I do think I was portrayed fairly and accurately throughout the book. I believe I am a strong and compassionate person who values friendships and holds deep spiritual convictions. The book did a good job of showing my inclination toward leadership, my passion for faith, and my feelings about friendships. The story also revealed why I’ve been carrying some deep hurt inside of me the last several months.
I’d also like to make sure the readers know that I feel badly about what I did to Jade during the elk stampede. Especially, after I found out all she’d been through before arriving at Camp Arrowhead. I wish there was a way I could take that moment back. That was a real low point for me.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
I’d have to say my faith. Some people are ashamed to let others know they believe in God and read the Bible. I’m not ashamed of that at all. As a matter of fact, I’m proud of it.
Life is full of challenges. When I face trouble, I know where to turn for help. It has always been a comfort to know that I don’t have to face life’s difficulties alone.
In today’s culture, being a Christian, especially from the South, often has a stigma attached to it. But I love who I am and where I’m from, and I’m grateful for my conservative southern upbringing. But I try not to be a “preachy” person. I think it’s more important to live out what I believe than just to talk about it. That said, when my friends ask me questions about my faith, then I’m happy to share with them.
I get impatient at times. My impatience was evident when I thought Jade was asking me too many questions during a particularly trying situation.
When I look back on the incident I know she was just scared, like we all were, and needed some help and reassurance. I could have handled myself a lot better.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part, if your book were made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
The most important thing for me is that the actress portrayed my faith and values accurately. That would ensure they would represent me, in a way, that is credible and in keeping with who I am.
If I had to pick a random person I’ve never met, I think I’d choose either Shailene Woodley, an American actress, starring in Divergent or Ella Purnell, an English actress, you may have seen in Maleficent.
They’re both great actresses, and I’d be honored to have either of them choose to play me in the movie version of Escape Through The Wilderness.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
Honestly, I was nervous from the time we started the river-rafting trip, especially after the accident. It was very scary for the four of us to be alone in the wilderness and so far away from camp. But things really got bad after Rico and Conner got hurt. That’s when I started to think “there’s no way we’re going to make it back to camp alive.” However, I decided it was best to keep those thoughts to myself.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I think I’d have to say Conner. When I first met him, he was a bully, and I detest bullies. Then he seemed weak and ineffective when we got in trouble on the river. Eventually, he changed into someone I actually liked. But if I had to choose, he’s the one I’d least want to be.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
It was a difficult but awesome ending. It leaves readers uncertain about the outcome until the last few pages. It’s one of those dramatic and suspenseful endings that I wouldn’t change for the world. I’m convinced that readers will love it. There’s no way you can guess how things will turn out. Even I was fooled.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?
Create another thrilling adventure. Escape Through The Wilderness was so exciting and intense. I’d like to see the sequel match the level of intensity found in the first book. I think readers will expect that. I happen to know the author quite well, and he listens to my input. I’ll make sure he makes the sequel at least as good as Escape Through The Wilderness.
Thank you for this interview, Savi. Will we see more of you in the future?
I’m not trying to be elusive, but you’ll have to read the first book to find out. I will say this is the first book in the series. Look for the second book sometimes around the summer of 2015.
Before I go, I want to thank you for taking time to interview me. I hope your readers enjoy the book.
Finally, Escape Through The Wilderness is the kind of book that was written to impact and inspire readers. If you read the book and enjoy it, please consider buying a copy for a friend. Good friends have given me several of my favorite books. Sharing a good story is a special way to bless someone.
Thanks again for your time.
Gary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014.
His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing.
His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication.
For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally. Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam.