Archive for December, 2014

Author Beth Lancione (left) and illustrator Kathy Haney (right).

Author Beth Lancione (left) and illustrator Kathy Haney (right).

ETTERS, Pa.Elizabeth “Beth” Lancione and her husband Emilio, both 63 from Etters, PA, were killed in a single-car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last evening. Beth, with illustrator Kathy Haney, was the author of the “Solomon Screech Owl” series of childrens books just released last month by Sunbury Press.

Beth’s Author Biography
Beth Lancione
, of Etters, PA, retired from a long career in public education and began what she hopes will be a long second career as an author of children’s books. The Solomon Screech Owl stories, conceived as an eight book series in which Sollie will visit the seven continents in his quest to see all that the world has to show him, was inspired by Beth’s love for her grandchildren, her enjoyment of adventurous travel, and her experiences working with owls as a volunteer at a rescue facility for injured birds of prey.

News Report from Lancaster Online:
Husband & wife killed & 2 others injured after vehicle slams into tree off PA Turnpike
Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 10:45 am |Updated: 2:19 pm, Wed Dec 31, 2014. — Jennifer Todd and Ryan Mellon Staff Writers

Two people were killed and two others seriously injured in a one-vehicle crash Tuesday night on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Lancaster County.

Driver Emilio A. Lancione, 63, and his wife, Elizabeth A. Lancione, 63, both of Etters in York County, were killed, state police Investigator Kevin Holland wrote in a press release. Jana M. Murray, 36, and a 10-year-old boy, both of York Haven, suffered “major injury.”

The crash was reported shortly before 8:30 p.m. at the Lebanon County line in Rapho Township.

The vehicle, a 2004 Subaru Outback, traveling westbound on I-76 went off the roadway and down an embankment before slamming into a tree and catching on fire.

The Lanciones, who were the front passengers of the car, were severely injured and trapped.

Two rear passengers, Murray and her 10-year-old son, were also severely injured and trapped in the vehicle.

Police were able to smash out the rear left window of the vehicle, allowing Murray and her son to escape.

Passersby used fire extinguishers and put out the fire with the Lanciones still trapped inside.

Crews needed to use tools to cut portions of the car in order to extricate the Lanciones.

State police Cpl. Kelly Lentz said they were trapped for at least one hour.

All four passengers were taken to Hershey Medical Center.

Two Life Lion medical helicopters responded to the area. Lentz said Murray and her son were flown to Hershey Medical Center.

The Lanciones were taken to the hospital by ambulance where they were later pronounced dead.

Lebanon County fire officials took command of the incident. Crews from Manheim and Mastersonville assisted at the scene.

The Lanciones are the 60th and 61st to die on Lancaster County roads in 2014, according to newspaper and county records.

ssoff_fcSunbury Press Statement
“We are deeply saddened to have lost one of our most enthusiastic authors, Beth Lancione,” said Sunbury Press President/CEO Lawrence Knorr. “Beth’s energy for her work was unparalleled. She was so thrilled to finally see her books in print just a few weeks ago. It is such an unspeakable tragedy to lose her and her husband at this time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her extended family, her illustrator and lifelong friend, Kathy Haney, and the others injured in the crash. Words cannot express the shock and grief we at Sunbury Press are feeling at this moment.”

Beth was scheduled to participate as one of five authors at the Childrens Day at the Sunbury Press store at 50 West Main Street on Saturday January 17th from 1 to 4 PM.  In honor of Beth’s memory, Mr. Knorr will read and present her books for her as she would have ssogttg_fcwished.

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa.Sunbury Press has released the humorous adventure “Flying Pants” by Lola James.

fp_fcAbout the Book:
Flying Pants is a whimsical story about a magic potion gone awry and the pants that got away.

About the Author:
Lola James is 9 years old and lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. She enjoys writing, drawing, soccer, and spending time with her family and friends. She is also the youngest member of a local knitters group, and an honor student. LolaWhen she grows up she would like to be an art teacher or a fashion designer. She wrote the book Flying Pants when she was 8 years old. Lola jotted down a few sketches with words on them and showed her mother who laughed so hard at how funny it was. Lola and her mother took the little book to her art teacher and they worked hard on making it into a real book that others could enjoy.

Flying Pants
Authored and illustrated by Lola James
List Price: $19.95
8.5″ x 8.5″ (21.60 x 21.60 cm)
Color on White paper
26 pages (hardcover)
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065440
BISAC: Childrens / Humor

For more information, please see:

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pfaa_fcDOWNINGTOWN, Pa.Speckled Egg Press, an imprint of Sunbury Press, has released Downingtown resident Dr. Matt Anderson’s children’s book “Pink Flamingos All Around” in a hardcover edition.

About the Book:
Pink Flamingos All Around is a fantastic frolic full of fabulous flamingo fun. The text, which is rhyming in nature, contains some factual information about the birds, as well as some general silliness. The images are bright and attractive, containing cartoon flamingos that are designed to capture both the beautiful and unique nature of these amazing birds. The book is designed to be both educational and entertaining for children and their parents.

About the Author:
Dr. Matthew J. Anderson
is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, PA) where he teaches and investigates various aspects of animal behavior, with a particular interest in flamingos.  He is the director of SJU’s interdisciplinary minor in Animal Studies, and has authored numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. Pink Flamingos All Around is his first children’s book.

Pink Flamingos All Around
Authored by Dr. Matthew Anderson

List Price: $19.95
8.5″ x 11″ (21.60 x 29.21 cm)
Color on White paper
24 pages (hardcover)
Speckled Egg Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065471
ISBN-10: 1620065471
BISAC: Childrens / Nature

For more information, please see:

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SUNBURY, Pa.Sunbury Press has released John L. Moore’s Warriors, Wampum, and Wolves, the eighth of eight volumes in the Frontier Pennsylvania series.

wwaw_fcAbout the Book:
In April 1753, frontier missionary David Zeisberger prepared for a month-long voyage up the Susquehanna River’s North Branch by walking along the river bank at present-day Sunbury and selecting a suitable tree to fashion into a dugout canoe.

Zeisberger and another missionary felled the tree, then spent two days hollowing its trunk into the shape of a canoe, before setting sail. A month later they came upon a fleet of 25 canoes carrying Nanticoke Indians upriver. “As far as the eye could reach, you could see one canoe behind the other along the Susquehanna,” the missionaries wrote.

Zeisberger is one of many real characters who people the pages of this non-fiction book about the Pennsylvania frontier. Others include Shikellamy, the Iroquois half-king at Shamokin; Conrad Weiser, the Pennsylvania colony’s Indian agent; Teedyuscung, king of the Delawares; Benjamin Franklin, builder of frontier forts; and a Delaware war chief known as Shingas the Terrible.

Author John L. Moore used journals, letters, official reports and other first-person accounts to portray the frontiersmen and the events and conflicts in which they were involved.

The stories are set mainly in the valleys of the Delaware, Juniata, Lehigh, Ohio and Susquehanna rivers.

weiser w iroquiosWhat Others Say:
“Moore brings us an engaging treatment of Gen. Edward Braddock’s ill-fated campaign in 1755 to oust the French from the Ohio Valley. His account gives us a fresh perspective of something often lost in the histories of this march through the wilderness – the troubles the British army experienced with logistics and their erstwhile Native American allies.

“Moore includes a later description by Moravian missionary John Heckewelder of how horses’ hooves made ‘dismal music’ as they walked over the unburied bones of Braddock’s soldiers. But Moore’s book is overall about a lost world of encounters in the forest between the colonial Americans and the Iroquois and Delaware – the tree paintings along trails and the travails of a Seneca given the English name of Captain Newcastle. It’s a world worth visiting.” ~ Robert B. Swift, author of “The Mid-Appalachian Frontier: A Guide to Historic Sites of the French and Indian War.”

“One can’t go wrong with this work. It’s the kind of tale one might read aloud to one’s children out in the woods at evenings while huddled around a campfire.” ~ Thomas J. Brucia, Houston, Texas, bibliophile, outdoorsman and book reviewer

“As someone who despised history classes in high school and practically fell asleep during college history courses, I must admit that I immensely enjoyed this fascinating read.” ~ Catherine Felegi, Cranford, N.J., writer, editor, and blogger at: cafelegi.wordpress.com

David Zeisberger

David Zeisberger

Friday, July 3: “We spent a very noisy night. The confusion and noise never ceased, and the drinking was kept up all night long. There were about 200 drunken people in the town.” The residents of the town were using their canoes to ship rum from Oswego on Lake Ontario.

Zeisberger and Cammerhoff decided that they would get as much rest as they could and depart for Onondaga as early as possible in the morning. “I remained in our hut very tired,” the bishop wrote. “In the evening, when I left our prison for a short time, I could scarcely walk as I had eaten very little for several days. During the afternoon, my faithful David tried to make some tea for me.” To obtain water, Zeisberger walked to a spring half a mile away with an empty kettle. “On his way back with the kettle of water, several of the drunken savages caught him and drew him into a house, took his kettle, (and) drank the water.”

With a determined effort, Brother David managed to regain possession of the kettle and returned to the spring to refill it. “But some drunken savages pursued him again,” Cammerhoff said. “He … ran too quickly for them and gained the hut, but by a long circuit through long grass. David then boiled the water with much trouble and fear, and we refreshed ourselves with some tea, the only nourishment I had taken in two days.”

“Towards evening, David went out once more, and on his return a troop of drunken women came rushing toward him. Some were naked, and others nearly so. In order to drive them away, he was obliged to use his fists and deal out blows to the right and left. He climbed up a ladder, but when he had scarcely reached the top, they seized it and tore it from under his feet, but he regained our retreat in safety.”

This same day the brother of an important chief came to visit the Moravians. The man “was still sober,” the bishop reported. “We … told him of our intention to start early tomorrow morning and gave him a piece of tobacco and several pipe stems to present to the chiefs when they were sober. We asked him to tell them that we deeply regretted having come such a long distance without being able to talk to them.”

johnAbout the Author:
John L. Moore, a veteran newspaperman, said he employed a journalist’s eye for detail and ear for quotes in order to write about long-dead people in a lively way. He said his books are based on 18th and 19th century letters, journals, memoirs and transcripts of official proceedings such as interrogations, depositions and treaties.

The author is also a professional storyteller who specializes in dramatic episodes from Pennsylvania’s colonial history. Dressed in 18th century clothing, he does storytelling in the persona of “Susquehanna Jack,” a frontier ruffian. Moore is available weekdays, weekends and evenings for audiences and organizations of all types and sizes.

Moore’s 45-year career in journalism included stints as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; as a Harrisburg-based legislative correspondent for Ottaway News Service; as managing editor of The Sentinel at Lewistown; as editorial page editor and managing editor at The Daily Item in Sunbury; and as editor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in Bethlehem.

Warriors, Wampum, and Wolves
Authored by John L. Moore
List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
86 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065181
ISBN-10: 1620065185
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

For more information, please see:

Cover artwork by Andrew Knez, Jr.  For more information about Andrew’s work, please see:http://www.andrewknezjr.com/

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SUNBURY, Pa.Sunbury Press has released John L. Moore’s Settlers, Soldiers, and Scalps, the seventh of eight volumes in the Frontier Pennsylvania series.

ssas_fcAbout the Book:
Barbara Leininger and Marie LeRoy were teenage girls living along Penns Creek in central Pennsylvania in 1755 when an Indian war party captured them and carried them off to western Pennsylvania. This occurred early in the French & Indian War. For several years, the teenagers lived as Delaware Indians. Sometimes they had little to eat, and “ … we were forced to live on acorns, roots, grass and bark,” they said later.

After three years, they escaped from their captors and fled on foot across the forests of Ohio and Pennsylvania, eventually reaching the safety of the British fort at Pittsburgh.

The first-person narrative they dictated to a Philadelphia newspaper after their 1759 escape was one of many first-person documents that author John L. Scalping of Jane McCreaMoore uses to tell the true stories of real people in this non-fiction collection of articles that is part of the Frontier Pennsylvania Series.

Other accounts in the book tell how and why Native Americans took the scalps of their foes, kept written records of their wartime exploits, and employed fire as a weapon when hunting for deer.

The stories are set mainly in the valleys of the Delaware, Juniata, Lehigh, Ohio and Susquehanna rivers.

What Others Say:
“The people of 18th century frontier Pennsylvania – settlers, soldiers, and Indians alike – march across these pages in a human drama that we can understand, but more importantly feel almost 300 years later. Moore lets the actors describe themselves in their own words: the misunderstandings, conflicts, family tragedies, deaths, diseases, hunger, wars, and the simply mundane business of their everyday lives. Our storyteller takes just as much care in describing the Indians’ daily slog, quarrels, family life, customs and mores as he does their sometimes friends – and sometimes rivals – the European settlers. Both groups formed intertwined threads in a single frontier web.

“When he describes a famous campaign in the French & Indian War, Moore deftly uses his sources to make General Braddock’s doomed expedition come to life. Incidents of friendly fire, frightened European soldiers used to fighting in open spaces but never in woods, slow progress as an army builds a road (!) into the mountains – mile by mile – are all described as if patiently carved into oak to make woodcut prints.” ~ Thomas J. Brucia, Houston, Texas, bibliophile, outdoorsman and book reviewer

On the Susquehanna River, Dutch colonial officials reported in 1661 “a great mortality from smallpox among the Minquas,” Indians who were also known as the Susquehannocks.

smallpoxIn 1663 Swedish colonists recorded that “smallpox raged terribly among the Indians” along the lower Delaware and “ill-disposed people advised them to leap into the river and bathe themselves, whereby many perished.”

A combination of sickness and warfare destroyed Indian communities along the lower Hudson River. Indeed, an English colonist named Daniel Denton reported that when the English had conquered New Amsterdam in 1664 and renamed the town New York, Indians in the vicinity were living in six towns. But by 1670, the year of Denton’s report, “they are reduced to two small villages.” Their reduction pleased Denton. “Where the English come to settle,” he remarked, “a divine hand makes way for them by … cutting off the Indians either by wars … or by some raging mortal disease.”

smallpox-killed-the-native-americansWherever the Europeans settled in the Middle Atlantic colonies, diseases they unwittingly brought with them devastated native people who lived in the region. Consider the events that occurred along the New Jersey side of the Delaware River in the late 1670s. English colonists purchased land from the Indians, traded with them, and established the village of Burlington. Soon after, smallpox swept through native settlements and killed many. The settlers, who were Quakers, became fearful when they realized some Native Americans believed that the newcomers had deliberately exposed them to the disease. These Indians wanted to start a war against their new neighbors.

About the Author:
johnJohn L. Moore, a veteran newspaperman, said he employed a journalist’s eye for detail and ear for quotes in order to write about long-dead people in a lively way. He said his books are based on 18th and 19th century letters, journals, memoirs and transcripts of official proceedings such as interrogations, depositions and treaties.

The author is also a professional storyteller who specializes in dramatic episodes from Pennsylvania’s colonial history. Dressed in 18th century clothing, he does storytelling in the persona of “Susquehanna Jack,” a frontier ruffian. Moore is available weekdays, weekends and evenings for audiences and organizations of all types and sizes.

Moore’s 45-year career in journalism included stints as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; as a Harrisburg-based legislative correspondent for Ottaway News Service; as managing editor of The Sentinel at Lewistown; as editorial page editor and managing editor at The Daily Item in Sunbury; and as editor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in Bethlehem.

Settlers, Soldiers, and Scalps
Authored by John L. Moore
List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
86 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065167
ISBN-10: 1620065169
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

For more information, please see:

Cover artwork by Andrew Knez, Jr.  For more information about Andrew’s work, please see:http://www.andrewknezjr.com/

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa.Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for November, 2014. Jim Campbell’s memoir of his career as a pastor The Chair was #1.

tc_fcAbout The Chair
Sometimes, one needs a special mentor to find life and its wonder. Sometimes, that mentor is a chair.

The Chair is Pastor James Campbell’s spiritual odyssey that leads us through the night of emptiness and then emerges into the light of compassion, intervention, and redemption.  Through his renovation of a simple chair, reverence for worn out sewing needles in the Japanese celebration of Hari-Kuyo, and reflection upon how stress to the Diamond Willows of Alaska produces works of art, this parable describes Campbell’s own epiphanies during the course of his life travels ministering to the forgotten and broken.

“For members of the helping profession, caregivers, or those looking for meaning in meaningless times, Campbell is a valuable read.   He will guide you, literally and figuratively, out of the ruins of the great dust bowl to a peaceful Colorado valley.  And he will show you how all these things remain part of your soul.”

Steve Schoenmakers, M.S., Superintendent, Retired, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

SUNBURY PRESS – Bestsellers for November, 2014 (by Revenue)
Rank Last Month Title Author Category
1 1 The Chair James Campbell Spiritual Memoir
2 NEW Solomon Screech Owl Goes to the Galapagos Beth Lancione Childrens Fiction
3 NEW Keystone Tombstones Sports Joe Farrell & Joe Farley Sports History
4 11 Born Fire Dragon Susan Kiskis Spiritual Memoir
5 NEW As the Paint Dries Carrie Wissler-Thomas Art History
6 NEW Silver Moon Joanne L. S. Risso Childrens Fiction
7 NEW Solomon Screech Owl’s First Flight Beth Lancione Childrens Fiction
8 3 Poor Will’s Almanack 2015 Bill Felker Almanac
9 9 Visions of Teaoga Jim Remsen YA Fiction
10 14 Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last Mike Campbell History
11 7 Head Over Wheels Ken Mercurio Sports Memoir
12 Call Sign Dracula Joe Fair War Memoir
13 20 Pit Bulls Anthony Julian History
14 My Mom Is an Alien Joanne L. S. Risso Childrens Fiction
15 A Brother’s Cold Case Dennis Herrick Thriller Fiction
16 Keystone Tombstones Civil War Farrell, Farley, & Knorr War Biography
17 The Power of Uncertainty John Loase Philosophy
18 19 The Bronze Dagger Marie Sontag YA Fiction
19 4 Dead of Autumn Sherry Knowlton Thriller Fiction
20 17 The Closer Alan Mindell Sports Fiction

Sunbury Press had its best November ever. For the month, sales were up 44% as compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date, sales are up over 18% overall. The company remains on track to have its best year ever. Trade paperback sales in 2014 have already exceeded sales of all of 2013. Hardcover sales since June have rocketed past eBook sales, which were down over 15% for the year.

ssogttg_fcJim Campbell’s The Chair led the way thanks to the chair’s (accompanied by Jim) tour of the Midwest. Beth Lancione’s Solomon Screech Owl series, lavishly illustrated by Kathleen Haney, debuted at #2 (Solomon Screech Owl Goes to the Galapagos) and #7 (Solomon Screech Owl’s First Flight)  thanks to author activities. Joe Farrell and Joe Farley returned to the rankings at #3 with their new biographical compilation Keystone Tombstones Sports. Their Civil War volume, co-authored with Lawrence Knorr, grabbed the 16th spot, all thanks to author appearances and collaboration with a real estate agent offering books as housewarming gifts.Susan Kiskis’s Born Fire Dragon soared to #4 thanks to her author event at Sunbury Press and her appearance schedule. As the Paint Dries, Carrie Wissler-Thomas’s history of the Art Association of Harrisburg, co-authored by Michael Barton, opened at #5 due to advance sales to the gallery for the December 5th book signing event (which was well attended!). Joanne L. S. Risso’s Chinese fairytale Silver Moon, illustrated by German artist Christiane Künzel, debuted at #6 thanks to sales in the US and Germany. Joanne’s My Mom Is an Alien also joined the rankings at #14 thanks to author activities. Bill Felker’s Poor Will’s Almanack 2015 held strong at #8 thanks to sales from the author’s annual buyers.  Jim Remsen’s Visions of Teaga held at #9 as a result of ongoing author promotions. Mike Campbell’s Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last held at #10 due to national media attention for the search for the aviatrix’s plane. Head Over Wheels, Ken Mercurio’s cycling memoir slipped to #11, It continues to receive strong interest from cycling enthusiasts. Joe Fair’s Vietnam memoir Call Sign Dracula returned to the rankings at #12 thanks to author appearances. Anthony Julian’s Pit Bulls I continued to draw interest among dog enthusiasts, ranking lucky 13th. Dennis Herrick;s latest, A Brother’s Cold Case, debuted at #15 in its new Sunbury Press edition. Professor John Loase’s polemic about the need for higher education, The Power of Uncertainty, ranked 17th thanks to author activities. The Bronze Dagger by Marie Sontag held on the list thanks to signing events at schools. Sherry Knowlton’s Dead of Autumn slipped to #19 the month after her author event at the Sunbury Press store. Alan Mindell’s The Closer stayed on the chart thanks to sales in the San Diego area.

The company released eight new titles during the month of November:

SUNBURY PRESS – New Releases for November, 2014
Traders, Travelers, and Tomahawks John L. Moore History
Solomon Screech Owl Goes to the Galapagos Beth Lancione Childrens Fiction
Solomon Screech Owl’s First Flight Beth Lancione Childrens Fiction
Silver Moon Joanne L. S. Risso Childrens Fiction
Keystone Tombstones Sports Joe Farrell & Joe Farley Sports History
As the Paint Dries Carrie Wissler-Thomas Art History
A Guide to Finer Dining J. R. Hipsky Etiquette
Patsy (reissue) Doug Brode Historical Fiction

For a list of Sunbury’s best-sellers, please see the Sunbury Press web site:
For a complete list of recent and upcoming releases, please see:

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Originally published on the blog Icon vs. Icon: All Things Pop Culture on December 4, 2014

(Ruth Connell appears in the movie The Cursed Man based on the novel by Keith Rommel)

ruth-connell-2014-feature-BAs a child, Ruth Connell spent her days on her family’s farm in the middle of nowhere dreaming of one day becoming an actress. As time went by she continued toward her goal; no matter how impractical it may have seemed. Today, with years are hard work and dedication under her belt, this inspiring young actress has made those dreams become a reality. An accomplished actress in the UK, Connell will soon be a very familiar face to science fiction fans as she bursts onto the American scene in the critically acclaimed, long running and hugely successful “Supernatural,” airing Tuesdays in The CW. The show follows brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel throughout America hunting for supernatural creatures, their main adversaries through out are Demons. Ruth takes on a pivotal role with the character of Rowena, who is poised to make a big impact on the series this season.Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Ruth Connell to discuss her amazing journey as an actor, her work on stage and scene, making the transition from the UK to life in Hollywood, her time on ‘Supernatural’ and what the future might hold for her in the years to come!

ruth-connell-2014-3How did you get started on your journey in the entertainment industry and what made you know acting was something you wanted to pursue as a career?

When I was 4 years old, my cousin Ruby wanted to go to dancing lessons. I was sent along to keep her company! I had a natural aptitude for dancing and I was eventually picked for Scottish Ballet where they do classes for young dancers that you have to audition for. I got involved and they put me in some of their productions. Eventually, I was Clara in “The Nutcracker.” I remember walking out on to the stage and feeling like it was my living room. It was Clara’s living room but I felt so at home. I loved being in the company of The Scottish Ballet. I am an only child, so I think, for me, it was that instant thing of having camaraderie and having people around you. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and was an only child, so I really did love being in the company. That is really what started me on my journey. I thought maybe I could get into acting by doing musical theater, a side-step into acting. Eventually, it became an overriding feeling that I really wanted to commit to being just an actor. I went to drama college when I was 24 years old, so I was a very old and mature student! [laughs] Even though things weren’t easy when I left drama college, I have never regretted my decision to do it.

Who were some of the influences who had a big impact on you as an actor early on?

As I said, I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I would watch movies and, I have to admit, I was kind of obsessed with “Gone With The Wind” and “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” the American cartoon version. I grew up loving Vivian Leigh and she has always had a special place in my heart. Recently, I played Blanche Dubois in a workshop and it has to be one of my favorite things I have ever done. All sorts of people have inspired me and I have always been lucky with the dance teachers I have had, who believed in me and pushed me on. I did my dance ballet and I didn’t get to dance school eventually, I had failed my medical, but I kept dancing and one of my teachers worked with me and got me through my dance ballet. That is something I am still really proud of! Some of my teachers from drama college, I am still friends with now. I just got a message the other day from a teacher who has been following now that I am working in America. That was really cool.

ruth-connell-2014-4I wanted to ask you about the work you did with The Avenue Theater Company in Greenwich. What can you tell us about it and how it impacted your career?

I was used to working a lot as a dancer. When I was at drama college, I booked some theater jobs. When I graduated from drama college, I was picked as the Critic’s Choice, which was great, but all of a sudden, nothing happened! That happens to actors, where all of a sudden there are six months where there is no audition. I hated that feeling! I couldn’t stand it, so me and my friends, Joanne Morton and Joseph Raishbrook, created this theater company so we could be in something, direct something or produce something for ourselves and for all of our friends to be in. I didn’t realize quite how much I had bitten off more than I could chew with a cast of 13 and a girl from London Fashion College. It was pretty much all put on my credit card at the time! [laughs] It was a great success and we sold out with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for a week in Greenwich Royal Park. The following year we devised our own piece. Really, the only reason it stopped is because I started to book more work as an actor. One of the big jobs I had as an actor was a number one tour in the UK of a play called “Men Should Weep.” Charlotte Gwinner, who is now my friend, directed it. The man that runs The Globe Theatre in London now, Dominic Dromgoole, helped cast me in it. I remember in an interview him speaking to me and the first thing he had ever done was an open air Shakespeare, so he understood what I had managed to accomplish! He had done it himself, so he knew where I was coming from and I think that helped me get my first proper big acting tour.

What impact has moving from the UK to Los Angeles had on you?

Ok, so I had always had a thing about America in my head. When I was a teenager, I thought it was going to be like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to be a teenager in America. [laughs] One of my friends, who is also an actress, had made the move. I remember discussing with other friends in London the fact that the year before I moved to LA I had had four really big projects, which all didn’t come to anything. I had worked my way up in theater and I was being seen for TV and I was penciled in for some really good stuff but it wasn’t coming through. It was very frustrating. I had booked a series regular and then the series didn’t run. It was things like that, so I said to my friend, “I am thinking about going to LA.” He said, “You have been talking about this for seven years!” I thought, “Aww man, I better hurry up and get on with it!” [laughs] There came a point in my life where I needed a change and a life challenge. It wasn’t just about my career, it was about moving to a new continent on my own and experiencing the challenges of setting up a life here. I needed that challenge. My masterplan, so to speak, was to get a lot more experience in film and television because there is so much more getting made out here. In Britain, you tend to cut your teeth on theater, where out here people tend to cut their teeth on costarring roles and the like. From when I got here until now, I feel like I have been lucky because I have always had a project, even if it was low budget, to work on. I will never regret having come to LA. It has been a journey! [laughs] The people that I have met have been great. I feel like a tourist in many ways! I am still getting a kick out of the fact that I am at so-and-so’s house or at such-and-such’s party. I am sort of a fangirl myself with some of the people I meet. I am friends with a director named Kevin Connor and he directed “Moonlighting.” I was like, “Oh my gosh! You directed ‘Moonlighting!’” I was really young when it was on but stuff like that gives me such a thrill! That is one of the things I love about LA!

ruth-connell-2014-1You have some great things happening at the moment. One of the biggest is your role on the hit series, “Supernatural.” How did you get involved with the project and made you know it was a role you wanted to pursue?

My friend sent me the breakdown and said, “I think you should try and get seen for this!” When I read it, I just thought, “This is written for me!” I did say to a friend, “If I can’t get seen for this, there is no point in my being in America.” It was just so up my street. I was pretty determined at that point in time that I would do whatever it took to get seen for it. I wasn’t sure if I could get an audition. I had been working steadily and I knew I had a bit of a breakthrough last year but I had to go home for six months. I was back in LA and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get an audition. I hadn’t been in the room for a TV job in about 18 months. I just couldn’t seem to get in the room. I decided, at that point, to put all of my Scottish clips on tape, I sent it to the casting director’s office and the casting office in Canada. I knew I had to get seen for it! At the end of the day, they came back to me with an audition in the normal way! [laughs] I cleared my calendar for the weekend and had the weekend to prepare, luckily, because that doesn’t always happen. I watched about 14 episodes of “Supernatural” in about two days to immerse myself in the world and familiarize myself with the character I was seeing on the page. My first meeting was so positive and I could see a little light go on when they met me and saw I was authentically Scottish and I could do the role. That doesn’t happen often as an actor that you think, “I have quite a good feeling about this.” The next day, I was in front of producers and the next day I had network approval! I absolutely feel that this is one of the reasons I was meant to be in America, to play Rowena. If you believe in anything supernatural, perhaps this is my little piece of magic and maybe it was meant to be!

ruth-connell-2014-5What did you bring to this character that wasn’t on the written page?

I didn’t even realize how Scottish I was until I came to LA! When I was in Scotland, I was like, “I not the most Scottish person, I’m a child of the universe … ” and then you travel 5,000 miles. You quickly realize how much you have been influenced by the place you grew up in, the sensibilities you have and the language. They are a couple of instances in the script where I have made tiny suggestions, where things could be more Scottish. These are things I see as second nature because it is where I am from, so I hope I brought some real authenticity to Rowena. She is really funny on the page and hopefully I bring my own little twinkle!

Aside from featuring a lot of great talent, one of the cool things about “Supernatural” is how everyone involved seems so invested and excited about the project. What was the vibe like on set and what have you picked up from working with the cast?

It has been truly fantastic. When you hear people talking about how the cast is a family and how great things are, it’s not lip service. You can’t fake that stuff for 10 years. There really is an amazing atmosphere and there is a lot of care that goes into each show. The producers of the show have always listened to the fans of the show on social media and were one of the first shows to respond and take onboard what the fans were feeling. They keep in touch with their fan base and are really making the show for the fans. It does feel like you are family and I think that is a really cool thing. There is such an atmosphere of respect on the set. Everyone has been in it for a long time and there are no egos or anyone trying to prove their worth. Everyone is pretty secure in what they are doing. As a newcomer on the American television scene, I realize how lucky I am to have landed in that kind of environment where there is so little stress and everyone is really engaged with what they are doing.

Whether it is on stage, television or film, what is your process for bringing a new character to life?

I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to process. I am one of those actors that still goes to class. That is one of the great things about coming to LA. Coming from Britain, we had different ways of approaching things. I have done a couple of turns with The Groundlings and that is something I wouldn’t ever have dared to do in Britain. I have really enjoyed doing that and worked with a really cool teacher named Diana Castle. I did a lot more imagination work. When I am looking at parts, I use my instincts mainly but then I ask myself all of the actor questions. I come from a dance background and I can usually feel the character in my body, if that makes sense. I was aware when I saw the episode of “Supernatural” last night that I had made a strong physical choice when Rowena glides in with her hands in the air. [laughs] I think that always helps me too.

ruth-connell-2014-2You have quite a few projects in the works. What should we be on the lookout for in the near future?

I am so excited about “Supernatural” and how that is going to roll out. I can’t say for how long but I am still looking forward to that! [laughs] I am going to be going to some of the conventions next year! This whole journey I have been on is overtaking everything at the moment and it is wonderful! That is what I had wanted to happen! This show has given me everything I have wanted all in one goal! I have been waiting a long time and all of a sudden it’s like, “Bingo!” [laughs] I have worked on a few other projects this year. I often do voice-overs. I do voice match for a really cool character for Disney, a Scottish character for Disney, who is also a feisty redhead! [laughs] I’ve recently worked on a Dogma-style movie for my friend, Henry Alberto. It is called “Hara-Kiri.” It was really cool and I had never done anything like that before. I also filmed a movie at the beginning of the year called “The Cursed Man” based on the cult novel by Keith Rommel. One is very experimental and the other is very sci-fi. Those will be coming out next year. I am really looking forward to seeing what opportunities doing “Supernatural” leads to. Maybe I will get in some more rooms and get some auditions now! [laughs]

What is your biggest evolution as an actress since first starting out?

That is a good question. Coming to America has really been part of my process as a person and an actor. I did a play last year where I played Mrs. Darling and Captain Hook. It was a really good version called “Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers.” It was really cool to play the heartbroken mother and then to play the diabolical Hook. I think that part really stretched me and has informed Rowena in some way. It was quite metaphysical as well. It was a big step up. I had been in “Peter Pan” 10 years before playing Tigerlily, which is a really fun part but a much smaller part. I think when I did the play last year, I realized how far I had come in 10 years.

ruth-connell-2014-6Is there a role or genre you are anxious to take on at this point in your career?

I think of myself as this serious theater actress but usually, with everything I do, there is a little twist of humor in it. I realize that now, looking back. I am really drawn to really dark drama, independent and French films. There is so much amazing television around now with really strong writing and it is really inspiring seeing women in their 30s or older really doing it. It seems that we are breaking through and people are happy to watch women as they mature with the strength and power that they have. Hopefully, I can evolve into being one of those women! I would love to be one of those leading actresses in a few years who are taking that forward. On another note, I also lived “Flash Gordon.” [laughs] That was my first sci-fi memory! I I wanted to be like Dale Arden [played by Melanie Anderson]. I think I really liked her orange two piece and the fact she was tied up and rescued by Flash, which is very un-feminist of me but she was a savvy reporter as well. [laughs] I have always loved sci-fi and was a huge fan of the TV series “V.” When I was really young I remember when Diana pulled off her human face to reveal the reptile underneath, I said to my mom, “I always knew there was something wrong with her!” [laughs] I recently met the actress who played Diana, Jane Badler. I love when life comes to a freckle like that! When you meet someone in LA who you watched on your farm in Scotland, you realize life is pretty magical.

What is your best advice for someone out there on a farm in the middle of nowhere who aspires to make their career in the entertainment industry as you have?

Every day, do something towards your goal. I think sometimes, as an actor, the frustration is that you don’t know what to do to move things forward. Every day, even if it is just watching film, picking up a speech and working on it or reading about acting, you have to chip away at it. I think sometimes we wait for dramatic changes in luck or lightning bolts from the sky, and those can happen, but in my experience they happen when you are already on the path and doing the hard work. That is what you have to do to make it out there!

Thank you so much for your time today, Ruth! You have been an absolute delight!

Thank you, Jason! Very deep questions and I look forward to speaking to you soon!

Get all the latest news from Ruth Connell at her official website, www.ruthconnell.com. Connect with her via social media on Facebook and Twitter!

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