Thursday, September 10, 2015

Carroll Bryant Interviews Ray J. de Aragon

A lot of people visit my blog, and for that I am grateful and deeply appreciative. Some of those folks even take time out of their busy day to drop me an email to share their thoughts on a particular subject or two and or to thank me for a post. These things mean a lot to me. My grandfather told me that when people make the effort to reach out, the polite thing to do is reach back. Well, I think it's more than polite, it's social protocol, and I am always happy to make a new friend.

In this case, it was Mr. Ray J. de Aragon who reached out to me after reading my post about Billy The Kid. I posted that post because I too have a strange liking towards the legend of The Kid. His life was fascinating to me and his death - to this day - is still clouded in a little mystery. Still, these people who came out of the early days of this country have filled many young minds of the modern day with wonderment of the past. I mean, to even think about the fact that these folks didn't have a tenth of the luxuries that we have today is mind boggling as to how any of them even made it past the age of twenty.

But legends they are and the fantasies continue. Whether it's Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill, Geronimo or Calamity Jane, many writers past, and present will pen amazing stories of fiction using their real life hero's as their book hero. Mr. Aragon is no exception. He read my post and emailed me his thoughts and appreciation to the life of The Kid. From there, the door was opened for me to get to know this man a little bit better.

Carroll: How long have you had this interest in the life and times of The Kid?

Ray:  My interest in Billy the Kid began as a young child.  When I was a little boy I got to see The Left Handed Gun starring Paul Newman.  The film really impressed me.  Plus my family had a connection to Billy the Kid.  According to family lore, my great-grandmother who was a curandera, medicine woman, had treated Billy the Kid and they had become friends. 

CarrollWhat prompted you to write this book?

Ray:  I had written several articles in the past on Billy the Kid that had appeared in Western journals and newspapers.  My research went off-the-beaten-path, searching for unanswered questions that have always perplexed historians about his life and death.  I followed a trail to clear up certain mysteries, and the book is the result.

Carroll :  Do you have any other hero's from the early western days that you might write a book of or about?

Ray: I’m working on a second book on Billy the Kid since that is one of my main interests.  It appears that there is always something more to write about him.  For example, his connection to certain towns he frequented, and the Hispanic population of New Mexico that he identified with has never been written about.

Carroll:  When did you start writing?

Ray: I had my first published piece when I was a high school student.  It was a short historical fiction story titled RETREAT TO STARVATION PEAK that appeared in Highlights Magazine.  As a university student I began to write historical features that appeared in newspapers and other publications.

Carroll:  Who (or what) inspired you to become a writer?

Ray:  I enjoyed reading as an elementary student.  I especially liked Grimm’s Fairy Tales and New Mexico Spanish folktales.  I had a vivid imagination so I started creating my own little stories.

Carroll: How many books have you written?

Ray: To date, I’ve written and published twelve books of fiction and nonfiction.

Carroll: How much research do you put into your books?

Ray: When I first started writing I spent countless hours in libraries doing research for a book.  Now with the Internet everything is a fingertip away.  It is much easier to do research.  However, I still spend countless hours doing research on a particular subject.

Carroll: Do you travel to places in your books / stories?

Ray: I have to personally feel and have an attachment for the places, events and people that are the subjects of my books so I do travel to the environments that I write about.

Carroll: Do you have a favorite character in any of your books, and if so, who are they?

Ray: My favorite characters are those of Spanish legends such as La Llorona, the famous Wailing Woman ghost that appears in the darkness of the night.  I also grew up hearing of Billy the Kid and played him as a child.

Carroll: If you were to write a biography for yourself, what would the synopsis read like?

Ray: As a university student I was quite involved in the Civil Rights Movement so my biography would revolve around those years.
Carroll: Are your books available in E-nook formats and published print?

Ray: My books are available both in print and e-book formats. 

Carroll: Any up-coming appearances or promotions for your book(s) that you would like to share?

Ray: In September I’ll be doing book signings at some New Mexico museums and special collections libraries.

Carroll:  What has been a highlight to your career thus far?

Ray: A special highlight was a book signing at Costco where people were in line for two hours waiting to purchase a book and have it signed.  A hundred and twenty five copies sold and the enthusiasm from the crowd was an inspiration for me.

Carroll: How often does your writing interfere with other things in your life?

Ray: Everything revolves around my writing.

Carroll: Have you other interests and or hobbies going on?

Ray: I’m also a visual artist so sometimes I combine writing with my art.

Carroll:  Have you any secrets on getting through writers block you care to share?

Ray: I have never experienced writer’s block.  I think it’s because I’m fascinated with history, legends, and myths.  There is so much to write about that subjects are endless.

Carroll: Have you any advice for young writers?

Ray: Book writing and book publishing is a totally different animal today from what it once was.  Now a book has to be pretty much totally completed and put on a thumb drive.  The writer has to be thoroughly familiar with all of the technical aspects of book production.  When submitting a book proposal the best advice is to zero in on the type of books that each individual publisher produces and make sure that your project absolutely fits the needs.  A book proposal has to motivate and attract the commissioning editor so a great deal of effort goes into selling your book.  The book has to be completed and ready so one cannot sell an idea.  A new writer has to know what is already available out on the market and has to produce something fresh and new.

And so there you go everyone, a look into the life of author Ray J. de Aragon. You may check out his Author Amazon Page

I want to thank Ray for his time in doing this interview. I wish him continued success. I also hope all of you enjoyed learning more about Ray J. de Aragon.


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