The Sun, the Moon, and Maybe the Trains by Rodney Jones: Interview + Huge Giveaway!

Welcome to Author Rodney Jones

While a past resident of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, New York, and Vermont, Rodney now resides in Richmond, Indiana, where he whiles away his days pecking at a laptop, riding his ten-speed up the Cardinal Greenway, taking long walks with his daughter, or backpacking and wilderness camping.

His list of past occupations reads like his list of past residences, though his life-long ambition was to be an artist until he discovered a latent affinity for writing.

“In art,” Rodney says, “I was constantly being asked to explain images constructed from a palette of emotions and ideas, which usually required complex narratives to convey their meaning, if there even was a meaning. In writing, the words are creating the images, images are telling a story, the story is evoking feelings. I like it. There’s nothing to explain.”

Rodney’s interests include: art, science, politics, whiskey and chocolate, music (collecting vinyl records), gardening, and travel.


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

Choosing the future feels an awful lot like committing suicide in order to discover what comes after death—too scary. I’d choose the past—it’s full of romance, right?

If you could meet one person who has died, who would you choose?

Picasso. I value creativity above all else, and think Picasso was the most creative person ever.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

Yes, I have three other completed novels and am currently working on a fourth, which I hope to have done within the next six months. I plan to soon submit one of my completed novels, a ‘coming of age’/comedy called Entwined, for possible publication.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

I used to get these occasional moods for sci-fi, though I’ve only read a handful of books in that genre. The last time was in 1999. I had just come off a binge of James Michener novels. A book had recently come out, a sequel to the last sci-fi novel I’d read. I was excited about this book because I enjoyed its prequel so much. The book turned out to be the biggest letdown. I remember thinking I could  write better than that, and I’d not written anything other than a poorly-spelled grocery list. I’m grateful I didn’t know any better because I wouldn’t have likely made it to where I am now. Blissful, arrogant ignorance. The first draft of my first novel was laughingly bad. It took me forever to complete it, too. Fortunately, I had no one pointing out to me how poor it was. I might have given up, had I realized. Convinced I could write, I went on to write The Sun, the Moon, and Maybe the Trains. It turned out pretty good, I think. So, what would you call this? Reverse inspiration?

If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Islandia, by Austin Tappan Wright. Wright created a world with a great appreciation for simple living and family history—a gentle society struggling to hold on to its culture and heritage.  The story is so rich in detail it leaves you feeling as though you were actually there. I’d feel at home among his Islandian characters.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Write only because you love writing, and forever strive to improve.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

An artister. I remember telling my grandfather this when asked at the age seven. “I’m going to be an artister.” I recall him laughing about it. I spent most my life as a struggling artist.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?

Mark Twain, T.C. Boyle, Anne Tyler, Cormac McCarthy, and Rod Serling.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

My story Entwined—definitely. A young woman is shipwrecked on a tiny island with a guy from a mythological land who speaks gibberish. Both characters are convinced the other is an idiot. The dialogue for this story presented a huge challenge, in that I had to create a whole new language and provide interpretation for the reader in such a way as to keep the pace up and maintain intrigue. It’s crazy, but I did it, and it works.

You have won one million dollars. What is the first thing that you would buy?

Tickets to New Zealand for my sweetheart and me—three months of vacation.

Which authors have influenced you most, and how?

This may seem peculiar being that I have never actually read anything by him, but I would have to say Rod Serling. The quirky premises he devised for the ’60s TV series The Twilight Zone, and his use of plot twists were a strong influence on my development of my premises.

What’s your favorite season/weather?

I like the fall. And I like heavy weather—blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, electrical storms. I like challenging weather.

Favorite music?

I have very eclectic tastes—rock, jazz, bluegrass, opera, symphonic. Bob Dylan, Wilco, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bill Monroe, Miles Davis are at the top of my list.

Spontaneity or Planning Ahead?

Spontaneity to a fault.

Favorite quote from a movie?

“It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that I don’t care.” from Office Space.

This was a lot of fun. Thanks so much for having me!

The Sun, the Moon, and Maybe the Trains

What would it take to convince you that the woods you just left is one hundred forty-four years distant from the one you entered?

Ten years have passed since the Civil War broke up John Bartley’s family. Living with his aunt and uncle in the tiny village of Greendale, Vermont, isn’t filled with excitement for a seventeen-year-old.

Until John walks into the woods one day and stumbles into 2009…

Fortunately, he chances upon the outspoken Tess McKinnon. To earn her trust, he must first convince her that he is neither a lunatic nor a liar. The proof he needs is buried at the end of a mountain road, where the ruins of Greendale lie just beneath a layer of dead leaves and moss.

What became of his home? Why is there no record of its existence?

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