Interviews

Letting Stories Unfold

Author Ruben Elustondo started writing regularly in the late ‘90s. Speaking to The Literary Juggernaut in an exclusive interaction, the Argentinian, who has been living in the US since 1978, says his job took him to another country and kept him from seeing his family except for weekends. ‘As I was alone during the week in my apartment after work hours, I decided to try something new and began writing short poems in Spanish, my native language,’ he tells us, adding that he wrote more than one-hundred-and-fifty poems and a novel in verse at the time. ‘But I never published them,’ he lets us know.

Mr Elustondo then made a return to the US where the focus on family life and job obligations did not leave time to write until he retired. ‘That is when I went back to writing and set for myself a bigger challenge to publish a novel in English,’ he says with a smile.  

Ruben Elustondo

Romance, Murder, and All that Jazz

Mr Elustondo’s debut novel entitled ‘TURTLE CREEK, Enigma of the Trail’ was launched in March last year. Says the author, ‘The story begins with the murder of a promising young athlete that had a romantic relationship with the son of the Governor. He becomes a suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend and is dragged through an investigation marred by political intrigues and the uncovering of a powerful network supporting a drug cartel.’ 

Since the launch of this book, Mr Elustondo has written two short fiction novels, and he is currently working on a second mystery novel. Notwithstanding, on being asked if he has a plot in mind before beginning to work on a novel, the Texas-based author stresses that in the beginning, he has a basic idea of the theme and key characters. ‘I let the story unfold with new characters, situations, and secondary plots after. I do not know how it will end until I get well advanced in the process,’ he explains. 

An Avid Reader

A voracious reader, Mr Elustondo, who does not follow a schedule and writes whenever inspiration strikes, avers that he has always been fond of reading. ‘I remember that while attending school, I would read all the recommended books besides many others I found interesting. It included various genres and authors. I enjoyed Latin American contemporary writers such as Ernesto Sabato and Miguel Angel Asturias. I, nevertheless, love the imagination of Miguel de Cervantes in Quixote and the amazing description of the early Argentinian years in Jose Hernandez’s novel in verse Martin Fierro,’ the author lets us know. He adds, ‘In both cases, it is not just fiction, but there is high value in the powerful messages their stories deliver.’

Be that as it may, the author, who holds a Master’s degree in Economics, moved over time to read mystery and suspense novels to fight boredom in long business trips or solitary nights in hotels before meetings. He says, ‘John Grisham and James Paterson have been favourites in this genre. I admire how they build a story and the way they describe characters.’

‘I Always Thought About Writing’

But was becoming an author a conscious decision that Mr Elustondo made? ‘It wasn’t something planned in my younger years,’ concedes the writer, who also loves travelling, photography, graphite drawing, playing the piano, doing volunteer work, and cooking. He goes on, ‘I was working while attending school and after graduating focused on my family and business career. I always thought about writing though, and now that I’m retired, I find more time to pursue it.’

He also lets on that while working, he had thought about writing a book on change management based on his own experience but never got to it. ‘Instead, I decided to write fiction since that genre helped me find a different environment by capturing my attention and relieving me from the daily routine and stress of work. Hopefully, I can provide others with a similar source of entertainment to make their lives happier,’ he shares. 

Final Word

Given that he himself has only recently published his first novel, does he have anything to tell budding authors who lose motivation of their works don’t do well? Says Mr Elustondo, who has had the opportunity to travel to many countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, ‘I would say that in writing, as in anything else in life, nothing comes easy and requires perseverance, self-confidence, and believing in what you are doing. Learning from a set-back should be a powerful motivator to move forward and become successful. It requires a cool mind and self-searching to understand why sometimes things do not go as we expect and whether we truly believe in our goals. Keep writing and reading since this helps us hone our skills and discover new forms of expression.’

As the conversation draws to a close, we ask Mr Elustondo if there is something he would like to change in the world, and he says people have too much antagonism and that they hardly listen to each other. ‘I wish we could try to understand each other better before making an opinion that is usually based on half-trues or personal filters built on our own living experiences. We do not make an effort to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. We are all humans, and differences in religion, race, social status, and political ideologies should not be an excuse for hate and division. They should rather provide us with opportunities to learn,’ he explains, thus signing off on an insightful note.  

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