Set in the late 70’s, The Long Way to Mexico is a story about two Texas boys (Peter “Boy” Jenkins and Curtis Cash) who go on the run towards Mexico after having committed a crime. Their journey proves to be more than they had bargained for, never expecting to encounter an illegal immigrant camp, Mexican witch doctors, and a Mexican drug cartel. There was also the small matter of the Texas Troopers. Never did they imagine living in Texas; they would have such a difficult time getting to Mexico.
Many different life experiences inspired the creation of these memorable characters. Still, the idea began to evolve after I investigated the Charles Victor Thompson case, which resulted in my book The Grass Beneath His Feet: The Charles Victor Thompson Story. To this day, Thompson sits on death row at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. My investigation earned me a spot on the discovery channel, and his case has been featured on the Netflix original I Am a Killer. In 2005, Thompson became the only man ever to escape Texas death row custody, and his journey by train to Louisiana prompted many to ask, “Where was he going? Mexico is the other way.” Thompson thought it would be less predictable to take the long route to Canada but was snitched on by someone he trusted and was apprehended in Shreveport, Louisiana a week later. His journey was so incomplete; I was inspired to write a fictitious journey of two tough boys (each symbolizing the two personalities I saw in Thompson when I would visit him on death row.) The characters are from Tomball, Texas – Charles Thompson’s hometown. People can learn more about how Charles escaped death row on YouTube by typing “Runaway Chuck” in the search.
While writing The Long Way to Mexico, I did not have a specific audience in mind. I wanted it to appeal to readers as something they would enjoy. In the beginning, it seems more like a story for men because of the abuse endured by Mary Beth Crawly, Boy Jenkin’s wife, but if women give the story a chance, they will see that things do not unfold the way the reader will previously believe they are. Those familiar with my previous work know that I am fond of irony and The Long Way to Mexico is no exception. While some of the language may not be suitable for younger readers, I would say the story will appeal to all types of readers – especially those who love a good story.
If there is anything at all, I would want readers to get out of The Long Way to Mexico is that reading is supposed to be entertaining. Like many authors, I have had my share of rejections. I never had a problem with constructive criticism, but I did find myself not understanding some of the reasons: “I did not relate to the characters as well as I had hoped,” “I am not sure if the story is politically correct for our company,” etc… Listen, readers! Enjoying a good story can be a goal. Not everything that is written has to have a purposeful meaning for society or appeal to what our world is currently most sensitive about. I had one very well known Chicana author ask me: “Why are your two main characters white?” My immediate thought was: “Why the hell not? Because I’m Latino?” I had a story to tell, and in this story, the main characters are white – as simple as that. It is not about race, about women’s treatment, about the current immigration issues – none of that. It is just a great story people should read and enjoy without any stress. This is why I was so grateful that Authors’ Lounge was open to featuring my work. I am hoping to appeal to more readers whose primary interest is to have fun!
Initially, I did not have any specific goals for The Long Way to Mexico outside getting enough readers to be interested enough to buy it. That has gone a little better than I thought. I have been interviewed by stations as far as England. My reviews on Amazon have also been very favorable, and as a result, I am now hoping to get the interest of filmmakers who might be willing to consider it. Online Book Club reviewed The Long Way to Mexico and gave it 4 out of 4 stars saying, “…it may be the neighborhood’s next blockbuster film.” For now, I am hoping for the continued support from readers interested in a great story. The book is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble site. You can learn more about my background and other projects at writingbyroger.com – writers and readers are welcome to reach out. I get many inquiries, so it might take me a couple of days, but I do answer personally. So until we meet again, Ya’ll, Curtis Cash, and Peter “Boy” Jenkins will be waiting. – Roger Rodriguez