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History Buff is a site for history lovers everywhere. It is also a site very interested in women of the past. Although I (sadly) no longer have time to continue these interviews, here is an archive of Q&As about women's lives in history. And please feel free to stop by History Buff's sister site for archaeological discoveries making news today. Enjoy!

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author

As an historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
large quantity of time searching for news in archaeology and history. Once in a great while a new archaeological discovery will act as an inspiration for what I'm currently writing. But most of the time the news stories I read are simply interesting tidbits of history. Unfortunately, I have disallowed comments because I travel so frequently that I can neither monitor nor respond to them. But I would still love to share the history that I find fascinating each day. So welcome! And feel free to visit my website at or contact me at authormichellemoran at hotmail dot com.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Q&A With Historical Fiction Author Ruth Rymer

Ruth Rymer, tell us about Susannah, your second release.

Young college graduate Susannah Reed is brutally attacked in 1877 and nearly killed. While recovering, she vows to study law, although The United State Supreme Court has just declared that women are too timid and delicate to be lawyers.

Undaunted, Susannah reads law at a firm in Chicago as she struggles unsuccessfully to combine her career with a future marriage to a man who will not allow her to become an attorney. She passes the bar and is hired by the firm where she studied. Susannah’s handling of her cases brings her immediate success, but she must face the hostility and jealousy of male lawyers and threats on her life from a resistant public.

When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I've been writing since I was eight years old. As an outgrowth of my diary, I became a character, and everything I wanted happened to that character.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?

With Susannah I read extensively about Chicago between 1870 and 1900, mostly books published by University of Chicago Press. I also read novels written during the period, and both the news section and the classifieds in the Chicago Tribune. I visited upstate New York north of Albany so that I could create the fictional town of Green Valley. It's very important, in writing historical novels to be as familiar with the period and its society as possible. In my mind, I lived in 1877-80 while I was writing Susannah.

What is your favorite writing devise?

I really like alliteration--using many words beginning with the same letter. For example: "Ethical edges easily erase in this effervescent and egomaniacal Eden.”

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

I learned about America in the nineteenth century to a depth I didn't know possible. I'd love to take a time machine there, but I would want to go as a man. Life was very difficult for women during that time.

What does your family think about your career as a published author?

They are all quite surprised!

What is coming up next for you writing-wise?

Maybe a sequel. Perhaps some short stories.

Thank you, Ruth! And please feel free to visit Ruth online for more information about her novel.