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September 28, 2010

Here, Kitty, Kitty… with Ruth Hartman.

Ruth HartmanMy special guest today is Ruth Hartman. Ruth started out life as a dental hygienist but morphed into a romance writer. She has fun working the dental industry into her romances. While her new release Pillow Talk features a dental hygienist/tooth fairy, her next romance Flossophy of Grace also follows the love life of a dental hygienist. Who knew the dental world was so romantic?

Ruth’s first book was My Life in Chains, a memoir about her struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ruth, her husband and two very spoiled cats live in rural Indiana where Ruth dreams up new and exciting romances. And flosses regularly. Really!

Maxwell paws at my leg with unsheathed claws. Roxy smacks Maxwell’s skimpy striped tail. Ah yes, it’s the nightly ritual. The time has come for…greenies. Or colors, which is what we whisper when we don’t want to raise suspicion among the cats prematurely.

For those of you not familiar with the tasty kitty treats, greenies are the cat’s meow. Literally. My cats go nuts when we get the package out of the cabinet. Or if we walk near the cabinet. Or even glance in the direction of the kitchen. They can even be sound asleep in a kitty-coma, and if one of us tiptoes into the kitchen, they somehow know.

Cats have always been a huge part of my life. I’m a womb-to-the-tomb feline admirer. Thankfully, I was able to morph my husband into a full-fledged cat person after we got married. At first, he acted as if it bothered him to be around them. He even said, “I just don’t want us to be known as those people at the end of the road with 50 cats.” Although I would see nothing wrong with that, I simply smiled and nodded. But now, he picks the furry creatures up, flips them on their backs, and holds them in his huge arms like babies. And he’s always disappointed if they choose not to sleep with us every night. But no, he’s not a cat-person. Right.

My cats greet me at the door after a tiring day of scraping, polishing, and rinsing teeth. They sit in the bathroom while I’m in the shower, then stare at me when I get out. Disconcerting, yes. But I feel the love, nevertheless. And what could be better at five o’clock in the morning than a freezing wet nose or a fluffy tail in your face? I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

It’s for these reasons that I believe every novel’s main character should have a pet. My heroine, Trixie, has three cats. They keep her company since she lives alone. My hero, Graham, also has three felines. And Trixie and Graham even each have a cat named Cuspid. A shout-out to their respective dental professions, even though Graham doesn’t know about Trixie’s night job as the tooth fairy.

Just as pets add interest and spice to our lives, so do fictional pets of fictional characters. Just because Trixie lives inside the covers of a book, why should she be pet-less? Even figments of our imaginations deserve furry love, right?

CONTEST: Win a copy of Ruth’s book, Pillow Talk. All you need to do to go into the draw is ask Ruth a question or tell us if you like your ficitional characters to have a pet. If so, what type of pet?

(Note – the contest is only available to those who live in America or Canada)

PhotobucketTitle: Pillow Talk
Author: Ruth Hartman
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Contemporary


Trixie Trident is much too busy to worry about her love life. Her shop Necklaces, Bracelets and Rings, Oh My! has her up to her elbows in beads; Benson the parrot is hungry; and she just chipped her tooth. Plus she’s seriously sleep deprived—that happens when a tooth fairy hits a busy stretch. That’s right, tooth fairy.

But somehow the ideal man drops into her life. Actually she drops into his office. Is it time for Trixie to give up her night job as tooth fairy? Or should she give up the handsome Dr. Graham Keebler? Of course she won’t have to worry about either if he’s stolen from her! Can a magical tooth fairy find true love with a practical dentist?

Visit Ruth at her blog
Purchase Pillow Talk


  1. Ruth J. Hartman

    Thanks for hosting me today! I’ll be working at the dental office, but will check on any comments tonight when I get home :)


  2. Jodi Webb

    None of my fictional characters have had pets but now that I think of it a pet would be a great way to show a character’s other side. Perhaps the tenderness in a tough character.

  3. RKCharron

    Hi Ruth!
    Thank you to Shelley for introducing me to you & your writing. I enjoyed your post. I hadn’t thought of pets & characters before but upon reflection, some of my favorite characters had pets.
    (slightly-feral bunny slippers being a particular favorite)
    It must be fun to incorporate your “work” into your work. Do you find yourself noting things at work for use in your writing?
    All the best,

  4. Suzanne

    Hi Ruth:
    Your book sounds like fun. I look forward to reading it. Like you, I love cats.
    Would like to know how long you’ve been writing and what inspired you to give it a try.

  5. Alice Audrey

    I had no idea the dental world was so romantic.

  6. Shelley Munro

    Ruth – I love characters who have pets. I think a pet adds an extra opportunity for characterization, especially if you have a big, tough hero.

    Some of my favorite romances have pets. Hmm, I wonder if this is why I like shifter books too. It’s the pet element. :mrgreen:

  7. Amy W.

    I don’t like pets that much, so I’m not overly fond of the characters having pets. Unless of course they are extraordinary in some way, like they can talk, levitate stuff, etc. It’s probably because I’m very allergic to them. Sigh.
    The book sounds very interesting and humorous. :grin:

  8. Ruth J. Hartman

    Hi Jodi,

    You’re right. I mean, how could you not see tenderness in an otherwise tough character if they’re cuddling a kitten or puppy?

  9. Ruth J. Hartman

    Rk Charron,

    Yes, I often think of things for a book when I’m cleaning teeth. Maybe the patient will say something funny, or ask me an off-the-wall question. And I’ll think – Oh! I need to write that down! But it’s not really do-able when my hands are in the patient’s mouth, so I just have to hope I’ll remember it later when I get home.

    Feral bunny slippers? I love it!!!!

  10. Ruth J. Hartman

    Hi Suzanne,

    Another cat lover! Great!!!

    I didn’t seriously pursue writing for publication until 2008. And it was sort of a “try it and see where it goes” thing. I’d submitted a children’s story about OCD to a publisher who wanted a true-life story instead, so I wrote that for them. After that, I decided I needed to write something fun, since the memoir was so draining to write. Well, what’s more fun that romance? :)

  11. Ruth J. Hartman

    Hi Alice,

    Dentistry = Romance!
    Now when you go to your dentist, you’ll wonder what really goes on in the dental lab, huh? :)

  12. Ruth J. Hartman


    I think you’re right. I’m drawn to shifter characters as animals too (especially cats, panthers, and lions). :)

  13. Ruth J. Hartman


    Sorry to hear about your allergies. That is no fun, I’m sure. But you’ll be glad to know that the cats are only minor characters in the book :)

  14. Mary

    I really like characters in novels to have pets, especially pets who get into trouble or cause trouble or do funny things.

    I’m very partial to rats and small animals because I love them so much.

  15. Ruth J. Hartman

    Hi Mary,

    I agree about animals getting into trouble. My two cats are constantly into mischief, so I figure my character’s pets should be, too :)

  16. Marlene Breakfield

    Yes, I like my fictional characters to have pets. I like cats and dogs, but any animal works for me. I’m a cat lover, too. I have 6.

  17. Ruth J. Hartman

    Hi Marlene,

    Six? I love it! I’d have that many if my husband would let me :). If you have six, you might like my book coming out in Feb/Mar, “Flossophy of Grace.” She’s a hygienist who falls in love with her patient, but she also has six cats!

  18. Shelley Munro


    Congratulations to Mary who wins a copy of Ruth’s new release, Pillow Talk.

    Thanks to everyone else for visiting!


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