An interview with author Ruth Clampett, whose divorce led to writing romance
Author Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animator Bob Clampett (Looney Tunes and Beany and Cecil), has lived life surrounded by art. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, Clampett has owned her own studio for the past 15 years as the fine art publisher for Warner Bros. and has worked with many of the world’s greatest artists of animation and comics.
Several years ago, she and her husband split, leaving her as a Solo Mom to her daughter, Alex. In the process of grieving the end of her marriage, a new career was born.
She talks with ESME’s Kathleen Laccinole about her life, motherhood, and her ironic career shift; and, below, we’ve included an excerpt from her steamy fiction—but don’t read it with the kids around!
Q: What do you do?
A: I write and self-publish contemporary romance.
Q: How did you get into writing?
A: I was going through a rough time and found great escapism in FanFiction, an online site where people post stories inspired by existing literary or film characters. I would work all day and then at night go online and connect with women like me, authors. They encouraged me to write. As my FanFiction friends started publishing their original work (including Fifty Shades of Grey), I learned I could as well.
Q: Did writing help you deal with your marriage ending?
A: When you are married with kids, so many of your friends are around this circle. Then, suddenly, you’re the odd man out. You have to refill your collective of friends someplace. This is what drew me to the FanFiction/self-publishing community. The focus isn’t on whether you are married or have kids; it’s on reading and writing. When you connect with people with a shared passion, it adds something to your life. I started connecting again, and writing was fantasyland—my happy place. I was so in love with the guys I was writing [about] that I looked forward to spending time with them.
Q: What resources can you recommend?
A: There are tremendous resources available between Amazon and written guides that walk you through the process. You can join groups on Goodreads, a site for readers.
I chose the route of self-publishing because it’s empowering. I’d known several authors, via my FanFiction groups, who’d already self-published, so I just did what they did. Standoutbooks has a list [called] “The ten best books about self-publishing.”
Once you establish the genre you want to write, go on social media and follow your favorite writers. Read the blogs. See how they do what they do. Part of succeeding is creating your community in social media and finding your readers.
There is a powerful body of women who have come together to support and promote each other’s books.
Q: What was your first book?
A: It was called Animate Me and was adapted from a FanFiction story I’d written—as are many other published books, like Fifty Shades of Grey. I spent nine months reworking and rewriting the story. Online I found professional editors, cover designers, and formatters who prepare the manuscript for publication. I used these resources to put my book on Amazon in May 2013. Right now I’m working on my sixth book!
Q: Has being a Solo Mom posed a detriment to furthering your career?
A: If you make your kid a priority, you’re driving her around, going to her concerts, doctor’s appointments. My daughter always comes first. But writing gives me a flexibility of time that allows me to continue to put her first.
Q: Can you recall a defining moment that drove home you were a Solo Mom?
A: I was having dinner with friends one night. They were going to Cabo San Lucas in the morning. At one point, they turned to me and said, “Why don’t you come with us?!” Ha!
Q: What are you most proud of as a Solo Mom?
A: I wanted to teach my daughter that if you can dream something, you can do something. Nobody would have ever thought I’d be writing books. A lot of times, Alex and I work in the same room. She’s my assistant at book signings. She’s met my writing friends. She’s seen the entire process. I’ve shown her that if you work really hard, you can make it happen.
Animate Me excerpt: Animation executive Brooke visits her animator boyfriend, Nathan, in his home studio and things get steamy.
“Hey, can I watch while you draw B-Girl? Maybe you could draw something for me?” Brooke asks.
“Sure.” I think about it a moment and then brush my hand over a fresh page of paper in my pad before teasing her by drawing soft, loose lines that slowly build towards an image.
Brooke leans in, looking over my shoulder. I feel her breasts against my back and I have to push the dirty thoughts out of my head while I work. I can feel her breath against my neck and I hear a tiny moan when she sees B-Girl finally take shape.
Her warmth against me is distracting in the most wonderful way. I can barely keep working and it takes my complete focus to finish the drawing. Finally, I hold the pad up and review the image of B-Girl sitting on top of the world, like it’s an oversized beach ball. She looks powerful and sexy…and of course, she’s beautiful. I took extra time sketching her hair so it’s flowing behind her.
“Do you like it? See…you’re on top of the world.”
“I love it!” she says. “Can I have it? I’m going to frame it.”
“Sure,” I say as carefully pull it out of the pad and hand it to her.
She kisses my neck and hugs me. “So is B-Girl always alone? Does she have a special someone?”
“Funny you should ask, she does. She has a boyfriend that I’m introducing in the next book.”
She grins. “Oh good…a boyfriend! So what are his special powers?”
“He’s a mere mortal.”
“Really?” The look on her face is priceless. “So she’s open-minded about such things?”
“Yes, B-Girl’s brilliant. She knows that sometimes you find the best things in life where you least expect them.”
“Are they happy?” she asks.
“Supremely happy. He worships his B-Girl and would do anything for her.”
“I see. And does she worship him?”
“I think so…I hope so.”
“I bet she does,” she whispers before she swivels me in my drafting chair until I’m facing her. “If he’s anything like you, then she worships him completely.”
She must know by know what those words do to me. I take a deep breath and try to control my overwhelming desire to push the drawings aside and take her on my drafting table.
Slow, Nathan. Go slow…
I wrap my hands around her hips and slide my chair closer to kiss her, gently at first but then the passion builds. As I reach up and cup her breasts, I remember the first time I held her like this. Just like now, she moaned as I pleasured her, yet my heart was insecure. I didn’t know back then if she merely pitied me, or if her lust was genuine.
So now as she chants my name and presses her hand over me through my jeans, there’s no question of her true desire. My fingers slide under her skirt, stroking her thighs higher and higher until they slip under her panties. She rocks into my tender touch.
“Take me here, Nathan,” she whispers huskily, as she leans back against the table full of drawings.
A low growl escapes out of my tight chest. My dream’s coming true…my studio’s about to be set on fire by Brooke and her magic ways. I help her pull off her skirt and panties before lifting her up in my arms.
I can’t help smiling inwardly. How many times did I fantasize about taking Brooke on this table where I draw her every night?
In the frenzy, the Wonder Woman figurine face plants on the credenza while Monkey Man’s demise scatters over the floor. The room smells like sweet naked Brooke and lusty sex.
I love it…every part of it. My Toontown office will never be the same.
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
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