I must admit, I’m not only drawn to strong and innovative writers but; also, those who have faced adversity and have come out stronger on the other side. I’ve been sitting here for the last half hour with my cursor taunting me — as I am trying to hard to find the right words as to how I feel about this interview. I’m honestly in awe of Cynthia A. Rodriguez, the level of patience and compassion that oozes out of her is truly remarkable. I can’t imagine the things she has seen as a Combat Veteran, but the way she composes her characters – with such depth of human soul — is truly beautiful! For more information on Cynthia check out her Instagram @thecynrodriguez and of course the Link Tree too!
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
CR: Honestly, I don’t really have time for it. So, I work my way around it. I listen to music, I write another scene that’s clearer to me and usually by the time I circle back, I’m ready to write the scene I was stuck on.
RMMW: We all have inner critics; how do you contend with yours?
CR: I just keep going. I learned that trick from my military days. Just keep going and in the end, it’s all background noise.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
CR: Yes! I start listening to music and create a playlist that I feel the characters would listen to and say: “this is exactly how I feel!” I also create a Pinterest board. Something about hearing and seeing them helps so much.
RMMW: What is your favourite book written by you? And why?
CR: EVOL. It’s so personal. And I’d tried to write it a few times, but I wasn’t ready for it. I had to wait until my heart was broken to write it the way it needed to be written. Also, it’s a love story told in reverse. And I wrote it the way you read it. Crazy, right?
RMMW: Do you also write poetry or predominately novels?
CR: Novels, for sure. The only “poetry” of mine is in EVOL. I don’t even call it poetry lol.
RMMW: What do you feel is the biggest challenge in finding an editor that you trust to properly edit your book?
CR: I have Christina Hart, so I have no challenges at all.
But before her, I think the biggest one was trusting the VIBE. Some people edit to make money. And I get it because everyone wants to make money. And then there are those who get to know your characters and are genuine and here for the connection. I love them.
RMMW: As a Combat Veteran I feel it necessary to genuinely thank you for your service and sacrifice — it\’s so essential. Has this experience shaped the writer you are today? If yes, how?
CR: I think it’s shaped me in general. I have so much patience. And my work ethic…sometimes I amaze myself. But I love what I do, so that helps.
RMMW: Do you ever people watch to get ideas for your novels?
CR: I’ve always gathered from people around me. I don’t go looking for it, though. I let ALL things come to me.
RMMW: When I started to read Teófila’s Guide to Saving the Sun I could not help but appreciate the page before the prologue where you wrote \”Mental illness isn\’t a privilege. Depression has no colour.\” The stigma against mental health even in our day and age is a strong one. Why was it important for you to share that right at the beginning of your novel?
CR: I’m really passionate about mental health, dealing with anxiety and depression myself. People of color are not afforded the luxury of weakness and illness. The stigma surrounding that is one of laziness and malingering. The same cannot be said of others. There’s compassion and kindness and it kills me to see the difference.
If we are all human, why are we not ALL shown compassion when wounded or ill? And this goes further than mental health. I encourage those reading to look into Serena Williams’ recount of her postpartum experience.
RMMW: What is the greatest lesson you\’ve learned as a writer?
CR: Not everything you write needs to see the light of day. And sometimes the delete button is your friend.
RMMW: As a seasoned writer and novelist, what is the best advice you could give to an emerging writer?
CR: Sylvia Day once said to write three novels before you publish your first. I agree with this. My voice was so different from my first to my third.
RMMW: You\’ve written many novels over the years; do you have a favourite character you relish above the others? Who and why?
CR: My favorite character?
The angel of death, written in Crashing Souls and Souls Collide. He shows himself in many forms throughout my books. He is the psychic in Teófila’s Guide to Saving the Sun. ♥️
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
CR: Lol I started a book asking the main character this question before. Um…I’d like to be able to read energies. To know who is good for me and who I should stay away from. I feel like I have that power already but sometimes I let things get in the way of trusting myself.