Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interview with Suspense Writer, Larry Sheridan, author of A Work In Progress -- Part 1 0f 2

 
Reading your bio on Amazon it says that you “traveled the world tracking and helping capture diamond smugglers.” Is this for real? Or is it something to add to the mystique of the book?  
Actually, Chris, the bio is for real.  I only did a couple of jobs for this group though but there were definitely some interesting situations.  I would never let my kids do this but I was a lot younger then and didn’t think that way.  My job was to find them, figure out which room in which hotel they were in and then verify they actually had the diamonds with them or, at the very minimum, were keeping them in a safe place. 

Once that was done my job was to bring the people back to the states.  If they didn’t come back then I wouldn’t get paid so their coming back to the states was not something I felt to be negotiable.  But you’re right, it does make the book sound cooler, but actually, believe it or not, it is “for real.”

I love the design of the book cover where you reversed the blood splotch. It’s very eye catching. How many different cover designs did you go through before you decided on this one?  
Thanks, I’m glad you like the cover.  I have no idea how many different designs I tried but the cover was very important to me and had to fit the image I had in my head especially since the cover is the first introduction, generally, a reader has with the book.  I think it turned out pretty good as well but it is always nice to know that other people like it too. 

I knew what I wanted the cover to look like as I had an image in my mind though it wasn’t totally clear yet.  I first tried taking the pictures using various cut out shapes of white printer paper which I would arrange in a lot of different ways.  Then, once the picture was taken I would go and use a photo program to “fill” the white with the blood.  I couldn’t get it exactly the way I wanted it to look…basically, nothing was really working for me so I asked my youngest son to help me. 

We spent a while getting a lot of different shots and the cover shot was an angle he wanted to try.  When we looked at the pictures on the computer and I saw his foot was in the picture I knew it was the basis for the cover.  His foot being in the picture was purely accidental but it worked and fit with the theme of the book. 

I discussed what I was trying to do with my sister who is also my editor and she played around with it.  What ended up happening was she came up with the idea of flipping the cover from a floor with blood splotches on it to a lot of blood with some of the floor and other items visible – I liked that better and felt the cover worked for the story as well as for the initial connection with the reader.

Your bio says you work for a financial services company. How did you make the leap from that to writing a novel? 
The financial markets have been stressful these past few years and writing has been something of a stress release.  I feel lucky to have realized it.  My work is very demanding so if anything has to take a backseat due to my schedule it is the writing.  At times that can be frustrating but hey, you just have to find ways to work with the situation you are in, know what I mean? 

I do have some rules that I make myself abide by.  The main rule is that my work with my clients must be my priority and that I don’t allow myself to write during my working hours.  If I am on vacation or have taken a day off then that is different but outside of those circumstances I don’t allow my writing to interrupt the days. 

When I’m in the middle of a “writer’s storm” which is what I call it when my mind is racing and my fingers are dancing across the keyboard as fast as they can to keep up with the story I am watching unfold; it can be challenging to not get caught up in the story. I have to remember that my main focus is the work I do as a Financial Advisor.

Have you always been a writer or is this a mid-life career decision? 
Early on in life I was an actor trying to make my way in New York City.  I began working with a terrific playwright there, a guy by the name of Tony Sportiello.  In some ways I believe Tony helped shaped this creature in me, the writing creature that is, and the one which is trying to break through my skin right now.  Life is something I feel we go through trying to maintain some semblance of balance – the writing is one of my items to be balanced.

Prior to writing this book, what other types of publishing credits did you have?  
None really.  I did write a letter that TV Guide published when I was 13 or so.  Pretty funny when I look back on it.  Maybe somebody at TV Guide knew something that was going to take me another 35+ years to figure out!

What made you decide that self-publishing was the route for you? 
I found the process that is in place for authors to get representation and then to possibly get published did not work for me.  Although I probably seem very laid back and easy going I can also be extremely impatient and demanding.  I found the process to be lacking in structure, timeliness and efficiency.  I wasn’t even going to publish the book but then my son sent me an article and I discussed it with my wife.  Based on those discussions I decided to take the plunge.  So, if you don’t like my writing style and wish I had never been published you can blame them!

Prior to self publishing, did you contact any other publishers to produce your book? 
I tried a little bit but found I didn’t want to play the game of submission and waiting.  I felt that by doing that process I would be waiting for months, if not years, to get the first book published so I just tried to jump start the whole thing and do it myself.  Now, when I say do it myself that doesn’t mean I was alone in the process.  I had an excellent editor in Kathleen Sheridan and I tested the book out on a number of people as I tried to work through the kinks in it.  Hopefully you will think I was successful if you read any of my work.

What surprised or frustrated you most about the indie-publishing aspect? 
As stupid as this answer sounds it is probably the most honest and candid answer I can give this question.  Everything surprised and frustrated me AND nothing surprised and frustrated me.  I have tried to find an opportunity to learn and grow, improving my craft as a writer, with each stumble and obstacle laid out in front of me.  Also, starting at ground zero, or ground negative number, makes it very difficult to have a clear and rational perspective of what numbers constitute success in regards to the book and my work as the author.  I hope this answer makes sense but if it doesn’t then maybe it actually answers the question more accurately.  Uh oh, now I’ve confused myself too!

What do you wish you could do over from what you’ve learned in putting together this book? 
My life!  Haha, just kidding!  Would there be things I would do differently? Yes. Would I want to go back to do them differently for the first time?  I don’t know. Those mistakes are what have probably taught me the most with the process. I believe we learn more when pain is involved in the process than we learn when there is no pain experienced.  Trust me, I have had some painfully embarrassing moments due to some of the mistakes I have made in this process.  Probably better for me to do that now than later when there are 10,000 people watching my actions, right?

Your sister was your editor – any sibling rivalry come into play with your collaboration? 
Having my sister as my editor was awesome and yes, at times it was also awesomely painful.  My older sister has no problem asking me what in the heck I am trying to say or laughing at my terrible grammar.  The editing process as a whole was like birthing an elephant through a straw. 

Without question, the editing process was the most difficult for me.  I would recommend her to anyone and she is working with me on my current projects as well. Personally, if both people can be professional, then working with a family member can be pretty cool and something I can always look back on with appreciation. 

Was she a hard or easy editor? 
Did I mention that she is an excellent editor?  She was brutally honest when she needed to be and it usually coincided with my being stubbornly pig headed.  She was also very gentle when she could tell I was getting tired of being beaten up.  There are some things each of us just doesn’t do well…mine is working with consistent verb tenses.  As you can tell in my responses, she has not edited this!

That’s it for today’s interview. Come back on Thursday for the second part of the interview where we go into more detail about the book. In the meantime, here are some helpful links to learn more about Larry and his writing…For his webpage click here.  For his blog, click here.

Larry's Facebook click here To buy the book on Amazon click here.

Find him at Goodreads here,  Smashwords here and Twitter 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Chris - I had a great time in the interview with you!!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your writing experiences with me. I hope everyone who has clicked on to read this one will come back to part 2 tomorrow.

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