Interview with K.S. Ruff

Author of The Broken Road

I live in Northern Virginia with my football-crazed husband, two beautiful daughters, and two psychotic Shih Tzus. I teach courses in international relations, peacekeeping, and human security for the American Military University. What can I say? I still love school.

I'm addicted to coffee, dark chocolate, reading, and writing; although not necessarily in that order. Reading will always be my first love. Writing appears to be edging out coffee for second place, unless it's morning. In the morning, it's coffee.

I haven't a clue what's going on around me when I'm writing. The house could be burning down, and I wouldn't even notice. I'm counting on my husband to save the children and the dogs.

More than anything, I want my readers to FEEL something. I love it when you growl at my protagonist, when you hold your breath in anticipation, when your heart stumbles against your chest, when you laugh, and when you cry. I've written several romantic suspense novels in The Broken Series under the pen name K.S. Ruff. I've also written an epic fantasy/middle grade novel entitled Saving Tir na nOg under my full name, Kimberly S. Ruff.

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How would you describe The Broken Road to a new reader?
  • This is a slow-burn romance, given the protagonist's past. The story captures Kristine's efforts to rebuild her life after escaping an abusive relationship. She moves from Montana to Washington DC, where she's welcomed into this amazing circle of friends. Still, someone from her dark past refuses to be ignored. You'll find romance, suspense, and unbreakable friendships in The Broken Road.
To what extent is The Broken Road based on your own experiences?
  • I've woven several personal experiences into this book. Most of the characters are based on my own circle of friends.
What is your workspace/writing environment like?
  • My usual workspace includes an oversized chair with an ottoman, a blanket, two furry dogs, coffee, and chocolate. I prefer to write when it is quiet so I can immerse myself in the scene, so I don't play music or the TV. I've been known to write in my car (while my husband is driving), in bed, in hospitals (long story), outside (if the sun isn't too bright), and in foreign countries (when I'm conducting research).
You make good use of locations in the book – there’s a real sense of place. Are these locations significant for you?
  • Yes. Some of my favorite haunts in Montana, in Virginia, and in Washington DC are woven into this book... offices where I've worked, restaurants I adore, the mountain I used to hike, and the park where my husband proposed, they're are all included in this book.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • Writing is not an individual activity; it requires a tribe. Build your tribe. Join author groups on Facebook (especially those writing in your genre). Connect with other writers, editors, graphic design artists, and illustrators on Twitter. Join the Writers' Cafe on Kboards. Search for local author/writer groups through your local library or through Help each other. Cheer each other on. Recruit beta readers (teachers and librarians make excellent beta readers). Build an ARC Team and/or a street team. These people will help see you through. They will help you succeed.
Which authors do you admire most and why?
  • Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy, and J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter Series are my favorite authors. These women weave magic into their novels. Their character development and world building are phenomenal.
Are you a "planner" or a "pantser?"
  • I'm both. I start with an outline, plotting the scenes, but then my stories seem to take on a life of their own. Characters waltz into scenes unexpectedly, people I never really planned to include, and somehow become important to the story. Things transpire that I never intended or planned. I once killed someone without planning to do so. I was so distraught when it happened, I cried the entire time I was writing that scene. To this day, I think that's one of the best scenes I've ever written.
If The Broken Road were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
  • This is easy. I've pinned an entire dream cast for The Broken Series on Pinterest. I see Amanda Seyfried as Kristine and Dolvett Quince as Kadyn.
How have readers responded to The Broken Road?
  • Most readers have responded favorably to the book. Out of 115 reviews 85% are 4 and 5 star reviews. I have had several readers contact me through my website, sharing how much they've enjoyed the different twists and turns and how they've grown to love the characters. Some of my readers' husbands have chewed me out for making their wives cry, which oddly enough puts a smile on my face.
What are you working on now?
  • I'm working on a spin-off novel for The Broken Series. I'm about 100 pages in at the moment. This book is focused on Shae. Her on-again-off-again relationship with Konstantin has finally come to an end. Unfortunately, the Russian Mafia didn't get the memo. They've threatened to kill her in an effort to force Konstantin to aid them in some criminal activity. She's struggled with trust issues her entire life. Needless to say, this isn't helping. There is someone (I'm not ready to reveal who just yet) who is determined to earn her trust and win her heart regardless. Here's hoping it doesn't cost his life in the end!
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“I’m not kissing you to get it over with. When I kiss you for the first time, you’re going to want that kiss more than your next breath.”

Kristine Stone was strong enough to break out of an abusive marriage, but is she strong enough for the road that lies ahead? For the first time in her life, Kristine finds she has some control over her life. Haunted by her ex-husband and a newly acquired stalker, she leaves Montana to work in the U.S. Senate. Kristine issues a moratorium on dating. This hardly deters Kadyn Rand, the Air Force Captain who threatens to tear down every wall she’s ever built. Still, someone from her dark past refuses to be ignored, and Kristine finds herself in yet another fight for her life.

Tall, dark, and determined are the words that best describe Kadyn Rand. He is too stoic to be swept away by much of anything, but a vulnerable woman from Montana manages to do just that when she finds herself alone and in danger in DC. Kadyn is intelligent, resourceful, and a fiercely devoted friend. His sense of humor runs on the sarcastic side. He’s also the kind of guy who likes to keep people guessing about what’s going on inside his head, which is why he makes a conscious effort not to smile. That is until he meets Kristine Stone. Her missteps regularly get a smile out of him. Her moratorium on dating intrigues him, while her vulnerability calls to his protective side. Kadyn tries to earn Kristine’s love and her trust but soon learns it will take much more than that to save her from her past.