Monday, August 16, 2010

The writing of Hot Shot: Gary Ruffin's AJC Profile

Every once in a while, we come upon a story that is truly inspiring. For us at Overlook, that was the story of Gary Ruffin, whose first book, HOT SHOT, came out last week.

But our tiny "about the author" sections and space-constrained posts here (you might remember Gary from this one) can't possibly describe the full story of how Gary survived a brain tumor and wrote Hot Shot. For that, we have this fantastic profile that recently appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Here's our favorite excerpt from the article, but we definitely encourage you to head over to the AJC website and read the whole thing. Monday mornings can be discouraging--this story is the opposite.

In 2001, Ruffin was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor the size of a plum. Surgery saved his life but left him with a slew of disabilities. For nearly a decade, he has lived with double vision, fainting spells and an inability to swallow properly. He can't eat or drink and must absorb nutrients through a feeding tube.

In addition, he can no longer play guitar or sing in public, a painful reality for a working musician since age 12. But he doesn't complain. That's not his style.

"I miss it, but it's one of those crying-over-spilled-milk deals," he says. "You have to move on and concentrate on the things you can do."

Like writing.

On Sunday, Ruffin will have an informal book-signing of his first novel, "Hot Shot," a detective mystery. Part of a three-book deal with Overlook Press, "Hot Shot" is the story of a man who has had it easy for a long time, then gets slapped in the face with difficult situations. It sounds like Ruffin's life.

In 2002, Debra Rivard, a friend of Ruffin's and an English literature teacher in Indianapolis, told him he had a knack for writing and suggested he pen a book about his brain surgery.

"I just felt that if he started writing about his experience, it would be a catharsis to him and an inspiration to others," Rivard said. "He never groveled in self-pity. He just accepted his fate and even made fun of his Chewbacca voice."

Ruffin wrote a few pages about the surgery, then gave up.

"I realized it was depressing as all hell," he says. "It was difficult to tell my story without sounding like I was complaining."

The full article is definitely worth a read. You can learn more about Gary by checking out the previous coverage here on the Winged Elephant, and coming back for updates. Have a fantastic week!


Anonymous said...

HOT SHOT by Gary Ruffin is a great read. His characters are written so well they draw you into their lives making you read on to see if they're ok. I have a huge crush on Coop, he's quirky and sensitive, but not too sensitive for a manly man. Hot Shot was really hard to put down and the conclusion was a complete surprise. I'm recommending it to all of my friends. I can't wait for the next book.

Betty said...

Agree with comments from Anonymous----this i great story and holds your interest fully and characters are wonderful
At 89 I read only the mystery genre and this takes place at top of my list
Hope to meet Coop and Neal and others in cast, very soon again
Bravo Gary and the best of luck
Betty M