Saturday, May 25, 2013
The Return of Dr. Ruth
Few of the authors I’ve promoted over the years have left as big an impression on me than the pint-sized Dr. Ruth.
Back around 1990, while at my first job where I rose quickly to become the director of publicity for an independent publisher, I was tasked with promoting one of the most famous icons of the decade.
Ruth Westheimer, who just turned 85, was known as Dr. Ruth back then. The four-foot-seven sex therapist has been dishing out explicit advice on sexual mechanics and relationships for decades. In the 1980’s she had parlayed her radio fame for Sexually Speaking into national TV exposure. Her 39th book debuts this fall, Dr. Ruth’s Myths of Love.
America fell in love with the candid discussions Dr. Ruth would air to millions. Her German accent and middle-age – along with a munchkin-sounding laugh – gave her a persona that seemed natural, reliable, and likeable.
Though she’s been active for many years, her cultural influence has waned, and yet she keeps resurfacing. A new play, Becoming Dr. Ruth, just opened to previews in Hartford, CT and might get to off-Broadway this fall.
It seems hard to believe now, but 30-35 years ago it was breakthrough stuff to have such detailed, honest, and direct public discussions about sexual intimacy, positions, and bedroom instructions. She practically told men where the penis should be put and what women should do with it. You felt like you were behind closed doors on the couch with her.
She seemed like the unlikeliest person to give out such advice. This little Jewish grandmother, who escaped the Nazi Holocaust but was raised in an orphanage, was talking about the pleasures of sex during a time AIDS gripped the country. But she always gave advice centered around love, relationships, and safety. She built up a brand that came to represent trust.
Few authors have such an impact on society for as long as she has. I wish her play and upcoming book well. If she sticks around for a little longer she may just give advice to my two kids. Oh, how weird!
1. What type of books do you write? I write short stories for adults and novels for young/new adults. I have two short story collections, Bouquet (Three Buddhist inspired sf and fantasies) and Inhale, a variety of stories of length and theme. Several are previously published in magazines and no longer available in print or contest winners.I have a trilogy, Dawn's End, Dawn's End Poisoned, and Dawn's End Outworld Apocalypse. Each book has the same two settings and some of the same characters, but can be read in any order or independently. Only the third is presently available in paperback as well as ebook format.They are available on Amazon.com under my author page. http://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Ferrante/e/B007P7LFYG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1368830580&sr=8-1.
2. What is your newest book about? My newest book, Dawn's End Outworld Apocalypse, is the third in an urban fantasy trilogy but it works well as a stand alone. It chronicles the environmental cascade and one young woman's commitment to save herself and her family from disaster.
3. What inspired you to write it? I believe climate change and man's destruction of the environment will bring global disaster sooner than we think.
4. What is the writing process like for you? I love the conception and first draft of a novel. Writing in the evening seems to be the best for this. I don't enjoy the revisions and editing. These I tend to do early in the morning, when my brain is more critical than creative.
5. What did you do before you became an author? I was a grade school teacher and a teacher-librarian working with students aged four to thirteen.
6. How does it feel to be a published author? It's slower going than I expected. Submissions take a long time to be returned. The publishing process can take years. Writers have to do far more promotion than I expected. I spend about three hours a day on this. I like connecting with other readers/writer. LIKE me on facebook as Bonnie Ferrante – Author. Follow me on twitter @BonnieFerrante. Check out my website http://my.tbaytel.net/bonnieheather/index.htm You can also connect with me on Goodreads. http://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=bonnie+ferrante.
7. Any advice for struggling writers? Take as many writing classes as you can. Join a book club. Join a writing critique group. Develop expertise in one area and start getting your name out there. Don't be in too much of a hurry to get published.
8. Where do you see book publishing heading? That's the million dollar question. I can only speak from personal perspective. After buying a kindle, I read mostly ebooks for about a year. Now, I find I read about 65% print books. I think both will continue to exist. I think something new will have to develop with regard to self publishing. The market is saturated and, unfortunately, much of it is fairly amateur. I foresee a new process evolving where self-published books are screened and classified by some type of gate keeper.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013