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Thursday, January 26, 2012

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

Today we're continuing with my interview with Larry Sheridan. If you haven't read part 1yet, click to the previous post. Now let's get back to the interview in progress...

When did you start writing this book?
I started writing this book in Feb. 2010 and then finished it, the 3rd or 4th version in August 2010.  I then worked with my editor (aka my sister, Kathleen Sheridan) for about 3 months on the editing.  Then I shelved the book and was done.  My goal was to write a book and finish it.  I had done that. 

With some encouragement from family and friends I decided to go ahead and publish the book.  This was in late April, 2011.  The book is doing okay but getting word of mouth about your work is by far the greatest challenge to me.

How did the story evolve? 
For me the process is one of a movie playing in my head.  I am either a detective or a voyeur trying to capture every last detail so you can see what I am seeing.  It seems that some people struggle with this type of writing style while others really like it.  In the end you have to be writing for yourself, for your own enjoyment because if no one likes it, you have to be able to find some peace in that. The only way I believe you can do that is to write for you alone and maybe some other people may decide they like it too.  

Are you an avid reader of thriller/espionage books?
I am a reader with very bohemian tastes.  I like all sorts of things.  The key for me is that the author has to find the melody to the words or the beat of the language.

Who are your favorite authors? 
I hate to say that certain authors are favorites of mine because I may not have even found my favorite author yet and there will inherently be some who I leave out.  I think Newt Gingrich does an incredible job with his historical fiction, like the recently released Valley Forge. A newer author, Gregory David Roberts, who wrote Shantaram is a brilliant writer.  He brings the characters to life in such a caring and real way. 

Then I also like the series Captain Underpants and Harry Potter.  I have a lot of different appetites I want whetted when I read and depending on what I am hungering for will depend on who my favorite author is at that particular time.  What I treasure the most is honesty in writing; I hope that is something I bring to my work.

In the Amazon excerpt, you have your protagonist listening to music by Davin McCoy, which is your son’s name.  How much of you and your family is in this book? 
It is actually Davin McCoy and The Coming Attractions which, yes, is my son’s name but is also the name of my son’s band.  As I mentioned, my writing is an attempt, hopefully a successful attempt, to describe the movie I am watching in my head.  Well, during this part of the movie there was actually music playing and it was Dav’s band and one of their songs.  It was also a way to give a shout out to him. 

There was also a sinister aspect to the shout out…I would know if he actually read the book or not because I knew if he saw it he would say something to me. Hahaha, I know, my life is a bit of a conspiracy theory isn’t it!  The band is really doing well though and their manager is a guy by the name of Artie Kornfeld who was the creator of Woodstock.  It is a very cool group, an incredibly well read group of guys – probably one of the most literate group of twenty-somethings not majoring in literature I have ever met – and they make beautiful music.  Check them out at – there I go again, giving another shout out and shamelessly promoting family members!!

Are other people in your life also interspersed in the book? 
I think any fiction author brings aspects of his or her life into their work.  Everything I write is a culmination of millions of tiny experiences, either witnessed or actually gone through, that becomes packaged for the story.  Every person I have ever met makes up a portion of the characters I write about. I may give a character a name in honor of a friend or something like that. 

The main character has a trait dedicated to the character Mark Harmon plays in NCIS.  In an earlier life of mine I was an actor and did a scene for a film with Mark.  After the scene was over he asked me if I wanted to have breakfast with him in his trailer.  Of course I said yes and it was the two of us talking about sports and regular stuff.  He is a true first class individual and though I am sure he doesn’t remember me from Adam we still shared a pretty cool event, at least it was for me so I put that in there as a way to say “Thanks!”  It would be cool if he came across it and remembered the scene. 

Your main character drives a Jeep which contrasts his polished work appearance. Does this resonate with your life?
I also drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee and love my ride.  It is old and a bit of a contradiction to “my job” but is real as it relates to me the individual.  I’m not into image and tend to march to the beat of my own drummer.  One of the characters in my book is named after an actor who is a friend of mine.  I just wanted to give him a shout out too.  The character isn’t like him but the name fits so there you go, hey it’s my world I am creating here so I get to do it the way I want to, right?  Those are some of the ways I have fun with the writing side of book.  Some people ask me who is who in the book and no one fits one person, so there are no “real” people replicated but sometimes there are situations or personalities that I try to capture.  I hope all that makes sense.

Is the scene in the high rise office building taken from your own work? 
No, absolutely not.  I do like watching it rain and I do work some crazy hours sometimes but absolutely nothing related to my work is in the book.  That would be a huge betrayal of a client’s trust as well as a betrayal to keeping the writing world and my financial advising world separate.  So, to answer you more directly: absolutely not.

Your protagonist, Jeremy, is all about the image as he dresses for his business meeting in designer suits and platinum cuff links, yet he drives an old jeep which is far from a power broker’s car. Why such a dichotomy? 
You caught that, huh?  Great!  I think you may be the first person to ask me that question.  I think life is a dichotomy.  How many individuals do you know, I mean really know, who try and keep a little part of themselves separate from their professional life.  It can be tough at times but it is something I think we all try to do.  I also think we are all dichotomies, contradictions between who we are, who we want to be, who we think we are and who everyone else thinks we are. 

I work hard to be extremely honest in all aspects of my life and at times this honesty can become self-effacing.  It is like the title of the book, A Work in Progress.  I believe we are all A Work in Progress as we go through the life, facing the challenges and hurdles life throws at us while either accepting or rejecting the blessings we come upon along the way.  I think we begin to die inside when we stop this growing process.
I would like to believe that there is more depth in the individual who is less concerned with image and more concerned with being the individual that they are. I also believe that the only difference between me and the homeless guy on the corner of the street is that I have not had that one event happen to me that would push me over that invisible line between us.  I don’t think it is a very thick line either. I don’t look down on the homeless person but I do wonder what the event was for them. 

What has surprised you the most in getting the first book published? 
How aggressive some people become who don’t like my writing style; that has been very surprising.  It’s not that I’m surprised people don’t like the way I write or how I tell a story, I expected that.  What has surprised me is that some people seem to take the fact they didn’t like the book very personally and use the review process as a format to attack me. 

It is always interesting when someone writes a negative review and talks about grammatical errors but their review contains them.  I think that is sort of humorous and it is all I can do to not respond and correct them; but based on the tone of the review I don’t think they would appreciate my dark sense of humor.

What has been the best way you’ve found to promote your book? 
I use the social media networks a lot and rely on word of mouth.  It is a tough process because as an independent author I am also chief janitor, chief marketer, chief everything and then I want to continue to write as well as do my real job and more importantly be a husband/father/grandfather and then a son to my parents.  Wow, I’m tired just saying that!! 

I have done several blog-talk radio interviews, a newspaper interview and then this blog-interview which is my first of this type.  So, thank you for your interest, I appreciate it!  I have also read John Locke’s book which describes his marketing plan and it is a very good one.  It has helped me in areas I am really weak in, not sure if it has helped me in the areas I am totally incompetent in but it couldn’t have hurt either!

What are some of the best writing tips you’ve learned that you would like to share with others? 
When you write you need to be honest with yourself as to the reasons you are writing.  I write because I enjoy it and it relieves stress (most of the time) for me.  So, I am writing for myself.  There will be people who don’t like my style and there will, I hope, be people who do. In the end, I need to always be clear that I am writing for myself.  Don’t believe all the good things people are saying about your work. Also don’t believe all the bad things people are saying about your work.

You have an interesting website as well that has some good graphics in it. It makes me think of the beginning graphics in Covert Affairs. 
Thanks, I appreciate that.  I like the show and see what you are talking about but I designed the website prior to my watching the show.  Glad you like the website though – it could still use some additional work…a lot of additional work actually but either way it is something I did on my own so I’m continuing along the learning curve with it in the best way that I can.

You’ve also written a book of short stories. How did that come into being? 
Short stories are challenging in that you have to create the scene, describe it then write the story and finish.  You don’t have the ability to add another chapter to help flesh out parts of the story that were lacking.  A short story is sort of a sprint while a novel is more of a marathon which would mean that the novella is like a mini-marathon.  I wanted to see if I could be a sprinter as well as a marathoner.  Some people like the short stories better than the novel.  I had hopes the short stories, at 99 cents for the digital copy, might be a way to increase my audience for the novel.

I will have a print copy available but the cost will have to be a bit more, so I will probably add another couple of stories to it.  In fact, I’ve already done them but am just waiting to get all the editing done.

What other works do you have in progress? 
I am working on a sequel to A Work in Progress but don’t want to give the title as it might give something away with the book.  The story is designed to become a series of stories so I am excited about getting that done.  I was about 1/3 of the way through but then I think the story changed on me, so I’m having to go back and regroup before I can bring the story forward.

That’s it for today’s interview. 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 


  1. Thanks again Chris - hope we can do this again sometime!!

    1. Nice blog site - easy to navigate! Interesting interview too. You might like my blogsite - you'll recognise the wall paper at

    2. So I see we have similar tastes in wallpaper!