1. Please will you tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your reader?
1)I’m left-handed, which only about 15 percent of the population happen to be. 2) I love pajamas! I’d live in them if I could. 3) I’ve live-trapped over a dozen wild cats and had them neutered before releasing them again.
2. Who is your favourite author, and why?
I love Debbie Macomber. You always know you’ll get a happy ending with her books. I love that.
3. What is the best, and the funniest response, you’ve had when your readers realise you’ve set your story within the environs of dental hygiene?
“A romance about the tooth fairy? When I read the title, I thought it was a kid’s book.” (It isn’t!)
4. How long does it take you to write a book?
Usually a few months, give or take. Once I get into the story, it doesn’t seem to take very long.
5. What is your favourite food?
Anything chocolate. I inherited a sweet tooth from both parents. I never had a chance!
6. Do you have a special writing space, if not where do you write?
I have a counter in our workroom. My husband and I hang out in that room all the time. Although usually, I have to fight for counter space with a napping cat or two.
7. If you could travel to any place in the world, where would it be, and why?
I’ve always wanted to see Scotland and Ireland. My heritage includes both. I would love to visit there.
8. Who is the biggest influence in your life?
First, God, then my husband Garry. He’s my best friend.
9. Do you have any other books published and where can we find them?
“My Life in Mental Chains”, a memoir, is available at http://supamasu.co.uk/glos.html
10. Please will you tell us a little bit about what are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on another dental romance about two competing dentists who fall in love. I’m also in the middle of writing and illustrating my first children’s book.
11. Please will you tell us where to find Pillow Talk and your other published stories?
“Pillow Talk” can be found at http://www.classactbooks.com/Pillow-Talk-by-Ruth-J-Hartman-_p_214.html
“Cat-Fish” will be available in March 2011 from Turquoise Morning Press.
“Flossophy of Grace” will be available from Midnight Showcase Fiction in February 2011.
12. Please will you include a blurb and excerpt of Pillow Talk?
What happens when a tooth fairy and a dentist fall in love? Ruth Hartman's latest novel is not your typical romance! It's a sweet, contemporary romance that features a tooth fairy who creates handmade jewelry during the day and moonlights as a tooth fairy at night. After she chips a tooth, she meets a gorgeous dentist at his office. They have the subject of teeth in common, but she's a tooth fairy, and not only can't she tell him, he'd never believe her anyway.
Here is Chapter 1 of Pillow Talk
Don’t wake up. Please don’t wake up.
She held her breath as she cautiously slid her petite hand from under the dark blue pillowcase. The sleeping powder on her gloves usually did the trick, but occasionally she’d come across a kid who was immune and woke up anyway. Silently, she padded across the carpeted floor to the open window. The evening breeze ruffled her short, layered dark hair. Two minutes later her phone purred softly.“Where are you?”
She looked up at the upstairs window. “Standing outside Timmy Westfellar’s house.”
“Wait. Weren’t you just there last week?”
“What can I say? He’s prolific. The little guy shoots out teeth like bullets.”
Trixie hated when her supervisor called to check up on her. She was great at her job and he knew it. She snapped her phone shut and closed her eyes. When she opened them, she was standing in her living room.
“Oops. Sorry guys. Didn’t mean to wake you.” Three cats stretched and jumped off the couch. One of them meowed and yawned at the same time.
She looked down at him. “Oh, you me-yawned. I love when that happens.” She laughed and knelt down to stroke the orange tabby’s chin. “Thanks for the chuckle, Oscar. It’s been a rough night.” Oscar bumped his head against her knee, then raised his upper lip to rub his gums along her outstretched hand. “I missed you too.”
“What about you two? Didn’t you miss me?” She stretched out her other hand and the all-black female sauntered toward her, purring loudly. “That’s better, Miss Lucy.” She ruffled the cat’s fluffy head.
She scooted over to her third cat and stroked his striped face. “And what’s going on with you tonight, Sir?” The older gray tomcat sat and stared at her with huge green eyes as if he knew a delicious secret. “Hmmm. You’ve got that look in your eyes tonight, Cuspid. Just what have you been up to, you little furry instigator, you?” He was the only one of her cats to have a tooth-related name. She wouldn’t have minded giving them all a dental theme, but didn’t want to draw too much attention to that part of her life. It was hard enough hiding her other job from the world. A world that simply didn’t understand people like her even existed.
~ * ~
Her alarm went off the next morning at 6:00 a.m. Her body felt as if she’d only slept fourteen and a half minutes. She had difficulty rousting herself out of her warm comfy bed after a night of stealing teeth. Sneaking up on little kids asleep in their beds was exhausting. There was always the chance she’d get caught. That someone would wake up at exactly the wrong moment and shriek. But, that was just part of being what she was. A tooth fairy.
Not the tooth fairy. Just one of many. It was a popular misconception she’d heard many times of one impossibly tiny fairy, with wings no less, who absconded with every lost tooth of every small child in the entire universe. Please! She was good, but nobody could handle all that pressure. Besides, there was no pay involved with being a TF. It was just an ability you were born with, and you either chose to use the gift you were given or it was taken away from you. She’d heard of lazy fairies who wasted their abilities and were rudely thrust back into simple human oblivion.
After getting ready for work, she climbed into her 1989 yellow and rust (not the color) Jeep. She could, of course, be at work with a blink of her brown eyes, but chose instead to go the old-fashioned route. No sense giving the neighboring business people a collective heart attack
when she suddenly just appeared. Now that would make headlines.
The wind tousled her hair as she fumbled with the keys to her shop. She’d opened Necklaces, Bracelets, and Rings, Oh, My! two years earlier. Her overhead was kept low because she created all of the jewelry herself. She had the uncanny ability to look at an ordinary object and create a one of a kind piece of wearable art. From acorns and buttons to small smooth stones and colorful paper clips, nothing was off-limits for Trixie’s imagination. And most people never even realized the necklaces and bracelets were strung together with waxed dental floss. A girl had to use what was at her disposal, didn’t she?
Finally getting the stubborn lock to cooperate, she shouldered the heavy oak door open the rest of the way. A loud whoosh of wind followed her in and scattered the pamphlets she kept on her counter.
“Good morning! Good morning!” squawked a raspy voice.
Trixie shut the door with a loud whump and made her way to her office in the back of the building. “Morning, Benson. I suppose you’re ready for breakfast.”
The large green parrot hopped around inside his tall silver cage. “Yep! Yep! Hungry! Hungry!” His words were interspersed with squeaks and whistles.
“Give me a second. Gotta put down my stuff.” As she unloaded her denim purse, a mauve briefcase and a toaster-sized cardboard box filled with hopefully usable jewelry items, she crossed her office to a pink plastic tub sitting on the end table.
“Here ya go, Benson.” Trixie briefly opened the birdcage to fill the food dish with stinky bird kibble.
“Thank you much! Thank you much!” He flapped his shimmering wings as he bobbed his fluffy head in approval. His open beak looked like a silly grin.
Trixie laughed. Why did her bird always say everything twice? Did he think that would get his message across quicker? Maybe he should have been named Benson Benson. And technically, he wasn’t even her bird. He came with the building when she bought it. The former owners couldn’t take Benson with them when they moved to another state. It was at that moment that Trixie got a crash course in bird care. All she’d ever had were cats. And for obvious reasons, her pets could never get together for a play-date (although her cats might enjoy it.)
Her shop had become her life. That, her best friend and her animals. Ever since high school, she’d longed for romance, but it had eluded her grasp. She knew that there probably wasn’t a man out there who would understand her nightlife, though. If he was out there, how would she ever find him? She doubted if there was an online chat room for “Tooth Fairies R Us”.
She worked steadily on her jewelry and waited on customers until 11:00 when her business partner came in. Julie hated getting up early even more than Trixie did, so Julie started later and closed up every evening at 7:00.
Trixie looked up from the purple and pink button earrings she was making. “Hey, Jules.”
“Morning, Trix. How’s the feathered one today?”
“Good. Loud as ever. I guess if he’s ever quiet we’ll know something’s wrong, huh?”
Julie smiled “Right.” She set her purse on the counter. “Oh, I brought in a couple of those hamburgers you like from Connie’s.”
“Of course, you silly woman.”
Trixie tried to keep a straight face as she said, “You’ll make someone a very good wife someday.” She couldn’t hold in a snicker.
“Hopefully, if my boyfriend ever gets himself in gear and asks me already. Besides, if you thought that’s all it took to get a man, you would have tried that on some cute guy a long time ago.” She giggled and shook her head as she unloaded their lunch from the bright yellow sack.
“Let me wash my hands and I’m all set.”
“You go out last night?” Julie asked as she put ketchup on her fries.
“Oh yeah,” Trixie answered as she dried off her hands with a cat print hand towel.
“You got that right.”
Julie waited for the explanation as she munched on a salty fry.
Trixie sighed. “It was Timmy.”
“Again? Good grief. How many teeth does that kid have, anyway?”
“I’m beginning to wonder if he’s human.”
“Maybe he’s an extraterrestrial.”
Trixie tilted her head. “Do they even have teeth?”
“You’d know better than I would, Miss TF.”
“Maybe he’s Sharkboy.”
“Who? Oh, you mean that weird kid in the movie who grows new sets of teeth every month?”
“Yeah. It could happen.”
Julie just stared at her.
“It’s not that much different than those polydactyl kittens that have extra toes.”
“But I’ve seen mitten kittens. Have you ever seen an actual sharkboy?”
“Well, no. But would it be stranger than being a tooth fairy?”
Julie shook her head and laughed. “I see your point.”
Trixie picked up a long French fry and took a bite. Her brown eyes grew large. “Oh no,” she said with her mouth full. She put her hand in front of her mouth as she spoke. “That did not just happen!”
Julie’s eyes opened wide. “What? What?”
Trixie took the half-chewed fry out of her mouth and examined the gooey, mulched remains.
“What?” Julie asked again. She put her food down as she stared at Trixie.
“Don’t mean to gross you out, Jules, but look at this.” In her hand, partially embedded in the French fry was a tiny charred fragment of potato.
Julie leaned closer for a better view. She gasped. “Are you okay?”
Trixie didn’t answer right away. After she ran her tongue over her teeth, she once again reached into her mouth…and came out with a large chunk of pointed tooth in her hand. Her eyes grew large. “I don’t believe this.”
“Of all the people this should not have happened to…”
Trixie groaned. “Just great. Wonderful. Well, hand me the phone book, please. It seems I need to find a dentist.”
Thank you, Ruth, for sharing the first chapter of Pillow Talk with us and for joining me here today, and best wishes for your book