Behind the Book: Carlos Rodriguez

The character of Carlos Rodriguez was in formation even before I wrote the first sentence in Diamonds in the Rough (DITR). What wasn’t present was his mischievous persona. This was something that did not come into play until I had already started writing. In actuality, Carlos was supposed to serve as the novel’s comic relief. If you read the diner scene at the beginning of the novel then you will get a small sense of this. This part of his persona or the idea of it came about after watching the VH1 show, I Love New York. One of the contestants on the show, Chance (part of the rap group, The Stallionaires) had a comedic spirit about him that I felt needed to be added to DITR. Somehow, the comedic spirit didn’t last long as the character took a life of its own.

To start, Carlos Rodriguez was born and raised in Brookstone, New York. He is the son of Domino Rodriguez, a Dominican-American drug dealer and member of the Santiago cartel. As for Carlos’ mother, I never went into much detail about her aside from the fact that she is African-American and is still alive. To be honest, I never gave her a name and am unsure if she will be written back into the series. She never played a major part aside from being present when her husband is killed by Jay. In terms of Carlos’ siblings, he currently has none (however, this always can change). The only living relative he has besides his mother is his son who will appear in a future novel.

I know, I know, the big question here is Carlos has a son? Yes, Carlos has a son. I shall recall a scene in DITR where Tiara is at Flame and states that there is some girl claiming to have had a son by Carlos. While this was something that was not officially confirmed, it wasn’t necessarily a secret. It is just something that is brought up later on in the series and that I have now officially revealed.

When it comes to Carlos’ relationship with Jay, the two became friends in grade school. They both were biracial with African-American and Hispanic heritage while their fathers were good friends. Domino was not Hector’s (Jay’s father) right-hand man, but he was next in line behind Lotus Pagua/ Harold Davenport. Even when Lotus leaves the cartel, Domino remains a part of it, which helps to form the bond between his son and Jay.

The relationship between Carlos and Jay does not become visibly strained until Carmen enters the picture. However, this does not mean that she is the cause of it. While some may say that it is Carmen who caused the fall between Jay and Carlos, I attribute the fall to Carlos’ jealous spirit and his need for power. Carlos got tired of playing Jay’s sidekick and wanted to be the head of his own cartel. He showed signs of this even before Jay and Carmen got together by going to work for another drug dealer. It is not until he sees that Carmen is in need that he decides to use her to his advantage. Although he does dislike Carmen in the beginning, he grows to like her as a friend. All of this does contribute to the fall of his friendship with Jay, but is not necessarily the source.

To be honest, the root of their strife actually goes back farther than that. It starts with Carlos’ father, Domino, who killed Hector in order to gain control of the Santiago cartel. Domino thought that once Hector was gone, he would take over as boss. Things didn’t work in his favor and the cartel crumbled until Jay took over when he was in his late teens. Naturally, Carlos took the place as his right-hand man and eventually followed in his own father’s footsteps. I cannot say that Carlos was influenced by his father to join the cartel since there wasn’t anything written in DITR to allude to this. I can just say that history simply repeated itself.

Anything else you want to know about Carlos? Feel free to comment!

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