For this weeks spotlight I welcomed Courtney Ruggles, Author of the New Adult Dystopian Domicile Series. In time for the release of book 3 in the series, The Sauvage Domicile, she graciously found time amongst the busy preparations to take part in our author interview!
Q: For those that are new to Courtney Ruggles, can you tell us a bit about your books?
Courtney: The Domicile Series started out as a short story in a high school creative class and then blew up into this series! It’s been an amazing journey. The Domiciles were erected after a revolution where tyrant rebels destroyed the previous government. In an attempt to promote loyalty and love, the Elders forced strict restrictions such as the clothing people wear, their names, their life professions, and who they’ll marry. As well as each person has to wear a mask, concealing all identity, and making everyone conform. Of course, we humans don’t like to conform so an uprising happens and it’s Q437B’s and B116A’s love that sparks the Second Revolution.
Q: The Domicile Series touches on some very heavy subjects, how much does your background in social work influence the issues faced by Q?
Courtney: A lot! I don’t think I could write what I have in the Domicile Series without the education, knowledge, and experiences I’ve had. Studying oppression and marginalized groups has really helped me create the atmosphere and psychological climate in the Domicile Series.
Q: In a world of uniformity, what was it about masks which led you to choose them as the only symbol of individuality? The decoration on some sound truly beautiful.
Courtney: Honestly, I had the idea of masks with designs over ten years ago. If the people are completely covered, then there had to be a way to differentiate each other. In order to continue with uniformity even in the themes of the masks, they mostly represent the individual’s Life Path tying their individuality to their career. So the Elders are still controlling it all. And in a place where all is uniform, there has to be some beauty, because even that can help keep complacency.
Q: The world within the Domicile is so complex and intricate, do you fall into the planner camp when writing or was the world there in your mind ready to flow to the page?
Courtney: I am definitely a pantser! When I first wrote The Sixth Domicile, I left it open to be turned into a series, but honestly, I thought it was going to be a stand-alone. Then my editor and publisher said I HAD to make it into a series, which I happily obliged! However, I had no idea where it was going after The Sixth Domicile, only inklings of where I might take the story. Even now I’m still flying by the seat of my pants as I write the fourth and final installment of the series.
Q: Are your characters always a complete work of fiction or is there an element of someone you know to start the idea rolling?
Courtney: A couple of my characters are definitely based on traits and personalities of people. B116A is based on a good friend. K706A in The Sauvage Domicile is also one of my good friends. His character is probably the most similar to the actual person in any of the characters in The Domicile Series. Grandmother, B116B, Maddox, Q437A are all complete fiction, though I’m sure I’ve ran into a couple of people in my life with characteristics from those characters ;)
Q: What are your experiences of being an Indie Author, do you find that social media is a help or a distraction to your writing?
Courtney: I’m not an actual Indie Author. I am with a small publishing house, Elephantine. But I think the effect of social media are the same! It’s distracting! And helpful at the same time. In the current climate, I’m seeing more parallels to The Domicile Series which is both scary and motivating for the story. But I often find myself perusing through social media and marketing myself than actually fixating on writing sometimes.
Q: What are you currently working on or is it a secret!?
Courtney: I am currently working on Book 4 in The Domicile Series! It is the last book in the series, and I’m having a crisis as I know I have to say goodbye to Q and B. But I have a couple more ideas from my backlist that I will work on after the completion of Book 4 (yes, I’m keeping the title a secret for now ;) ). A romance might be in order! Or maybe a rom-com?
Q: If you could be any character you have written who would you choose?
Courtney: I would definitely choose Chrysanthe from The Sauvage Domicile! She is so confident in who she is it is amazing to me. I loved writing her and secretly want to be her.
Q: What are you currently reading?
Courtney: I am currently reading Dark Dreams and Dead Things in Martina McAtee’s Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things series. The story got me hooked in the first book and I’m excited to see where these characters go. I’m also reading a manuscript for a fellow author.
Q: Fictional Dinner Party - give me 5 fictional characters or authors who you would have as dinner companions.
Courtney: Holy crap! What a loaded question! Harry Potter for sure! Then Stephen King, after R.L. Stine he was my go-to author to read. Scott Westerfeld, author of The Uglies and Peeps and a few others, would definitely be a guest, I just love his dystopian twists. Darynda Jones, author of the Charley Davidson series seems like she would be a freaking ball of fun, so I definitely want her there. I seriously cannot narrow it down from here! Heather Hildenbrand, not only because she’s my publisher, but she’s freaking amazing (but I’ve had a dinner with her, so I know it’s awesome), Kristina Circelli, again my editor, but her mind kind of works like mine (again, already had dinner with her a couple times so I know it’ll be fun!). There’s so many people I want to invite! Can’t we just have a party?? I like parties.
Thank you so much Courtney for taking the time to answer these, good luck with the release of the Sauvage Domicile!