Shawn Rohrbach is the author of the novel “Rogue Scion”; here is a link to his website:
Q: What is “Rogue Scion” about?
A: A young man, Peter, who is tired of the wealth surrounding him in one of the richest families in the country conspires with an MIT computer science drop out, Melyssa, to take down the computing systems supporting the New York Stock Exchange. She is bright enough and he has inside connections to get her into the server rooms that they almost succeed. My character Grady Marcs, however, is a bit brighter and stops the process, but not before Peter’s family pays to eliminate Melyssa for trying to destroy their money and hide their son Peter from the law. No one should doubt the power the 1% have.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
A: I worked for a very wealthy family, part of the 1% for sure, as their general business manager. While the family I worked for were generous, fair, supportive and in every way good people, the people they had to deal with were not. I wanted to work through the idea that one of their own would go rogue on them and try to take them out financially.
Q: What kind of research did you do?
A: My research for this have been pretty much life long as an MBA graduate, finance manager, general manager of several businesses and now as an Information technology consultant. This story has been developing for the past thirty years in my daily work.
Q: What interests you about the Catholic Church?
A: I was a life long Catholic until my late 20’s and even earned my BA in medieval Philosophy in a Catholic seminary. The priest in the book who serves as the hit man for a very wealthy German family is a fictional character based on several priests I have known. None of them were murderers but they had a penchant for glorifying the violence they felt was righteous violence, such as the murder of abortion doctors. Some of these priests even saw the gulf wars and the war in Afghanistan as holy wars to curtail the spread of the Muslim religion.
Q: What makes Grady Marcs worth reading about?
A: Grady is not a perfect person, but he works hard to do the right thing. If he comes off as a hero, he would not want anyone to say that. He just has skills, as a former Ranger and then as a computer programmer, that enable him to break down and thwart certain types of crimes others might not be able to. His imperfections and his quiet commitment to do the right thing, not necessarily the righteous thing as defined by some church, makes him an interesting study.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: Roque Scion took over two years to write as I work slowly through each chapter to make sure it is a building block toward the end. I am not a novelist who must have an ending where all the loose ends are tied up and the hero goes home for dinner. Life is not that way. There are plenty of loose ends, unfulfilled promises and that wort of thing and that gives life fabric. I hand write a general story line for the novel and then hand write ideas for the first five or so chapters, and then type them out. Once I have those first chapters I read them over several times and work out any kinks, then move on to five or six more chapters, and repeat the editing process. By the time I have 200 or m ore pages, I have a pretty good idea on how I want to end it. Using the motorhome toward the end of the novel was written long before the famous television program ‘Breaking Bad’ but people who read those parts claim I borrowed the idea of a motorhome from that and that is not the case. I just like from the beginning the idea a super wealthy kid who could afford any home he wanted chose to live in a motorhome. For me, a novel is much like the houses my father built/ Once the house is framed with windows, roofing, siding, doors and those basics that is 25% of the work. For me, even when I have slowly written thirty chapters and I have and ending, I still have so much editing to do to get it where I like it.
Q: Of all the day jobs you have ever had in your life, which one has had the greatest impact on your writing?
A: As General Manager for the family I worked for. I met and worked with people from every economic and social strata. I even had to monitor the cleaning of a two hundred thousand gallon community septic tank with a city official to get an occupancy permit. I ate lunch with billionaires as I tried to put financing together for projects. It was the experience of being around everyt type of person one could imagine that informed my character development.
Q: What kind of educational background do you have?
A: I have a BA in Medieval Philosophy from a Catholic seminary, a year of Systematic Theology in the same seminary, most of my MBA in Information Systems and I completed my MFA in Writing at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
Q: What is the strangest thing any critic has ever said about your writing?
A: When reading my book “Open Your Heart with Bicycling…” one anonymous critic said all my references to food distracted her/him and took her/him off their diet.
Q: If you could let Grady assist any famous detective from literature with a mystery, who would it be and with what mystery would he assist this detective?
A: I would have him assist Smile in John LeCarres “Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. He would be on the inside in Communist East Berlin to catch the mole.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.