DA Kentner is an award winning author who also enjoys meeting and interviewing authors of many genres.

As author KevaD, my novel "Whistle Pass" won the 2013 EPIC eBook Award for suspense. Previously, in 2012, it won a Rainbow Award in the historical category. "Whistle Pass" is currently out of print, though I'm considering finding a new publisher, or self-publishing the novel. What do you think?

"The Caretaker", a 3,000 word short story, won 'Calliope' magazine's 18th annual short story competition. Click the blue ribbon to view their site and entry rules for this year's short fiction competition.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Author and Renaissance Man Robert Valdes-Rodriguez

Renaissance Man: A person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

I would add to that definition the requirement of "gentleman," as then the term aptly applies to Robert Valdes-Rodriguez, or RVR as he has been called for the better part of his life.

The business community knows Robert as an entrepreneur and Wall Street executive unafraid to challenge himself as well as others. Where Robert stands apart from so many of us is not his ability to dream and establish goals, but to actually work toward achieving those goals and pursuing the dreams many of us will merely reflect on in later years, wishing we had taken the risk.

Yet, Robert's true passion is for living life. Married with four children his personal time includes the ocean, good wine, great ties, and giving back. To that end, each year his company, RVR, donates a portion of online sales to a new charity.

Robert decided to write a book titled "MEN: 10 Essential Skills."

While the topics he dwells on include tying a tie, playing poker, proposing a toast, and others, it was the last one that truly caught my attention and helps to define the character of Robert Valdes-Rodriguez – "Keep the Girl."

Yeah. "Keep the Girl." Men and women put so much time and effort in to winning each other, and then sometimes forget to put the same energy and passion in to keeping each other.

Passion is a simple word with infinite importance. When we lose our passion for living, we are subject to sitting on the sidelines watching the parade of life pass by.

And living life passionately defines the man known as RVR.
Robert's Web Site RVR Neckwear

Q) What prompted you to write "MEN: 10 Essential Skills"?

A) The idea came to me after many years of bantering with my brother and brothers-in-law during family reunions about the skills that men just need to know. We would never agree, so I always knew that a short list would serve as a fun topic for a book - and it would it give me the last word with them. The motivation to execute the idea started as a gift idea for the menswear stores around the country that carry RVR ties and pocket squares. When I surveyed a few of our best clients, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, ultimately resulting in pre-orders to sell in their stores.

Q) Your company, RVR, provides neckwear designed by you. To what do you attribute this unique interest?

A) Throughout my 20+ years on Wall Street, I had a 'lucky' tie that I relied on for important client meetings and events. Now, as a designer, I have a unique insight into the customer that RVR Neckwear is serving. Our company identifies with professionals such as attorneys, bankers, television personalities and anyone who depends on an eye-catching tie with uncompromising quality as part of their lifestyle. In fact, if you were to ask our typical client what they love most about RVR ties, they would reply, "I get a compliment every time I wear one!"

Q) Truly passionate people generally had someone in their younger years as a role model encouraging and supporting them. Who filled that role in your life?

A) My father, for so many reasons. Firstly, he was always the most elegantly dressed man in the room. My father, an attorney in Cuba, emigrated to the U.S. in 1961. Leaving his worldly possessions behind and starting over in a new country, he taught me about taking risks to pursue one's goals. Watching him succeed with a new life insurance career, I learned about persistence and the balance between confidence and humility. Lastly, by the loving way he interacted with my mother or the kindness he showed to even a stranger in the elevator, I learned to treat everyone around me with respect.

Q) What primary values do you hope you and your wife instilled in your own

A) Take charge of your own destiny. Learn from your mistakes. Work hard, play hard.

Q) What one life lesson do you hope readers carry with them from your book?

A) Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

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