Please join me in welcoming Ruthie Knox to Love to Read Romance!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hmm. I could give you the official bio, but where would be the fun in that? You can find it on my website, here, if you want it. Unofficially, I’m thirty-four, married, overeducated, and obsessed with romance novels and Twitter. I started writing fifteen months ago, and it’s as if I’ve been possessed by demons—I’ve cranked out seven full manuscripts and two partial ones since then. (Note that I’m not claiming they’re all good manuscripts. Only that I wrote them. Some require major surgery.)
I relentlessly pursue self-improvement but think perfection is a silly goal. Happiness, on the other hand, is a good one. I gave up sugar for the year, and I’m having a lot of muffin- and cookie-related fantasies lately. I write about ordinary people, except funnier and sexier and more interesting. I believe in sex scenes but not epilogues. I like to read about people who make horrible mistakes and then redeem themselves. My favorite romance novels are a little wonky, a little sloppy, and a lot imperfect.
Wonderful! I can sympathize with the sugar fantasies, I've had to make a lifestyle change and the withdrawals from chocolate are terrible!
Can you tell us more about Ride with Me?
Ride with Me is a contemporary romance set on the TransAmerica Trail, which is a forty-two-hundred-mile mapped bike route that crosses the United States from Oregon to Virginia. It’s not a “sporty” book, really—it’s more like a locked-room novel where the hero and heroine are stuck with each other, except the locked room is the whole country.
Here’s the promotional blurb:
In this fun, scorching-hot eBook original romance by Ruthie Knox, a cross-country bike adventure takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is not about the bike!
When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger — a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.
Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.
Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?
Where did the idea come from? What sort of research did you do for this book?
I’ve been a cyclist since I was a kid, and I’ve taken several week-long bike trips that followed routes mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association, which created the TransAmerica Trail back in the 1970s and has since mapped several other cross-country and regional routes. Also, when I was a kid, my dad did most of the Southern Tier route, which crosses the United States through the South. I always liked hearing his trail stories, and I’ve loved having my own cycling adventures.
But why a romance novel? Partly, because at the moment I turn everything into a romance novel. I used to knit a lot, and one day I got an e-mail out of the blue from this guy who managed a rock band, asking if I wanted to custom design a sweater for the singer of this band. And since I had a small baby and no time to knit, my first response wasn’t “Sure!” It was, “Wow, that would make a great romance novel!”
Similarly, I was flipping through the Adventure Cycling magazine one day, and I happened to see the Companions Wanted column, where people who want to ride cross-country advertise for riding companions. I thought, “That would be an awesome way for a hero and heroine to meet—especially if they met and immediately disliked each other, but they had to ride forty-two hundred miles together anyway.” And Ride with Me was born.
Some of the “research” for the book was just my own experiences with riding and camping, and my family’s. But I also read a lot of ride journals (posted on the Adventure Cycling website) to get a feel for what various places along the route look and feel like, and for how the riding changes along the way. I wanted the novel to have something of a travelogue aspect—for readers to be able to experience the cross-country journey vicariously. On the other hand, I hate landscape descriptions. Always skip ’em. So I tried to keep those as minimal and subtle as possible.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
Hmm. Trust, perhaps? And guilt. I like characters who have to learn to trust themselves again in the wake of having done something stupid. I can relate to that. I’ve found that intelligence—and even self-awareness—provides absolutely no inoculation against making stupid mistakes. It’s entirely possible to make a mistake while acknowledging to oneself, “This is such a stupid mistake I’m making.” The interesting question is, Why do we do it anyway? What are we after? And in romance novels, I think it’s fun to watch characters step into the Stupidity Abyss and slowly come to realizations about themselves—about love, and about what they need to learn in order to grow as people.
Who has inspired you as an author?
Oh, who hasn’t? I’m a voracious reader—just absolutely incapable of not reading. My husband teases me, because if there’s a piece of junk mail on the table, and we’re sitting there trying to have a conversation, my eyes will be irresistibly drawn to the page. Words! On paper! Must read!
Lately, I’ve been on a historical romance kick, really enjoying Courtney Milan and Eloisa James. My friend Edie Harris also writes fabulous historical. But it’s contemporary romance that I love best. Some of my current favorites are Meg Maguire (also a friend—she writes erotica as Cara McKenna, too), who tells wonderfully real, gritty, romantic stories that are also ridiculously sexy; Theresa Weir, who’s been digitally reissuing some of her wonktastical romances from the Nineties; and Jennifer Crusie, whose best novels (particularly Anyone But You) are a master class in how to be funny and sexy and poignant at the same time.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
I do most of my writing between three-thirty and five-thirty a.m. on a laptop in my dark living room. So, I guess, the laptop. :-) I write using the software Scrivener and would shrivel up and die without it, but when I’m away from home, I also sometimes write on paper using a disposable fountain pen. (Love disposable fountain pens.) So I guess my only “must have” is quiet—a rare commodity at my house, since I have a three-year-old.
How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
I have a Scrivener file for jotting down “plot bunnies,” some of which later get developed into novels. Really, I don’t leave home much—I’m self-employed as an editor, so I work at home while babysitters watch my son out in the living room. But when I do leave home, it’s usually to go for a run or a yoga class, and then I have lots of ideas and have to type them into Scrivener when I get home so I won’t forget about them.
Describe your writing in three words.
Smart, sexy, funny.
What are some of your favorite books?
One of my all-time favorites is Steven King’s It. I’m not a big horror fan, but I have a soft spot for King. I also loved The Stand and The Long Walk. King is really great with character.
Slightly more highbrow, I love Dickens’s David Copperfield and Great Expectations. They both make me laugh out loud. Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist is a fantastic, offbeat romance with an unforgettable main character. As a kid, I read Alice Walker’s The Color Purple approximately four million times.
In romance, I love Sarah Mayberry’s Her Best Friend, Leslie Kelly’s Slow Hands, Jill Shalvis’s The Heat Is On, Theresa Weir’s Amazon Lily. I could go on, but that’s probably enough!
What's next for you?
I have another novel coming out with Loveswept on June 11, titled About Last Night. It’s set in London, kind of a bad girl / good boy story about a troubled American woman who’s trying to get away from her past mistakes and the (seemingly) straitlaced, silver-spoon banker who helps her learn how to trust herself again. Also, there are prawn crisps and do-me boots, and some stuff about art and life and accepting yourself. And a lot of sex, and some funny bits.
My editor will probably want to punch me for that synopsis. The promo copy, which is far more enticing, is on my website here (click on “Coming Soon”), and the book is available for preorder here.
Where can you be found online?
I have a website here, and if you check out the News page, you can find a listing of all my blog tour stops this month. I’m going to be all over the place, and I’m doing new content for everybody, so it won’t be the same thing over and over again.
Also, I’m on Twitter all the time, so if you’re into that sort of thing, follow @ruthieknox. And I have a Facebook page here.
Do you have anything you'd like to ask our readers?
Yep! Let’s talk about romance novel tropes. I’m a complete sucker for friends-to-lovers and any kind of reunion book. What’s your favorite kind of set-up in a romance?
Thanks to Loveswept one lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital copy of Ride with Me. Winners will pick up their copy through NetGalley. Good luck to all!
I love this book, it is just one of those that is a one sitting read cause you just can't put it down. It is witty, funny, sweet and I fell in love with the characters. The bantering between Tom and Lexie had me laughing out loud, I think one of my favorite scenes is when Tom is comparing his sexual prowess to Lexie's vibrator~! This was a wild fun ride and I can't wait to read more of Ms. Knox's work! Her books definitely go on the keeper shelf.
“A sweet yet sultry, honest and heart-tugging ride. Everything a love story should be!” Carly Phillips, New York Times Bestselling Author
A fantastic, sexy, and fun story! Ruthie Knox’s, RIDE WITH ME, was a delight to read.
Jill Shalvis, NYT Best Selling Author
“Ride With Me, is a unique kind of road trip with the best kind of bumps and curves!”
Sandra Hill, New York Times Best Selling Author
“Smart, sexy, and downright fun–I loved every moment of the ride!”
Julie James, National Bestselling Author
“Ruthie Knox writes a devil of a good book! Ride With Me is one wild and fun ride you’ll enjoy from the first page to the last!”
Christie Craig, award winning author of romances with heart, humor and suspense.
Available for purchase February 13th, a Loveswept, digital imprint of Ballantine Bantam Dell at Random House: