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Annie Rodriguez: From Puerto Rico to Publishing, Crafting Timeless Stories with Modern Themes
Norm Goldman --  BookPleasures.com Norm Goldman -- BookPleasures.com
Montreal, QC
Thursday, September 14, 2023


Bookpleasures.com welcomes our guest Annette "Annie" Rodriguez. Annie was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and discovered her love for writing in tenth grade. 

Following numerous revisions and extensive guidance, Lifeforce was published by Green Writers Press in February 2019.

Annie, a practicing attorney with impressive academic achievements, including 2 Bachelor's and 2 Master's degrees, found solace in writing amidst the challenges of law school and various pursuits. 

Currently, she's engrossed in crafting the sequel, Immortality's Peril. 

Good day Annie and thanks for taking part in our interview.

Norm: Your book Lifeforce has been compared to beloved classics that charm readers from the first page to the last. 

How did you approach creating a story with that timeless quality while also incorporating modern themes?

Annie: I am a proud lifelong reader.  I always tell would-be writers to never stop reading.  It serves three purposes: 

- Great hobby 

- Tells you what the market is publishing 

- Helps you with voice, techniques and ideas.

I  was one of those "annoying" teenagers who brought a book to every family function and wanted a quiet place to spend the time.

I'm an introvert through and through. And I'm still a reader first, writer second. 

I grew up with Disney's fairy tales and other fantasy but I still get to live in the real world-so it was a job of writing what I want to write, not a true non fiction account but not a true fantasy. 

Norm: Lifeforce blends the supernatural with personal and emotional struggles. Can you discuss how you balance these different aspects to create a cohesive and engaging narrative?

Annie: Dialogue is my favorite go -to. It speeds up the pacing and lets me do some good exposition. For other literature ideas, my go- to is to read other works. 

The best tool to learn to engage dialogue is to watch some of your favorite TV series. 

Norm: The characters in Lifeforce are described as more than just characters but as new and wonderful friends for the reader. 

Could you elaborate on your process for creating characters that resonate deeply with readers?

Annie:This was a mesh between the character I wanted to create (and to do it realistically, I went through a lot of edits) and getting some ideas from the characters I admired (both in real life and in what I read and watch).

It was my biggest struggle and again, reach out to other written works and TV series for ideas! 

Norm: The combination of paranormal elements, such as witches, vampires, and lycans, adds a unique flavor to your story. 

What inspired you to build this paranormal universe?

Annie:I was inspired by Underworld.  I wanted some magic to not be stuck with the "real world" but I also wanted to teach young readers that powers are not a cure for all.

It is what superhero movies always want to teach us but do not take a lot of time to elaborate on. 

Norm: Gillian's journey involves facing the consequences of her actions, particularly her role in making Sean immortal. 

How do you explore the complexities of morality and responsibility in supernatural powers?

Annie: Power is responsibility.  I did not want a perfect character and I understand that we sometimes make decisions that are rash and that mistakes can hunt us for the rest of our lives. 

It does not make us bad people; it makes us human. Rather than make the world black and white, I chose to make the world gray.  In my opinion, that's what is most effective in teaching us life lessons. 

Here is a question I pondered while wrestling with the plot–how would our reactions/rash judgments change if we attributed our mistakes/ offensive actions to a series of decisions–not always well thought out. 

Norm: Gillian's struggles with anxiety resonate with many readers, and you mentioned your own experience with general anxiety disorder. 

How did your personal journey influence the way you portrayed Gillian's challenges and growth?

Annie:I was not diagnosed with anxiety until I was in college.  But I have struggled with it ever since I can remember. 

I had to fight the stigma of seeking mental health resources. 

After I got the help I needed, I had to fight with the narrative I had built that there was something "wrong" with me. 

Your family cannot support you if they do not know what they are supporting you with. 

I had to tell my family and friends what I needed.  And I think many people do not ask for help because they sense a weakness in the request. 

I wanted Gillian to be an inspiration for people to rely on their "grown ups" or chosen family a little more–you'd be surprised what you can accomplish together. 

Norm: The reluctance to seek mental health support is a significant issue in various communities. 

How do you hope your writing can contribute to breaking down stigmas and fostering open conversations about mental health?

Annie:See above. Know that you're not alone. For the struggle to lose steam, we have to show up and talk about these issues. 

Norm: Your background in public health and your job as a care partner in a nursing home highlight your dedication to helping others.

 In what ways does this real-world experience influence the themes and perspectives in your writing?

Annie: Every writer pulls from their lives whether directly or indirectly. It makes the characters more real, even if you are creating a fantasy world. 

This is an extension of me, of what I want my legacy to be in the world, to help as much as I can.  The real world is tough.

Finding your calling and your tribe will make the fight easier. For me, writing is an outlet to help influence change. 

Norm: You've mentioned that writing started as a way to cope with anxiety.

How has the writing process developed for you, and what advice would you give to aspiring writers who may also use writing as expression and healing?

Annie: I have tried to be more precise and professional while still conveying what I want and still using the writing process as a healing process.  

I say try writing if you think it will help you, but keep it to yourself for a bit, use it for yourself. 

If you decide you want to publish, find a way to still be yourself while conveying a message to the world.  

It takes practice, it takes criticism, and feedback–do not shy away from these processes.

Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Lifeforce

Annie: Follow my FACEBOOK PAGE, Annie Rodriguez and my WEBSITE.  Stay in touch!

Norm: What is next for Annette "Annie" Rodriguez?

Annie:Hopefully the sequel and more of Gillian but also other ideas, other published works, without quitting my day job! 

Norm: As we wrap up this interview, and as you balance your career in public health and your passion for writing, how do you envision your writing evolving into a broader message for the world beyond being an outlet for yourself?

Annie: I feel that process has already begun with publication.  It's a question of keeping it going. And here I'll ask my readers, don't keep me a secret! Don't keep Lifeforce a secret!

Norm; Thanks once again and good luck with all of your endeavors.


 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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