Rhodes' Interview with the Gazette
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008 Clinton author enjoys a little mystery with his prose by Lynee Coan | Special to the Gazette E-mail this article \ Print this article Brenda Ahearn/
The Star E.L. Rhodes of Clinton, who has published his first novel and has a second one due out next year, says he's more a storyteller than a writer.
E.L. Rhodes never expected to be a published author, but at 50, Rhodes, who built a career as a computer scientist, suddenly has found himself standing in the limelight for his first novel, "A Flaming Rose." Rhodes' second novel, a murder mystery titled "The Serialization of Discontent," is scheduled to be released Jan. 3. He is hard at work on a third and plans on having it available this spring. "I'm not a writer by any means. I consider myself a storyteller," Rhodes said. "Actually I didn't think I could complete the thing [book]. After it was done people said I should do something with it, so I did." A native of Southeast Washington, D.C., Rhodes is the youngest of five children and the only male sibling. In the spring of 1975, he received his diploma from Eastern Senior High School and enrolled in Washington Technical Institute, now known as the University of the District of Colombia. After receiving his degree in computer programming in 1979, he later joined the U.S. Air Force and served from 1981-1987. Rhodes currently works as a computer programmer for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, and currently resides in Clinton. A man who wears many hats, he also teaches a music workshop, attends martial arts classes, enjoys golfing, and is a divorced father of three children, one boy and two girls, ages 29, 16 and 14. Although he considers himself someone who likes to clown around a lot, he takes family seriously. "I spend a lot of time with my kids. I feel it's important, especially with my daughters, since most young ladies wind up dating guys similar to their dads. So now when they choose they'll choose wisely," Rhodes said. "A Flaming Rose," is a comedy placed in an urban setting, about an ordinary guy, Melvin Dossier, who comes from nothing and inherits a fortune after the death of his uncle. After moving into his uncle's house in Virginia, several hilarious situations mixed with romance build to a mysterious ending. The book was published in January. "With a dwindling store of authors who write in this kind of sassy, non-traditional prose, I find his voice fresh and accessible. A fast read, ‘A Flaming Rose' is worth wading through the coal to find the diamonds," Apex Reviews of Durham, N.C., said. With one book out, and another arriving soon, Rhodes says he is by no means finished. "I'm not that far from retirement, so, once I retire, I want to write more, Rhodes said. "Right now I have six books on my brain, so, after that we'll see." A true artist at heart, he is open to spending the rest of his life engaged in an activity that deals with some form of art. Although he doesn't consider himself a writer, Rhodes views writing as a great tool for expression. In fact, he calls writing therapeutic and feels that it's important even if you're not trying to get published. "People should just get their thoughts down on paper. I also think writing is a beautiful way to pass information on to people," Rhodes said. From time to time, Rhodes reflects back on life before his first published novel and tries to imagine life without it. "I never thought it would be like this. I get e-mails from a lot of people, even people who came across my book on the subway! It makes me feel great that I accomplished something," Rhodes said.
Where to buy E.L. Rhodes' two novels are available at most major bookstores. Visit the author's Web site at www.elrhodesbooks.com.