Self Interview with José R. Rodríguez

and attempt to pseudo fame on the cheap

I'm not famous. Among my peers and friends I'm not even known as a person who writes anything. I'm just a dude who rides bicycles, speaks with an accent, and who goes to work and then comes back home. Such a man is not interview worthy. But this lack of worthiness or my seemly uninteresting personality and life has not stopped me from creating this web site and pretending that somebody out there cares enough to read it. So I have decided to interview myself because nobody else will do it. I scavenged the web for real interviews with well known writers, and I found a 1987 Stephen King interview conducted by Phil Konstantin for "The Highway Patrolman" magazine. I deleted King's responses and kept most all of the questions.

I have another self interview in Smashwords.com, another device designed to inflate the egos of unknown writers that nobody would waste their time interviewing. Click on the link below if you want to read it.

Smashwords logo

Q: I understand you don't like to be asked why you write the kind of stories you do. Is this correct?

That's correct because I cannot explain why I write what I write. Many a time I started writing with a purpose and a goal and the story took off on its own and ended up somewhere else with people I don't know. Scripted writing is not my forte.

Q: When did you start writing?

In my thirties, too old to get rid of bad writing habits. As a matter of fact, I have acquired a few more since then.

Q: Do you have to be in a special mood to start writing?

Overcoming laziness is the key. Laziness is the worse enemy of my writing.

Q: Do you have a certain method that you use when you write?

Oh, the magic bullet that makes a superb novelist of mere humans! There is no method that works all the time for all the people. My most common "method" is to write by hand on a sketch book and then let the story fester in a drawer for at least one year before I type it into electronic form (my first rewrite). After that many, many more rewrites follow.

Q: Do you consider what you write "horror stories?"

I don't know how to label what I write. That's the main reason why I haven't found and agent; they always ask "what's your genre?" and I have to honestly say, "I don't know." That's a deal breaker, but it is the truth. I don't know how to pigeon hole my writing.

Q: In your own experience have you ever come across any ghosts, ghoulies or anything that goes bump in the night?

No. Here I paraphrase King.

Q: You actually believe in the things you write about?

Fiction writing is a pack of lies, otherwise it would be called the facts. Does anyone believe on their own lies, manufactured lives, and make believe worlds? Everybody does to a certain extent. The challenge is keeping the bone dry reality of everyday living separated from the flights of imagination in our stories.

Q: Quite a few of your stories deal with average people beset by great difficulties, and, in essence, you are dealing with human nature. Are you trying to be philosophical?

I'm as philosophical as the guy who who picks my garbage. I just write about what I see, good or bad. Let the reader figure out the philosophy of the whole thing. I'm not the guru at the top of the mountain with the answers. I'm the sucker at the bottom of the mountain with the questions.

Q: Do you really end your stories or do you just stop them at some point in time?

I finish a story to come back later on and add more to it, doubling its size. Or I finish a bunch of stories to later on realize that they are connected in a bizarre way. I'm never sure if I have finished anything, and I don't worry about it. I let the story go where it needs to go.

Q: Do you think it is important to keep your readers guessing?

The pundits say you must do so, but I'm not sure what the readers need to guess. Readers read a story because they like the story. The guessing part I cannot guess.

Q: Which do you like better, short stories or novels?

Both are equally difficult. There is more money on novels than in short stories, but if you don't care about money then both are equally hard to master.

Q: Do you enjoy reading other people's stories?

Depends on what they wrote. I have a rather eclectic reading taste and a story has to be rather bad for me not to finish it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so my bad can be somebody's else treasure.

Q: Which is harder to write, a story that appeals to the intellect or one that hits you at the gut level?

I don't know and I don't care. I have never sat down to write anything thinking if I'm going for the gut or the brain. Every reader has a different soft spot so I don't want to tailor my writing to any specific body part.

Q: With the tremendous explosion of technological advances, do you see a time when fact will far surpass any kind of fiction you can conceive?

Special effects cannot replace a good story and good story telling. For thousand of years facts have always been stranger than fiction so I don't foresee the end of fiction writing as we know it.

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