Today I'd like to welcome Leonardo Ramirez, author of 'The Jupiter Chronicles' to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Leonardo Ramirez is a husband, a father, a Karate instructor with a 3rd degree black belt, and a writer. His first graphic novel, HAVEN, is a supernatural Young Adult story centered on an ancient war between the Dante family and the nine circles of hell. HAVEN OF DANTE takes readers much deeper into the world of the family line with a prologue that begins with the plight of Dante Alighieri himself! His follow up is a Children’s Steampunk book called THE JUPITER CHRONICLES: The Secret of the Great Red Spot. It follows the adventure of two children as they are transported to the steam-powered cities of Jupiter, find their long-lost father, stop an attack from Mars, and witness the birth of Steampunk.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
1. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Absolutely. Without hesitation.
Why? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in the rule of law. It’s what keeps a society in check. But at the end of the day what matters to me most is that my wife and daughter remain safe. Many years ago, my wife was assaulted at gunpoint by a gang. Now, all three of us are martial artists including my 13-year old daughter. Aside from that, obeying the law will not keep others from breaking it. I would not seek to break the law but if a law stands in the way of keeping them safe then I’ll take whatever consequences may come my way as a result.
2. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
I would say that being alive is simply fulfilling another person’s dream and not your own. It’s actually something that I’ve been struggling with lately in the sense that I should feel like it’s a good thing to feel passionate about writing and keeping other things that I may love in balance. I’ve been writing for 20+ years but I only came to be published for the first time in 2010. I regret not having a greater focus on what I love before that. Truly living is when you give yourself permission to pursue your dream and not feel selfish about it. Truly living is when you are free from the weight of guilt.
3. What motivates you to write?
I don’t care much for the ugly bantering that goes on in social media so like many other authors, writing is my social commentary. I grew up in a single-parent home where there was mental and physical abuse. I see families torn apart. I see people laughing when there is someone in pain sitting right next to them. Worst of all, I see people clamoring for things that if granted would look something like genocide. Words have consequences. My hope is that when someone reads my work that there is something inside of them that says in their heart of hearts, “things don’t have to be this way…..I can choose life.”
4. Why do humans want children?
The common answer is that they want to extend a part of themselves beyond death and know that their life will continue through their children after they’re gone. I suppose there may be a small part of me that feels that way but because I have a child myself, it’s not the major reason. The moment I laid eyes on my daughter, the person I was ceased to exist and a new person came into being. In a fraction of a second, there was this rush of protectiveness and the purest of joys. There before me was a baby that I would throw myself in front of a train for, be tortured, or break any law for. As time stood still all of those emotions rushed through me and nothing else mattered. So if I were to sum up the answer as to why I wanted a child it would be this…. I wanted to know what real love is. And as she has grown I see in her eyes the weight of every single word I say affecting her positively or negatively. What I say and how I say it matters to her. We marry the love of our lives to learn how to love but we have children to learn how much of ourselves we are willing to give up and the beginning of what the depths of love looks like.
5. What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "The Jupiter Chronicles"?
I had been traditionally published before so for this particular book series and I learned a great deal from that. This time, I wanted to try the self-publishing route. I know about the stigmas surrounding indies and I can appreciate them because let’s face it, a lot of writers don’t want to incur the cost of a good editor. It can be pricey. It is, however, a justified expense. I wanted the best finished product it could be. I wanted it to be professional But through that process, I was more worried about the inside than the cover so I didn’t get what I would have liked. I should have been pickier about the cover. We all learn from our mistakes though. Even though I have loved the process it has been a costly endeavor. Because of the costs involved, I tried submitting to agents but alas, they are reluctant to sign a book once it is self-published. At least they were honest, right? As a family we are on a limited income so every book purchased helps me to produce the next one in the series.
6. What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Love is the answer to every question you’ve ever asked. In every situation you have to ask yourself, “How would love respond? What does love dictate I do?” I don’t get it right all the time. In fact, I fail more often than not. But the question is there and that is how we grow.
7. How did you come up with the title "The Jupiter Chronicles"?
I should probably explain how I came up with the book to answer that. My wife is a children’s librarian and she explained to me that she has a tough time finding 3rd grade books for reluctant readers who are into Science Fiction. That’s how the series, THE JUPITER CHRONICLES emerged. With the 2nd book, I wanted kids to become go a little deeper with respect to learning not just about the planets in our solar system but the moons that no one talks about. With that, the Jovian System came into play. Each moon is its own world with its own story purpose. The 2nd book in the series, THE ICE ORPHAN OF GANYMEDE fits into the overall story by introducing an orphan who had lost his arm before the Jovian/Martian War.
8. How do you handle personal criticism?
I think it depends on who it’s coming from and how it’s conveyed. If it’s from someone close that I know cares about me then I have no problem with it. I take it as advice rather than criticism. If it’s someone I don’t know that is bashing just for the sake of it then yes, I don’t like it but I don’t necessarily do anything about it. The internet has created some cowardly beasties.
9. Why should people read your book?
If you have a young child who struggles with reading then it’s for you. The level is comparable to the NARNIA series. I’ve had a lot of adults read it as well and love it but just keep in mind that it was written for that young an audience. The most important reason is because we’re friends. I have a friendship with everyone who picks up one of my books and I treasure that greatly.
10. Why is there something rather than nothing?
Otherwise, there would be no purpose. I believe that we were created for relationship.
Thank you Leonardo :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out 'The Jupiter Chronicles….The Secret of the Great Red Spot' on
A war has been fought and lost by the Jovians. Now the answer to their freedom lies within the Great Red Spot and it's up to Ian and Callie to uncover its secret.
It is the year 1892 and Ian and Callie Castillo have had to suffer the hardships of a single parent family since their father went missing five years ago. Since then Ian has refused to use the last gift that his father left the wounded boy; a telescope that sits collecting dust in the attic. When Callie decides to peer through its murky lens it activates the device and sends the Castillo’s to the steam-powered floating cities of Jupiter to rescue their father and free the Jovians before the Martians launch their final attack.
What follows is the beginning of an era that will forever be known by its strange name…Steampunk. The Jupiter Chronicles series takes flight with the first book in the series….The Secret of the Great Red Spot.