape me because I didn’t write them down. I make sure to keep a note pad and pen in my bag at all times.
Where do you mainly do your writing?
Coffee shops in Seattle. I have a couple of favorites. They need to be big, with lots of bustle going on. I always write with music blaring in my ears (Ipod). I find myself randomly staring at people. This helps me think so much. I know, weird. I have been writing in my apartment as well. It is very cute with a courtyard balcony. I feel I am in NY there.
How does it feel to be a published author?
It feels fucking amazing. Really. I never thought I would do it, though I had aspired to do it at a very young age. The day my daddy told me he was beyond proud that I had been published, and wondered where I had learned to ‘write like that’, well, that was one of the happiest days of my life. My father was also a poet.
I’m sure a lot of people in the UK would love to meet you. Are you planning a trip here at any stage?
I have thought of it. Many times. I am definitely the ‘struggling artist’ and just don’t have the money. When I do have money, I head straight for Brooklyn. I do want to make it happen though, for sure. Have always wanted to see Paris, as well.
Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
I would love to be able to write full time. Living on the water somewhere.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Reading. I don’t own a tv. (don’t get me wrong, I miss it like hell) I spend a lot of time with my 17-year-old daughter. She did the drawing in my book. I spend as much time as I can with my 21-year-old daughter, though she works almost every day. I am not dating anyone, decided I like being alone. My best friend is having her first baby at 42. I have a feeling I will be seeing her a lot!!!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Crap. That’s tough. Well, I think self doubt and/or inadequacy is something we all struggle with. Whenever I feel like throwing in the towel, or wondering why I chose to close myself off from the world on a regular basis, I think about what my best friend said to me. “You were given two gifts. Photographer and writer. Your photos and your words make people happy. Why would you rob the world of that? Make your mark. Do what you do. It’s who are you.” That always keeps me forging ahead.
‘Freefall into Us’ is available to buy from:-
Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/freefall-into-us/
Tess Rosa Ruiz’s Website – http://www.tessruizbooks.com