Born into poverty, Ruth Logan Herne is the mother of six and grandmother to thirteen. She and her husband, Dave, live on a small farm in upstate New York. She works full time but carves a few hours each day to write the kind of stories she likes to read, filled with poignancy, warmth and delightful characters. She is the 2011 award winner from the American Christian Fiction Writers.
For more, visit her at www.ruthloganherne.com
Savanna: Welcome to the blog, Ruth. We’re so glad you could join us today. Congrats on your beautiful newest release, Refuge of the Heart. I love the cover and title, by the way. 😉
When did you first come up with the idea for this story and how long did it take you to write it?
Well, that’s a great question, and like so many good ideas the inspiration for “Refuge of the Heart” came from multiple sources. My daughter was working on her public policy degree and went to Myanmar to study refugee problems. Her stories of refugees stirred my heart. At the same time the rising insurgency in Chechnya was filling the airwaves with heart-wrenching scenes of destruction and terror. And a cart jockey at Sam’s Club thanked me for putting a cart away on a snowy day. In his words, “No one does that in bad weather. Thank you, ma’am.”
When I got home from Sam’s, I pulled up Google and started researching Chechnya… and I found a mention of a Catholic enclave in or around Grozny, an enclave that had quietly disappeared. And I wondered what if they weren’t all killed?
And Lena’s story was born.
I could see her, dark-haired, dark-eyed, pushing that cart through the snow, struggling to get by, unwilling to quit… ever. And I had to tell her story.
The length of time for the first version was about three months. Then, I updated the story last year, and when my agent contacted me about Franciscan’s interest in publishing this beautiful story, I was delighted to work with them. I’ve worked with multiple Christian publishers in the past several years, and none of them have been more delightful than Franciscan Media.
Savanna: What a neat story! Love to hear this. What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
Ruth: Sacrificial love. The takeaway of this book is sacrificial love, the very essence of Christ’s ministry and our mission as Christians. In a world that’s run amok with craziness, it’s easy to become desensitized to the global problems. But reading this story brings it to life. It gives terror and refuge and courage a face and a name… and it shows the resiliency and toughness of the human spirit. Faith strengthens us. Hope encourages us. And love blesses us.
Lena’s romance with Mitch was a delight to write. I love romance, I am a Christian romance author, and the beauty of a man’s love for a woman is marvelous… until it all comes undone, of course! And then we have to pick up the pieces, one way or another. For Lena, she’s survived so much. Just being in America is overwhelming, and learning to trust again isn’t easy. But what is love without trust?
Savanna: Can you name a favorite hero and heroine from one of your favorite novels?
Ruth: Oh, gosh, no. I love so many books! But I’ll give you a few… Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett from “Pride and Prejudice”… Christy and Dr. MacNeil from Catherine Marshall’s “Christy”. Elizabeth and Nathaniel from Sara Donati’s “Into the Wilderness”… That one has love scenes in it, but Donati (Rosina Lippi, now, her real name) has such a beautiful way of weaving this historical story, that she caught me up in the difficulties of mixed marriages in a rough, new land.
Savanna: I’ve never read “Into the Wilderness”, but I love the others you mentioned. 😉 Gotta love a sweet love story, right?
On your website, you mentioned you love to garden. I do too! What’s one of your favorite things to grow and what’s something you’ll never grow again?
Ruth: I love to garden so much! And I’m a total flower lover, and when my husband used to say silly, cryptic, husband-like things like “You can’t eat flowers”, I’d say…
“Food for the soul”… And they are! So favorites… gosh, spring bulbs, first because upstate New York is along the shores of Lake Ontario and we get dumped on with Lake Effect snow… So when spring finally comes, those little green nubs make me so happy! But I also love growing vegetables and rhubarb. I had a huge bank of English Ivy in my front yard, and I loved the look (nice and old-fashioned for an old farmhouse, right???) but poison ivy follows English ivy, and pretty soon it was cropping up ALL OVER…
So I have performed emergency surgery on the ivy this year, and I’m on an all-out mission to eradicate the poison ivy… And replace it with pretty gardens with just enough space between plants to hit the poison ivy with my good friend “Round Up” when it pokes through.
I have a violent streak when it comes to me, my yard and poison ivy! 🙂
Savanna: Haha! Way to go! 😉 You’re right about the flowers, they’re definitely “food for the soul”. Thanks for sharing with us today, Ruth. Is there anything else you’d like to share? What project are you currently working on?
Ruth: I have just finished edits for my spring Franciscan book “More Than a Promise” a modern day marriage of convenience type story… but what happens when you inconveniently fall in love with your convenient spouse?
It’s a delightful story, and I can’t wait for folks to read it! I’ve got lovely novella collections that just came out for Kindle with some delightful inspirational author buddies! “A Heart Full of Christmas” features my “Home to His Heart” and “Home for Christmas” is a historical collection and it features my “Second Chance Christmas”, part of a prairie romance series I’m developing! And I’ve just published a follow-up to my Love Inspired “Kirkwood Lake” series “For the Love of Sophie June”. That’s in “Ribbons & Roses”, a duo I’m in with my friend Mia Ross.
And I just finished edits for a wonderful kick off to a new Random House/Multnomah cowboy series “Back in the Saddle”, and that’s coming out in March, and I love cowboys as much as I love gardens! 🙂
So it’s busy here, but I am so blessed to be doing the job I always dreamed of doing while I was raising six kids, waiting tables, running a daycare and selling wedding gowns… to be a published author, telling beautiful stories that women love.
Savanna: That’s wonderful, Ruth. I hope this busy season continues to bring you lots of joy. We’re so glad you could join us here. Happy fall!
Ruth has graciously offered to give away an ebook copy of Refuge of the Heart to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends October 22, 2015. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!