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If someone told you that writing a book could take you more than 20 years, you would likely give up writing it.

For the Texan writer, Rudy Ruiz, whose childhood yearning was to be a writer, releasing his first novel, “The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez” is the conclusion of 22 years of work. The author’s devotion to his craft pays off, as Ruiz’s novel is an evocative labor of love that immerses the reader in the culture and magic of the border.

“I always thought I wanted to write novels but I preferred to wait until I felt like I had enough experience in life to be able to write something with substance,” Ruiz said during a telephone interview on the sidelines of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Ruiz wrote the first half of “La Resurrección de Fulgencio Ramírez” after the birth of his daughter in 1998. It took him three weeks to do it. The second half of the novel took him two months and, although he was about to be published several times, it did not come to fruition until Blackstone Publishing recently signed Rudy to a two-book deal.

“I have been cultivating this novel for 22 years. On different occasions I would go back to the novel and edited it again, making changes, and improving it as I had a changing perspective on life, ” said Ruiz.

Fulgencio is a complicated character who has evolved over the years and who, in part, was based on the experiences of Ruiz’s father.

“As time went by, I tried to understand my own father’s mind and heart, something that is very difficult to do,” said the Brownsville, Texas-born author. “Fulgencio has a part of his being that is full of anger and that is something I saw in my father. I felt like it took all his patience to control his anger, to not be violent. He passed away in 2015 and I never understood 100% where he that side of him came from, but I always suspected and thought that it came from hard experiences that he lived during his childhood and youth. My father’s journey – and Fulgencio’s journey – are linked in that over the years they both had to learn how to conquer with their inner demons and let patience and love triumph over anger and conflict. I feel that is a process we can all learn from. And, I’m grateful to my father for everything I learned from him, and for inspiring me to create the character of Fulgencio Ramirez.”

Ruiz is also grateful to his mother for being a writer. It was she who taught him to love reading. Of his mother, who is now 80 years old, he says she is an example of patience, dedication, and love for her family, children, and grandchildren.

In general, “The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramírez” has three sources of inspiration: the stories his father told him, the cultural roots of the border, and love.

“I drew inspiration for the novel’s love story from my own experiences being married for 25 years to my wife, Heather, and I tried to bring to Fulgencio that experience of loving someone and changing to be a better husband, partner, or person.”

“The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramírez” is being published by Blackstone Publishing. The novel follows the struggle of a man to overcome different obstacles, including a curse in his family, to achieve his goals.

The book takes place in a border town in the 1980s, one that may well remind you of the border that Matamoros / Brownsville or Nuevo Laredo / Laredo share. The English version of the book features Spanish words, sayings, songs, and phrases. The publisher is also releasing a Spanish version of the novel.

“I wanted it to be a universal story where anyone can find aspects that touch their heart or catch their attention,” said Ruiz. “I think that for the Latino reader, and anyone of Mexican descent, it would be lovely to read the book because it will remind them of their childhood, parents, the music, the movies. And if you are a younger person, it will be an opportunity to connect with that part of our history and culture and start exploring it a little more.”

In Fulgencio, the author explores what it is that leads a person, full of passion, to be so stubborn and obsessed.

“In real life, if you stop being so stubborn or so full of anger, and, on the contrary, you focus on positivity, you can make a lot more of your life,” said the author. “With Fulgencio and Carolina it is difficult to separate the two things between love and obsession, and I think that sometimes that happens in life where perhaps at first a couple falls in love and then through so many years it is difficult to distinguish if it’s pure love or part obsession or if both feelings are combined. “

For Ruiz, writing this novel represents an opportunity to reconnect with our culture.

“I want to find ways where bridges are built so that non-Latino people can connect with our culture and appreciate our people and see that the border can be a place where there is love, harmony, a place where whether you are Mexican or not, It doesn’t matter, they can be friends, partners, business partners, they can work together instead of fighting each other,” Ruiz concluded.

Ruiz will have a virtual reading and official presentation of his book on Tuesday, September 22 at 5 p.m. at 7 p.m. at Twig Bookstore, San Antonio. After the official launch, it will have more presentations throughout the remainder of the year. Readers can learn more at rudyruiz.com.

Editor’s Note: The above book review was written by Melva Lavín-Castillo. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the reviewer’s permission. Lavin can be reached at: [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above book review shows novelist Rudy Ruiz. The Rio Grande Guardian recently conducted a conversation with Ruiz on Zoom. Click here to watch it.

Editor’s Note: Here is the Spanish version of the review:

Si alguien le comentara a Usted que escribir un libro le podría tomar más de 20 años, lo más probable es que desistiría de escribirlo. Para el escritor tejano, Rudy Ruiz, cuyo anhelo desde la niñez fue ser escritor, el presentar su primera novela “The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez” (La Resurrección de Fulgencio Ramîrez), es la conclusión de 22 años de trabajo.

“Siempre pensé que quería escribir novelas pero me esperé a sentir que tenía suficiente experiencia en la vida para poder escribir algo con sustancia,” dijo Ruiz durante una entrevista telefónica en el marco del inicio del Mes de la Herencia Hispana.

Ruiz escribió la primera mitad de “La Resurrección de Fulgencio Ramírez” en las primeras tres semanas después del nacimiento de su hija en 1998. La segunda mitad de la novela le tomó dos meses más y, a pesar de que estuvo a punto de publicarla en varias ocasiones, las imprentas no lo hacían.

“Llevo 22 años cultivandola. En distintas ocasiones regresaba a la novela y la volvía a editar, a hacer cambios, a mejorar conforme yo mismo tenía perspectiva sobre la vida,” dijo Ruiz. 

Fulgencio es un personaje complicado que fue evolucionando con el paso de los años y quien estuvo basado en parte por las experiencias vividas por el padre de Ruiz.

“Con el paso del tiempo yo trataba de comprender la mente y le corazón de mi propio padre, algo que es muy dificil hacer,” comentó el autor nacido en Brownville, Texas. “Fulgencio tiene una parte de su ser que está lleno de coraje y eso es algo que vi en mi padre. Sentía que tomaba toda su paciencia para controlar su coraje, para no ser violento. Él falleció en 2015 y nunca comprendí 100% de donde veía ese coraje, pero siempre sospeché y pensé que venía de experiencias duras que vivió en su niñez y juventud.”

Ruiz agradece ser escritor a su madre quien le enseñó a amar la lectura. De su madre, quien tiene actualmente 80 años de edad, él dice que es un ejemplo de paciencia, dedicación y amor a su familia e hijos.

En general, “La Resurrección de Fulgencio Ramírez” tiene tres fuentes de inspiración. Primero, los cuentos que le contaba su padre, las raíces culturales en la frontera, y el amor.

“El amor lo traté de inspirar en mis propias experiencias estando casado por 25 años con mi esposa, y traté de traer esa experiencia de querer a alguien y de cambiar para ser mejor esposo, pareja o persona.”

“La Resurrección de Fulgencio Ramírez” es una publicación de Blackstone Publishing que presenta como Fulgencio debe sobrepasar varios obstáculos, incluyendo una maldición existente en su familia, para alcanzar sus metas.

El libro se desarrolla en un punto fronterizo en la década de los 80s que bien pudiera recordarle a la frontera que comparten Matamoros/Brownsville o Nuevo Laredo/Laredo. La versión en inglés del libro cuenta con palabras, dichos y frases en español. La imprenta también está presentando una versión de la novela completamente en español.

“Quería que fuera un cuento universal donde cualquier persona puede encontrar aspectos que le llegan al corazón o le llaman la atención,” sostuvo Ruiz. “Creo que para el lector latino, de ascendencia mexicana, le sería encantador leer el libro porque te recuerda de tu niñez, de tus padres, de la música, de las películas. Y si eres más joven es una oportunidad para conectar con esa parte de nuestra historia y cultura y empezar a explorarla un poco más.”

Ruiz dijo que en Fulgencio explora qué es lo que lleva a una persona llena de pasión por la misma, a ser tan terco y obsesionado.

“En la vida real si uno deja de ser tan terco o tan lleno de coraje, y se dirije de una forma positiva, uno puede hacer mucho más de su vida,” dijo el autor. “Con Fulgencio y Carolina es difícil separar las dos cosas entre el amor y la obsesión, y creo que a veces eso sucede en la vida donde tal vez al principio se enamora una pareja y luego a través de tantos años es difícil distinguir si es amor puro, o es parte obsesión o son las dos cosas combinadas.”

Para Ruiz escribir esta novela también representa una oportunidad de reconectar con nuestra cultura. 

“Quiero encontrar formas en que se construyan puentes para que gente que no son latinos puedan conectar con nuestra cultura y apreciar a nuestra gente y ver que la frontera puede ser un lugar donde hay amor, armonia, un lugar donde si eres mexicano o no, no importa, pueden ser amigos, pareja, socios de negocios, pueden trabajar juntos en lugar de estar luchando uno contra el otro,” concluyó Ruiz.

Ruiz tendrá una lectura virtual y presentación oficial de su libro el martes 22 de septiembre de 5 p.m. a 7 p.m. en Twig Bookstore, San Antonio. Después del lanzamiento oficial, tendrá más presentaciones en lo que resta del año.


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