Hello Readers! Today I bring you romance author Ruthie Knox. Ruthie figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use.
These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie abhors an epilogue and insists a decent romance requires at least three good sex scenes.
Ruthie is here today to talk about adventure and romance. In addition, Ruthie and Random House are offering an e-copy of her book Ride With Me to a lucky commenter. Details for GIVEAWAY are below.
Please help me welcome Ruthie to That’s What I’m Talking About. Take it away Ruthie…
Riding 4,200 Miles Is Hard, but Falling in Love Is Harder
I was twelve years old when I went on my first really long bike ride. One humid August Sunday morning in rural Ohio, my brother and I tackled a “metric century”—that’s 100 kilometers, or 62 miles—as participants in an organized ride called the Chiquita BananaRama. (Yes. Really.) I can’t remember whose bright idea this was, but I’m going to guess it was my brother’s. I also can’t remember much of anything about the first two-thirds of the ride. The last twenty miles, on the other hand, are carved permanently into my memory. They were horrible. So, so horrible.
It was a ridiculously hot day. We didn’t eat or drink enough. Our legs got tired. Then they got sore. Then our muscles ate themselves, leaving behind nothing but battery acid and bare bones, and we became exhausted tweenage skeletons, pedaling along on our femurs and shinbones and feet.
The ride went on and on and on. My brother and I spoke of nothing but how tired we were.
And yet, when the sag wagon drove by—the van that would’ve picked us up and driven us back to the starting point—neither of us flagged it down. We didn’t even consider it. We understood that hailing the sag wagon would have constituted cheating, and by God, if we had to suffer through this ride, we were going to do it properly.
After we finally rolled over the finish line and earned our banana-festooned jerseys, I declared the Chiquita BananaRama an unmitigated disaster. In retrospect, though, I think it might have been my first really excellent adventure.
I survived, after all. And I learned two really important things from the experience. First, I discovered exactly how difficult it is to ride 62 miles in August in Ohio. It’s really effing difficult. More important, I learned that I could do it.
I remember going back to school in the fall and suffering through gym class, which I was never any good at. Half-paralyzed by that terrible pre-adolescent feeling of Awkwardness on Display, I looked around at all the other kids in my class, and I thought, I can bike 62 miles. How many of them can say that?
As an adult, I became a cyclist, a runner, a hiker, a camper, and through all my various mishaps in the course of pursuing these activities—and lo, the mishaps have been many—I’ve learned a small number of valuable lessons. I’ve learned that nobody likes a whiner. That there’s no such thing as a perfectly comfortable camping trip, and if there were, it wouldn’t be any fun. That a four-mile hike never, ever takes an hour, even if it really should. That all tents are easy to put together in the basement, but they mutate as soon as you remove them from the bag in the backcountry. And I’ve learned that what I’m capable of is always so much more than I expect.
In other words, adventure has changed me. It’s shaken me up, inconvenienced me, and made me a better person.
In my novel Ride with Me, which is set along the length of the 4,200-mile-long TransAmerica Trail, both the heroine, Lexie, and the hero, Tom, begin their cycling journey from Oregon to Arizona expecting to have an adventure. Their notions of what it means to have an adventure, however, are completely different. In one early scene, Tom says to Lexie, “All the best stories are humiliating, Marshall. If you’re not getting humiliated pretty regularly, it’s not an adventure.”
Lexie scoffs at this idea. She’s planned her cross-country trip out to the tiniest detail, and she believes that she’s completely prepared to have an important, life-changing experience. But of course, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t prepare for adventure any more than you can prepare for life. Adventures happen on their own timelines, and they set their own terms. Life-changing experiences sneak up and chomp us on the ass. They chomp hard. They are difficult and painful and inconvenient—completely discombobulating. They’re so irritating. And they are that way because that’s the only way we learn.
Love, too, offers unexpected, inconvenient opportunities for personal growth. The entire romance genre is built around this idea—that falling in love thrills us, but the experience is often challenging, confusing, even downright unpleasant. Love makes us vulnerable, and it forces us to change before we want to, before we’re ready. (We’re never ready.) In Ride with Me, the cross-country journey challenges Lexie and Tom, but it’s the act of falling in love that really puts them through the wringer.
Nothing bites harder than love. It’s the ultimate adventure.
More about Ride With Me
In this fun, scorching-hot eBook original romance by Ruthie Knox, a cross-country bike adventure takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is not about the bike!
When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger — a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.
Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.
Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?
GIVEAWAY: Thank you Ruthie for stopping by That’s What I’m Talking About. Ruthie and Random House are graciously giving away one (1) electronic copy of Ride With Me. To enter, leave a comment telling us what the most adventurous event you’ve participated in is. Please leave your comments for Ruthie by Tuesday February 7, 2012, at 9:00 PM EST to be eligible for the contest. One entry per person, the winner will be selected from eligible entries using random.org. Contest is open internationally; please leave your email address so the author can send you the book. Thank you to Ruthie and Random House for this fun giveaway!
You can find Ruthie online at:
Be sure to stop back later today to read Nima’s review of Ride With Me and learn about her own personal cycling adventures!