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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Author Interview: Larry Enright

Today I am pleased to present to you all the 83rd in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the ear-wiggling, guitar-playing, Larry Enright, and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
Larry:  Yes, I have a very specific method to writing once the story has grown beyond a few thousand words. I begin each session by reading what I wrote the previous day for clarity, flow, and style. Only when I am happy with yesterday’s work do I move on to new writing. That has helped me a great deal in avoiding repetitious dialog and descriptive prose, and it is the best way I know to get back into the story.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Larry:  They would see a little guy sitting at a big desk connected to the rest of me by a mass of pneumatic tubes. He sits there writing on his pad until a message arrives by tube and thunks onto his desk. Stopping to open and read it, he then decides to either send it along in another tube to some obscure part of my brain (this might be a message to remember to do the laundry), or toss it into the trash can (these are usually annoying phone calls from solicitors), or copy down the contents of the message onto the pad and keep writing.

Paul:  What is a typical day for you? 
Larry:  My day begins at 5:30 a.m., a feat unto itself, especially in winter when five-thirty seems like the middle of the night. About 6:00 a.m., I sit down at the computer with my first cup of coffee. I check email, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and by 6:30 a.m. I am writing. I write until 12:30 p.m., then go for a walk. Afterward, it’s yard or housework until about 3:00 p.m. Then I read, play guitar, or do some other non-writing thing. The rest of the day is spent with my wife and two sons. I like it that way.

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Larry:  I don’t find the time to write. I make the time to write. I begin every day with writing and I feel an emptiness if I don’t. I am difficult on vacations for this reason, to say the least. Fortunately, my wife understands my passion and has accepted me for better or worse.

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Larry:  For God’s sake don’t tell them that I have nothing to hide and that there is no mystery about me left to uncover. It would utterly ruin my image.

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Larry:  Each story begins as an idea. As ideas occur to me, I create a folder, give it a tentative title, and write a synopsis. I have many such folders. As ideas occur to me about any of them, I add to the folder. When I need to pick my “next” book, I decide which story idea is the one I’m most interested in writing, and then the plot design is done. That said, there are always ideas that come across my mind’s desk that I think would work well in the story at hand. Those I work into the story.

Paul:  Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Larry:  There are always hours spent researching things for my books, but I enjoy it. I really had a blast researching things from the 1950's for my book, A King in a Court of Fools. This one is about kids growing up in 1956. So, for example, I had to rediscover my memories of Isaly’s dairy where we used to go for ice cream and milkshakes, and the South Park Drive-in, and the South Hills Harris Theater where we would spend Saturdays watching cartoons and movies. That book was a joy to write and research.

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Larry:  A Cape May Diamond is my most recent. Imagine the confluence of a man in his twenties whose life has come to ruin and a town that has come to the same end after a long history of being the crown jewel of the New Jersey shore. That is the gist of the story. It is a tale of tragedy and redemption on both a humanistic and cultural level. The book is the 2013 Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Awards (bronze medal) for best eBook fiction.

Paul:  Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
Larry:  I have three completed novels that I wrote early on that are barely worthy of the bookshelf where they lay. Printed on a dot matrix printer and bound in a ring binder, they are truly antiques. I loved them when I wrote them, and some of my biggest fans (who would naturally be brothers and sisters) say I should publish them, but I don’t think so.

Paul:  Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Larry:  I have not entered any myself. I have been asked to join the NANOWRIMO contest (writing a novel in a month) but I simply cannot work that fast. It can take me a year to write a novel.

Paul:  How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Larry:  I maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I don’t have an extensive advertising budget, partly due to the fact that the proceeds of my best seller, Four Years from Home were donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of my mother. Ironically, the book with the best sales (and was in the Kindle Top 100 paid books for quite some time, and a category best seller for almost a year) made me almost nothing. I use the Kindle Select program to offer my books for free, and participate whenever kind people offer their blog up for an interview.

Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?

Larry:  I play guitar and have for almost fifty years. Some of my recordings are located on the music page of my blog. I haven’t performed anywhere in almost three years, and I’m not nearly as good as I once was, but I do enjoy playing. I can also play the William Tell Overture on my face and can wiggle my left ear.

Paul: Thanks, Larry, that was really interesting. I wish you every success for the future.

About Larry Enright: Larry Enright was born to Irish Catholic first-generation immigrants and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His works include: the best seller "Four Years from Home" (2010),"A King in a Court of Fools"(2011), "Buffalo Nickel Christmas" (2011), "12|21|12" (2012), and "A Cape May Diamond" (2012).

Larry's Website: Four Years From Home
Larry on Twitter: @LarryEnright
Larry on Facebook: Larry Enright
Larry's latest book: A Cape May Diamond (Amazon)

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