How long have you been writing?
I’ve always loved writing, and have been one of those journal-keeping, poetry-writing types since childhood. As an adult, however, I worked for the U.S. Geological Survey as a geohydrologist for eight years, and my writing was focused on scientific papers and articles. It was an eye-opening experience to have a very strict scientific editor keeping me in check. Turns out the government didn’t want my flowery poetry. I remember there were plenty of papers I would get back with almost more red pen on them that black typing! It taught me to be much more focused in my writing, and to use the fewest words possible to get my point across.
I started writing serious fiction in 2012, when my oldest daughter started kindergarten. My first novel, Women’s Work, sprang from a story that had been brewing in my mind for a long time. I loved sitting down to write again, and loved the freedom of fiction. Book clubs and readers have loved that book, and so many people asked me to write a sequel, I decided to continue the story with RUN Ragged. But I still need a good editor.
What was the most challenging part about writing RUN Ragged?
The antagonist in RUN Ragged is a real piece of work. She’s insane. She’s a terrible person. She does terrible things and gets away with it because she has power over the inmates at The Center. A few of her scenes were difficult for me to write because she made me want to scream about injustice, and harassment, and cruelty. I’m not a fan of gratuitous violence, and I don’t think anything I’ve written in RUN Ragged will be considered graphic or over-the-top, but I needed to reveal a sufficient amount of horror through both implied and direct descriptions to get across the main point of the story: it doesn’t matter if a man or a woman is in charge — having absolute power over another person or group is a slippery slope to oppression.
What is your favorite part of being an author?
Writing! If I had unlimited free time, a personal chef for my family, a housekeeper, a chauffeur, a shopper, etc., I would have so much time to write! There is something meditative and therapeutic about writing.
I have three young children. When the oldest started Kindergarten and the younger two were in preschool two mornings per week, I had a whopping 6 hours of complete freedom each week! I knew I wanted to spend that time doing something I loved, instead of something I had to do, like the never-ending laundry, house chores, grocery shopping, or bill-paying. The story of Women’s Work had been in my brain for a while, and I knew with certainty that I wanted to turn it into a novel.
As I would drop off all my kids, my heart rate would quicken, my eyes would sparkle, and my steps would lighten. I was so excited to sit down and write, for three hours straight, without any children around! Writing became the emotional release and the mental stimulation I had been craving for all those baby years. It thrilled me to dive into Kate and Michael’s world in Women’s Work, to write about angst and struggle, and toil that was not my own.
It took my the entire school year to write Women’s Work, another year to write RUN Ragged, and I loved every second of it. It didn’t matter that I made my first visit to an optometrist during that time, that my right shoulder became achy, or that my butt got bigger (I’m assuming that. As a general rule, I never look at my own butt). It was the first time since becoming a mom that I was doing something only for ME. Myself. My soul.
Will this book be part of a series?
RUN Ragged is book two in the Women’s Work series, but isn’t truly a sequel. I wanted RUN Ragged to be a stand-alone story — you don’t have to read Women’s Work to love RUN Ragged, but if you’ve read the first, you will really want to read the second. It was challenging to leave behind a lot of the characters from the first novel and come up with a different direction and different antagonists. Rhia was a minor character in WW, but was a very compelling person. A lot of readers asked me about her and wanted to learn more.
Rhia is an independent and intelligent sea captain who knows how to utilize the broken world around her to survive. In RUN Ragged, we find her working for the government, struggling to keep her head down while she does her job. She can see the inherent problems in the system, and worries that it doesn’t matter if a man or a woman is in charge; power corrupts everyone, male or female. Through a terrifying twist of fate, Rhia becomes the reluctant hero who refuses to back down in the face of evil. Run Ragged will leave you questioning the very idea of equality and show you a deranged world of misinformation and torture in the not-too-distant future.
Do you have any works in progress you’re working on?
RUN Ragged launched in November, and I like to take a few months off before I start writing a new novel. I’ve been so engrossed in RUN Ragged, I need a little time to process it and promote it before I start my next story. It would also be nice to read some of the growing pile of books on my shelf!
As with Women’s Work, RUN Ragged is a gripping, thought-provoking story about a society that has swung the pendulum of gender politics too far in one direction. In addition to being a suspenseful page-turner, it sheds light on the injustice of our current system by reversing roles and switching assumptions about the labels we put on people. RUN Ragged will break your heart at the same time it restores your faith in the human spirit. It’s such a timely and fascinating story readers will want to have discussions about its themes and characters. I love talking to Book Clubs, and can Skype with people around the world, so let me know what you think!
About the Book
Title: RUN Ragged
Author: Kari Aguila
Genre: Suspense / Science-Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Would anything change if women ruled the world?
In a devastated country, those in charge rule by fear, inequality, and oppression. Rhia, a strong and independent sea captain, just wants to keep her head down and do her job, unitl she finds herself trapped in a re-education facility designed to help people fit into the rules of the New Way Forward. The warden claims to be guiding those in her care, but Rhia quickly sees the cracks in the system. As she is faced with torture and brainwashing, those cracks become gaping holes that threaten to pull her down into the depths of despair. Can Rhia resist the slow subversion of re-education and become the reluctant hero the new world needs?
RUN Ragged is the thrilling second story by the award-winning author of Women’s Work. This brilliantly imagined novel is both a scathing satire and a profoundly poignant look at the price we are willing to pay for peace and what we are willing to ignore to keep our conscience clear.
Kari Aguila was the recipient of an IndieReader Discovery Award for her first novel, Women’s Work. Her stories are gripping and thought-provoking looks at gender stereotypes and relationships set in a dystopic future. She is also an avid gardener, geologist, outdoor enthusiast and mother of three. Aguila lives in Seattle with her family. RUN Ragged is her second novel.
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