By: Judge Rodriguez
Greetings and salutations all!
As my inaugural article, I figured I would post some things about myself, that I might be able to properly introduce myself to you.
In the last four decades I have played a number of roles: first and foremost a follower of Christ, a father, son, husband, arch-enemy, best friend, brother, soldier, airman, living history re-enactor, historian, craftsman, mechanic, machiavellian genius, psychologist, villain, hero, technician, engineer, and finally, author.
I have found that all of those roles intertwine to fit into the final one.
I have spent years as a casual author. Really, what I spent time writing was no more than an introduction to the numerous different kinds and classes of characters I was working on. Most of them are mere shadows of what it takes to be in a long-term storyline, but a few have made their way into different places of the Legends of the Landrun series.
Enough about character development. For me, writing is cathartic. I live a fairly stressful and busy life. When stressed, some people play video games, some smoke, some beat the ever-loving snot out of their spouse. When I particularly feel stressed, rather than lose my ever-loving mind on those that are close to me, I choose to put many of my characters through impossible scenarios. I find writing an action scene, or a scene of extreme violence, will help me get many of my frustrations out. I tend to take it out against my characters, instead of my loved ones. In truth, they don’t appreciate that in the slightest.
That’s the next part of it. I tend to argue with my characters more often than not. I’ve had to delay the completion of the eighth book in the Legends series, simply because my characters were telling me it was too esoteric. (Ian leans back in his chair and smirks as he sips his cup of coffee. “Actually, what I said, was that it was too much of an acid trip. Sorry.” – How does a late 19th century cavalry captain even know about acid?) If you know an author, then you will probably hear stories about the characters fighting the story. Worse yet, waking the author in the middle of the night, tapping a foot by the author’s bed and saying “Look, we gotta talk. NOW!”
When an author is able to give voice to a character, that person tends to take on a life of their own. If you’re lucky, then you can turn that character from being a group of words to an actual personality and make their voice distinct enough, the reader can hear them speaking.
With a background of independent study in psychology, I find many things that people accept about artists and authors in general to be rather disturbing. It’s not good. Especially when people spend too much time working on the dark characters in the story. Just like a criminal profiler getting in to the head of a perpetrator, it can sometimes be quite dangerous to write certain characters.
I take influences from numerous authors, but mostly my writing style is a part of who I am. I’ve been told that my accent is completely different than what most people expect from an Okie. If you spend any time speaking with me directly, you’ll be able to hear me speaking in the stories my wife and I have written.
I’ve had people ask me about what I would recommend to new budding authors. The 3 primary pieces of advice I give everyone are as follows:
1. If you put pen to paper, finish the story. If you never publish it, it doesn’t matter. If you decide to start a story, then finish it, otherwise you’ll never have peace until you do. Trust me, it’s not fun.
2. Writing is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the casual author. If you want to write a novel, an article, or even a short story, expect to have someone not like it. You can’t please everyone.
3. When being given edits or receiving feedback, the comments they provide are opinions. For the most part, they’re not written in stone. As an author, you can generally override your editor. And if someone completely rips your work up, remember that your work was not meant for them.
Additionally, I generally tell new authors this: If you feel the desire to write, then it could quite easily be a gift to you from above. It could be you have something to say that someone may read in a day, a year, a century or millennium. You may never meet the person, or you could have a well-defined effect on someone next to you. Once you get your writing out, the side-affects, or unintended consequences of it, could quite easily be world changing.
Given how much I tend to write and how much time I spend at work, most people wonder what else I have time for. My wife and I work at the Edmond 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse. We both love history and as such, enjoy giving tours of the historic structure.
I also have a side-business doing custom leather working. Between my technical knowledge and the leather-working, I have gained an appreciation for the finer details.
When someone asks about the details we put in our books, many of those are from hard-earned experience in our time and life as living history re-enactors. We’re both self-confessed history nerds.
As a matter of fact, that’s how we met. We were part of a gun-fighting group that effectively allowed her to shoot me most weekends. Though, I was the one able to load the gun, so it was a pretty fair exchange, if I do say so myself!
If you’re curious about the series my wife, Alanna, and I have written, you can look it up here: (or if you’re unable to click the link you can use this: https://www.amazon.com/Legends-of-the-Landrun/dp/B08N5CL25D.)