Saturday, April 23

Meet Author Ruth J. Hartman!

Hello, Ruth, and welcome. We’re so glad to have you join us! While I was “researching” you, I saw that you live in Indiana—so do I! What else can you tell us about Ruth J. Hartman?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog! Well, I’ve lived in Indiana my whole life. So has my husband. We’ve been married nearly twenty-nine years. We weren’t able to have children, so we have furry kids instead. Two cats who love to be held. A lot. I’m a licensed dental hygienist and work for a very nice dentist thirty minutes from my house.

Where would you like to be in ten years—both writing- and life-wise?

In ten years, I’d like to have written at least that many new books, and would love to have a book picked up by one of the bigger publishers like Harlequin just for the different experience that might be. I love the publishers I’m with now, though. The small, independent polishers make it more of a family situation. It’s easier to ask questions and get to know them better, as well as the other others. And as for dental hygiene. I may or may not still be doing it then. It’s hard on your hands and back. But hopefully I can continue. The interaction with the patients is great.

Do you have a favorite author who has been an unwitting mentor to you? (Louisa May Alcott was mine—I wish I could thank her.)

I’ve always loved Debbie Macomber. When you read one of her books, you already know you’re going to get a happy ending. Which I love. And Janet Evanovich has become a recent favorite. She’s so funny!

Any tips on writing?

I think it’s different for every writer. Some use outlines. I don’t. Mine is more of scribbling down ideas for scenes and working on one scene at a time. Then later I can insert it wherever it fits best in the story. I keep two documents open all the time. What I have so far for the book, and a file marked, “Extra Scenes.” That way I can go in and cut and paste whichever scene I need at that moment.

What’s your favorite part of writing? And your un-favorite? (Synopses don’t count—everybody hates them.)

Boy, you’re right. I despise the dreaded synopses! Hmmm. Favorite would be when I already know how I want my book to end. That gives me more confidence to write what leads up to that. Un-favorite would be when an editor doesn’t like a certain scene and suggests I cut it. Then I have to rework the story without that scene and come up with something to replace it.

Do you have a schedule?

Sort of. I work two days a week for the dental office. So I never get writing done on those days. And I’m usually so tired after a day of cleaning teeth that I don’t have the energy to write on those evenings. I mainly write on my days off and weekends.

I’m a genre-jumper, both in reading and writing. Does your muse like to skip around or does she stay in one spot and behave herself?

My muse behaves herself as far as staying in the sweet romance area. I’ve had to run after her and chase her a few times, but she always comes back. I love reading mysteries by Mary Higgins Clark and others, but I don’t have a burning desire to write them.

My favorite question, the one I ask everybody—what woman, past or present, would you like to have dinner with and what would you like to talk about? Also, just for the heck of it, where would you go and what would you eat? (I know that’s four questions, but, hey, we’re interested!)

I think Debbie Macomber. I admire her so much. She didn’t have formal writing training, but taught herself how to write a romance novel by dissecting one she was reading. She didn’t give up when her first attempts weren’t accepted by a publisher. I’d love to sit and ask her questions about her writing journey. As for what we’d eat? Pizza is my favorite, but she might not like that. I’d let her choose J

Tell us about your books, past, present, and future?

I have several romances already out. Flossophy of Grace is about a hygienist falling in love with her patient. Purrfect Voyage tells the story of a woman and her cat who wind up on an unexpected voyage with a man they’ve never met, and Pillow Talk is about a tooth fairy who falls in love with her dentist.

I’d like to give an e-copy of “Flossophy of Grace to one commenter.

The books can be found at these links:

The one I just finished is about two dentists, a man and a woman (I keep getting asked it it’s about two men. It’s not!! Women can be dentists, too.) who compete for all the new patients in their small town and end up falling in love.

More information about my books and writing can be found at

An excerpt from Flossophy of Grace


That was the fourth time she’d been bitten since lunch. She hoped they weren’t doing it on purpose, but sometimes she wondered. Maybe it was a pint-sized conspiracy. It was fall break for the elementary schools. All the elementary schools. That meant her dental hygiene schedule was crammed full of little people. There were kids yelling in the waiting room. Kids squirming in her patient chairs. She even heard a little girl loudly warbling her ABC’s in the bathroom. She felt like Mr. Rogers. She needed a cardigan sweater. Won’t you be my neighbor?

Grace loved kids. She really did. They were funny and sweet, and loud and annoying. They asked the most interesting, offbeat questions. And she normally looked forward to doing their prophies (cleanings) since their tiny mouths had less square footage than most adults’ gunky ones. But sometimes the little people tended to tell her way too many intimate details about their parents she’d rather not know. Ever. And they all seemed intensely hyper today. The hooligans who weren’t bouncing like pogo sticks were playing trampoline on the waiting room chairs. Had their parents given them all ultra doses of Mountain Dew before their appointments? That would be wrong on so many levels. She’d had enough of the little guys for today. It was usually a nice reprieve from a day full of adults, but enough was enough. They had worn her down to a frazzled nubbin. Where was that cardigan sweater?

Since she’d arrived at the dental office at 8:30 a.m., she’d done twelve patient prophies, taken seven sets of tiny x-rays (that’s when the unfortunate biting incidents took place), given ten grape-flavored fluoride treatments, and instructed (or tried to) all of the little darlings how to remove the ick from their teeth with a toothbrush. She also dutifully handed out what seemed like 5,092 stickers. Whether the kids behaved like lambs or hyenas, they all got stickers. Unfortunately, she noticed several of the sticky handouts found their way to the recently painted waiting room wall. In between all of the patients, she cleaned her patient chair areas and helped with getting her instruments ready to be cleaned and sterilized. All in her spare time. She was pooped.

She looked at her yellow cat-face clock on the wall. It was almost time. In forty-five blessed minutes, she’d be finished with her last patient of the day. Thank goodness! It couldn’t come soon enough. Whoever it was, she wanted them done and scooted out the door, toothbrush in hand, as soon as possible. The only thing she knew about her next patient was that it was a man, and that he was fairly new to town. Other than that, she had no clue what to expect. Grace desperately hoped he wasn’t one of those men who thought he was good-looking in his plaid pants, white belt, and bad toupee. She always had a hard time holding back a snicker in those situations.She grabbed the last, lonely chart from the pink plastic holder on the wall and wearily called out the name.

“Bruce Gardener?”

As Grace looked up to greet her new patient, the sight that entertained her eyes nearly knocked her on her size-twelve backside. Good grief, he was gorgeous.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today :)

  2. Good job, Ruth! I especially enjoyed hearing how you put a book together! I love the new title!

  3. Hello, Ruth
    I love Mary Higgins Clarks too. Your books sound really good. It was so nice to meet you.

  4. Ruth, loved your excerpt! I think it must've been a full moon that day. I did daycare for 20 years and when the kids behaved like that, it was always a full moon.

    thanks for visiting us today, really enjoyed getting to know you.

  5. Thanks Shawn, it's nice to meet you too :)

  6. Margie,

    At our dental office, we also say there's a full moon when adult patients act especially weird!

  7. lol--we had a lot of full moons at the post office, too!

    Thanks for visiting, Ruth, and good luck with both careers.

  8. Oops, that was really me, signed in under my son's name. Sorry!


  9. No problem, Liz, I thought maybe we had some guy who really liked to read romance :).

  10. great interview, Ruth (and Liz!)'s wonderful to meet you.