Q. What is the main conflict or theme in this story?
It's a unique Christian girl's struggle to sort out her secretive double life. She has one life in the city, and another one back home. Although she helps many others and gives good advice, it takes a while, and stronger pressures, before she faces her own fears. Ruthe's story is about walking and talking with God about everything that happens to you - no matter what.
Q. What are the secret roses in the title?
Ruthe thinks of her friends as types of roses. She discusses them with her Friend in their early dawn walks, but she hides her city friends - or most of them - from her family.
Q. What is the locale of this book?
Ruthe Veer and her family live in the Saskatchewan town of Kleinstadt, but much of the action in the novel happens in the city of Saskatoon, which is about a half hour's drive away. Ruthe works shifts in the telephone office as an operator, and commutes most of the time.
Q. Why persist in writing this for 30 years and work so hard to publish it?
I had a dream about it when about 11 or 12 years old. I was convinced back then God meant for me to write it, and that one day it would do marvelous things around the world. I've had some periods of doubting, but mostly the calling has only grown stronger. I used to do an annual re-write then give up on it. For many years most of my friends had no idea I was writing it. But it has been the theme of my life and everything else is periphery or while-I'm-bidin'-my-time stuff.
You'll find the more detailed saga on this site, on the History page
Q. What does it take to publish a book for free on the internet these days?
Fiction is a bit harder. Non-fiction ebooks sell like ice cream. You need a good idea, preferable something to benefit people in a niche group. Almost everyone has some area of expertise or wisdom gained from their experience that would qualify. On my site I recommend certain books and even a free email course that guides you through the steps, from brainstorming to marketing and sales.
Secondly, you need a willing and teachable spirit to get on the internet and learn some basic skills in communicating, web design, and marketing. There is lots of stuff out there, most of it still free - though that era is losing ground. The ones who know their stuff are starting to charge just to read their site! But hey, a hungry and determined person can teach herself all she needs to know.
Thirdly, you've got to be doggedly persistent. Work your plan, and keep promoting your book in the many avenues that are available on the net. Publishing a book IS still work! At least the first!
Q. In what era or decade does this story take place?
This story transcends eras, but the early 1970s is indicated early on in a scene with Cathy. The years of the cars should be another clue. Plus the reference to Prime Minister Trudeau.
Q. Why doesn't Ruthe talk like modern teens?
Because she never was a modern teen, she's unique, partly because of her Mennonite upbringing and partly because she has not socialized in the usual teen scene much on account of her home situation.
Q. This book doesn't follow the conventions of other novels. How come?
Isn't that refreshing? This book is for those who are tired of being in a rut. I tried NOT to be shallow and one dimensional.
Q. There are too many characters - What if I can't follow or remember all of them?
I'm sorry. I love lots of people, a great variety of them, and there are those who like me, happily define themselves as people
watchers or a collector of new friends. If there seem to be too many people to get to know, may I suggest you read slower?
Unless you have threats hanging over you - take your time. This is not TV or a movie,, so you
can even go back to re-read as much as you like.
Q. Tell us about your family and background.
I was born into an poor, evangelical Mennonite family on the Saskatchewan prairie, near Hague, which is a half-hour drive north of Saskatoon. I'm the oldest with two brothers and two sisters after me. My mother was gored by a cow before I started school, so she was sickly all the rest of her life, in and out of hospitals. I had to be grown up and care for my siblings from early on. My two brothers and one sister married, and gave me four nieces and two nephews. Four of the nieces/nephews have had babies, making me a Great-Aunt!
Twenty-one years ago, I came home to look after my aged parents, depending on God to meet my financial needs, while I used my free time to write.
Q. Did you really give up everything and move back home to your parents? Without a salary?!
Yes, though I cringed for two years over that. It seemed way too hard. But I prayed a lot about that decision and once I was ready to give up my beautiful dreams of romance, marriage and a huge family, and to really trust God's plans for my future, then it was easier.
That's not to say the years that followed have not been hard. Looking after Mom was tough, we clashed at times, but once I was clear that it was God's plan and therefore good, I was able to be resolute.
Besides, the full salary from God hasn't been paid out yet. It's still coming!
Q. How come you've never married?
I did dream of it for many years. When I realized the lovely scenes in my head were not prophecies of my own marriage after all I decided to love God more and stop feeling sorry for myself, and get to work. (sigh) It's a long story. However, I've got things to do with eternal value, and in those matters, singleness can be a blessing rather than a deterrent.
Q. Why not put your parents in a nursing home and concentrate on your career?
Because Mom resisted, and I wouldn't want to either, as long as it is not absolutely necessary. My mother looked after her aged grandmother until she died, and it seemed only fair that she should be cared for at home too. Mom spent lots of times in the hospitals, and wanted to die at home. I chose to honour her wish and managed to do it, though at the end it almost looked like her dying would take too long. I'd wear out.
Dad stayed mostly healthy for ten years after Mom died, and since there are long-livers on his side of the clan, I used to tease him that we were stuck with each other until he was at least 100. (His one uncle got to be 104, and currently, his sister Jessie is 102 and still alive. Since Dad didn't need nursing care yet, and could go for long walks, or travel in the car with me, there is no earthly reason to coop him up in a Home. Nor would they accept him yet, even at 91.
Besides, I wouldn't have been able to work full-time at getting my book published as I did, without a roof over my head, and free meals for making them for Dad. God knew what He was doing in giving me this career setup.
In fact, after Dad died in 2007, I had to clean up his estate, find myself a place to live in Saskatoon, and find employment to cover my expenses. I got on at Western Tract Mission, but had to raise my own support pledges. Fortunately, the Lord helped me get a paying client for website work that I could do by reserving one evening a week for that work.
[Note: if you have questions, feel free to write and ask. I'll be happy to put them, with my answers, up here to help others out as well].
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Thank You. May God Bless you Wonderfully!
Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One
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Ruthe's Secret Roses (official site)
©2001-2022 Ruth Marlene Friesen
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada