Robbie L. Rogers has a story to tell about an intriguing aspect of the world undetected, or ignored, by many. The Arkansas native has lived in this area for some 50 years, but his road to the Panhandle ran far and wide, from Mobile (where his family moved during World War II) to work all over the world, and eventually to Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Churchill Bayou. His travels and experiences moved him to write Guilty of No Wrongdoing, a novel published by Tate Publishing of Oklahoma and available at area bookstores and online.
Guilty of No Wrongdoing, set “predominantly on the Gulf coast,” is described as a tale of “corruption, hi-tech secrecy and intrigue.” The protagonist is Lew Harris, an honest and heroic man who runs afoul of a sinister defenseindustry organization called TRIAD.
According to Rogers, Harris is “not me,” but he was “born with a desire to right wrongs.” Harris also has a love-interest, Sarah Converse.
Rogers has an extensive background in engineering. He studied at the University of Alabama and worked for years on Department of Defense projects and systems engineering jobs. He says that his experiences and travels “disturbed” him. He was struck by the correlation between concentrated money and power, and their tendency to “make people do things they shouldn’t.”
A trip in the 1980s to Europe to supply nuclear security systems was particularly significant. “As you worked, you began to see things that weren’t right,” he says. Rogers observes that many times people end up being forced to ignore what they see, and that whistle blowers are “castigated” for their trouble.
As for the story, Rogers says, “Everything in the book is a supposition, based on the truth.” The facts and details come from Department of Defense newsletters, trade journals, books and other industry and public sources, with names changed.
He adds: “I suspect there will be some that will be a little bit discouraged” at what is in the book, but he wrote it “in hopes that the people would wake up to the reality, to change our attitudes toward what is true and honest.” As for his choice to use fiction rather than nonfiction to make his point, he says that the latter “would open too many bags of worms.”
Rogers worked for years at PC Magazine, and was no stranger to writing and editing, but Guilty of No Wrongdoing was new territory for him. He coldsubmitted the manuscript to Tate, which reportedly publishes only 120 out of 75,000 submissions per year. He got a favorable response within four months, and a team of editors worked with him for a year to trim the 600-page original work down to its published length of 300 pages. “I was grateful they did what they did,” he says, recalling how at PC “everything was edited by seven editors.”
Sales of Guilty of No Wrongdoing appear to be going very well. Tate reports on progress every few months, and Amazon has reportedly had to reorder. Rogers says he has heard some comments, none negative.
Rogers is also involved with the Gospel Truth Ministry, and is writing a work of nonfiction, a course for beginning Christians. In addition to that, he is a photographer, painter and occasional fisherman. Margaret, his wife since 1960, is well known in the area as a weaver. At 73, Rogers says he and Margaret “don’t know how we ever found time to work for a living.”
Robbie L. Rogers will appear at Sundog Books, 88 Central Square in Seaside on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., to sign copies of Guilty of No Wrongdoing. His Web site, www.robbierogers.com, offers detailed information on his books, artwork and photography, as well as poetry, opinion pieces, sayings and essays on a variety of topics.
You may order my novel “Guilty of No Wrongdoing” at: Amazon.com