Thursday 27 September 2012

Authors in the Limelight: Ralph Hartman

Rat RodI want to thank and welcome author, Ralph Hartman for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. His book, Rat Rod, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.
How long have you been writing, Ralph?
I started many years ago, then pushed it aside as things like building a career and a home shouldered to the forefront. Pushed aside but never pushed away. About ten years ago I got to looking through all the bits and scraps and manuscripts and thought…maybe? Write, polish, query, submit…manage the rejection…learn…repeat. Eventually my third novel was accepted by a small Canadian publisher. Oh joy! Now, I’m hooked – I have a plausible reason to do something I love. I now have two novels on current lists and three soon to be released.

Sounds like you’re living the dream! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Rat Rod?
Rat Rod is purely a response to an inquiry I received from an editor on another piece I submitted. She wondered if I'd be interested in doing a story specifically for one of their imprints; something edgy and on the raw side of real. Something about drugs, or bullying, or poverty, or gender bending. Hard to imagine, but this is how Rat Rod was born, it was to be a story about a fatherless young man and the alternate male influences in his life. Couldn't do it. The whole desperate character in a desperate situation was just too damn depressing. Well, I kept some of that, but the story and the characters demanded more. Ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstance. Yeah, this I can do. Soon enough, what was supposed to be, faded into what was meant to be.

What sets Rat Rod apart from other books in the same genre?
I think young readers want to see reality and possibility merged. I believe a story can be both enlightening and entertaining. That it can be real, and surreal, with heroes and villains and imaginings and secrets. That ghosts flit figuratively within our minds and fugitively upon our world. In Rat Rod these elements are not assumed or assured, simply presented as the story unfolds for the readers to interpret as they will.

As an author, Ralph, what is your writing process?
First the story has to lurk in my mind, nothing big, just an idea building until it’s large enough I can see it. Then write it down, print and save, and put it away for a few weeks or months and let it steep. When it’s ready, pull it out and read it. At this point it goes back in the trunk or becomes something possible. Rewrite, edit, revise, edit, proof, and off to the beta readers. Revise, edit, and submit. And wait.

Patience is truly a virtue! How long did it take for you to start and finish Rat Rod?
First draft took about three months, if remember correctly. Revisions were about nine months, and another six months to find a publisher.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Ralph?
Learn the craft; an education is invaluable. Learn the industry. You are one of a million-plus, do not be discouraged or disillusioned. Set goals and know the difference between your goals, and your dreams.

Wise advice! What’s next for Ralph Hartman the author?
Shaw’s Consequence; a mainstream mystery / thriller with Musa Publishing, will be released later this year. I’ve also written a MG urban fantasy, book one in the forthcoming series False Ridge: Creatures will be released in spring 2013 with MuseItUp Publishing. I’m working on the next False Ridge book, hammering out a dark psychological horror, and experimenting with some shorts.

Whew, sounds like your days will be filled from here on end! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
Wow. This is a tough question. I don’t know. There would have to be music, and I’d need philosophy. Peace would be nice, and freedom essential. The sun would need to be warm and the earth fertile, no want for food or shelter. I’d want free thought and free speech, and government by representation. Guess there are really only two places that come to mind: Ancient Mesopotamia in the time before the Sumerians, or that place John Lennon imagined in a song. Yeah—take me there.

Rat Rod will be released September 28th. Here is the pre-release link to Musa's site:

Connect with Ralph Hartman:

Amazon Author Page:


  1. Ralph, I think you're so right about putting a manuscript away from a while before embarking on the re-write. Some sage advise.
    Wonderful interview, Sharon. As always!

    1. Thanks for popping by, Amaleen! Agreed about pushing a manuscript away to get some clarity for the rewrite. Cheers and that's for stopping by!

    2. Thanks Amaleen, for your comments. And Sharon, thanks for having me over.

  2. Anytime, Ralph! Wishing you all the success in the world with your publishing ventures! Cheers!