Friday, 15 November 2013
Author Interview: Larry Hochwald
Larry Hochwald was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Besides writing fiction, he is a health care advocate; speaking, writing and acting on behalf of those challenged by mental illness as well as on the topic of health care reform. His writing on those subjects has been published in "The Mental Health News" and on blogs, including his own: Here's to Your Health, America. Larry's work has been published on Yahoo Voices through the Yahoo Contributor Network since 2011.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I’m sure I’m not the first author to say that I do both. I always have definite plans, but often my characters, once unleashed, have other ideas.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
When don’t they! It’s a constant struggle to remain in control. In the story “Best Friend” Georgie wanted a completely different ending, but I had to explain to him that I couldn’t possibly work in any cowboys. And for “Desolation Lovers” if I’d listened to my main characters it would’ve ended up being called “Desolation Acquaintances”
What is your favourite food?
Interestingly, it’s the same as before I became a vegetarian---pizza!
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am a night owl. The problem for me is, the world often requires that I get up very, very early. To get up early and be a night owl…it’s very tiring!
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I have been lucky to get to a lot of the places I wanted to go. I’ve gone throughout Europe and here in the U.S. and Canada. But truthfully, I want to get everywhere. I want to get to the Middle East because I want to travel through the lands where biblical references actually took place. I want to go to Asia because I am very interested in the culture. I want to get to Africa, which I am planning in the next year or so, to see where the human lineage began. I want to get to Australia because from everything I read, it sounds like an alien world. Which leads me to the ultimate destination---I’d love to get to space because…it’s space, the final frontier.
Do distant places feature in your books?
In Not From Around Here, we visit Africa, we go to another dimension, and we get to Heaven, Hell and New Jersey. And that’s just to start!
Do you listen to music while writing?
Sometimes. At times it’s distracting, and others, it’s motivating. Once I really get into the writing I no longer hear the music.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
The book is called Not From Around Here. It’s comprised of 18 stories running the gamut of thriller/adventure, fantasy, paranormal, horror, sci-fi and literary fiction. However, there are several underlying threads that run throughout many of the stories, and a few surprises at the end that bring it all together. So, in some ways, it’s like a hybrid in that it’s a short story collection, but also helps to move a unified tale along. Each tale stands on its own. I’m not a ‘slice of life’ kind of story teller. I try to make every story a complete and satisfying experience.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
I first started writing when I was about 12 years old (give or take a couple of years---who remembers?!), so I’ve really learned everything since I started. Still, I find I learn something that helps my writing almost every day. I think I’ve gotten better over time because life-experience definitely improves a writer’s work.
As for publishing, it’s a different world since I started. When I first began writing, my computer was called ‘a typewriter’. And my word processing software was called ‘Wite-Out’. I didn’t try to get published back then and I didn’t write nonstop all those years. I took a break because of things going on in my life. I incorporated some of that into my work, including in the story “Mother’s Nature.”
Now that we can publish electronically, and everyone can get their work ‘out’, I think what is most important is how to market your work. Truthfully, I haven’t found the secret to that yet. What I do, is I work hard to write the best I can. I hope that comes through in my work, and that word-of-mouth will help build my readership.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I don’t have an answer for that---yet.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
I think life experience influenced me the most, for better and worse. Certain writers have also influenced me, even if there are few similarities in our work. I think, Issac Asimov, Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne all had an impact.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
You’d better write mainly because you need to, and love to, because there are no guarantees! With the new media and publishing opportunities, you can get ‘published’ easier than ever, but I think it is becoming harder than ever to stand out, get noticed and make an impact.
What are three words that describe you?
That’s a tough one. (No wait---that’s four words!) Me, myself and I?
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
You ask a lot of tough questions. I’d hate to narrow it down to one of either.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
My first book, Not From Around Here, is out as an ebook and paperback, both available on Amazon. Not From Around Here, is a collection of 18 unique, sometimes scary and sometimes funny, but always thought provoking and entertaining stories unlike any you’ve ever read before. These complete and satisfying tales have readers saying, “WOW, I didn’t see that coming!” In this book you’ll find: “Best Friend”, where a young man is going through difficult times, until a little boy with a remarkable secret reminds him of the healing power of friendship.
“The Placebo Effect,” where a doctor uncovers a shocking conspiracy, but his murder leaves it in the hands of his close friend to get the truth to the government. “Join The Club,” in which a college organization has a frightening initiation and a tantalizing reward. “Faker,” a rich grandfather wants to make sure his grandchildren grow up just right—unlike his own children. “Fur and Loathing,” the story of how a disgruntled groundhog takes matters into its own paws. “Old Ways,” where an African curse threatens to end a family’s bloodline. And “Mirrors,” where a man getting a haircut sees a reflection in the mirror waving to him, of someone that isn’t in the room. These, and 11 more, extraordinary tales await you.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.
You can find me at my website: www.larryhochwald.com
You can follow me on Twitter @lhwrites
My author facebook is https://www.facebook.com/authorlarryhochwald
You’re welcome to ‘like’ me there then move on to ‘friend’ me on my personal facebook, but if you don’t know me well, why you’d want to hear about when my friends go on vacation, and then see pictures of them in bathing suits frolicking with their kids, is beyond me.
Books and Tales will be closing in January 2018.