Rue Sparks is my guest author for November
Rue is a wonderfully talented and generous author, artist and friend. They recently released their third book, The Fable of Wren, which I had the privilege of reading ahead of its publication. You can check out my review to see what I loved about this gentle mystery, after you’ve read this interview.
Tell us where you live and what a typical day might look like for you
I live in a small suburb north of Indianapolis, Indiana in the Midwest of the United States. Being disabled, my days are pretty variable depending on my physical health, but I always have several projects I’m chipping away at, for myself and others. Summers and winters are more difficult for me because of my health, so I tend to be less active during those times, but I’m never ‘stationary,’ even if progress is quite slow.
My personal projects can include writing books, my web serial, short stories, and articles, along with creating artwork. I also run a newsletter that includes interviews with indie authors and book reviews, along with updates on my publishing news and personal essays. I also make a point of helping out indie authors in the writing community with art, book and web design, marketing, and strategy—especially those first starting out.
How did you come to be a writer?
I came to writing at a time in my life when I hit a very dark point. My wife, who was my high school sweetheart, passed away suddenly. I had become disabled, and was unable to draw as we were having trouble diagnosing and controlling my illness. I was in pain—a lot of it—24/7. I was looking for something I could do that would cause me minimal pain and could help me express some of the emotions and thoughts I had burning in me, but I couldn’t use my normal creative outlets.
It occurred to me that I knew quite a bit about writing from my wife, who wrote for herself. I started with poetry, then moved on to short stories, and eventually novellas and novels. It has been a way to connect with her, honor her memory, and express everything I struggle with (and I know others do) all in one action.
What kind of writing do you do and what led you to that?
I started with freeform poetry. I still have a soft spot for it, and poetry is featured at the beginning of all of my publications, but I write primarily genre fiction now—specifically science-fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction and magical realism. I’ve always been fascinated with metaphor, and especially speculative fiction and magical realism allows me to use these elements to come at difficult concepts in a gentler way. I like to make myself and others think and leave questions unanswered, and these genres are perfect for that. I also developed a love for science despite never excelling at it in school, which has inspired a lot of my short stories especially.
What is your most recent book about?
The Fable of Wren is a quiet, magical realism mystery that focuses on a league of birdwatchers in a southern town. The non-binary Wren is struck by grief after the uncle who raised them suddenly passes away; but when a family friend is mysteriously found dead in the woods, they struggle to connect with a world they no longer belong to. The outsider, Jethro, and prophetic dreams from their uncle may be the key to re-uniting Wren with the town, and uncovering a history that’s been buried for decades.
Writers (and artists) draw constantly on their imaginations. How do you keep your well of creativity full?
I go in bursts: ‘input’ and ‘output’ stages. I might go a while where I don’t write or draw much, but I listen to podcasts, read books, play video games, research a topic, etc. I let life fill me up with new ideas, have introspective conversations, try new ways of seeing things. I write these down in a small black book I have (aptly labeled ‘small book of big ideas’) and when I’m feeling ready, then I’ll create for a while. It’s important to give yourself space as a creative—if you’re in a block, the worst thing you can do is sit in front of a blank page and force it. Go outside and take a walk, listen or watch something new, learn about something. Create new neural pathways in that amazing brain of yours!
What do you want your readers to feel when they have closed the last page of your book?
What I want readers to feel depends on the tone and metaphors of the specific book. The tone of Daylight Chasers is wonder and introspection in the beginning, transforming into something more somber. The Stars Will Guide Us Back fluctuates in emotion from story to story, but at the very last page, I want the reader to question everything they’ve just read. The Fable of Wren is quiet, reflective, and focuses on grief and loss. For every book, though, I want the reader to dig deeper than the surface—everything has a deeper meaning, implies something that isn’t being said.
What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?
I’ve had a few people tell me that something I wrote in a book was exactly what they needed to hear, when they needed to hear it. I’ve experienced that myself as a reader with books before, and it is so validating to hear that something I wrote instilled that reaction in somebody.
What are your future writing plans and especially, when can we expect a new book from you?
My main focus in 2022 will be on my queer, genre-hopping web serial, The Dragon Warden, relaunching in January. It’s available first on Patreon, where my Patrons get ‘executive power’ to choose which characters make an appearance, what type of plotlines they’d like to see, and get prints every month at certain tiers. It’s also available on Kindle Vella at a delay.
The novel I will hopefully (crossing fingers) have ready for March 2023 is Origami Bones. It’s a contemporary magical realism novel taking place in the good old Midwest USA, involving Mother Earth, Origami folding, Vulture Culture, nursing homes, and protesting for climate change. Here’s hoping I get it drafted on schedule!
Here’s hoping you do as well, Rue! Thank you for being here. If you’d like to keep up with Rue’s creativity you can find them at