Author, I Never: An Interview with A.B. Rutledge


A.B. Rutledge

author of Miles Away From You, out March 20, 2018

Author, I Never is a segment in which I interview fellow authors about the writing process, breaking into the industry, and breaking rules. I ask some hopefully novel questions along with some of the old standards, and finish it up with a round of I Never to find out what cardinal writing rules we've broken.

Question the first: A.B., when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

A few years ago I stumbled upon the Snowflake Method for starting a novel. A vague idea came to me and I was bored one afternoon. I sat down to work on it and when I looked up, it was dark outside. Four hours had passed without me even noticing! I was terrified but it was also kind of fun. I decided to do it again the next day and the next day and…here we are.

Question the second: What has been your proudest or most exciting moment as an author so far?

Getting my ARCs in the mail was so exciting. I wasn’t expecting them, but I noticed a package on my way out the door. I was so excited that I had to call in late to work. I just needed to stare at them for a while.

Question the third: At what point did you think to yourself "I've made it" or at what point do you think you'll feel that way?

I’ll feel I’ve truly made it as an author when I can hire someone to come to my house a scoop the kitty litter. That’ll probably never happen though, will it? *sobs*

Question the fourth: Did any experienced authors or industry people mentor or give you helpful guidance on your journey to publication?

I was in a (now defunct) Pitch Wars style contest that won me the help of an amazing freelance editor, Alana Saltz. She was so awesome that I dedicated this book to her.

Question the fifth: Have you ever had a time when you've felt like giving up?

I felt like giving up after working on my first novel for four years. I took a break, tried to learn something new, and eventually found my way back to the page. That’s when MILES happened and I’m so glad I didn’t give up.

Question the sixth: What was the most inconvenient time or place you were struck by inspiration?

Sometimes at my job I’ll have a really great idea and am too busy to get away and jot it down. I used to keep a notebook in my work locker just for that reason.

Question the seventh: Can you give us hint to help us find an "easter egg" or hidden item to look for in one of your books? Maybe an obscure clue if there's a mystery thread, or a reference you threw in to a favorite book or song?

The online magazine that Vivian and Miles work on is sort of an homage to Rookie. I wish I were as cool as Tavi Gevinson.

Question the eighth: Where do you look for inspiration?

Pinterest! Almost all of my ideas start with an image from Pinterest.

...followed by the ninth: Who is your writing hero?

I love Francesca Lia Block with all of my weird, little heart. Even though what I write is nothing like what she writes, her books are the biggest inspiration for me.

 Look out! It's time for the...


I Never Round


The basic rules of I Never, the kid friendly version- I state a generally established writing rule (or at least a norm). If you've broken that rule, state your guilt for the record.

I never made up a word in my manuscript, and stood by it during copyediting.

Since my book is written as instant messages, I got to make up lots of fun words—particularly when Miles is trying to make sense of the Icelandic words he sees or hears.

I never had an amazing idea right before bed, and decided sleep was more important.

I get all my writing done before bed these days. It’s kind of how I wind down.

I never started a story with a character waking up, looking in the mirror, or in a bathtub.

Bathtub? Is that a thing? I’ve never done any of this, though!

I think it's a thing. Is it? I never worked on two manuscripts at once.

True! I get really into voice and can’t usually work myself out of it, so I only do one project at a time.

I never went several days or even weeks without writing.


I never wrote "for a long moment."

Moments can be long. Or they can feel long, at least.

So long. I never cheated during NaNoWriMo.

Whenever I do NaNo, I always start my day with a brainstorming session on 750words.com and always include that in my word count.

Awesome idea! Thank you so much for appearing in Author, I Never! When and where can we look for, preorder, or buy your next or most recent book, and where can we follow you on social media?


My debut is called Miles Away from you and will be published by HMH on March 20, 2018. You can buy it here: http://amzn.to/2yrOtiK 

Or add it to your GoodReads here: http://bit.ly/2yGUQ2G

On Twitter I’m a_b_rutledge or go to abrutledge.com

One last queastion! If your book had a theme song, what would it be?

So, if my book had a soundtrack it would be the song "Hellhole Ratrace" by Girls (which is not as depressing as it sounds, but still kind of depressing...much like my book).

Chin up, DJ Spotify.