We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruth Griffin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ruth, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from New Jersey, the second-born daughter of a Costa Rican immigrant and a Puerto Rican (American) citizen. My parents’ experience as newcomers to the United States impacted the way they thought and viewed life; which, in turn, impacted the way they raised me and my siblings. They often admonished us to think big and live out our dreams. “We live in a great country,” they reminded us, “Where you can accomplish anything you want to accomplish, and be anyone you want to be. It is your responsibility to achieve the American Dream.” They encouraged the talents they saw in us and though my parents later divorced, the foundation they set was there to take me through life. I have experienced much, positive and negative, including finishing art school, being homeless, getting married, raising three children, relocating not just to another state, but another region of the country (talk about culture shock!), writing and publishing several books (while working a day-job) and starting my own publishing and graphic design business. Through it all, the belief that I can accomplish what I set my mind to pushed me to strive for more, and not be content with mediocrity. I understand would not be who I am without the foundation my parents set for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am the published author of seven books. I always considered myself an artist first–drawing in my spare time, choosing to attend art school, seeking a career in graphic design–but it wasn’t until about fifteen years ago that I discovered I could paint pictures with words the same way I can paint pictures with a brush. I published my first book, After The Call, in 2005, and have been writing ever since. Even though After The Call is non-fiction, my subsequent books range from fantasy, romance and Biblical fiction, telling stories about women, from women’s perspectives, sometimes using my own experiences as a basis for the story. And while I love all the books I’ve written, I am proudest of Speak Tenderly To Her, my first romance novel. It was the winner of the Latino Literacy Now 2015 Books Into Movies Award (Romance) and has received wide acclaim. Several years ago, I decided to marry my love of art and writing, and start my own publishing company, Studio Griffin. I offer writing, publishing and graphic design services and have been able to help other authors publish their books. It is as exciting for me to see their joy once their book is published as it was when I published my first book, and this is what keeps me motivated, keeps me going. The biggest challenge I had during the formative years of my writing and then publishing career was learning how to balance my work and my family. Family has always come first, so often times that meant I had to get up early and stay up late in order to get word counts in or deadlines met. I had to learn how to organize myself and create a process that could help me maximize the time I had. My children are grown now; and while the processes and organizational skills I established then have aided me in the success I have today, what I discovered is that life continues to happen, which means we have to continue adjusting. And to be honest, as proud as I am of the books I’ve written and published, my own and others’, I am proudest of the person I’ve become during this whole process. I am able to say that I write meaningful books that will touch your heart, that I publish quality books that can stand in any market, because I have grown and matured, not just as an artist, an author or a publisher, but as a human being. And that, I think, is the best story to tell.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a history buff, I love shopping and I love to eat. Those three are always at the top of my list in whatever city I travel to and that is where we would begin. I would create an itinerary that included some of the best restaurants in downtown Raleigh, like Sitti, Gravy and Beasley’s Chicken + Honey; as well as museums, like the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Science and History Museums downtown. For shopping, there are many great places to go, like the Raleigh Flea Market or North Hills.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to send a shoutout to Maurice, my husband of twenty-two years. Marriage hasn’t always been easy or carefree, but it has been an adventure with him by my side. Through the ups and down, he has encouraged me, prayed for/with me, supported me and loved me, sometimes when I couldn’t even love myself. His words weren’t always what I wanted to hear, but they were what I needed; and I would not be where I am today without him.