Friday, May 24, 2013

'Soul Destruction' Author Draws Inspiration From A London Call Girl

In our ongoing series of WCI interviews, we're talking today with Ruth Jacobs, a novelist who lives near London, about her life as a writer. Jacobs studied prostitution in the late 1990s. She draws on her research and the women she has interviewed for inspiration. In addition to her fiction writing, Jacobs is involved in nonfiction for charity and human rights campaigning in the areas of anti-sexual exploitation and anti-human trafficking.

Women in Crime Ink: Welcome, Ruth. Tell us about your writing background. When did you begin writing, and what inspired you?

Ruth Jacobs: My grandmother was a writer and I’m sure that’s what made me want to write. I wrote poetry as a young teenager then started writing a book at sixteen. I wrote on and off over the years, but it wasn’t until 2010 when I started the first Soul Destruction book that I actually went on to complete my first novel.  That was Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, which was published earlier this year. Last year, I published In Her Own Words... Interview with a London Call Girl, which is the transcript of a video interview I undertook with a woman working as a call girl in London for my research on prostitution in the late 1990s. The woman interviewed was a very dear friend, and as she is no longer alive, all the royalties from that publication are donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity working to end sexual exploitation.

WCI: How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?

RJ: For my fiction writing, I don’t have a fixed time currently, but that’s about to change as I get back into writing the second book in the Soul Destruction series. When I was working on the first book, I had a schedule of writing every evening. It was difficult with two children and a job, but I found the time by keeping the television switched off. I was also completely hooked on my characters and their world, and I couldn’t stay away for long because when I wasn’t writing about them, I was obsessing about them and the story.

WCI: In which genre do you most enjoy writing?

RJ: Crime fiction.

WCI: What draws you to write in that genre?

RJ: It’s the genre I most enjoy reading and having been on a death wish from my teens to mid-twenties, my past can be useful sometimes.

WCI: What is your current project(s)?

With author Harry Dunn
RJ: My novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, was published earlier this year by Caffeine Nights. The story follows Shelley Hansard, a heroin addicted and crack psychotic London call girl who gets the opportunity to take revenge on a client who raped her and her friends.

WCI: What has the reaction been to your book from readers?

RJ: The feedback has been great with many readers telling me they were unable to put the book down. Other comments have included the book being real and graphic, having a fast-paced plot, unexpected twists, that the story is told in a compassionate way, and that it takes the false glamour out of prostitution.

WCI: What are two of your favorite books, and why?

RJ: Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting is one, but after countless failed overdoses and with posttraumatic stress disorder, my memory is so terrible that I can’t recall precisely why. I would have enjoyed the Scottish dialect because all my family come from Scotland, and I would have also enjoyed the story as that was my world at the time - heroin addiction. For a second book, I’m compelled to say London Fields by Martin Amis who I was obsessed with reading many years ago. Again, with my poor memory, I cannot remember why (Trainspotting was at an advantage as I’ve watched the film countless times over the years), but because of my poor memory and because after so long I remember the name of a character, Nicola Six, that book must have impacted me. I must reread it soon.

WCI: What are your writing plans for the future?

RJ: I’m about to pick back up writing the second book in the Soul Destruction series. It has a title but in case it changes, I’m not sharing it yet. From my experience writing the first book and being led away from my original plot by the characters, I know that could happen in this book too and, if it does, then the title might need to be changed.

I’m involved in non-fiction for charity and human rights campaigning, currently pushing for the Merseyside model to be made UK wide. This will mean all crimes against people in prostitution will be treated as hate crimes. Where it has been running in Merseyside since 2006, reporting and conviction rates have increased hugely. I’ve written a couple of articles about the Merseyside model for feminist websites including Ms Blog, and I’m currently running a series of interviews on my own website.

I have an article to write for an anthology on prostitution so I will be making a start on that project in the summer. A short piece of non-fiction I wrote is being published soon in The Survivor Anthology. And a short story I wrote called Life will be published as an e-book by Caffeine Nights in the next week or two.

WCI: Is there anything else we should know?

RJ: Although I write fiction, my work is very real. It’s important to me when writing about prostitution that it isn’t glamorized as it so often is in other books, films and on television. I want to show it for what it is - a dangerous and traumatic way to earn money. Most women in prostitution have been abused as children. Most women in prostitution have suffered rape multiple times. And most women in prostitution meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder. I share many similarities in this, and I hope that enables me to keep my characters real, and my stories true to life. That’s very important to me.

WCI: Where can readers learn more about you and your writing?

RJ: On the Soul Destruction website and on my author website.

Ruth Jacobs' series of novels, titled Soul Destruction, expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. Her debut novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, was released in April 2013 by Caffeine Nights. It is a free download on Amazon today, April 24th, through Monday, April 27th. Click here to download.


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