A Circular Argument

Hector M. Rodriguez Author Interview

Hector M. Rodriguez Author Interview

What Happened to Joe French follows the winding story of a man who lives his life by impersonating, lying, and stealing at every turn. What was the inspiration for the setup to this interesting story?

Dyslexia. A person with dyslexia can see the world from an exact opposite perspective. Does it work is the question. I guess we will see if my book sells and teaches people something they will remember. Isn’t that why we write and create? This was my first volley at publishing. It can be a scary thing. I wish I would have started a long time ago. It reminds me of something I heard back in my forties. Something like…If you haven’t reached the top by thirty-five years old (i.e. Olympic gold.), you never will. I’ll keep writing because I kind of like it.

Joe is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with his character?

Good question. While I was creating Joe, I wanted him to be likable but always on guard and keenly aware of his place in the world. Can you imagine a world where everyone did this?

Joe gets into a lot of curious and creative situations. How did you plan these events and how did they change as you wrote?

I am a movie buff and when I think of the movies that I enjoyed over the years four come to mind. Forest Gump, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Catch Me if You Can and Catch-22. If you have not seen those movies, they each present a character or situation that can happen and is believable. But it contains a potential ruse. The book, the story is a ruse an action intended to deceive some one. A trick. Tom Hanks in Forest Gump, person with a low I.Q. get to meet the president 4 times just by being in the right spot at the right time, becoming incredibly wealthy by buying Apple Stock when it was first issued, meet eh love of his life and loses her to some unknown disease and on and on. Joe French meets the rich and famous…Jack Nicholson in Cuckoo’s nest, too smart to fit into society. Joe French is an unwitting dyslexic. Too smart in some ways to fit into society. Nobody knew what dyslexia was in the 1950’s and 60’s. Great writing and story telling in Cuckoo’s nest The acting was spot on.

I met Frank Abignal Jr. who wrote “Catch Me if You Can”. It was based on his life. I met him at Trinity University in 1982. I read the book many years ago and watched the movie. (I have a signed copy of the book somewhere!) This character has always fascinated me. The ability to lie your way to success? Impersonating people is a crazy thing to do…not that I have done it…That is the moral of this story. Joe is lost…what the hell happened to Joe French?

A catch-22 is a catch-22. You cannot do anything about the question. A circular argument. I wanted Joe French to be a circular argument. Did it work?

I wanted an events with a little bit of each of these personalities and concepts mixed together.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I intend to publish three by the end of the year. They are all different. One is about the journey I took with my son. We walked the Camino de Santiago. It’s a story about the people I met, the places I stayed, the food, dogs, cats. I don’t want it to be a travel journal but rather a story. I have been working on it for some time and I am about done.

Next book is a translation of my Grandfather’s memoirs. He was a medical Dr. who migrated through Mexico to Texas in the early 1900’s. He hand wrote his memoirs when he was seventy-six years old. His story is worth telling. It’s almost like Indiana Jones in some ways but the adventures happen during the Mexican Revolution. He becomes wealthy is so many ways. He is a happy man and proud man. He learned to value education at all costs. He lived a good life. Some would say he was lucky, other would say he created opportunities. It’s a good story.

The last book is a compilation of twenty five of short stories I wrote. Some of them are pretty good.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

The story of what happened to Joe French is a mystery and a puzzle. As private in the U.S. Army he goes AWOL and sweet talks his way to thousands of dollars impersonating a Captain in the Medical Corp. French figured out a way to swindle cash from the U.S. Government and continues to manipulate his way through tight security, high-level managers, and military brass gaining acceptance as a Medical Officer. He then hides in plain sight as one of the rich and famous carrying on the charade as an up and coming popular songwriter/singer. He even winds up as Grand Marshal in the annual “Bud Billikin Parade ” in Chicago. An alert Sargent gets suspicious and finally catches French, but has no idea as to the extent the crime spree or the master plan that is in play. Sitting in a prison cell, facing years of incarceration, French reflects on his story. The tale winds between incredulous truth and incredulous fiction, between lost love and larceny, between delusion and deception. Behind this petty thief is a master of the con. He is an unknown and unwitting genius. This is where “Catch-22”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Catch Me if You Can”, and “Forest Gump” come together in one story and one person.

Hidden throughout the story are 33 clues to the puzzle of “What Happened to Joe French?” If you solve the puzzle successfully, the clues will lead you to an exact location. You will not have to travel to the location, only be able to identify it. It is a physical location and the clues, once deciphered, will reveal the name. This is where you will find Joe French. The first person to send the exact location and succinctly describe how they arrived at the solution will receive the 33 ingots of gold ( 2 pounds), referenced in the story. Once you have solved the puzzle, send your result to Seiko141@gmail.comwith the exact location in the subject line. You will be contacted if you are correct. Once the puzzle is solved, the solution will be posted on the author website at Seiko141.com. Visit the site for updates, blog posts, reader forums and additional books by Hector M Rodriguez.

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on May 23, 2020, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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