Today we're talking with Andrew J. Rodriguez, author of Santa Rita Stories
FQ: Let’s begin with that ‘small town’ life. Are you from a small town? If so, was there a Pedro among the mix, along with the other familiar characters that a small town offers?
RODRIGUEZ: I lived in a small coastal town as a child, and moved to Havana during late adolescence. At nineteen I left the country, and haven’t been back ever since (for obvious reasons). Though characters were fictional including that of Pedro, most stories were inspired in real-life events, including the Hurricane, and Ernest Hemingway’s encounters with Nazi U-Boats.
FQ: In this world of, what seems like, constant bad news, do you feel that the small town atmosphere is a better environment for a child growing up?
RODRIGUEZ: Absolutely; as long as his/her education are comparable in quality to what’s offered in larger city schools.
FQ: Considering you truly delve into the “human condition,” as it were, can you tell readers your personal views on what you feel are perhaps the negatives and positives today? And what may just be the area/industry that could bring down the next generation?
RODRIGUEZ: The cancer that allowed the Castro brothers to take over my former country is alive and well today in most Western societies. Inherent to our human condition, this malignancy is ferociously threatening our life-styles not with the same political ideology, though the end could be similar or worse.
Apathy, value decay, permissiveness, and generalized ignorance, are few of the human conditions that create dangerous vacuums in social leadership. But the most common and dangerous human condition is the tendency to forget human history, for those who ignore the past are most definitely condemned to repeat it. As to today’s positives, thank God there still are numerous men and women whose unique gift to promote truth, continue to exert hopeful changes in our society through their courage, faith, and dedication to family and country.
FQ: Dealing with today’s reality will help you cope with tomorrow’s disappointments” is a quote that came from this particular book. As a writer, though, dreaming is certainly a factor in that career. Do you feel that way? Should both feet always be on the ground, per se, or should one be free to imagine something far greater and then make it happen.
RODRIGUEZ: It is imperative for artists, musicians, and writers to escape reality and live in a fantasy realm of their own with the proviso that he/she remain tethered to the nearest fire hydrant on Earth.
FQ: Family is a support system. Do you have that foundation that encourages you to write?
RODRIGUEZ: Not necessarily. I always leave family and friends out of the loop when I’m writing.
FQ: You seem to have an avid hunger for knowledge. Are there other areas of writing you wish to explore? Other genres that appeal to you?
RODRIGUEZ: Santa Rita Stories is my fifth book. I have written The Incredible Adventures of Enrique Diaz, (historical fiction,) Adios, Havana, a
memoir) Helen’s Treasure, (a love story) The Teleportation of an American Teenager, (fantasy/ fiction/ and love story). But to answer your question, Santa Rita Stories have whetted my appetite for short stories, so perhaps my next book will be branded as Andrew’s Decameron, who knows?
FQ: I always ask this of everyone because readers truly would like to know: If there was one writer/philosopher/person, etc., you would like to have lunch with, who would that be and why?
RODRIGUEZ: Beethoven, Balzac, and Hemingway, all at once, and at the same table. Am I unreasonable?
FQ: Have you any other books in the works at the moment? If so, would you tell our readers a little about it/them?
RODRIGUEZ: Right now I can’t think of any. Most definitely I’m under the weather with writer’s block.