Interview with an Author: Ruth O Webster

Author Ruth O Webster
Author Ruth O Webster

IHS: Welcome, Ruth! Thank you for being with us today. I’m really excited to have you here! Tell our followers who you are, what city you're from.

Ruth Webster: Glad to be here! I'm Ruth O Webster. I now live in Pittsburgh.

IHS: Pittsburgh. Okay, Great!  Where are you from originally?

Ruth Webster: I was born and raised in the same town as my character just so you know, it’s Covington, Kentucky. So I'm a Kentucky girl. It's the very most Northern city in Kentucky on the Ohio River just across which is spitting distance of

Cincinnati, Ohio. Just across the river.

HS: The title of the book that you just produced with us is Jesse. What's the full name of the book?

Ruth Webster: The full name of the book is: Jesse: 53rd Kentucky. That was the regiment that he was in during the Civil War and that's why I named it that. 

IHS: And what's the next book that you have coming?

Ruth Webster:  The next book I have coming to audio is actually the first book I wrote and that is called: Henry The Jersey Brigade and again it's named after the regiment that he fought with during the Civil War. Both books are based on the lives of real soldiers. 

IHS: Very good. My mother in law actually lives in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Ruth Webster: Louisville is also on the river right across from Indiana. And that's what makes Kentucky stories so compelling during the Civil War. Because like Jesse and like the people I'm writing about right now, they could touch both north and south and really had to delve into their psyches to decide who to support. It was very, very difficult on people in Kentucky. That wasn't a given. South or North either you're just in this limbo no man's land. 

IHS: And in some case, brother against brother--- 

Ruth Webster: Yes it makes for good stories. 

IHS: Yes. Right. Well, what was your favorite book part about listening to your book come to life with your narrator?

Ruth Webster:  My favorite part? It has to be that it was read so well by a man. As a woman writing about men, it validated me in some way because authors often write about the opposite sex. Men have forever written stories that have women in them as main characters and women have written about men. But there's something about writing about the military you can be you know, what do you know about war? As a woman, you may be asked: What do you know about the military? But I always thought I knew as much as any man who did not experience it first. And none of us who are sitting here have experienced the Civil War firsthand. And having Jacob work with me through the audiobook process, with kind of a man's - don't know what you'd call it - outlook or expression - phrasing to my words and bringing them to life and it just fell so legitimizing.  I really wanted a guy and a younger guy. 

IHS: Actually, it makes a lot of sense. It was told in the first person. 

IHS: Is your primary business writing? 

Ruth Webster: My primary business now is being retired! For most of my adult life, I was a teacher and I taught middle school kids. And I taught US history and I taught language arts. So this is a given for me. And I used to tell my students, when they would turn up their nose at History, that it’s really just a story. The word “story” is in “history.” No matter what we talk about whether it's American Revolution or Colonial days whatever it is, you have ancestors, great, great, great, grandparents living that. Where were they? What were they doing? It's a story. And that whole theme is what I still do. I just love digging into genealogy and finding out who my people were, where they were, and what they were doing. And that's how these books were born.

IHS: Many authors are not naturally audiobook listeners are you an audiobook listener and have you ever listened to an audiobook before your very own was created? 

Ruth Webster: No, I never listened to one before. To me, it's kind of a new genre. You know, I'm old school. I can't even really get into e-books. I have some but I still like the whole book itself. I like to turn the pages and flip back. And that was one of the things that I was interested in this process because I was like--- you know if I was writing just for audio books I might have said that differently because listening to something and seeing it in print isn't exactly the same. I also heard that it is a very underserved market and also I know some people have asked me for the book in audiobook format. And I'm thinking... well if they asked me for it, I shouldn't be saying there was nothing to offer.

IHS: Very good. Well, you're absolutely right. It is an underserved market. Statistics show that only five percent of books are ever made into audiobooks, but the market growth for audiobooks is very high, year over year.

Ruth Webster: It's exciting to me. My girlfriend is an avid audiobook reader. She loves them and she was telling me they're wonderful for when you're worki