Interview with the Martinsburg Journal, June 2003


The Journal

June 24, 2003

Local authors Carlos Rubio and Daniel Hill Zafren are releasing new works.

By Crystal Schelle
Many people say they want to be novelists, but few ever actually complete the daunting task. Two local authors are on the road to becoming prolific writers.

Carlos Rubio

In Carlos Rubio’s last novel, the main character didn’t have a name and was referred to simply as “The Neophyte,” also the name of the novel.

With his latest novel, “Orpheus’ Blues” ($19.95, Publish America), Martinsburg-based Rubio promises something entirely different.

The Cuban-born writer has woven “Orpheus’ Blues” around the lifestyle of American jazz musician Jack Stewart. It wasn’t hard to decide on jazz music for his character Jack to be involved in.

“I’ve listened to jazz since high school,” he says. “It’s one of the treasures of American culture.”

Rubio, an admittedly “frustrated jazz musician,” says he wanted to write something unlike his teenage character in the satirical “The Neophyte” trilogy.

“The main thing was I wanted to see the love of music-how much of a treasure it is, and the sacrifice.”

His character, Jack, is originally from southern Virginia, and decided on a career in jazz against his parents’ wishes. It is through his letters to his mother and flashbacks that the reader understands Jack’s background.

The letters from Jack to his mother are reminiscent of Rubio’s own mother, a poet, who inspired him to be an author. After he came to the United States in 1961, Rubio would keep in touch with his mother through correspondence. And like Jack, he didn’t have the chance to his his mother again before she died. As a tribute to his mother, the music on Rubio’s Web site is from a song she composed.

Rubio says he also pulled the character Hans from his own experience. In high school he dated a girl from Holland whose father was the inspiration for the jazz club owner. “I didn’t have to make him up,” he says.

The Shepherd College professor is also awaiting the release of his next novel, “Dead Time/Tiempo Muerto” through Gival Press. This is his first bilingual edition, which includes the same story in both English and Spanish.

Those wanting to read the next two installments of the “Neophyte” trilogy will have to wait until early 2004 with the release of “Bullwhip.” Because of a lawsuit by another author, his former publishing house is unable to release any new works. Rubio had to switch houses to have “Bullwhip” and “California Fever” released.

For Rubio, publishing works is his dreams realized. “It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

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