Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with Jan Ruth which was first posted in April 2019. It’s been brought up to date to include Jan’s latest books. Jan writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic, often blending life in rural Wales with a touch of city business. Her style is best described as fast-paced and realistic, with a sprinkling of dry humour.
The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day struggles to make sense of anything numerical.
Her first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.
Many years later Jan’s second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. And then Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing. Jan went on to successfully publish several works of fiction under her own imprint, Celtic Connections.
After a brief partnership with Accent Press in 2015, Jan chose to return to the freedom of independent publishing.
Jan Ruth lives in Snowdonia, a mountainous area of North Wales, UK. She is also an active member of her local RDA group (Riding for the disabled) and is an Assistant Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner for the Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship. In her spare time she enjoys riding and walking the Welsh hills; a constant source of inspiration.
Jan’s books are available globally via Amazon in paperback and for Kindle; and locally, you’ll find them in North Wales libraries and Hinton’s bookshop of Conwy.
Over to Jan:
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Not so much soundtracks to my life, but music which has heavily influenced me along the way:
Gloria, I recall being fairly obsessed with this track in the 80’s and it still makes me feel wired despite the million times I must have listened to it. The energy and angst is palpable.
Angel, Sarah Brightman. I tend to find myself writing Christmas stuff at the wrong time of the year. It’s always a tall order to find the mood when the sun is beating down on the parched Welsh mountains. This is where music plays a massive part, well, that and mince pies. This track by Brightman epitomises our kaleidoscope of beliefs when it comes to religion, guardian angles, and all things paranormal.
Remember When it Rained, Josh Groban. The loss of my father.
Pyro, Kings of Leon.This album, and especially this track, shaped my character, Daniel, from White Horizon. It included a fast car, an old schoolfriend with a nasty agenda, and yes, a fire…
Fields of Gold, Sting. Everything I feel about the Welsh countryside is epitomised in this music. It’s moving without a shred of sentiment, and this sums up much about me and the style of my books.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Horses. They’ve been part of my life for fifty years and a constant source of inspiration.
The British countryside. I really can’t think of anything which might induce me to live in another country, and so much of my health and happiness depends on the big outdoors.
Laughter. I’m an optimist, it works for me!
My Apple Mac. It keeps my life in order.
My Fiat Panda. I wouldn’t describe myself as a car person, but I’d be lost in the Welsh hills without my modest 4×4.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Don’t run with the crowd, be individual.
Contentment doesn’t come from material things. As we mature we discover that we can actually live without most of the things we clutter our lives with.
It’s okay to be unhappy or sad, sometimes.
If in doubt – don’t.
Not all good material is published by a traditional publisher, and contracts from some of them aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
I’m a qualified equine therapist. (Assisting those with mental health issues through interacting with horses)
I do my best writing wearing my pyjamas and dressing gown. As soon as I get dressed the spell is broken…
Since I don’t write commercial fiction, I no longer submit manuscripts. I write and publish for myself and my readers.
I’m an active trustee member for Conwy RDA. (Riding for the Disabled).
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
See more of Italy
Walk the Coast to Coast
Ride a long distance trail – in fact I’ve just booked this for June in Cumbria, so here’s hoping for kind weather!
Develop my equine therapy and coaching skills.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
My Life in Horses (Book 1)
This is the memoir of an ordinary horse-girl. Fifty years of riding schools, borrowed horses and long lost dreamscapes. Fifty years of a passion which has seen considerable changes from the gradual demise of the public riding school, to the loss of access to safe bridleways. But My Life in Horses is not filled with sad nostalgia, it’s also a kaleidoscope of hope and inspiration. From the dappled sunlit lanes of Cheshire to the rugged mountains of North Wales, and beyond.
My Life in Horses (Book 2)
This is the journal of an ordinary horse girl as she rides over the Welsh hills towards her pension years. There’s adventure when she follows an ex car-mechanic on an 80 mile trek across Cumbria, poignant times remembering the Guardian Angel of Lost Stirrups, and isolation when the coronavirus pandemic hits the UK. But mostly it’s about her indomitable riding buddy, Purl Rainstorm; a Dartmoor pony who understands the limitations of short legs, and the fun of cantering across unauthorised spaces.
Imagine living eighteen years of your life around a mistake…
Caroline Walker’s daughter suffers a horrific riding accident. Her distraught parents wonder if she’ll ever walk again, let alone ride. And when Mollie’s blood group is discovered as rare, her husband offers to donate blood. Except Ian is not a match. In fact, it’s unlikely he’s Mollie’s father.
Eighteen years previously, Caroline had a one-night stand with Irish rock star, Rory O’Connor. Caroline fell pregnant. Deeply flawed boyfriend, Ian, was overjoyed. And Caroline’s parents were simply grateful that their daughter was to marry into the rich, influential Walker family. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Caroline turns to Rory’s friend Connor; and although his almost spiritual connection with his horses appears to be the balm she needs, Caroline cannot forget Rory, or her youth – both lost to a man she never loved. Eighteen years on and after surviving cancer Rory lives as a virtual recluse in the Welsh mountains. Through his well-meaning but interfering sister, he is shocked to discover he has a teenage daughter. Or does he? As the truth begins to unravel, Caroline finds herself faced with a complex trail of moral dilemma.
Someone has made a terrible mistake… someone is going to get hurt…
Midnight Sky series
Midnight Sky (Midnight Sky Book 1)
How can we harness the future if the past will not set us free?
Opposites attract? Laura Brown, interior designer and James Morgan-Jones, horse whisperer – and Midnight Sky, a beautiful but damaged steeplechaser.
Laura seems to have it all, glamorous job, charming boyfriend. Her sister, Maggie, struggles with money, difficult children and an unresponsive husband. She envies her sister’s life, but are things as idyllic as they seem?
She might be a farmer’s daughter but Laura is doing her best to deny her roots, even deny her true feelings. Until she meets James, but James is very married, and very much in love, to a wife who died two years ago. They both have issues to face from their past, but will it bring them together, or push them apart?
Palomino Sky (Midnight Sky Book 2)
A golden promise for the future in a lonely palomino mare, but life deals a cruel hand for James and Laura.
James is still running from the past after the loss of his wife, and a devastating accident forces him to face his final demons, but at what cost? Laura is forced deeper into his rural world – a life she once despised – but discovers empathy and hope in the palomino mare she calls Song.
Repercussions abound for Maggie too, when the full extent of her daughter’s dangerous liaison comes to light, leaving the entire family in turmoil. Will James and Laura ever find a golden future, or has life dealt too vicious a blow?
Palomino Sky is a complete novel. The story continues in Strawberry Sky.
Strawberry Sky(Midnight Sky Book 3)
A rosy future seems certain but Laura has some tough decisions to make.
Maggie is devastated by her daughter’s plans, but Jess is determined to remove the past from her life no matter the upset it will cause. James is no longer running from his past, but a multitude of unresolved issues are set to catch up with Laura.
As an orphaned foal and a motherless teenage girl slip seamlessly into her life, are they key to a positive change or an omen for impending danger? Armstrong is a troubled young man and a trail of minor events ends in a catastrophe no one could have predicted. Can the family ever recover, or should they simply trust in destiny?
Wild Water series
Wild Water (Wild Water Book 1)
The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; secrets, lies and family ties.
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. His feelings towards Anna reawaken, but will life and family conflicts conspire to keep them apart again?
Dark Water (Wild Water Book 2)
The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; is there a future for him and Anna, or is the past too destructive?
Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set and skilled juggler of complex relationships. Someone to break all the rules, or an unlikely hero?
In this sequel to Wild Water Jack and Anna return to discover that history repeats itself. Anna’s long-awaited success as a serious artist is poised to happen, but her joy, along with her relationship with Jack, is threatened by old scores.
Simon Banks is a depressed and unstable man with a plan. He wants to wipe out his past by buying a brighter future, but Jack Redman stands in his way.
Will Jack ever escape the legacy of lies and deceit left by his ex-wife? Can Jack and Anna hold it all together, or will tragic repercussions from Jack’s past blow them apart forever?
Dark Water(Wild Water Book 3)
The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; a dangerous web of lies concludes a bitter-sweet end.
Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set and someone who’s broken all the rules. An unlikely hero or a misguided fool?
In this sequel to Dark Water, Jack and Anna must face the consequences of their actions. As the police close in and Patsy’s manipulative ways hamper the investigations, will Jack escape unscathed?
With her career in tatters and an uncertain future, Anna has serious decisions to make. Her silence could mean freedom for Jack, but an emotional prison for herself. Is remaining silent the ultimate test of faith, or is it end of the line for Jack and Anna?
Short Stories and Novellas
Away for Christmas
Jonathan Jones has written a novel. Losing his job a few days before Christmas means the pressure is on for his book to become a bestseller, but when his partner drops her own bombshell, the festive holiday looks set to be a disaster.
When he’s bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town, it seems that some of his prayers have been answered, but his publishing company turn out to be not what they seem, and when his ex-wife suddenly declares her romantic intent, another Christmas looks set to be complicated.
Is everything lost, or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo, and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book, and his skin?
A Short Way from Home
Comprising seven short stories; two new additions to the original book.
What to do About Clara?
The certainty of old love, or the uncertainty of new? Frankie has two women in his life and he needs to make a choice.
Over The Moon.
It’s Pattie’s birthday, but will all her wishes come true? Events are planned, but Pattie simply longs to escape, preferably to the man next door!
Two Hearts One Soul.
Celtic fantasy, inspired by the many Druid circles and standing stones scattered across the Welsh hillsides. The bond of a twin can never be broken, not even by death. Belief is a powerful, invisible tool.
A Piece of Cake.
Alpha male thinks he’s in control, but the day brings some surprising revelations! Lead sixteen ramblers along an easy section of the coastal path. It should have been easy, but saving his life at the same time, made for a more challenging route.
Adam is flawed, obsessed by Eve and his search for the unattainable. Can new love and a new beginning re-write his future or will he succumb yet again to the lure of forbidden fruit?
A Short Way From Home.
Age is just a number, until it catches up with you.
Flash Fiction. Christmas spirit; is it a present, or a presence? Some poignant thoughts about family and the pride of those elderly and alone.
Home for Christmas
An emotive trio of stories with festive themes.
Rudolph the Brown-Nosed Reindeer
Rick isn’t looking forward to his lonely corporate Christmas, but it’s the season of goodwill and magic is in the air.
An off-beat love story. It’s time Rick wore his heart on his sleeve, or is it too late? Lessons in love from an unlikely source.
Jim’s Christmas Carol
Santa and Satan pay a visit. One brings presents, the other an unwelcome presence.
Paranormal reality. Jim’s played with fire it’s time he got his comeuppance, but from who?
Home for Christmas
Deck the halls with boughs of holly. Fa la-la la-la, la-la la-la. Tis the Season to be jolly…
Romantic-comedy. Pip might accidentally find her true vocation, but the folly of her fibs are about to catch up with her.
A Long Way from Home
An emotive trio of stories with themes of home.
Home Sweet Home.
Only it’s not always sweet, or homely. Callum doesn’t do sweet. Mel doesn’t do homely. Sometimes the world of fantasy is actually the right one, and the facts are less important.
A Long Way from Home.
A wedding in Wales doesn’t turn out as the father of the bride expects.
Mal’s a good bloke really, surely it was his time for some karma?
Home is Where the Heart is.
Unless it’s out of town.
Never mix love and business. Just when Morgan thinks he’s lost it all, he finds a happy ending.
Al is the black sheep of his family, Kate, the good shepherd of hers. Can black and white become silver, or just a dark and dangerous grey?
Alastair Black has revealed a secret to his wife in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage. A return to his childhood family home at Chathill Farm is his only respite, although he is far from welcomed back by brother George.
Kate, recently widowed and increasingly put upon by daughter, sister and mother, feels her life is over at fifty. Until she meets Alastair. He’s everything she isn’t, but he’s a troubled soul, a sad clown of a man with a shady past. When his famous mother leaves an unexpected inheritance, Kate is caught up in the unravelling of his life as Al comes to terms with who he really is.
Is Alastair Black her true soulmate, or should Sleeping Beauty lie?
Three couples in crisis, multiple friendships under pressure.
On-off-on lovers Daniel and Tina return to their childhood town. After twenty-five years together, they marry in typically chaotic fashion, witnessed by old friends, Victoria and Linda who become entangled in the drama, their own lives changing beyond recognition. However, as all their marriages begin to splinter, and damaged Victoria begins an affair with Daniel, the secret illness that Tina has been hiding emerges. Victoria’s crazed and violent ex-husband attempts to kill Daniel and nearly succeeds, in a fire that devastates the community. On the eve of their first wedding anniversary, Tina returns to face her husband, but is it to say goodbye forever, or to stay?
The YouTube videos seem to be missing, Jill.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Many thanks for letting me know Kelly, really appreciated – I must have been having a bad day! All sorted now xx
LikeLiked by 1 person
Good to see Jan here. Thanks Jill. Have a fab day everyone. xx
LikeLiked by 1 person