Leonardus G. Rougoor
If you like rejection, become an author. That’s the way it felt for the first year at least. Then it happened, “The Contract”.
Born in the Netherlands, his family moved to Canada in southern Ontario in the 1950’s. Raised on a dairy farm provided a never-ending supply of work, teaching him many things. Working in a wide variety of jobs gave him a lot of experience in many fields. (Construction, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and industry, etc.)
Growing up in the Niagara Peninsula, he and Kathleen, along with two children, moved to Kelowna BC, when he was in his mid-forties.
After a fulfilling career in Tool and Die, quality control and safety rep. in the steel fabrication industry, Leo started writing when he retired and shortly after he and his wife moved to Vancouver Island, five minutes from the ocean, wow.
The first book, part of a three book series is called “Waiting in the Shadows” a story about justice and how to get it, sort of. Leo liked writing it so much he wrote the second book “Back in the Shadows” and is almost to the point of submission. Using his expertise in the steel fabricating industry he came up with some very unique methods of eliminating criminals.
Having success in the first book, Leo wrote a young adult novel called “The Clock” also a series. Low and behold, he got the publisher Black Opal Books located in Oregon to offer him a second publishing contract. This is an adventure mystery series with the main characters using a Grandfather Clock that allows them to travel back in time. Both novels are due to be released near the end of 2016.
Being married to a wonderful woman, who has given him two children and now, three grandchildren have been the love of his life.
Is there life after retirement? Yes, there is, you can also embark on a new career at any point in your life, Leo has done it several times with better results each time.
Would you please introduce yourself to my readers and share something about your life.
I’m retired and held jobs in many different fields as I grew up. I did everything from working with an electrical contractor, to the construction industry, and running overhead cranes up to seventy five ton lifting capacity. Bored with the way my life was going, I went into the tool and die field, ending up programming and operating, computer controlled, high tolerance machinery. After fifteen years of that, again I got bored and moved across the country ending up in Kelowna BC working at a steel fabrication shop where I stayed for twenty years in various positions, (more about this later in the interview.)
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I have an over-active imagination, which is good for writing and solving problems, however it is not conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. Too often I lay awake in the middle of the night, solving problems, or working out plots and scenarios. This imagination did however help me in my quality control duties in the steel fabrication job. It helped me to work out solutions to problems in production.
Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
While working in the steel fabrication industry as a tool and die maker/machinist and quality control officer, a man who was operating a 135 ton press, accidently crushed his hand, trapping him in the die. The press was at the bottom of its cycle and so with the man screaming louder than anyone I’d ever heard, I had to assess the situation in order to determine whether or not cycling the press to the open position would do any more damage to his hand. I got the man out and after he was taken away in an ambulance, half the employees, (50 or so) left for the day, unable to continue the job. It was an unnerving experience. I stayed at work because no matter if I there or at home, I’d still hear the screams echoing in my head. Because of the way I handled the situation, WCB told the owners of the company to make me the safety representative for the shop of well over 100 people. Most of the man’s hand was severed and completely crushed to the thickness of a sheet of paper in the incident.
What are some of your pet peeves?
People that pretend to be your friend and then stab you in the back, and then continue to act friendly when they see you.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
My absolute favorite author is Isaac Asimov. His stories take the reader off into a believable future. Larry Niven and Harry Harrison are also up there. Caves of Steel and all the ones after that tie a large number of books together and started me reading so many of Asimov’s books.
Michael Crichton is another great writer as well as John Grisham.
What inspired you to write this book? (If you have more than one book, please choose one.)
I started writing, the week after I retired from the work force. What started it was the fact that when I watched the news before going to bed, and I saw a story about abused people, I had a difficult time sleeping. Waiting in the Shadows, was my first book and most fulfilling, because it taught me how to write. I had at this point in my life, read close to a thousand books, which gave me an idea as to how a good story flowed. This however isn’t my favorite. The Clock, and Mirror Mirror, are probably my favorites. There are two more coming out in the near future called, Missing, from the Memoirs of Benny Samuels, and Jack, a supernatural tale about how Jack the Ripper continued his career long after he disappeared in the late 1870’s. One of these is my favorite, but I can’t decide which.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have four novels in the queue at Black Opal Books, Oregon, waiting for editing and release. If any of my novels really takes off, I think it will be one of these. I am at the 70% mark in writing novel number eleven. This is book four in the Benny Samuels series. I’m not certain what book I will write after that. I might continue this series, or finish number three in The Clock series. I’m always looking for new projects that will test my abilities like some of the ones I’ve already written have.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in the Netherlands, a God-awful, long time ago. I grew up on a farm in southern Ontario, learning that hard work helped get you where you want to go. I am married and have two children and six grandchildren. Living on Vancouver Island is a dream I finally realized after retiring.
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Without a doubt, I’d spend it with my wife, Kathleen, and my children and their children.
Who is your hero and why?
I can’t honestly say that I have any hero’s. There are people that I admire, like my friend Bill, who grew up in an orphanage and then several foster homes. He put himself through school and made something of himself. He is a Harvard Graduate, and became the head taxation lawyer in charge of several hundred other lawyers in a multi-billion dollar, international corporation. He was also the Mayor of Irvine, California at one point.
What book do you think everyone should read?
The Testament by John Grisham is certainly a very good one. It teaches about life, and the pitfalls many people run into.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I’ll pick one from my next novel coming out. Benny Samuels is a resourceful, tough private eye, who has a good heart, and after he retires to and old age home, sees where some of his choices in life weren’t always the right ones. He had been too afraid of how his life would have affected a wonderful person he thought about marrying.
Describe your writing style.
In my writing, a lot of me comes out in the story. Everyone I know that has read my stories says they can see me in some of the characters I’m writing about. In many of the books that I have read in my life, too many of them had long chapters where the author went on and on filling in details and creating information dumps. Because of that, I felt like putting the book down and not reading the rest of it. I have tried my very best to stay away from this practice. I want the reader to stay interested in the story and have a hard time putting the book down.
What makes a good story?
A good story has engaging characters that people like, and ones that they hate, and a great plot. It doesn’t give away details prematurely, and if possible, it should keep the reader guessing so they stay interested and want to find out what happens next.
What are you passionate about these days?
I go to a church that has a Needs and Extras program. Donated furniture is picked up and delivered to the less fortunate. I have been part of this for the last five years, and it has been a blessing for me as well as others.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I have a boat that is easy to launch and go out in the ocean where there are many islands, bays and safe waters. It is relaxing just puttering along with my wife, and dropping a line in the water where I think I’ll be able to catch a fish. In the late afternoon, Kathleen and I have a drink on the patio and watch the wind blow through the trees and listen to the birds chirping. After supper, quite often, I soak in a hot tub and read a great book. Television movies also allow us to unwind and take our minds away from life.
How to find time to write as a parent?
This question’s easy, the kids don’t live with us. They’re married and so I get to write pretty much when I want, as long as the wife doesn’t need me.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I have stories in me, and I want to entertain people with them. I never got into writing hoping to make money at it. I want my readers to be happy when they pick up one of my books.
Describe a day in your life as an author?
I get up in the morning have a coffee and a slice of toast with Kathleen. We watch a program or two, like, Flip or Flop, Doc Martin. Sometimes we watch Jeremiah Babe on Youtube, he has an interesting point of view.
If there are no things Kathleen wants me to do, I like to spend a few hours a day writing my current novel.
I also started writing because, I didn’t want to get to the age of eighty, and look back on my life, thinking, “I wish I’d done this or tried that.” I’ve done many of the things I wanted to, and have few regrets. Some yes, but few.
My philosophy in life is this: If something isn’t going to affect your life much a year from now, why let it overly concern you today.
Advice you would give new authors?
Write what you know about, look at your words as a reader would do, and write because that is what you have to do because not writing isn’t an option. Don’t write because you think you’d like to become famous, chances are great that it won’t happen.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished, State of Fear by Michael Crichton, a very good read.
How long have you been writing?
Five years. The first book took a year and a half. I had to go through it seven or eight times changing and fixing the story. Each book after that went a little quicker.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
First, I get an idea for a story, and possibly how it ends. Then I work out characters as I write the story.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
My characters come as I require them. Most of my stories seem to have something close to episodes in them. The names of people and what they are like, pop into my head whenever I need them. Some however are created from people I knew in the past. There have been a few people I knew that I disliked very much, and I used them as characters in my stories and made them look really bad. I changed the names enough to not get into trouble over it, but I doubt they would ever read the story, so I’m safe that way. This was my way of getting back at them for real or imagined indiscretions.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
None, I research what I need, when I need it.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Energetic, fun-loving, compassionate and friendly.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book? (Pick one of your books if you have books.)
I came up with the character in my first book, Waiting in the Shadows, because I am bothered greatly by the way some people treat others. There are criminals who get away with murder, rape and theft. I felt like doing something about it myself, but didn’t like the idea of prison, so I made up the character named, Joseph, and he corrected the things I think are wrong with society.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
It gave me an outlet for the frustration I felt when I couldn’t do the things I felt needed doing. Don’t get me wrong, please, I am not a violent person, I’ve been in the martial arts and boxing, but I don’t like fighting. Writing these stories makes me feel like I’m doing something constructive.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Joseph is someone who lost the thing most dear to him, and saw the ones responsible go totally unpunished. It took years of pain and suffering for him to get to the point where he could exact justice. Once this was done, he felt he had an obligation to help others, people who couldn’t help themselves and were at the mercies of horrible people. He does this while living a normal life. No one suspects who he really is, well almost nobody.
Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?
Write about something that you are passionate about. Writing, as far as I am concerned should be easy and satisfying. If it is difficult, and frustrating, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. I have ten books contracted with my publisher and I have no intention of stopping. It is a labor of love.
So far, in the five years I’ve been writing, I haven’t had one instance of what others call, writer’s block. It is probably one of the benefits of an over-active imagination. Like I said earlier, there are down sides to it too.
JUSTICE! How can you get it if the system fails you totally?
They say that if the right buttons are pushed, a person can sometimes be made to do things that they would have thought impossible. The right buttons have been pushed. His mother has been brutally murdered and the killer has gotten completely away with it.
This has driven a young man to a place he never dreamed he would go. No one would willingly want to go down this road, but life some-times forces a person to take the most drastic of measures. How the ideas come into his head amazes even him, and those who pushed the buttons are about to pay.
Worse still is the question—where, where will this all end? Is his communication with the dead a sign?
Siblings Matthew and Elizabeth Janssen, eighteen and seventeen, together with their parents, take a long family vacation in Cape Cod, since Matthew leaves for college in the fall. Curious, the two teenagers start exploring and discover a secret room in the cottage they’re renting for the summer. In this room, they find a dusty old grandfather clock with a letter hidden inside.
This mysterious letter alleges that the clock is actually a time travel device. The letter writer, John, claims that, in 1927, he went back in time to save his cousin Alice, who was murdered in 1907, and whose ghost is doomed to forever flee down the beach, trying to escape her murderer—but to no avail. However, something happened, and John got stuck in 1907. He begs whoever finds the letter to figure out what went wrong with the clock and fix it, returning him to his own time of 1927.
Is it all a hoax, or could it possibly be true?
And once Matthew and Elizabeth figure out what went wrong, fix it, and return John to his own time, will they be able to resist temptation to try it on their own? After all, the clock’s been fixed, so what could possibly go wrong?
Gord—the son of Harry and Brenda, who are long-time friends of Joseph’s—has a serious drug and alcohol problem. Joseph tries to help the boy, but to no avail.
Suffering from a lifetime of losses himself, Joseph has become a vigilante, determined to eliminate the undesirables of society, something he has become very good at, but he has no idea how to reach an eighteen-year-old boy and make him see reason.
When Gord runs away from home after an argument with his parents and joins a cult group, Joseph enlists the help of his friend, Bill, a detective. But Bill has no more luck convincing the boy to come home than Joseph does. Knowing there is nothing more he can do, and hoping the boy will eventually come to his senses, Joseph goes back to what he does best—punishing people who prey on the innocent.
It’s not a life he willingly chose, but one he was forced into when the system failed to bring justice to him and other victims of these monsters.
Resigned to his lonely and secretive life, Joseph searches out and dispatches the most heinous of criminals, until the suicide of a friend and a fatal mistake set Joseph’s world spinning out of control into a downward spiral from which he sees no hope of escape…
Joseph has finally put the past behind him. Life is everything he has ever envisioned. Justice has been meted out, the ones responsible for the crimes against him and the innocent have been made to pay, and he can finally end his life of violence.
Then, in one moment, it is gone. Everything he values has been stolen from him by a criminal looking for a quick payday.
So what can Joseph do when, after a life of tragedy, he finally finds happiness, and someone rips it all away from him? How can he go after a man, when he has no clue where the perpetrator is and only a vague idea of what he looks like? How does he find the will to survive when his whole world is gone and the only thing he has left is the need to make the guilty pay?
The chase is on, and Joseph will have to use every resource available if he’s to succeed.
But what will he do if he actually catches up with the man he has come to hate more than anything?
Siblings Matthew and Elizabeth Janssen, nineteen and eighteen, live with their parents in Lilac Cottage in Cape Cod where they had been vacationing when they discovered a time-travel grandfather clock hidden in a secret room.
When their parents bought the cottage and everything in it, including the clock, Matthew and Elizabeth are elated at still having access to the time travel device. Summer vacation is over, and the two teenagers now have to plan their adventures around school and family life, making it difficult to get back into the past to solve mysteries. And, boy, do they have mysteries to solve! Not only have a number of young girls been kidnapped and murdered between 1914 and 1927—crimes the siblings are sure were committed by the same man—but the jewels from a jewelry heist in 1900 are still missing.
When the siblings find a riddle written by the man who allegedly masterminded the jewel heist, they are sure that if they can just figure out the clues, they can recover the missing treasure…that is, if they can survive their dealings with the murderer of the young girls.
A mirror of questionable origins appears out of nowhere in a shipment of furniture.
It calls to those it finds compatible. The owners soon find out why, and wish they hadn’t.
Can a mirror actually be possessed? What happens to the people it encounters?
This chilling story takes place over several decades as the mirror becomes the possession of many different people.
Who is immune from the call of the mirror, and what is it in the mirror that beckons? Pray you don’t find out…
Reviews of Mirror Mirror:
In Mirror, Mirror by Leonardus G. Rougoor, everyone who comes into close contact with an ebony-framed mirror is in danger of disappearing forever. Over the decades, the mirror calls to certain people, who have no idea of the danger they are in. Buying the mirror comes with a price far more than any money paid for it–a price no one would willingly pay if they knew the true cost. Well written, fast-paced, and chilling, this is, in my opinion, one of the best books the author has released so far. A really great read. ~ Taylor Jones, The Review Team of Taylor Jones & Regan Murphy
Mirror, Mirror by Leonardus G. Rougoor is an excellent example of how very talented and versatile this author really is. The story follows the ownership of an unusual mirror, which is made of smoked glass framed in ebony. What the buyers of the mirror don’t realize, until it’s too late, is that the mirror is evil and means them harm. Can they resist it? And what happens to them if they can’t? Is the mirror possessed, or is there something evil inside it? Beautiful and unique, the mirror ensnares many innocent victims, who thought only of how beautiful and exotic it was, and what a great deal they got on it, not knowing the real price was yet to be paid. I was very impressed with Mirror, Mirror. Chilling, intense, and compelling, the story grabs you by the throat and holds on from beginning to end. You won’t be able to put it down. ~ Regan Murphy, The Review Team of Taylor Jones