Ruby Laska grew up next to a forest and a fallow field. Her father planted a garden in the field, and Ruby and her siblings pitched in with the hoeing, weeding, and harvesting. But when the chores were done, she never missed a chance to slip away into the woods, carrying a book and a wax-paper package of Ritz crackers, to the tree house built by some prior generation. Up among the branches, she read the Narnia chronicles, Little Women, and every book of fairy tales she could get her hands on.
Ruby tried to find that tree house once while visiting Arkansas. But much of the forest has now been developed for new homes, and she couldn’t find the tree among those that remained. Like so many childhood pleasures, it has slipped away into the realm of fond memories. The books Ruby read in her leafy hideaway, however, have not.
People often ask authors where they get their ideas. In Ruby’s case, every story Ruby ever read has stayed with her as she grew up. From college in Boston, where she lived in a dormitory almost a hundred years old and brewed tea on a hotplate as snow fell outside her window, to a whirlwind romance and first marriage that took her back to Arkansas, to the launching of a new beginning when she found herself single again, Ruby has carried with her the stories that filled her imagination and inspired her to create her own.
Now living in Emeryville, California, Ruby has been lucky to find a new community of friends and storytellers. Her apartment balcony is shaded by a tall magnolia tree, and in the spring she finds its magenta petals sprinkling her favorite wicker chair. In this new treehouse, Ruby is busy creating stories of small-town girls who grow up to fall in love with men who are even better than their very best dreams.