Humorist Ron “R.S.” Gompertz says, “There’s no time like the past to laugh at the present.”
The former Camas resident is hoping that the success of his first novel, “No Roads Lead to Rome,” will have paved the way for a sequel that’s been four years in the making.
“Aqueduct to Nowhere,” is available on Amazon.com, in e-book and paperback form.
Some might wonder why it took four years to write a sequel, but Gompertz said it’s an improvement.
“‘No Roads’ took me nine years,” he joked. “I’m getting faster!”
His first independent book was released in 2009, just when Amazon introduced its Kindle product. It has sold more than 7,000 copies, with 95 percent as e-books.
Gompertz writes in a humorous style he calls “Historical Friction.” His novels are both set in Tarragona, Spain in the year A.D. 123, a time Gompertz said is not unlike the present.
“No Roads Lead to Rome” was partially inspired by the often surreal and comical situations he encountered while living and working in Barcelona, Spain. Gompertz and his family traveled extensively, seeing the history, artifacts, and what he calls the “residual vibrations” of the Roman Empire, one of the world’s first true superpowers.
“I realized that people in ancient times wrestled with issues similar to ours,” Gompertz said. “Ancient empires, like our modern organizations, were composed of people struggling to feed their families, pay the rent, and navigate the chaos of daily life. The scenery changes, but our challenges, quirks and human foibles remain the same.”
In addition to living in the region, Gompertz said he did extensive research to capture the sensations, sights and smells of Tarragona, the provincial capital known as Tarraco in A.D. 123.
He casts Tarraco as the, “worst town in the Roman Empire” and sets a comical group of corrupt officials, rogue soldiers, female pirates, and misguided young rebels loose in pursuit of what he calls “the decline and fall of damn near everything.”
He credits the often satirical tone of the novels as being inspired by authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Gompertz has taught multiple classes on independent publishing and marketing, and has worked as an engineer and technical project manager for major high tech corporations for the past 25 years. He lives in Woodinville, Wash., is married and has two adult sons.