Hey Lovelies! It’s Tuesday again and that means time for another Author Takeover—AKA my ATO!
Gordon Rottman is here today with a cool author interview so take it away my friend!
- What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your book to life?
–The individual challenges were not all that difficult, but collectively it was quite an effort to mesh it all together: Present a realistic 15-year old girl’s voice, how would the other three characters, with such different backgrounds of widely different ages and experiences interact, how to show how the environment affected them, to what extent to work in Spanish dialog, how to show their deteriorating physical condition, but at the same time show their bonding in spite of their ethnic differences. That’s just some of the factors I had to consider. Having traveled in Nicaragua it was not difficult to describe the terrain and the rest of the environment. I think it worked out well. My goal was to give the reader the feeling of being on a rainforest river.
- Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
–One of my favorite writers is Walter Jon Williams of sci-fi fame. His descriptions are so vivid and he creates extremely extreme, but believable worlds. Cormac McCarthy influenced me with his very descriptive visuals of the Old West.
- If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
–Actually, I’ve already had that opportunity. Tears of the River was first written as a pure survival adventure story. There was no romance element. Taliesin Publishing very much liked the story, but said it needed a romance element, make it happen. Now that was a challenge because there’s a lot more to it than just throwing in longing stars and some smooching. I had three options, make an existing character the romantic interest, add a character as the lover boy, or replace an existing character with a new one as the romantic interest. I went with Door No. 3, yank out one character and add a new one. There’s a domino effect when you do that all through the book. It added about 6,000 words and really made it a better story.
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
–When I was in about 6th grade I read an action adventure book. Unfortunately I don’t recall the title. The story gripped me and when it was over, much to my sadness, I wanted to read more. In my head I put together a sequel. For a long time I didn’t have any confidence in my ability to write fiction, plotting, storyline, dialog, all that. Instead I wrote military history, about 120 books. It was just a few years ago that I dove into fiction. While I had started other novels, including Tears of the River, much to my surprise the first to be published was a Western, The Hardest Ride. I’d never ever thought I’d write a Western, but the story I came up with was better suited as a Western than a contemporary as first envisioned.
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?
–I can’t think of anything particularly weird or odd, but research has created its own ripple effect of discovery. A simple example, I once looked up Arbuckle coffee, THE coffee used in the Old West. I discovered each package came with a peppermint stick, which were much sort after by cowboys. There was also a coupon book in the package and these could be redeemed for all sorts of merchandise. One of the most popular items was a wedding ring. 80,000 a year were redeemed for coupons. I worked all that into my story.
- Were you good at English in school?
— I was terrible. Back then alternating years were grammar and then literature. I hated grammar. The bit about there’s an exception to every rule, that drove me nuts. I liked literature since we read, but I didn’t like book reports because I couldn’t always divine the author’s hidden meaning. I suspected that some literature critic or professor had come up with his own theory on the author’s meaning and the author most likely had something else in mind, or nothing particular at all. And being forced to read The Scarlet Letter scared me. What I learned about rules in regards to fiction writing, all the workshops, writing books, lectures; all the rules about dialog, storylines, scene setting; well all I can say is, learn the basics and then write and the rules be damned.
Gordon’s also sent us a cool extra: some pencil sketches of Karan on her journey throughout the book!
A coming of age self-discovery story of frantic survival, the value of diversity, dependence on one another
Fifteen-year-old Karen Herber is exactly where she wants to be—in the Nicaraguan rainforest with a volunteer medical team. What she had not expected was a hurricane collapsing a bridge to wipe out her
team and a mudslide burying a village. Only a Nicaraguan six-year-old girl and a forty-four-year-old woman with both arms broken survive the mudslide. Then she finds that Jaydon Bonner survived, a privileged, arrogant seventeen-year-old American tenderfoot. Academic and confidence concerns are already dragging Karen down and she was tagged a “weak leader” in Outward Bound School. Her doctor parents are pushing her into a medical career, of which she’s uncertain. Less than fluent in Spanish, but an experienced backpacker, the reluctant leader is challenged by Nature, animals, desperate men and her fellow survivors’ mistrust and cultural differences. Their only path to salvation is a risky boat trip down a rainforest river, 150 miles to the mysterious Mosquito Coast. Karen soon finds her companions’ experiences, so different from her own, invaluable with each deadly encounter forging a closer bond between them.
Gordon Rottman lives outside of Houston, Texas, served in the Army for 26 years in a number of “exciting” units, and wrote war games for Green Berets for 11 years. He’s written over 120 military history books, but his interests have turned to adventurous young adult novels—influenced by a bunch of audacious kids, Westerns owing to his experiences on his wife’s family’s ranch in Mexico, and historical fiction focusing on how people really lived and thought—history does not need to be boring. His first Western novel is The Hardest Ride to be followed by more. Tears of the River is his first young adult novel.
And there you go lovelies! It’s been a blast having Gordon Stop by! Be sure to check out his book!
<3 always LH