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Updated: Nov 25, 2023

R. L. Roush

Reading The Eagle’s Eyes was a great introduction to R. L. Roush’s work. Two teens go on an adventure based on a Native American legend and wind up out of this world. Roush did her research and came up with a great story that not just teens will love but older readers, too.

Book 1: Eagle’s Eyes, Book 2: Cat’s Eyes, Book 3: Serpent’s Eyes

Roush and I talked via Facebook Messenger and text message.

“My books are under the name R. L. Roush, my initials and last name.” she said. “I chose to use it instead of my full name because teen boys shy away from books written by women. I have been told that when they see that it’s a woman author, they feel the book will be geared towards girls only with lots of romance and no action.”

Roush mentioned why she chooses to write for young adults. “I love the Young Adult age group. They are the thinkers and the dreamers. Their minds are full of ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots.’ At this age they haven’t been squashed by the world trying to limit them. Children understand. Madeleine L’Engle said, ‘You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.’”

She doesn’t have a set of preparations she goes through to write. “How I begin really depends on where the story takes me. I can start off writing or begin with researching. I can visit a site or conduct some interviews.

“I always have the plot in mind before I begin. Normally I just start writing. After a several chapters I check to see if I am going from point A to point B. Eventually, I will do an outline to see if the story line is flowing or if I have forgotten anything. At this point, I may move chapters around or add or delete ones.”

As to research she said, “I mostly do my research online. I have gone to Wikipedia, Native American sites, NASA sites, the local libraries and campus libraries. So far, I have done all my research myself. Although, with the historical fiction I am working on, I may need to go to Germany or find someone there willing to assist with my research.

“There are also NASA Tech Briefs and the white papers they post online. Also, I have used local newspaper articles, fashion sites, and Google Maps. I often buy science books that deal with the science in the book I am writing at the time.”

She mentioned that she hasn’t used yet but may soon. “The historical fiction novel I am working on is pointing that way. I will also be using the National Archives.”

Roush shows her playful side at the author’s table she decorated. She matched a stuffed animal with each of her book covers she arranged on the display. She also dressed in costume.

“On The Eagle’s Eyes, Red Engine Press publishers, Joyce Faulkner and Pat Avery did my editing. That wonderful cover was done by Joyce Faulkner.”

“I also belong to a group of local writers. We call ourselves the Scribes. We try to meet every two weeks at a local library to read, proofread and flag content for each other.

“I found a site online that listed several Native American myths and legends. And I found another one that talked about the customs and lifestyle of historical and modern Chippewa that referred to their legend and myths.

“Many Native American tribes firmly believe they come from the stars. The space travelers in my dream were Native Americans, joining with others, fighting against an evil consuming the Milky Way. Yes, I have vivid dreams! Lol!

“Besides having had a lifelong interest in all things science and especially space related, the thunderbirds in the Chippewa (Ojibway) legend got me thinking about the possibility that there could have been bird-like spaceships.”

She normally writes in her living room but sometimes in other places. “I’ll go to the library or sit at my dining room table. I have even written at the car dealership while waiting on my car repairs.

“I can write anytime, but I prefer evenings. For me, that time of the day is quiet. I have to be careful though not to write all night. Sometimes, the ideas and words start flowing, and I find that I have written all night when I see the morning sun. But I will pay for it over the next few days. Lol!”

Roush had a dream that led to her book series. “When I woke up, I remembered the last part of it and other bits and pieces. I wrote down the parts I remembered, but did not know anyone that could write it, so I gave it a try. Since my dream did not tell me what tribe or tribes were involved, I kept the story local. I chose the Chippewa as the main tribe since we have a Chippewa Township in our county. When I started, I did not intend the story to become a series. It was when I was close to finishing The Eagle’s Eyes, I realized I needed more books to be able to correctly tell the whole story.”

The evil characters in the books come from Native American lore. “Since I chose the Chippewa to be the main tribe in the story, I tried to keep to their names. Manido, manidog, manidoo are various words for spirits. Most are evil, shapeshifters. Misiginebig is a great horned serpent in their myths and legends. I could not have found a better villain, even though the name is a mouth full to try and say!”

Roush commented on what made her choose a Native American theme for her stories.

“There were many Native Americans in Western Pennsylvania at one time,” she said. That’s where she grew up. “The Chippewa passed through here before the Europeans showed up. There were the Cherokee, Shawnee, Oneida, Iroquois, Lenni Lenape just to name a small few, as well as the Monongahela, who preceded them all. There is a group of several tribes who are located in the middle of the state, but Pennsylvania has no reservations.”

“I wanted the lead character, the sister, Kristen, to be in the middle of the age range for young adults. Most YA girls who read the genre are fourteen to sixteen. And most of the lead characters in YA books are fifteen to seventeen. Her younger brother, Lawrence, is twelve. I used his circumstances in the book to show different facets of her character. By the end of the series, except the second to the last chapter of the third book, The Serpent’s Eyes, Kristen is a little over nineteen and Lawrence is sixteen.

“When I started the story, I didn’t realize I had made a good choice in both their ages at the time. But when I started the second book I saw where it was a good move. I was able to have them get older with each book.”

Right now, Roush is working on several different books.

“I have a time travel book, Given Time, that I have just finished. It has been edited and I have the copyright. I am waiting on some feedback from a Beta reader and the book cover before submitting it. The book I am working on now is my first historical fiction. It is based on how my aunt and uncle met in Germany during WWII. I also have another science fiction book on terraforming, but it is still in its infancy.”

She has lots more to offer her readers.

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