Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.
Read Part Three here.
Read Part Four here.
Read Part Five here.
Airship Ambassador: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?
Leonardo Ramirez: I teach and study American Karate as a 3rd degree black belt. I’m also working towards a second black belt in katana and the study of the sword which I love. I am also a student of a training method called, “iron palm.” It is an ancient Chinese practice of hitting a hard object (in my case a pillow full of steel shot) with the back and palm of your hands repeatedly. This hardens the tendons and joints to a point where you can break boards and bricks easier. And it’s a great for self-defense.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
LR: Chief influence would be discipline. As in everything in life you’re either progressing or stagnating which is the same as moving backwards.
AA: You were once in a band. Has that experience had an impact or influence on your writing?
LR: Wait, what? How do you know about that? Here I’ve been trying to keep that a secret! LOL! Honestly, that was so long ago it feels like a lifetime. But if I were to mention one lesson learned from that is to enjoy the people you come across. And wherever I go, I LOVE meeting people.
AA: It’s all about research 🙂 And yes, it can be a lot of fun meeting people. There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
LR: My father once owned a Puerto Rican restaurant. Before he passed he gave me the book of recipes that he sourced from and altered to make his own. I’ve tried some of the yummies out of that book and they’ve turned out really well. I’d love to try more. Puerto Rican food is very different than Mexican and I state this because folks tend to lump the two together but they are very dissimilar. There are very few Puerto Rican dishes that have a hot spice or pepper in it. The flavor has more of a Caribbean flare with tomato, fish and chicken broth as a base. Plantains are also a staple.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of?
LR: I’m a HUGE Star Trek fan which started with the original cast movies and then spilled over into the Next Generation. There are those who aren’t into the alternate timeline movies (Kelvin Timeline) but I love them. I’ve also been a DC Comics fan since I was a kid. My daughter and I collect them together and her room is decked out with action figures and posters (some that she inherited from me). I love what they’re doing with the movies.
AA: That’s really great to have that shared interest with your daughter. I was a DC fan growing up, too. The first comic I bought with my own allowance was The Flash. What is on your to-be read or watched pile right now?
LR: I’m taking my time with Moby Dick right now and that’s what I’m focused on as far as reading goes. We just finished watching Stranger Things which was incredible. I try not to watch too much TV unless it’s a show that we all watch as a family. Some of the shows we watch together are The Flash, Arrow and Agents of Shield. We’re also into the DC Animated Movies which we love.
AA: All of those shows are on my usual watch list, too. Stranger Things was incredible, and I’m looking forward to season 2. Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
LR: My wife is an inspiration to me. Many years ago she had been assaulted at gun point by three men. Not only did she live to tell about it but she is healthy, whole and a wonderful wife and mother. She is loved by so many in the community as the wonderful librarian that she is. All of those things came as a result of her having to make positive decisions that are for the best for her. My daughter is also very faithful to her commitments and I am so proud of her for that. Even though my father and I were estranged for a season, he did inspire me with his amazing work ethic. It flows better in Spanish but he used to say, “Lazy people work twice as hard”. To me this means that you should take the time to focus on the task at hand and whatever you put your hands to do it well.
AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?
LR: When my wife went into labor with our daughter, she had to have a C-section because the baby was stuck inside. The doctor insisted that I be in there with my wife as they put her to sleep before they opened her up. Our baby had been lodged so deep inside that the doctor had to climb on top of the operating table and rock her back and forth until she came out. This was after 40 hours of labor. Right after this the nurse took our baby to clean her up. That’s when I first laid eyes on her. When that happened, I was instantly transformed from being one person into another. I asked the nurse if I could hold her and she smiled and said, “Of course. She’s your baby.” I took her into my arms and knew beyond any doubt that there was nothing I would not do for my baby girl. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. And she still is.
AA: What a great experience, thank you for sharing that. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
LR: Love means ‘other’. It means that when you love someone well it’s not about how they make you feel but how well you love them. Sure there are relationships that drain and are not a healthy choice. But when you are in a healthy relationship, love well.
AA: Three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite Halloween costume, snack food, and 80s song?
LR: Starfleet uniform/Death by Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Cake / We Didn’t Start the Fire
AA: When you do interviews, what is something that you wish you were asked about but haven’t been?
LR: What can we do to help each other?
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
LR: I really do hope that anyone who reads this will want to stay in touch through the blog. Yes, you will get freebies when you subscribe but it’s not about you reading about what I’m doing. It’s about relationship. I’d like to know more about you as well.
Thanks, Leonardo, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
You can support Leonardo and our community by getting your copy of The Jupiter Chronicles here.