Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of sitting down with, Ruth Everhart, author of Ruined (Releasing in August). Back in 1978, when she was a senior in college, Ruth’s life was forever changed when two armed intruders broke into the house she shared with her four roommates and took turns raping the girls at gunpoint. That evening started Ruth on an extraordinary emotional and spiritual journey that challenged everything she believed about God, faith, and forgiveness. Understandably, writing this memoir dredged up some unimaginable memories, but it also helped Ruth find tremendous healing. Kirkus Reviews calls it, “Forthright, compassionate, and expertly crafted—everything readers should want from a memoir.”
Today, as we sit with the final bound book in our hands, we talked with Ruth about the challenges of writing about something so personal, and the lessons she’s learned along her writing journey.
What was the greatest challenge you faced while writing your memoir?
It can be hard to untangle your story from other people’s stories. Life doesn’t have clear edges and chapter breaks. In my case, I wanted to protect the other rape victims and my family members. But I also wanted to tell the truth, and sometimes the truth requires a sort of ruthless honesty. So I went slower than I wanted to go, and shared drafts of my writing. I tried to stay in conversation. And I tried to decipher which parts of the story belonged to me, and which belonged to other people.
How would you describe your book in one sentence?
This is the story of the night that ruined my life, and the decade-long journey to reconstruct that life.
What 3 things would you tell your 20-year old self?
- When it feels like your life is over, know that the feeling will pass. The truth is that this is just your starter life, the one that other people shaped. Your real life — the one you will create — is waiting for you.
- Tell your story as many times as you need to. It’s your story. It belongs to you.
- Be gentle with yourself.
About the Author . . . Ruth Everhart is an ordained Presbyterian pastor who has been serving the church for more than twenty-five years. A frequent speaker and blogger at RuthEverhart.com, Ruth and her husband currently live in the Washington DC area. Her memoir, Ruined, (Tyndale), will release August 2nd, 2016.