Former journalist turned author, Ruth Elliott-Smith writes fiction based on her own true experiences with dangerous people in dangerous places. She shows photos and tells spine chilling stories of what really happened and how she added fictional plots of money, murder and revenge to turn them into the adventure/thriller books she loves to write. Her free 45-minute Fringe show is at Finnegans Wake, 12 noon, but only from August 22nd to 25th, so don’t miss her! The Fountain hasn’t. She speaks with us about her show and her plans for the Fringe.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
I’m really excited and quite nervous too as it’s my first time at the Festival and I don’t really know what to expect but I’ve had tremendous support and encouragement from EdFringe and Laughing Horse. I think they like that my fictional tales are based on my own real-life adventures in dangerous places like the Middle East and Colombia. I use my wild imagination to enhance them with plots of money, murder and revenge and turn them into adventure/thrillers. If people like them enough, I’ll also be selling and signing my books.
TF: Dangerous Adventures certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
I recently found some old photos I took during my travels. They reminded me of the frightening situations I got myself into. For example, in Colombia I fled from the Colombian cocaine mafia at a time when Pablo Escobar was its boss and there were eight murders a day in Medellin city alone; and in the Middle East I survived a cross-border gun battle, a mortar bomb attack and an accidental venture into a minefield. The pictures tell a good tale in themselves so I chose a venue with a big screen, put the show together and called it Dangerous Adventures because that’s exactly what I had. My blood curdles now when I think of them!
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
I’m a former TV and radio news reporter so I’m used to researching and writing about places I’ve been and things I’ve seen. I believe a news reporter’s writing style lends itself to the adventure/thriller genre, which is a fast-moving format, just like news. I’m told that this particular genre is male-dominated both by authors and readers and that adventures written by women don’t sell very well, but this is the sort of writing that excites me and to which I feel my own experiences lend a massive amount of authenticity. It’s a frequent observation of my readers – that they feel as if they are right there in the places where the action takes place. My show takes them to the actual locations and lets them see what they are (or were) really like. I want audiences to know that life is full of adventure if they want it and that we all have stories to tell. I hope mine will inspire as many as possible to venture out and write their own.
TF: Is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
Apart from trying to do my very best to please my audiences I want to go and see as many other shows as I can, which is a challenge as I’m only in Edinburgh for four days, 22nd to 25th August. There are a lot of new and innovative performers. I’m amazed at the variety. Edinburgh will be THE place to be.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Dangerous Adventures?
I’d like to tour with my show. I’m already committed to a book tour in the USA, starting in Miami and finishing in San Francisco in January 2020. After that I’ll be back in the UK doing Meet the Author events, book signings and literature festivals. I love talking to my readers and getting feedback on my work. Of course, I’m planning to write another book, this time based in both the Midlands of England and Italy. Watch out for that one sometime early next summer (more info on my website). And, depending on how things go this year, I’d like to come back to Edinburgh next year.
I still have plenty of other Dangerous Adventures to relive for future novels. I crossed the Atlantic on a small yacht, went through East Africa in 1970 from Ethiopia to Cape Town, walked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, white water rafted down the Grand Canyon, travelled by train through Vietnam, by boat down the Nile in Egypt and island hopped in the Caribbean. I also have three lovely grandchildren who love to come and stay with me, so I want to make plenty of quality time for them. My other loves are golf and running. I’ve applied to enter the 2020 London Marathon but won’t hear until this October whether I’ve been accepted. I’m busy training, just in case. See, I’m still having adventures!
You can see Dangerous Adventures at Laughing Horse @ Finnegan Wake from 22nd – 25th August at 12:00. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com