Render Wilde’s Guardian Angel Number Seven: A Joey Hopkins Story
Render Wilde is a locomotive engineer who has been working in the Richmond, Virginia, area for the last fifteen years. He is married with two children and loves to entertain his family and friends with wild stories.
Here’s an interview with Render about his new book, Guardian Angel Number Seven: A Joey Hopkins Story.
One of your main characters is a locomotive engineer. How does that inspire the story? Do trains and the culture associated with them add something unique to the book?
I am a locomotive engineer, we are called locomotive operators now, I basically start and stop the train and when the train gets to a certain speed the computer takes over. I just blow the horn and monitor the computer systems. I have been working this job as an engineer for 17 years now. The first few books I wrote have a lot of railroad stories and the lifestyle we live. This is not an exciting lifestyle for me, but many thousands of people are fascinated with trains.
I can’t watch a modern movie without seeing a train in it. My wife and I play a game every time we watch a film to see how long it will take to see something that relates to a train, whether it be a set of tracks, a whistle, or a train itself. It usually doesn’t take very long. I thought about a character that would be similar to myself and gave him this wild chaotic life.
I also wanted to let people know the dangers we face every day along with the tragic events that happen on a daily basis across the industry. The statistics are mind-blowing on the mayhem that occurs on the tracks across the world. You could spend hours watching a video of railroad accidents on the web and those are just the ones caught on film.
I personally saw a fellow employee lose his life when an engine ran over him. I had nightmares for over a year after that day, and then God gave me another picture. A cross appears in the picture that isn’t there and it points to the exact spot where that man was killed. I can’t make this stuff up. I weave these things into the story as fiction.
How/why did this story develop into a supernatural tale with an angel?
Some of my co-workers think this is not made up, that’s why they think I’m Joey Hopkins. If I do have an Angel watching over me, then he is overworked. The hotel story is shared with another engineer, he will no longer stay in that room. I am not alone with being visited in the middle of the night. I can’t believe my cousin still lets me stay at her house after all the things that happen when I’m staying with her.
The video she has of her dog going crazy in her bedroom while orbs are flying all around is wild. The last time I stayed with her, the door to her bedroom slammed and we were all in the same room watching television. She slept on the couch until I left to go back to Virginia. I could go on and on, but that is how the Angel came about. I guess I’m haunted.
Are you making points here about law enforcement and our justice system, or is this more of a tale about human nature?
I like to take today’s headlines and weave them into a story to give it some reality. As you might know, the police are taking a lot of abuse across our nation. Close to a hundred cops have lost their lives protecting us this year alone. Both of my boys had shown interest in becoming police officers. One went as far as going on a couple of ride-alongs. I was so fearful for them, that I talked both boys out of becoming cops. I feel ashamed.
I was a hockey referee for many years, It’s like being the law out on the ice. A thankless job. My ultimate goal was to humanize law enforcement, show that they are people just like all of us, doing a job many people would never want to do, risking your life on a daily basis never knowing if you are going home at the end of your shift.
Do you have plans to turn this into a series of books?
Yes, I have written five books. Working on another at the moment. I submitted two more books to be published. Karma Days was the last one I wrote and parallels the series before merging with it toward the end. It would fall into the series as book number six. I also submitted a book called The Truth. This falls in at number four in the series. Feels like how Star Wars was given to the public.
I wanted to make some changes to book two and three before adding them to be published. My time restraints have pushed those stories back, but they will be ready before the end of the year. I’m 50 thousand words into book five. I’m not sure if I will finish it this year, but I’m going to work on it. The railroad is short-staffed at the moment and the free time I once enjoyed is gone until they get the numbers back up. I dedicated this book to seven people that I worked with on the railroad that never got to retire, they are my seven Guardian Angels.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What sorts of books do you enjoy reading?
Some of my favorite authors are, Steve Alten, Dan Brown, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, James Grappando, Dean Koontz, James Rollins, Steve Berry, John Nance and Brad Thor.
I would like to add that profits from this first book are going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I wanted to give back after all God has done for me just in these last few years. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever write a novel, yet have it published. I have many shout-outs to bands throughout the book. The songs I mention add to the story and give a message while I write the story. So the story has a faith base to it, but it might not be something you might find in a Christian bookstore.