Hey, and welcome back to Writing Wednesday with another interview. This time we a guest from the great state of Texas, Fernando Rover Jr. So, as always sit back and take the time to learn a little bit about him and I’ll see you guys in a bit.
- Please introduce yourself before we begin.
- My name is Fernando Rover Jr. I am twenty-six years old. I am a writer and poet from San Antonio, Texas.
- Every writer has an origin story to tell, what’s yours?
- My story begins with chapter 1: “Suburban Black Kid”. I grew up in an affluent mostly white neighborhood and was the outsider by my peers. I was told I acted white and I spoke white because I loved to write, I dressed well, and my imagination was sharper than most kids my age. I have wanted to be a creator since I was five years old. I would daydream and make up stories in my head and this followed me throughout my school years, my college years: even right now presently in my career. I call myself a “Suburban Black Kid” because I see the world differently than most and I dare to be different in everything I do.
- I have a departed older sister, a younger stepbrother, and a younger half-sister. My mother is from San Antonio and my father is from Mobile Alabama. They both instilled in me great pride in our heritage as Black people and how important it is to know our history and allow our history to inform our future.
- I attended Texas Lutheran University and obtained two bachelor’s degrees in English and history, respectively. I am currently obtaining a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty University. Aside from writing, I am also a journalist writing for the San Antonio Observer and I also work in economic development as a workforce developer.
- What was the first story, poem, or novel you ever worked on?
- The first novel I worked on was when I was eleven years old and at the time, I read the book, “Bud, not Buddy”, by African American children’s book author Christopher Paul Curtis. It was the first book I saw that had a Black boy on the cover. It inspired me to write my first book, “Sam, not Sammy”. It was kind of like a homage and a parody to Curtis. I remember I showed it to my fifth-grade teacher, and she was impressed with it. That was the first sign of me catching the writing bug and I have been infected ever since.
- What’s the hardest thing about writing?
- For me, the hardest thing about writing is having the courage to express yourself and follow your voice. There is this machine in our society that likes to silence voices that go against the grain and often writers, especially minority writers, are targeted because of that. Having the courage to stand out and tell the truth and, like Emily Dickenson said, “tell it slant”, meaning tell it all, can make or break a career. But as a writer, we have an obligation to serve our readers and be a voice for the voiceless.
- What Genres do you write in and do you have a favorite?
- I am all over the place as a writer genre-wise. I have always written African American stories. I have written in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Honestly, I do not have a favorite genre. I love all genres.
- Why do you write?
- I write to understand and not to be understood. I write to be a voice for the voiceless. I write to educate and liberate. I write to understand the world. I write to creatively express myself and, as corny as it sounds, to make the world a better place.
- Favorite author and/or book series?
- My favorite author is Toni Morrison and my favorite book is “Beloved”
- Okay, the tough question here. It’s no secret that Mental health is important for writers. Seeing that I want to be more of an advocate for it, is there any advice you like to give to people to keep fighting, whether you’re dealing with it personally or know someone that is?
- Let yourself be heard. Let yourself feel whatever it is you are feeling. You matter. You are heard. You are loved.
- Before we leave is there anything you are working on now or anything you have released?
- I recently published my first book of poetry Labyrinth last year and I am proud to say it was selected as the 2019 Best Indie Book Award for Poetry. It is a collection that speaks to the Black male experience through the lens of identity, vulnerability, heritage, and resilience. It is available on Amazon!
- I am in the beginning stages of a new project. I am allowing it to take shape and it will be out when it is ready. I like my projects to let me know when they are ready to be born into the world.
- Finally, anything you want to say to new writers/artists?
- Read everything and anything. Question everything. Believe in yourself. Most importantly, write as much as you can when you can.
The most common thing about creative people is that our minds are going a thousand miles per hour. With so many stories in our head, it’s hard to keep up with all the stories we come up with each day. I’m sure a lot of us could relate to Fernando going to school having our minds wander somewhere else, instead of our schoolwork. If you enjoyed getting to know Fernando you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But until next time, remember to read, write, or create whatever it is your creating; and have fun doing it.
“If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.”