Ruth is a writer and artist and The Single Feather is her debut novel. She’s currently writing a second, as yet unnamed novel and a book of short stories featuring the main character of TSF a few years before we meet her in the novel.
I love the cover Ruth. The simple image of a white feather on a black background is strong. Were you able to have any input in the design and if not, are you happy with the results?
Early on, I had the idea of a black and white cover. At the time I was reading Donna Tartt, and her black/silver paperback covers appealed to me. I wanted a stylish, striking cover that wasn’t gender specific.
I was allowed a fair amount of input into the cover, though I’d say the whole process was down to negotiation and being realistic with regard to what was achievable.
The monotone imagery and yet lightness of a feather feels at odds, contrasting. I’m intrigued. What can you say about the book?
The feather imagery relates to something that happens to one of the main characters. As a result of this, her circumstances feel bleak and futile, both to her, and probably to those reading about her life. She feels as if she is blown from one crisis to another, and hides the parts of her past and personality she is ashamed about – unaware others maybe doing the same.
The pristine white feather hides the complicated detail. How far can you get through life, hiding who you really are?
The Single Feather? I’m rubbish with titles. At what point did the title come to you?
I’m pretty awful at titles as well. The book had a really dire working title right up until at least the second or third draft. Every time, I talked about the book with my family, they would say, ‘you’d better change that dreadful title soon.’
I submitted the book along with ‘dreadful title’, and one party advised that parts of the book needed rewriting. I took my time over this, and one day (while procrastinating) was reading Rumi, when I found the segment about The Single Feather. It not only gave me the title and cover idea, but also fitted in well with the text, and overall concept.
When is the publication date?
After a very long journey, starting at the end of 2011, the novel is finally going to be released in February 2015.
And without giving anything away, if you could be one of the characters, who would you be and why?
This is a hard one. I think most people would assume I’d identify with the protagonist. However, I think out of all the characters, I’d like to be Lena. She is one of the older characters, but unlike some of her contemporaries, she has a strong sense of right and wrong, and isn’t afraid of challenging even the most belligerent and argumentative members of the group.
Thanks for talking to me Ruth, it’s been great having you.