Rolf Margenau


Prize-winning author Rolf Margenau has written six novels and published two photography books.

The novels feature a main character named Wylie Cypher, first seen as a twenty-year-old college dropout who comes of age during the Korean War. At forty, Wylie is a successful but burned out lawyer with a failing marriage. He tries to find lost youth on a trek with his daughter through the high Andes. Instead, he finds mayhem, murder, a devastating civil war in Peru, and loses a toe.

Retired, in his mid-sixties, Wylie does battle with BIG AG as a Master Gardener. He befriends a group of eco-terrorists who help save the Monarch butterfly. Then, in a novel called National Parks, an aged Wylie lives in a dystopian future where Congress attempts to sell off our national parks to bail out a bankrupt country.

Longevity, a fable about the results of a medical team’s effort to prolong human life by 30 years, is now available. In it, Lucy Mendoza leads a team of scientists at the Prendergast Foundation who are testing an enzyme that might extend our lives by thirty years. The federal government, a major pharmaceutical company, and a billionaire investor have no qualms about eliminating Lucy to ensure that project will fail. Her former lover Grant Duran, an ex-Marine special ops officer who’s lost a hand and is now a molecular biologist, thwarts the first attempt on her life.

The novels featuring a younger Wylie are realistic with a dose of humor. The books about older Wylie are solidly satirical. Critics find them hilarious, but meaningful and thought provoking.

The author retired Wylie Cypher in 2019 to research and write about how young people with a German background respond to the demands of World War II, on the home front, at war and in an American POW camp.He published war Story in September 2021.

Rolf Margenau lives amid farmland in northern New Jersey with his first wife of over sixty years.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Hamden, Connecticut, a suburb of New Haven. We lived at the top of a hill that backed on to a large forested and undeveloped area, and my friends and I spent many hours exploring the "wild woods," building and destroying "forts" and generally causing adolescent mischief. There was much unsupervised activity and we invented new games. We also felt very much in touch with nature and enjoyed the flora and fauna - most of the time. There was an interaction with a skunk at about age nine that was not unalloyed joy. I believe the freedom to explore and make mistakes fostered a creative spirit and a deep love of nature. There are other aspects to my writing, but those two are always there.
When did you first start writing?
My first published writing was an essay about a couple of birds I observed in the woods - in the fourth grade. It was printed in the school yearbook and a local newspaper. I am pretty sure it was sappy and anthropomorphic, but what can one expect from an eight year old. I started writing seriously as a reporter for the Stars and Stripes in Korea and Japan in the early fifties.
Read more of this interview.

Where to buy in print



War Story
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 118,060. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Coming of age
Fresh perspectives on World War II - a nine-year-old on the home front, a German prisoner of war in Mississippi, young women ferrying war planes, a young officer working Enigma codes and rockets, and a lawyer trying to keep the government from sending thousands of German and Italian American citizens to concentration camps.
Longevity -- Should We Prolong Human Life By Thirty Years?
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 59,860. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Medical thriller--Lucy Mendoza and Grant Duran fight to save the Longevity project, which searches for a drug to prolong human life for 30 years. Malignant forces will stop at nothing, including murder, to stop the research. As dead bodies accumulate and Lucy and Grant struggle to defend themselves, they begin to wonder whether the Longevity project should survive.
National Parks
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 60,750. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
A satirical look at what happens, in the near future, when Congress plans to bail out a bankrupt America by selling our national parks to the highest bidders-- a "fresh,scathing, hilarious, and brilliant satire of greedy corporate America and our shamefully broken Congress."
The Commode Companion
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 910. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
An interactive photo book with snarky captions that exposes the innermost thoughts of animals, birds, bugs, butterflies, and frogs. The author's photos of wild creatures from various parts of the world are combined with their secret thoughts and desires. Designed to induce laughter and thwart constipation. No commode should be without a copy. This is an adult book.
High Andes
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 96,750. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
In 1980 Attorney Wylie Cypher, in midlife crisis, plans a trek across the White Mountains of Peru with his daughter, Mercy. By misadventure, they must fight their way across the mountains to protect a vital international secret, chased by bloodthirsty villains from both sides of Peru's bloody civil war. Book observes that gap between rich and poor leads to anarchy. Torture, mayhem, combat, CIA.
Master Gardener
Series: Wylie Cypher, Two. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 102,350. Language: American English. Published: August 15, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire, Fiction » Literature » Literary
A humorous look at the problems presented by genetically altered seeds and chemicals that prohibit growth of weeds. Anne Proctor, Master Gardener in New Anglia, finds magic seeds that produce "super plants" that threaten the profitable seed business of BIG AG. Wylie Cypher, retired lawyer, battles BIG AG. Eco-terrorism group saves monarch butterfly. Fun and satisfying 300 pages!
Public Information
Series: Wylie Cypher, One. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 131,430. Language: English. Published: June 23, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
A novel about the Korean War and its aftermath as experienced by Wylie Cypher, a young soldier assigned to a combat Infantry Division Public Information Office. Scenes of combat, military humor, a coming of age as well as a love story. Explains the origins of potential for conflict in present-day Korea. Endorsed by many Korean War veterans.