Reno author sets latest book in Tahoe
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A Reno-based author has used his childhood memories of time spent at Lake Tahoe as a setting for his newest thriller.
Ben Rogers grew up in Reno, frequently visiting Incline Village to ski and play in the mountains.
He studied engineering and journalism at University of Nevada, Reno, so he combined his two areas of study and his love for Tahoe to write “The Heavy Side.”
The book follows a software engineer who becomes fed up with Silicon Valley so he flees to Incline Village. He is drawn in by a small-time drug lord to build a drug sale app. When the app gets noticed by a cartel, he gets caught in the middle of a drug war.
Rogers was inspired by two movies; Drive and The American, in which people end up using their skills for illegal or bad causes.
“In my character’s case, he knows how to write software, and he’s really bright and knows statistics and price optimization and there ends up being this gray area between what he’s doing. Is it really legal? It’s certainly enabling illegal enterprise,” Rogers said. “But, that’s where it becomes interesting in fiction, when you’re in that sort of gray area, this isn’t necessarily wrong or right, per say, but it’s straddling that line.”
His character fleeing the Bay Area is reminiscent of the trend Tahoe has been experiencing, with people realizing they can work remotely so they might as well do it somewhere beautiful.
“He’s been in Silicon Valley, and I guess, like a lot of folks now as part of the coronavirus exodus he just sort of feels overwhelmed by and just sort of sick of that culture down there,” Rogers said. “He’d like to go up and live in Lake Tahoe because he just wants to sort of escape that rat race.”
The character buys a cottage in Incline that was formerly owned by a junk bond broker, a nod to Incline’s own Michael Milken who was recently pardoned for his financial crimes.
One challenge Rogers had in writing “The Heavy Side,” is trying to describe how special and beautiful Tahoe is for an audience that might not have experienced it.
“I guess when you grow up around here, you’re sort of steeped in the lore of a place… you’re almost too close to it to really see it for what it is,” Rogers said. “Sometimes when you set something in a place that you know so well, you take for granted that people know certain things about it, and you forget to describe things or you’ve just been there so long that you use the same words that everybody else has always used to describe it. So, I guess I was very sensitive to that.”
This is Roger’s second book, the first, “The Flamer,” is about a boy growing in Reno.
His books can be found anywhere books are sold but he highly encourages people to buy it from local bookstores.
Rogers lives in Reno with his wife, who is his childhood sweetheart and their two daughters.
To learn more, visit his website.
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Sierra Nevada University is calling all writers and poets who want to immerse themselves in nature (well, virtually) and creativity.