I Needed To Tell Ruth’s Story

Author Interview
Peggy Wirgau Author Interview

The Stars in April is based on the real life story of a Titanic survivor and the journey that led her to the ship. What inspired you tell Ruth’s story?

In 2012, during the hundredth anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, I discovered among the survivors the name of a girl whose parents were missionaries in India. Twelve-year-old Ruth Becker was separated from her family as the Titanic lifeboats were loaded, yet she managed to share her blankets with others and offer a handkerchief to a stoker who had injured his finger.

What would make this young girl act so bravely when she must have been terrified? How did she feel about leaving her home in India, and what led to her decisions in a lifeboat full of strangers that cold, dark night? As I asked myself those questions, I began researching and realized I needed to tell Ruth’s story.

What were some aspects of the story you felt had to be accurate and what were some aspects you took creative liberties with?

 I knew I wanted to tell what happened as truthfully as possible, so I gathered all the information I could on Ruth and her family’s life in India, their long voyage to England, their stay in London, and their experiences aboard the Titanic. I paid particular attention to Ruth’s recollection of the events after the collision with the iceberg and what took place in the lifeboats and following their rescue. I filled in the story with fictional characters Ruth could have met, along with several subplots to show Ruth’s development and gradual change of heart from when she leaves India up to the most terrifying night of her young life.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

 It’s a coming-of-age story, with courage being the most important theme throughout. In the beginning, Ruth knows she has none. On her long journey, she observes it in others and learns from them, taking small steps and seeing her world in a new light. Then, everything culminates as the Titanic sinks, and Ruth must draw from the well of her own newly-acquired courage as she fights to survive and face an unknown future.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

 My next book is also based on a true story, set in New York City during the American Revolution. It’s still in a rough draft stage and I have a lot of work and research ahead, but I’m hopeful that it can be published within a year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Based on the True Story of Twelve-Year-Old Titanic Survivor, Ruth Becker 

“Sometimes we have to go a long way to find out who we are.” 

The year is 1912. When doctors in India are unable to treat her baby brother’s illness, Ruth’s missionary parents decide there is one solution: move her mother and the children across the world—to Michigan. 

But India is the only home Ruth knows. In a matter of days, she must leave Papa and all she loves behind, abandon her dream of one day playing violin in the Calcutta Orchestra, and embark on a rollicking, four-week journey across the Arabian and Mediterranean Seas, followed by the voyage to New York aboard the luxurious, ill-fated RMS Titanic

Ruth’s story is one of courage and self-sacrifice as she earns her sea legs and faces the unknown, culminating in a desperate, tragic night she will never forget.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 19, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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