Manuel Fernandez

Manuel Fernandez (1959-Present) born in Havana Cuba in 1959, came to the United States two years later. Grew up in Denver Colorado. He has written and illustrated "The Little Blue Fish" which is a children's story, "Pick Me Up" a self help book, which includes an account of the accident that briefly ended his life and his recovery, and his most science fiction series, "Wolf Battle and the Hidden World" and the sequel "Wolf Battle, The Legend Begins". He is currently working on a sci-fi/fantasy crossover "Battle for Paradise". A third Wolf Battle book is also in the works.


The Rocky Approach to Life

The Rocky Approach To Life shows one that trials and tribulations are no different than fighting in the boxing ring. If a knockout punch to life's problems is what you seek, then you have come to the right place, for the proper training. Where you presently stand in life is irrelevant. Today is a new day! We will be taking on all fears, regrets that plague the soul. Are you ready? Let's get to it! Ding Ding!!

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J Ware: Hello, this is Jay, and I'm here with Manuel Fernandez, the author of The Rocky Approach to Life. How are you, Emmanuel?

Manuel Fernandez: I'm doing good. How you doing, Jay?

J Ware: I'm doing well. And we were talking a little bit before we hit record on this, and I'm in Pittsburgh. Weather's Nice. In Pittsburgh. And you're saying that you're in California, aren't ya?

Manuel Fernandez: Yeah. We're in the bay Area about 30 miles from San Francisco, and it is raining cats and dogs here,

J Ware: Oh, man. Well, you know, I've, I've always wanted to visit California and my wife's been out there, got some people that I know out there, but it's gotta be beautiful. Hey, I am, I am super excited that you're here, our pregame that we are just talking about. I'm learning about your book. I'm excited about it. I think that this is gonna be an inspiring book. And so for everybody out there that is just tuning in, that you are, you want to hear this podcast, this interview with Manuel. I am super excited about this, and so we're gonna jump right in. Manuel, how long have you been writing full-time, part-time? When did it start for you?

Manuel Fernandez: I started really writing probably about 11 years ago. After, after I, I had a really bad breakup. And the first thing that, that I actually wrote I believe it or not, was a a television pilot. And because at, at the time I was working in security and I was working in a highrise building. And and I saw all these different, like, funny things that, that would, that would, would go on. So I decided to, you know, to write a, a, a pilot like a comedy just because, you know, just every day <laugh> that at the job was just, was just comedic. So that's, that's kinda like the first thing that I wrote. And then, like with the Rocky book it was more, again a bad breakup and I was just, I was just feeling so down and just depressed. And during that time, the Rocky movies really helped me.

J Ware: Well, that's, that's great to hear that, that you found help through the movies, and I know that, you know, as artists and people that are creative and writers and maybe a category that I would put you into as long as, as I would put myself into, you can find inspiration from anywhere. And that's what's exciting is you can take a Rocky movie and say, well, that was a cool movie, but let's look a little bit deeper into this and see what we can learn. So, Manuel, tell us about your book. Like walk us through what this book, the Rocky approach to Life is all about.

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Manuel Fernandez: Yeah, sure. Yeah. So so the Rocky approach to life, it's, it's it's about taking all the, the, the principles and mostly the trials and tribulations from the Rocky movies and applying them to your, to your own personal life. But for example, you know it, in, in every single Rocky movie, there's, there's, there's a villain, right? The, the, the first two were a Apollo Cree number three was Clever Lang and then Drago. So I, I look at that, I, I look at those, you know, those, those those opponents as I call em as mountains, you know? And, and, and so Rocky achieves that, you know, and he, he climbs that mountain, but then there's always a tougher mountain. There's always, you know, and, and it's the same thing in life, because you're always gonna get knocked down.
Manuel Fernandez: Always. I don't care if you're you know, if you're, how, how rich you are or, or, you know, your, your background, you're, you're always gonna get knocked down. That's just, that's just life. But it's, it is it's how you conform to that, right? You know, because, because a lot of times people just want to stay down and it's, it's so easy just to get knocked down and stay there, but it's, it's hard to get back up. And and the Rocky movie is kind of, you know, it taught me that, taught me well, okay, there's going to be a, a lot of days where life has just beat me down, whether it's the people that I'm around or I'm, or my life isn't going the way that I expected it to, you know? But it's how you react to those, to those hurdles that, that, that really kind of defines you as a person.

J Ware: We're actually, Manuel, we're going through these movies with my son. It's, we're actually two of my sons. We've, I've shown 'em to my older son, and he loved 'em. And I thought, this is time. And we're actually in between two and three. So we, we've watched Apollo Creed, and then we're gonna go on to the third one and for the first time they're seeing Rocky and they're excited about it. And it is really neat. It's right on the front of my brain because we're, we're in the middle of it. It's really neat to see, like you said, that there's always gonna be a challenge, you know? So the first movie he conquers the mountain, as you would say, the second movie, he finds himself back at the bottom and needing to climb another mountain. So, help me understand some of the mountains that have brought perspective to you in your own life, or what you've seen in other people's lives, that gives you the understanding to say, I've been there and this book is something that you are gonna benefit from because it's worked in my life.

Manuel Fernandez: Yeah. oh. Oh, yeah. Perfect example is, is my, my, my personal life. I grew up I grew up in the well, my, my teenage years in the foster system. My, my stepfather was a a drug dealer. So I would see all kinds of different things, you know, at two or three in the morning. You know, I, I, I've, I've, I've been abused. I was in juvenile hall. I, at, at 17 years old, I was out on the streets living pretty much behind dumpsters and, you know, and, and abandoned schools. I had no direction on where I wanted my life to go, just absolutely none. And then I got into martial arts, and that saved my life. Martial arts it, it, it taught me how to be a man. It taught me how to, how, how to, how to function in society.
Manuel Fernandez: And without martial arts, I wouldn't be here today. I, I I would be either dead or in prison. So that's one example. And, and the odds were, were stacked against me. I mean, you know, I was, I was, I was shot at, I, you know, I, I got jumped into a gang at, at 15, you know, I, I've been stabbed. I, I was, you know, I was almost shot or, or, you know you know, like I said a couple of times, and in all reality, I really shouldn't be here. Talk about being knocked down <laugh>, you know, I was knocked just, you know, knock downs, you know eight counts. And it's just one of those things to where the, the knowledge of, of the movies, because I've been watching 'em since I was, you know, probably six or seven years old.
Manuel Fernandez: And then becoming you know, an adult. I, I went back, I went back to, to the movies and really, and really, you know, not just look at the boxing aspect, because if you really think about it, right, Rocky was not a good fighter. Like in the first one, I, I think, you know, he, he lost more than he than he won. And it was one of those things where he, you know, he was kind of picked just out of a hat. So, but it's interesting though too, in, in the first Rocky he's, you know, it's the, it's the night before, and he's he's with Adrian, his girlfriend, and they're talking about the fight, and he tells her, he says, you know what? It doesn't matter if I beat Apollo Cree tomorrow, you know, and, you know, it doesn't matter. Winning for me is going the distance with Creed, and if I do that, then I've won. So it's his own personal, you know, what, what, what matters, what the winning, the term winning, you know, might be perceived different from everybody else, you know, of, of, of what he should accomplish. But to him just going to decision with Creed, that was enough for him.

J Ware: Manuel, that's, that's incredible that you share that about your life. I thank you so much for your honesty, your openness, your ability to be vulnerable. And I'm sure that people are gonna catch that in the book as this talks about going from, you know, lows and conquering mountains, like you said. A couple questions here. You, you just talked about going the distance, and I'm wondering if you could explain that going the distance, it's, it's, I, I don't know if it's used in other boarding terms and whatnot, but in boxing, that's a term going the distance. And so what does going the distance mean, ex, just explain that a little bit.

Manuel Fernandez: Yeah, sure. So in, in terms of going the distance not giving up like, you know, for example, you know, like I said, in, in the first rocky rocky just wants to go the distance, meaning like you know, the the entire 15 rounds with Apollo, and, you know, if he finishes that and he goes a distance, and then to him, that's winning. In terms of like other people, it could mean, you know for me, it's going to distance, trying, trying to, to, to achieve a goal. And, you know, for me, I'm, I'm very self, self-motivated and and I'd love knowledge and I always want to learn. And so so for me, I'll you know, to do research or talk to people who, who like know more than me, and, you know, sometimes I don't always achieve my goal, but for me, going the distance means, you know, I put in the work and, you know, I, I put in my best effort and I can look myself in the mirror and go, you know what?
Manuel Fernandez: I didn't achieve that goal, but it's okay because I, I, I did everything that I could, you know, and I, I walked away going, you know what? I tried. I put everything in the way I busted my butt. Even though, you know, I didn't, you know, I didn't succeed that that's okay, because a lot of times, you know, and I was, I was guilty of this <laugh>, you know? But people just kind of conform to life and just take what life's life gives 'em, and they become complacent and they don't take that chance. And my my philosophy is, you know, if you're not failing, then you're not trying, because I, when, when things were going great, and, you know, it's all sunshines and rainbows, I didn't want a darn thing. I mean, nothing. You know, it was when I was, I was knocked down you know, depressed just not, not certain about my life, like where I was going, that, that I was, that I learned more about myself and what I wanted outta life. And how to get there, you know, training, like, and, you know, boxing, right? You know, you know, you train or you run 10 miles, you do, you know hundred pushups a day, lift weights in life. It's, you know, training could be like I said, when you research, you know you want to achieve something, okay, well talk to somebody who knows more than you, you know, who's more knowledgeable put the work in. So hope I didn't ramble too much. So <laugh>,

J Ware: The book sounds very interesting because it comes from your own personal experience. You're speaking from this from a great platform of what you've experienced. And my question to you is, going back to the book a little bit, is, you know, you mentioned Drago, okay, now, it's, it's been a little while, okay, for me to remember my rocky movies, but do people have to see the rocky movies understand this book?

Manuel Fernandez: Not necessarily. Like I, you know, I, I talk about like Club Lane and, and, and Drago kind of an example of as, you know, as that mountain to climb and achieve, but it's more of, of like the philosophies from the Rocky movies. You know, and even if you don't, you'll understand the the philosophy said and the, the traits like perfect example too is I think the best Rocky movie was the the last one, Rocky Balboa. And he's, he's at the tail end of his career, you know, and he's, he, he's a joke because he takes his fight with the heavyweight champion of the world, you know, and Rocky is, is over the hill, and everybody's on him. I mean, everybody, you know, his son is like, what are you doing? You're too old to fight, you know, you know the press, they're like, you're a joke, man.
Manuel Fernandez: You know, this is, is is this, is this for real? And everybody, you know, he's, he's, he doesn't have anybody there to kind of support him, but yet against all odds, he goes, you know what? This is what, this is what drives me. I have to do this even if I, even if I fail, even if I, even if I lose and make, you know, make a complete idiot, you know you know, of, of, of myself it doesn't matter what other people think. And that's a philosophy that I share in the, in the book, and I use him as an example for that. It's because a lot of times, like I said people, people are afraid to take that chance because they're so afraid of what other people are going to think about it or, or, or say, or, you know criticize.
Manuel Fernandez: And that can be a I mean, talk about killing motivation. You know, and for me, cuz, you know, cause I'm, I'm a, I'm an actor, you know, as, as well, and there's been many times where close friends and even family members were like, you know, maybe you should do something else because you're not getting the gigs right off. Maybe you should, you know, get, get a real job, a, a, a nine to five and be like everybody else. And for me, it's like, well, I don't think I, I don't have that, that mindset, you know, I, I, I don't want to be complacent, you know? I want to, like I said, you know, earlier reinvent myself every, every, every two or three years. Like, you know, I, I I started this thing about three years ago where I, I, I told myself, I said, you know what?
Manuel Fernandez: Every year, January 1st, I'm going to learn something new, you know? And Stark, last year, it was, it, it was Spanish this year, this year it's learning how to play piano. Next year, you know, it'll be something else. But I, I, I told myself every year, I'm gonna learn something new because, because I want to keep growing as a person. And again it's because like, there's so much negativity in this world today that people just kind of, kind of conform to that negativity. And that's what creates all this self-doubt. Depression is, you know, we, we we, we, we listen to other people and not listen to our heart.

J Ware: Manuel, thank you for sharing that. I'd like to ask you, does writing energize you or exhaust you? And if it exhausts you, how do you recoup

Manuel Fernandez: Both? I lo I, I, I love writing. I, I absolutely love it. I, I usually write fiction crime, you know, crime n nor the Rocky, the Rocky book was, was the first book, the first non-fiction book that I've, I've written. I usually write, you know, like I said screenplays, short stories novel. The majority of, of the, of the fiction, of the fiction books are short stories are crime. In terms of like screenplays, you know, I, I've written comedic drama science fiction. So my, my writing style is pretty eclectic. But, but you do get you do get tired because, you know, for me, I mean, I could, I could sit here and, you know, and write for three, four hours a day and feel good about it, and then the next day, I'm, I'm starting out in 20 minutes in I'm drained.
Manuel Fernandez: So it's more of just having a balance. If you feel, if you feel like you're just, you know, I don't have anything today for me, for me, that's when, you know, it's, it's weird kind of saying this, but that's when the ideas start to like, kind of like, you know, come to me and what, what, what I'll do is, you know, I won't, I won't write, I'll just, I'll just sit there and think, and I'll write, you know, my ideas down freehand, but I'll just sit there and, and think about it. And then it usually just, just comes to me. So it's a fine line. It's a fine line between you know, really putting your all into it in, into a project and writing, you know, if you're, you know, a writer and having that, you know, your, your brain telling you, okay, maybe it's time that you just, you know, kind of step back and let's just relax for a little bit and then go back. So, you know, it's, it's just all about balance.

J Ware: Well, the balance is important. And one of the, the, the things I'd like to ask you is, we start to move towards wrapping this up, is describe your perfect writing environment. People like to say that they want to go to a cottage in the rain or a snowstorm, they write at their desk on the couch. What is your perfect writing environment? Is it watching a movie on in the background? Tell us a little bit more about how you get inspired.

Manuel Fernandez: Yeah, yeah. For me, it's, it, it's, it's, it's different because it could change you know, each, each writing session. For example, you know, I was writing you know, last night, and I had on the the television, I had on the radio you know, I, I was, I was pacing back and forth, so I was, you know, I was, I was pretty animated. And then the day before, I felt more in tune and more relaxed when it was just me and there was nobody else around. And I was, and I was alone. There was, you know, there was no radio, no, you know, no noise, no, no, nothing. So, so for me, it's different. It changes pretty much every writing session, so, you know.

J Ware: All right. Well, Manuel, it's, it's been really good to have you on the interview here. We're excited about the book. And Manuel, can you tell us where someone can go and get your book?

Manuel Fernandez: Yeah. On you can get it on and also

J Ware: Okay. Yeah, I'm familiar with Lulu as well. The book is called The Rocky Approach to Life, and is what's really interesting about this, and I hope that people will go out and check this book out because it's, it sounds really interesting is that y you, from your honesty and your background that you've shared with us, it's almost like you have that rocky story and, you know, you've, you've kind of pulled yourselves up by the bootstraps. You've found something in karate or martial arts, it that that helped you. And you're conquering mountains that people are still putting are, are, are out there saying that, you know, you might need to move on to something else. You're talking about reinventing yourself. This is, I, I think one of the best things about authors is when it's authentic. And I'm sensing that in you, Emmanuel that you're authentic. I hope people see that. Again, the book is called The Rocky Approach to Life by Manual Fernandez. You can find it on Amazon and Lulu just look up his name, look up the book, the Rocky Approach to Life. And we would love to have you on it sounds like you ha how many other books do you have out there, Manuel?

Manuel Fernandez: Have let's see. I have a novel and I have about four, five sh short stories. And they're all available on Amazon.

J Ware: Great. Great, great. Well, we wish you all the success and we hope that this interview does good things for you as well. And we'd love to see you, maybe in the future, future come back with another book or another creative process that you're going through in, in writing. So thank you so much for being with us, Manuel, and we'll see you soon. Okay.

Manuel Fernandez: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
*Available on Amazon

Discover: The Rocky Approach to Life