Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Sarah Grunder Ruiz Interview - Luck and Last Resorts

Photo Credit: Joanna Sue Photography

Sarah Grunder Ruiz is a writer, educator, and karaoke enthusiast. Originally from South Florida, she now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and two children. She holds an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University, where she now teaches First-Year Writing. She is the author of two novels: Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships, and Luck and Last Resorts.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I have always had a drive to create. Art, writing, music, I’ve been in love with all three since childhood. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love stories and want to create my own.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
If I had to choose an all-time favorite book, I suppose it would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, but I don’t think I have a favorite book. My favorite changes depending on the day. My favorite book I’ve read this year is The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson, which comes out August 30th. When I’m not reading romance, I love to read nonfiction. The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli blew my mind. Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee and Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang have had a significant impact on my creative process.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Interacting with readers! Having a second book come out has been a really wonderful experience because I actually have readers now. My favorite part of Luck and Last Resorts coming out has been getting DMs from my readers when they finish chapter four. Nina and Ollie, the main characters (who are also in the first book Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships) have a huge secret that is revealed at the end of chapter four, and I am so glad I get to talk about it with my readers now!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Grading papers. My day job is teaching at a university, and with my ADHD, grading is a slow and painful task. I would take weeks off at a time to grade papers.

Can you tell us when you started LUCK AND LAST RESORTS, how that came about?
Nina and Ollie, the protagonists of Luck and Last Resorts, had a very contentious relationship in the first book, Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships, only I had no idea why when I was writing the first book! I never planned to write a book for Nina, but I fell in love with her and really wanted to know what was up with her and Ollie, so the obvious solution was to write an entire book to find out!

  • 1. Before becoming a yacht stewardess, Nina was a gymnast. The only reason I came up with this backstory was because I had written a scene in which Nina teaches Ollie to do a cartwheel. My beta reader didn’t buy that Ollie would randomly ask Nina to teach him to do a cartwheel, so I invented an entire backstory for Nina about being a gymnast to make it work. In the words of Beta Reader Dani, “the most impressive gymnastics was what you did to make this work so well.”
  • 2. Ollie’s younger brother, Jack, is only in one scene in the book, but as soon as I wrote it, I fell in love with him. So much that I gave him his own book! Last Call at the Local comes out summer 2023!
  • 3. Make sure you have some pizza rolls on hand when you read Luck and Last Resorts. This isn’t really a fact, I guess, but readers tell me they crave pizza rolls while reading the book.
  • 4. There is a scene in the book in which Nina and Ollie are wearing the outfits on the cover. Originally, Nina’s dress was totally different in that scene. I changed the dress she was wearing to fit the cover!
  • 5. An early draft had a scene in which Ollie gave Nina a painting of the lead singer of the band Smashmouth. I was really sad that one didn’t work. Sigh, one day!
  • 6. Nina describes Ollie as a “hunky fridge” in chapter one. I didn’t actually come up with that line, Beta Reader Dani did.
  • 7. Chapter fourteen is my favorite chapter in the entire book, and my favorite paragraph is on page 169.
  • 8. I wrote the chapter that takes place in a nightclub while sitting in the gardens of the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, where I do a writing retreat each year. I was bumping along to club music, only to turn around and realize a man was proposing to his girlfriend right behind me! Thank goodness I was wearing headphones.
  • 9. In the book, there is a restaurant named Dreamland. It is named after Glass Animals’ (my favorite band) most recent album.
  • 10. I changed a lot of secondary characters’ names as I was working on this. While listening to the audiobook for the first time, I realized I missed one! There is a character named Matt who only appears in chapter 13. It was supposed to be Simon, who appears throughout the book. NO ONE caught it! My headcanon is that Matt is a temporary hire who was only on board for a few days.
What is the first job you have had?
I was a cashier at a water park as a teenager.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I went to Ireland in March to do research for my next book (about Ollie’s brother, Jack). It was amazing to see Cobh, where Ollie and Jack are from. It was so familiar to me after all the research I did, even though I had never been there before.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I know this category is “fun questions” so I apologize that my answer isn’t very fun, but I try to raise awareness about this topic whenever I can!

My husband fell seriously ill in May of 2020 (while I was writing Luck and Last Resorts) and was diagnosed with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which doesn’t exactly have the best prognosis. We’re currently in our thirties, and the median life expectancy for someone with vEDS is 48.

Luck and Last Resorts is dedicated to my husband, who is the absolute love of my life. We have been together since we were teenagers. When you marry someone, you envision growing old together. Realizing that we likely won’t get to grow old together has radically changed the future I envision for my family. On the bright side, it reminds me to make the most of every moment.

To learn more about Vascular EDS, check out the vEdS movement here!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love with a guarantee of a broken heart. Not to be morbid, but I am basically expecting that outcome eventually, though I hope there will be advancements in medicine that prove me wrong!

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Extraterrestrials. Specifically the “grey” aliens. I grew up in the woods and was traumatized by the X-files. I can’t hear the theme song or see a photo of a grey without getting scared.

They have a second chance at love, but there are some rough seas ahead in the new contemporary romance from the acclaimed author of Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships.

Commitment-phobe Nina Lejeune lives by two rules:
1. Always have fun.
2. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.
The first rule is easy; the second, she’s only broken once.

Ten years after fleeing home, Nina is the chief stewardess on the super yacht Serendipity, single by choice, and perfectly content with how life has turned out.

But Nina’s ex-coworker and old flame, Irish chef Ollie Dunne, isn’t so happy with the status quo. One year after leaving yachting, he’s returned as the Serendipity’s chef with an ultimatum: if Nina continues to deny she’s in love with him by the end of this charter season, he’ll go back to Ireland for good.

Nina and Ollie’s shared secret from their past threatens to shipwreck not only their relationship, but the entire boat. But as their connection grows amidst chaotic guests and crew drama, could there be smooth sailing in their future?

You can purchase Luck and Last Resorts at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SARAH GRUNDER RUIZ for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Luck and Last Resorts by Sarah Grunder Ruiz.

1 comment:

  1. I honestly don't. There are times where I wish I did but then again, there are times I'm glad I don't