I got the opportunity to meet Ruta Sepetys while she was in Ohio a few weeks ago…
As per usual I will share a few things I learned in bullet format…
- In case you were wondering, you pronounce Sepetys “say-pet-ees”
- Ruta worked in the music industry for over 20+ years before her writing career.
- She was born & raised in Detroit, Michigan. She now lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Her favorite book as a child was James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
- Her books have been published in 60 different countries.
On her writing process…
- Ruta writes in short sentences & chapters to widen her audience. She never wants to “defeat” her readers, so she attempts writing that is accessible to a wide audience.
- She considers herself a “rhythmic writer.” She really focuses on the rhythm & flow of her writing. She will often read her writing aloud to herself.
- She doesn’t consider herself a writer, but rather a re-writer! She sits down and writes, even if she doesn’t feel it is particularly good. She is a firm believer that revision is where she feels the magic happens.
- Ruta feels that you have to have to courage to fail if you want to be a writer.
- She writes for the young adult audience because she wants to give history to our young people in the hopes for a more just future.
- Ruta refers to herself as a “seeker of lost stories.” She loves to write the under-represented stories to remember those that have suffered during conflicts.
- Ruta likes to write stories that revolve around conflict because amidst war we see universal themes like hope, courage, love, loss, etc. We see the best and the worst of people.
- Ruta is currently working on a book set in Romania in the 1980s.
On her books…
- Between Shades of Grey
- BSoG is about a Lithuanian girl that was deported to Siberia in the 1940s.
- It is often confused with Fifty Shads of Grey.
- BSoG was inspired by her own heritage. Her father is Lithuanian, and was in displacement camps for 9 years.
- Salt to the Sea
- Alfred was the easiest character to write. She researched Hitler was a teen as inspiration for Alfred’s character. She finds it fascinating that younger readers have more sympathy towards Alfred, while adults can’t stand him.
- The Fountains of Silence
- When Ruta was on tour for Between Shades of Grey in Spain, many people told her their history in Spain was too painful and that the world has forgotten it. This is what drove her to do research.
- Ruta researched for 7 years for TFoS.
- TFoS revolves around Spain in the 1950s under Franco’s dictatorship.
Are you a Ruta Sepetys fan? If so, which of her books is your favorite?
Is The Fountains of Silence on your TBR?