The Day – Novelist Deborah Goodrich Royce appears via Zoom Sunday to discuss ‘Ruby Falls’


“An inverted burst of creativity” is how author Deborah Royce Goodrich describes it.

This is how she explains the constant flow of ideas that have seeped into her head in recent years and which gave birth to her novels.

“Ruby Falls,” a psychological thriller with Gothic overtones, was released on May 4 and is already receiving accolades. This is his second book; the first, “Finding Mrs. Ford”, was published when she was 61, and the latter two years later. A third book is already well advanced in the process.

Royce appears today via Zoom to talk about “Ruby Falls” at a Stonington Free Library event. On June 24, Royce will discuss the book with New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice at the Ocean House Hotel in Westerly during an event to benefit Washington County Literacy Volunteers.

In her early adulthood, Royce said, she wrote, but with children to raise and other obligations, she had a harder time being productive.

And then, in my fifties, “it was a real turning point for me. I had an empty nest and a huge part of my brain came back to me, ”she said.

Shards of memory

There are bits of reality in “Ruby Falls”, or at least bits of memories. The story begins in July 1968, when a 6-year-old girl named Ruby feels her father detach his hand from hers in a deep, dark cave called Ruby Falls and disappear. She is small, shy and terrified and left alone for strangers to find her.

“It’s such a shotgun from an early book,” says Royce, who developed the idea from her own childhood memories to visit the real Ruby Falls in Tennessee with her father when she was 8. or 9 years.

The story quickly advances to Ruby in her early twenties, a former New York soap opera star who is now in Los Angeles, married and playing the lead role in a “Rebecca” remake, the classic Daphne Du Maurier. It’s another memory for Royce, who was an actress in film and television, most notably playing the role of epic sister Erica Kane Silver Kane in “All My Children” on ABC-TV.

A flood of ideas

But Royce is now focused on writing and said the ideas keep coming. She was on a Florida reading tour last year when the pandemic forced everyone into hibernation. She curled up in the Sunshine State and used that time to work on her third book, tentatively titled “Reef Road.” Naturally, it takes place in Florida and is based on a memory.

In 1948, her mother’s best friend was murdered in her Pittsburgh home. The case was never resolved, but it did have a lasting effect on her mother.

“When there’s an act of extreme violence, it’s not necessarily in a vacuum, it affects the people around the victim,” Royce says. So the next book isn’t really about this girl’s death, but it’s inspired by that, as well as the pandemic, which “sealed us all in our homes,” Royce says.

“What’s better for a thriller than a face mask?” she asks.

“Ruby Falls” is also a thriller. It builds on the mystery of what happened to Ruby’s father in the Tennessee Cave that day and his transformation into movie star Eleanor Russell and wife of English aristocrat Orlando Montague. There are all kinds of twists and turns along the way.

Royce, the wife of Chuck Royce, the man behind the Ocean House and the Weekapaug Inn, as well as a philanthropist of many projects, including local ones, is happy with her second book and pleased with the early reviews.

“’Ruby Falls’ is a more polarizing book,” Royce says. “People who don’t like him don’t understand. It’s an examination of trauma and how a young woman deals with this very seminal childhood trauma. And it is also a fanciful flight that takes off from “Rebecca”.

“This is really the book I want it to be,” she said.

The process

She writes most of her writing in the conservatory at her home in Riverside, Connecticut, which overlooks the Mianus River, and not in her office, where she says “bills and notes are a reminder of everyday life and obligations.” .

She writes on her computer and prints pages for editing and tries to write at least three hours a day – six in a productive day. But she always thinks about her plans and takes notes whenever an idea comes to her mind.

Becoming an author later in life has been a good thing for her, Royce says.

“I’m a thousand times more creative now than when I was young,” she says. “Every aspect of my life has led me to where I am now. Nothing goes away, everything is there and everything is useful and everything helps to make you who you are and to create your world view.


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