On Writing and the Author, Rusty Rhoad:
What Rusty Rhoad does:
I write humorous contemporary (some have even said literary—hah!) fiction with an Arthurian twist. I aspire to write like Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore; I never quite succeed, but at least my attempts aren’t horrible.
Why he likes it:
It’s like being horny (except at my age, worse). When you don’t write it gets worse and worse until finally you’re forced to sit down and write, no matter how busy are.
Inspiration comes from:
The deep dark recesses of my own twisted subconscious. Or as Meb Bryant puts it, “my slutty muse.”
If not writing, then what?
Music is my second biggest time consumer. I direct a folk choir, play keyboard in another group, write and arrange music, miscellaneous performances. That plus writing keeps me off the streets.
I have a novel, Strange Bedfellows, scheduled to come out around the end of the year. Another is in final edit; I post chapters 3 times a week on my blog, AllThingsWordsBlog.com. I’m working on the first draft of my first foray out of the 21st century, the story of Sir Kay.
Name of your main character?
Arnie Penders, seller of used books.
What Arnie Penders does that I wish I could do.
He has vivid and often violent dreams that drive him toward a misty valley in Wales and his ultimate destiny. How cool would that be, to have dreams keep you moving toward whatever it is you’re supposed to accomplish in life?
Something Arnie Penders would never do.
Never is a tough word to apply to Arnie. At the start of the book he’s a mild-mannered, somewhat prudish observer of life. Wouldn’t dream of taking on thugs with a piece of rebar—but he gets there. Steep personal growth curve. But he lives by a hero’s code, so I guess the one thing he wouldn’t do is act in a fundamentally evil manner.
What Arnie Penders would say about me—Rusty Rhoad.
Boy, that was one crazy ride. You might want to think twice before going adventuring with this guy.
What Arnie Penders would say I do that embarrasses him.
Arnie started as a somewhat detached observer of life. But he grows out of it. At some point, he postulates the Penders’ Corollary to the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: “You can’t observe your own life without living it, and you certainly can’t live it without affecting it.” He would be embarrassed that I’m 20 years older than he is and still am pretty much a detached observer of life.
Road trips can go off road, but they should NEVER go into parallel worlds.
Fueled by discontent and odd dreams, middle-aged Arnie Penders sells his used bookstore and goes on a road trip. He’s driven—literally—toward something . . . but what? Unsure of his destination or his destiny he journals his trip in a group of letters to his ex-wife.
This mild mannered bookseller with self-deprecating wit transforms into a man of action with a length of rebar during a mugging. A series of encounters with ghosts and offbeat women mark the ongoing road trip—including a potty-mouthed-waitress-turned-Baja-racecar-driver, and a new age enthusiast who takes him to a tarot card reading. A deck has only one of each card in it, and yet the King of Swords turns up twice.
Haunting dreams, a guiding apparition, and a 200-year-old book of bad poetry herald the reincarnation of King Arthur in the 17th century. Driven to find the fictitious King Arthur in the poem, Arnie makes his way to Wales, reputed to be the location of Arthur’s return.
Can Arnie decipher—and survive—what the legendary King Arthur, the ghostly apparition, and the King of Swords want from him?
About Rusty Rhoad
Rusty Rhoad grew up on the South Carolina coast, practiced chemical engineering near Houston, Texas for 32 years, and now writes humorous Arthurian fiction "full time." "I love characters who see the world with their tongues firmly in their cheeks," Rhoad writes. "Life is too often serious; fiction should always have a place for the offbeat, the quirky, and the sardonic."
Rhoad's first novel, Return from Avalon (and Points West), was released by Soul Mate Publishing in July 2013. A second novel, Strange Bedfellows, is due out later this year.