An Interview With Larry Andrews,
author of Songs of Sadness, Songs of Love,
by Nadia Janice Brown, Author & Book Promotions
• What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
1. The first thing I read was the daily newspaper. It was an evening delivery so after my mother had dinner prepared, we'd sit side-by-side on the couch waiting for my father to come home; mom read the newspaper to me. Soon, we had a "you read to me I'll read to you" pattern. Reading was an activity I learned by observation, then practice.
2. Not counting school assignments (most of which was not writing, it was parroting), my first writing was as a sports reporter.I was employed by the local newspaper to deliver the carriers' bundles to their homes. Since I was in the newspaper offices everyday, I knew when there was an opening for a part-time reporter in the Sports Department. That was my beginning as a writer.
3. My first readers were my mother and a Sports Editor. Today I ask 3-4 friends to read my stuff.
• What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I like books that provoke thought and discussion: Mystery, Political Intrigue, Social Issues, anything by Robert B. Parker. Parker is my greatest influence.
Some sites: http://larryandrews-writerauthor.blogspot.com OR amazon.com/larryandrews.
OR on Facebook: Larry Andrews, Writer & Author.
• What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
This isn't very intellectual, but the first thing I do is to stand beside the computer hutch and do some exercises to loosen my back muscles my physical therapist taught me. Since I often lose myself in what I'm writing, I'll sit longer than I should, an irritation to my back. Then, I sit down to work, reading the last chapter I finished to bring me up to speed.
• What type of reading inspires you to write?
I get ideas from The New Yorker, the Atlantic, and a diverse list of novels our book club selects.
• What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Do the story's plot and sub-plots resonate with the experiences, concerns, needs, dreams and challenges readers face? The characters need to be recognizable to the readers. No detail about what one of my characters wears, eats, drives, and the like is too small to include. Finally, I believe my readers bring intelligence and experience to the page; I do not attempt to “write down” to my readers nor do I try to control my books' vocabulary or concepts.
• What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Third person is easier. I'm experimenting with first person.
• What well known writers do you admire most?
Robert B. Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, Mark Twain, Ted Kooser, Geoffrey K. Pullum, Geoff Nunberg.
• What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Language, language, language. Is the dialogue advancing the story in a tongue the reader can identify as appropriate to the character? I observe people, I remember people, then I create characters from the bits and pieces I've observed. A character in one of my books may be the blending of the traits of 3-4 people.
• Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I think so. My wife doesn't.
• Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Primarily, I write for a reader of one: Larry Andrews. My mother influenced my passion for language. (For example I have four linguistics textbooks on the university book market; one translated into Korean.)
I write because I love the challenge of making the best linguistics choices available to depict realistically disparate characters in disparate circumstances.
• Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Yes, no doubt, in my first book. I've dealt with my personal issues related to Post Polio Syndrome in my first novel, Songs of Sadness, Songs of Love. However, my second novel The China-Africa Parallax: A Ryan and Gillian Mystery, doesn’t. It’s a mystery and mysteries are fun to write.
• Does reader feed-back help you?
More than my draft readers know or appreciate! More than general readers know.
• Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Absolutely. They're acknowledged, 3-4 people, in every textbook and novel I've published.
• Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think I know which is my better voice, but I experiment with other voices regularly. One of the nicest compliments I’ve received, however, was from a friend: “Larry, in many parts of this novel Ryan Graves sounds just like Jesse Stone.”
• What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
When I'm at work on a book, my goal is to write a chapter a day, no matter how long it takes. A chapter may take 1, 2, 3 hours or more. My goal remains: one chapter each day five days a week. I try to save Saturdays and Sundays to be with my wife, but now and then I might go downstairs to my study to check my e-mail and to write a bit.
• Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I'd be lost without it. I'm always in a create, revise, create mode; write-revise are no longer discrete phases of writing for me. I doubt that paradigm works for anyone these days.
• What has been your experience with publishers?
So far, good. My textbook editor at Taylor Francis, Naomi Silverman, has been a friend and a great help for 20 years or more. The people at Author House are great to work with, too.
• What are you working on now?
The China-Africa Parallax: A Ryan and Gillian Mystery. This is a novel about the theft of intellectual property from universities. There's no firewall long enough or high enough to prevent theft or tampering with data posted on a public site. Data security on university campuses is a major issue today.
© Larry Andrews
Web address for this interview:http://www.whohub.com/larryandrews