Thursday, March 20, 2014

Interview with author Ruth Hartman Berge

Ruth Hartman Berge
Jupiter, Florida

Good morning, Ruth, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors.  It's great to have you here with us from beautiful, sunny Jupiter, Florida.  What have you written?
“Betty Tales: The True Story of a BraveBobblehead Cat” is a children’s book about my disabled cat that teaches diversity as well as how important determination and persistence is in reaching your goal.
“Growing Up in Northern Palm Beach County” (working title) is currently under contract with The History Press and is scheduled to be published June, 2014.

What is your favorite genre to write?
I seem to be drawn to the Florida of the past, although I love writing both fiction and non-fiction. I’m just starting a murder mystery and have another novel based in 1930s Florida on the back burner. Love writing short stories, too!

Favorite food. 
Steak and potatoes!

Tea or coffee? 
Tea and none of that fancy stuff, either!

Pizza or ice cream? 
Ice cream!

Where would you like to visit? 
Want to go back to London. Haven’t been there since the 1980s.

Favorite musical artist.
Right now, Blake Shelton.

Do you listen to music when you write? 
Nope. I actually have the tv on to the scifi channel. I love looking up to see the campiest, most fake monster everAnd if the acting is terrible, too? I’m in heaven.

What makes you laugh? 
Silly things. Love the old tv show “FawltyTowers.” That’s my kind of silly.

How old were you when you started writing? 
Started when a pencil was put in my hands. I only started taking myself seriously at age 50. I tell my children all the time to find their passion early and don’t make a purely practical choice. Practical should be on the list, but find the passion that makes your heart sing and you’ll never regret it.

Describe your perfect evening. 
A dinner out with friends followed by an hour or two of writing.

Where do you get your inspiration? 
All over the place. I’ll overhear someone say something, see something on tv or at the store. My latest short story came about because I have an antique typewriter with a flower arrangement sitting next to my tv. The idea will just keep coming back until I give up and write about it.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
I’ll just keep mulling my thoughts over. I’ve been fortunate not to be stuck with a big one yet.

Who is your favorite author? 
I have two. Stephen King and Prudy Taylor Board.

Best book you ever read. 
I loved “The Stand.”

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
I would have to say Brian Klemmer who wrote The Compassionate Samurai. There was a writing exercise at one of his seminars. We were to take five minutes and write who and what we were one year from that date. The first sentence I wrote? “I am a writer.” I was so stunned, my jaw dropped and I got tears in my eyes. It had been a childhood dream that had been buried while I made a living and raised my children. I was 50. By 51, I had a column and a blog and was working on what has become “Growing Up in Northern Palm Beach County.” By 53, I had published “Betty Tales.” It’s important to approach life with a sense of urgency. Don’t put things off.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Tough one.There are many. I would have loved to have a conversation with my great-grandfather. A German immigrant who traveled all over the United States before settling in Florida, he led a fascinating life, homesteading on the plains of North Dakota. He was also one of the men who huddled in Fort Sauerkraut in Hebron, North Dakota in advance of an Indian attack that never happened. Oh, the stories!

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Find a mentor. Join a critique group led by a multiple-published author. Grow a thick skin. Require honest, no-holds-barred critiques of your work and carefully consider the suggestions. Don’t automatically accept every suggestion. Study and read, read, read everything you can get your hands on about your craft.

Do you have any links for us to follow you?


  1. This is fascinating and something every aspiring writer should read. Way to go, Betty! :-)

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by Ruth. It was a pleasure to get to know you and "Betty" better! Please come back and do a cover reveal with us when "Growing Up in Northern Palm Beach County" comes out. We at Vision and Verse wish you continued success in all your writing endeavors.

    1. Thank you, Carol. It was a pleasure and I hope your blog continues to thrive. You've got some interesting articles here!