This Author Finds Her Inspiration in the Early Morning Hours

Ruth Logan Herne has written more than 60 books. Her latest is part of Guideposts’ “Miracles & Mysteries of Mercy Hospital” series.

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Posted in , May 27, 2021

Author Ruth Logan Herne; photo courtesy Ruth Logan Herne

It’s not quite four o’clock in the morning at Blodgett Family Farm in the hills of upstate New York. The fields and pumpkin patches may be draped in darkness, but there’s a light shining in the farmhouse window. Ruth Logan Herne, an award-winning inspirational fiction author, is hard at work.

Ruth gets up a little after three o’clock every morning to write. Though she has a home office, she rarely uses it. She prefers to sit on the family room floor with her laptop.

“When you’re older, hips and joints don’t necessarily like soft furniture,” she says. “We have 14 grandchildren, 11 of whom live nearby, and they like to bounce on the furniture. Not a couch or a love seat in that pretty little family room has support anymore. But it’s not about where you write—it’s about the words on the page.”

Ruth has penned more than 60 books this way, waking in the middle of the night and cranking out at least a thousand words before dawn.

It’s a routine that began more than 20 years ago. Back then, Ruth was running a day care out of her home. Though she’d dreamed of becoming an author since she was a little girl, between her job, the farm and raising six children, she barely had time to sit, let alone write.

“I always knew it would happen, though,” Ruth says. “It was just a matter of timing. A matter of faith.”

The time came early one morning—at three o’clock. “I just woke up. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. It kept happening over the next few weeks. It was as if God was telling me, ‘You need time? Well, here it is!’”

As her family slept, Ruth would work at her typewriter. “I’m blessed to need only about six hours of sleep,” she says. Ruth goes to bed each day at 9:30 P.M. and wakes at a little after three. She never needs an alarm.

A year into her 3 A.M. writing practice, she got a hand-me-down word processor from an acquaintance. A year and a half after that, Ruth graduated to her first computer, a gift from a friend. “Our two oldest children were in college by then,” she recalls. “Money was nonexistent. But opportunity was there.”

By the time a publisher bought her first manuscript, she’d completed drafts of 11 different novels.

While her books have uplifting endings, Ruth doesn’t shy away from writing about the life challenges—divorce, financial problems, the loss of a loved one—that teach people faith, hope and perseverance. Something Ruth learned from her childhood.

“My parents were both alcoholics. I had a tough upbringing in a lot of ways,” she says. “But it taught me a lot. I believe you have to move beyond the past and grab hold of the future. Make it your own. My stories don’t dwell in that darkness because I don’t dwell in it.”

Her latest book, Prescription for Mystery, the second in Guideposts’ new Miracles & Mysteries of Mercy Hospital series, is all about bringing the truth to light. The story follows four friends who work at a historic hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. When they stumble upon a clue that a doctor’s sudden disappearance may be something more, they band together to solve the mystery.

Ruth has always loved reading mysteries, but it wasn’t until 2017, with the Guideposts series Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard, that she wrote one of her own. “I’d decided in my head that I couldn’t write a mystery, but when Guideposts asked me, I couldn’t say no.”

Again, it all came down to timing. “I got the call when I had a three-week window of time, waiting for an editor to get back to me about a manuscript. Another God thing!” she says.

With summer soon in full swing, Ruth and her husband, Dave, are busier than ever. The pumpkins that Blodgett Family Farm is known for are planted in May and need to be carefully tended until they’re ripe for the picking, in October. “It’s the family project,” says Ruth. “Children come and help, grandchildren come and help, friends come and help.”

Until winter, the only opportunity Ruth will have to write is during those early morning hours: 3 A.M. to 7 A.M., her quiet time. “I make sure to pray then and sometimes read Scripture,” she says. “I believe that if you live your life as a prayer, you don’t need to be on bended knee as much. Because living your life in a God-honoring way is the best prayer.”

There’s a plaque on Ruth’s desk with a quote attributed to writer Erma Bombeck: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left but could say, ‘I’ve used everything you gave me.’”

That’s Ruth’s aim too: Make the most of everything God has given her.

 

Ruth Logan Herne is just one of the inspiring authors writing for Miracles & Mysteries of Mercy Hospital, a new fiction series from Guideposts. This cozy mystery series features four women from different walks of life who witness miracles happening around them at historic Mercy Hospital and become fast and faithful friends.

Join Joy, Evelyn, Anne and Shirley as they solve the puzzling mysteries that arise over the course of their workdays at this Charleston, South Carolina, landmark—rumored to be under the protection of a guardian angel. Come along as the quartet gathers clues, stumbles upon hidden passageways and discovers historical treasures along the way. This fast-paced series is filled with inspiration, adventure, mystery, delightful humor and loads of Southern charm!

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