Because of the Night
Muse Literary (2022)
ISBN Number: 978-1958714065
Rue L’Hommedieu is a debut author, an active Motion Picture and Television Teamster, as well as a lover of travel, old movies, and blueberry wine. Rue resides in the S.E. United States and is currently working on a second novel, releasing in fall of 2023. Rue invites you to check out the website www.RUEBOOKS.com.
Hi Rue, welcome to Reader Views!
Tell us about your writing journey. When did you start writing? Have you always wanted to be an author? What made you decide to actually sit down and write your first book?
Didn’t start to write seriously until my 50s. I’m guessing that’s a bit later in life than most authors. It wasn’t until my elderly parents started having health issues that I felt the nudge to jot down a few of my childhood memories.
Once completed, an epiphany struck me: If I connect these short stories with a sprinkle of fantasy and my own humorous ADHD quirks, it might just make an entertaining book. And, in some small way, help other neurodiverse kids navigate their own challenges in life.
What is Because of the Night about?
Icky is a quirky girl with humorous ADHD impulses. Fully convinced she’s mismatched with her complicated family, and willing to risk everything to prove it, she embarks on a one-night adventure in a magical boat.
What was your inspiration behind the storyline?
To highlight a common thought most kids have had at one time or another, ‘Why can’t I fit in with the world?’ or ‘Why can’t the world simply fit in with me.’
How do you use humor in the book, and what is its effect on the reader?
The humor, along with the protagonist’s ADHD quirks, are purposely used to help Vicky (AKA- Icky) cope with her complicated family. The intended effect of my humor style is to soften and de-stress the reader so they can push through the harder moments of life and clearly see their own unique place in this complex world.
How did you develop the character of Vicky and what makes her a relatable protagonist? What motivates her?
I pulled from the combined characteristics of many people. But mostly myself. Vicky’s motivation and relatability are broadly universal, she just wants to fit in with her family and life.
What role does Vicky’s grandfather play in the story, and how does he add to the overall message of the book?
For Vicky, Gramp represents a constant reassuring presence. I hope for the younger reader, they’ll see him as a comforting reminder that they’re never alone throughout the entire story.
The book is written for teens, but our reviewer suggests that adults will also enjoy it. What aspects of the book make it appealing to a wide audience?
So as not to frighten the younger readers, I used certain event descriptions or specific dialogue lines to camouflage the more serious subjects. The goal was they would simply skim over those deeper areas without much thought to its darker meaning.
I hoped the opposite effect on my adult reader. To stimulate their interest, I placed nostalgic facts and historical events to reunite them with their own childhood memories. Nudging them onto a more personal journey, which would allow them to view Vicky’s story from a different angle.
How does the book address themes of family, identity, and self-discovery?
I believe addressing family, identity, and self-discovery themes should be done gently, but honestly. So, for my book, I thought it important not to shy away from the harder topics of everyday life.
What kind of research was involved?
Besides my personal family exposures, I read dozens of ADHD-related books, including many from the 1960’s timeframe. These older versions helped me to understand how the medical, social, and physiological differences were addressed in the past. It was a wonderful way to broaden my own understanding of the different and beautiful forms of neurodiversity we all have.
Also, to reacquaint myself with my own past, I went down memory lane and traveled to my old childhood neighborhoods.
(Fun fact here-– The reward for my Jan/2020 fact-finding ‘Intel’ trip, was returning home with the worst gosh-awful case of Covid!)
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
My biggest surprise was realizing that I didn’t truly know myself. But then again — maybe I always knew. (Trust me here, this made perfect sense inside my head!)
Once I put down pen-to-paper on describing the expert skill I have: ‘to tune out, detach, and move on’, the real Icky became clearer to me. Perhaps for the first time.
What kind of reaction to your writing do you most seek from your reading audience?
That my words were placed in the best possible way to allow the reader to completely immerse themselves into the mood of a 1960’s neighborhood. And, that my story, was a kind reminder of the important value of understanding others.
How has the book been received by its audience, and what are some common reactions or feedback from readers?
To my big surprise, the positive reactions have been aligned with my deepest purpose for writing the book. I didn’t expect to be successful in stringing words together that would let readers follow and empathize with how and why Vicky sees the world.
What does your writing routine look like?
It’s changed greatly over the years. At first, I wrote in short and sweet intervals, to keep it from feeling too tedious. Looking back now though, it was more probable that I simply had zero confidence in myself that I had something to say that others would want to hear.
My current routine is a big cup of coffee of course! Then I write the first 2-3 hours of my day down at a local coffee shop. After that, the afternoon is spent on lunch, chores, and family. Then if the urge hits me in the evening, I’ll write while watching a movie or TV. (Yes, my husband does not understand how I can do both at same time.)
What do you like to read and which authors have inspired your own writing?
- Matt Haig (Universal Library)
- Donna Gephart (Lily and Duncan)
- Annie Proulx (Shipping News)
- Tim Ferderle (Better Nate than Ever)
- Rodman Philbrick (Freak the Mighty)
- JK Rawlings (Harry Potter-of course!)
What do you like to do outside of writing?
Family dinners, blueberry wine, beaches, and all travel-except cruises. (Don’t ask!)
What are your plans for future writing projects? What are you working on now?
Newest project is to finish the continuation of my first book, BECAUSE OF THE NIGHT. Book #2 is titled: BECAUSE OF THE DAY.
Another story I’m writing surrounds the afternoon I received confirmation that my first book was picked up by a publisher. It’s a memoir-style book about the huge changes 2022 had in store for my health, my career, and for my future life. Titled: DRIVE. WRITE. REPEAT.
Somewhere amongst all of this, I’m dabbling on 2 more. One story is about a cat who’s gifted a 10th life: Titled MISTER CHARLIE TEN LIFES. The other story that’s almost finished, is a children’s book titled TONY THE PONY. (Fingers crossed here—haven’t shown it to my publisher yet. LOL)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, about writing, or about life in general? Based on your debut experience, what advice can you give aspiring authors?
Never give up on hope. If you put your manuscript down and re-read it in a month and the story still thrills you, gets your blood pumping, then. . . Do-Not-Quit!
Keep up with your own pleasurable style of reading. Also, Learn all aspects of your writing craft. Attend writer conferences, book clubs, and critique groups. EVERY writing exposure will make you a better author. Which will make your manuscript a better story.
CONNECT WITH AUTHOR RUE L’HOMMEDIEU!
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