'Resonance' is supposed to be a dream - that's when your soulmate is chosen for you.
Resonance’ is supposed to be a dream – that’s when your soulmate is chosen for you. And everyone on the ice planet has hooked up with a big, hunky soulmate of their own… except me. So do I want a mate? Heck yeah. More than anything, all I’ve ever wanted is to be loved by someone.
Except that the soulmate chosen for me? My least favorite person on the darn ice planet. Haeden’s the most cranky, disapproving, unpleasant, overbearing male alien… so why is it that my body sings when he gets close? Why is he working so hard to prove to me that he’s not as awful as I think he is?
I hate him… don’t I?
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about your books with me! I recently read Ice Planet Barbarians, and it’s such a fun read, but at the same time, it’s pretty dark in places, especially in the beginning! I loved the author’s note you included with content warnings and a little explanation about your dark fantasy roots.
Thank you very much! I’m a big fan of taking darker themes and showing how they don’t destroy you and how you can find something funny/amusing even in the darkest times.
[BWG] Can you tell us a bit about how your engagement with darker material has evolved over the course of your career?
I think every author that first starts out wants to play by the established rules. I’m also a shameless people pleaser so when my first editor would say ‘Yikes’ to some of my ideas or plot lines, I’d pull back. When I decided to self-publish and hit a spate of burnout, I decided to not pull any punches and write what I wanted, as deliberate and weird as it might be. The answer is Ice Planet Barbarians, which is equal parts spicy, funny, and with a dark undertone.
I’ve also been married for almost 20 years to a horror buff and I’m sure that plays a huge part as well!
[BWG] You are a professional writer of smutty romance, and one assumes this did not come about by accident. What book or books you read first turned you toward the spicy side?
I don’t know if there was a singular book or if I’ve always been spicy! I started reading romance at twelve, but at that point I was also reading Stephen King and big historical epics so it was just one more thing at that point. But when I write, everything has spice in it.
[BWG] I can only imagine that having published hundreds of sex scenes, you’ve learned quite a bit. Has your approach to writing these scenes changed at all over the years?
When I first started out, I felt very shy and weird about it. I’m not a huge fan of feeling uncomfortable in my own writing, so it was like a muscle I kept pushing at and working on until I felt comfortable with writing the graphic bones of sex. It’s just like all writing – you get better at it the more you practice.
[BWG] While your writing is infamous for its spice, there’s an emotional side that’s just as powerful. How do you sink into your characters to imbue them with such strong and natural emotions?
I always try to put myself in a character’s shoes to see how they would feel and how they would react. For me, any sort of relationship is not purely physical – the emotional aspect has to be there, too. I kind of think of it as the same way as a fight scene. I can show my character walking up to someone in a bar and punching them in the face, but it has gravitas if we know why he’s punching someone and what he’s feeling in that moment.
[BWG] Your space pirate series Corsairs is now complete with book 5, Corsairs: Bethiah coming out March 18. What can you say (other than space pirates, which, WOW) to tempt someone to give that series a try?
It’s just as much emotion and romance as it is pirating! With humor!
[BWG] You have a story in the upcoming anthology “Pride Not Prejudice: A Romantic Charity Collection Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ Community.” With queer people worldwide coming increasingly under attack, we need more and more stories featuring LGBTQIA+ characters and communities. What can you tell us about your story?
It is called When She’s Shy and features a female colonist on Risda III falling in love with one of the aliens that brings supplies to the colony. I’d wanted to write a wlw story set on Risda for a while as it seemed absolutely natural to me, and this was the perfect opportunity. It was so fun and I’m going to do more of them for sure. If people can absolutely buy that a human woman can fall in love with a big blue alien, they should have no problem with one woman loving another.
[BWG] Ice Planet Barbarians is widely known, but you have a rather extensive catalog. What book of yours do you wish more people would pick up, and why?
Probably Bound to the Battle God! It’s a portal fantasy where a snippy heroine from our world falls into a grim fantasy world where she has to be the companion to a fallen war god and help him get back to his world. In true to Ruby nature, it has dark underpinnings but is played with a lot of humor and spice.
[BWG] You have 22 books and counting in your Ice Planet Barbarians series, which is an enormous accomplishment. What is the writing process like now versus when you first started writing? How do you keep the stories so fresh?
I try to make all of my Ruby books feel like they have the same sort of ‘vibe’ to them. You’re always going to get the same type of underpinnings to the story when you read one of mine, be it full of dragons, or fantasy gods, or blue barbarians. To me, that’s the ‘core’ Ruby experience (Don’t mind me talking about myself in third person…). It’s the layer on top that changes. As for keeping them fresh, I’m influenced by SO many things. Podcasts! Non-fiction! TV shows! I’ll find an idea interesting – like, say, shipwrecks – and then I’ll research everything I can about it and my brain will turn over how to use it in a particular story. I have a really active imagination and it doesn’t take much for my brain to turn everything into a character scenario. I could be in line at Starbucks and see a bumper sticker on the car ahead of me and then I’m mentally plotting out the life of the driver and what brought him to that point.
Basically I spend a lot of time daydreaming.
[BWG] You have many types of love stories and heroes in your books. Do you have a favorite pair you loved writing about more than others?
I think there are some books that flow better than others and so you’re left with warm, fuzzy feelings even after you finish it. Barbarian’s Mate (the July 11th release) was absolutely one of those. I could have written twice as much about them and loved every moment of it.
[BWG] You write like someone who loves reading and books. Do you gravitate towards the romance genre for your own reading, or do you read heavily in another genre? If so, what has been your favorite book lately?
I say I read probably 70% romance and about 30% everything else. I can’t pick one favorite book lately so here’s the ones I loved and read recently!
- Ali Hazelwood’s new LOVE, THEORETICALLY. Best Ali Hazelwood yet!!
- David Grann’s THE WAGER: A TALE OF SHIPWRECK, MUTINY AND MURDER – so many twists and turns. Loved it.
- Everything T. Kingfisher writes – romance, fantasy, horror – I devoured her entire backlist recently and was sad when I hit the last release.
- Currently reading FOURTH WING (me and the rest of the world) by Rebecca Yarros. It’s giving me Attack on Titan meets Dragonriders of Pern.
[BWG] The new covers are so beautiful. Did you have a hand in the creation process of them?
I picked the cover artist and told them the vibes I liked! Some changes were made based on what retailers wanted but overall I’m super happy with them. They’re bright, colorful, and dreamy.
[BWG] I have one last question from one of our readers: how many more books do you have planned in the Bound to the Battle God universe?
I have a short (short!) novel, SERVANT TO THE SPIDAE that comes out at the end of June in that series, and plans for Kalos, the God of Disease and the Aspect of Apathy. Beyond that, it depends on when the idea strikes me, but I definitely am not done with that world.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share, and I look forward to many more steamy fantastical romances from you!
Thank you so much!
Ruby Dixon is an author of all things science fiction romance. She is a Sagittarius and a Reylo shipper, and loves farming sims (but not actual housework). She lives in the South with her husband and a couple of geriatric cats, and can’t think of anything else to put in her biography. Truly, she is boring. Learn more online at rubydixon.com.