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Local author sets modern migration tale on the Central Coast

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It wasn't his kind of story. Paso Robles-based author Randolph Rogers is really more of a mystery guy. Still, for six months the story just wouldn't go away, so Rogers fleshed out a world in the year 2022 where three families on the Central Coast must come together in the midst of a modern saga. And in November, the novel, The Luminous Fish, was born.

LOCAL AUTHOR Paso Robles author Randolph Rogers' recently published novel, The Luminous Fish, is set on the Central Coast. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RANDOLPH ROGERS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Randolph Rogers
  • LOCAL AUTHOR Paso Robles author Randolph Rogers' recently published novel, The Luminous Fish, is set on the Central Coast.

Protagonist Alex Sanchez and his family migrate north from Los Angeles after natural and accidental events clog and disrupt the food distribution network in the LA basin. The Sanchez family eventually lands at the Kimball Ranch near Morro Bay, where they must work with two other families to combat ranch invasions.

Rogers' previous books include two short story collections: Twisted Tales and Dash Rambler. He caught up with New Times to discuss writing, crises, and trying new things.

New Times: How would you describe The Luminous Fish?

COME TOGETHER The Luminous Fish by Randolph Rogers tells the story of three families that must work together to survive on a ranch in Morro Bay amid a false famine. - IMAGE COURTESY OF RANDOLPH ROGERS
  • Image Courtesy Of Randolph Rogers
  • COME TOGETHER The Luminous Fish by Randolph Rogers tells the story of three families that must work together to survive on a ranch in Morro Bay amid a false famine.

Randolph Rogers: It's a family saga and kind of a modern Grapes of Wrath because it involves migration, hardships, and interaction between families based on some perceived crisis in Southern California.

NT: What inspired you to write The Luminous Fish?

RR: I had an organic jam company, and I noticed that in LA and elsewhere there was a change in grocery stores and distribution where they didn't carry backstock anymore. And during the Rodney King riots, I got stuck in LA and saw people panic. And lastly, anytime I go to LA, anytime you're going in or around LA, the smallest incident will cause a backup in traffic for hours. So I just took all of those circumstances [for the book].

NT: What was the writing process like for the novel?

RR: I wrote it over a six-month period. I'm a prolific writer. This is 90,000 words. And then I had a couple good editors who helped me out, and that took another six months.

NT: Do you have any upcoming projects?

RR: Veraison: The Ripening Shields and Saiginee: The Bleeding are coming out in 2019. They take place in a fictional town called Twelve Oaks, which is Paso Robles. It's about the wine industry, but they're murder mysteries.

NT: What are some of your favorite books and authors?

RR: Recently I liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley), she's my favorite. She wrote in the '20s and '30s. All of my favorite mystery writers are women. What I'm reading right now is The Fig Eater by Jody Shields.

NT: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

RR: Write. Don't listen to anyone. Don't try to sound like anyone. Find your voice and write. Some of the best writing occurs when I don't feel like writing. Just keep writing. Δ

Arts Writer Ryah Cooley is reading under the covers with a flashlight. Contact her at rcooley@newtimesslo.com.

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