Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and twenty-seventh, is of multi-genre author and interviewee Ken La Salle. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Author and Playwright, Ken La Salle has made a virtue of versatility. Not only is he adept at switching hats between author and playwright but he also publishes much of his own work, produces his own audiobooks, hosts his own podcast, and creates several video series on YouTube.
Coming from a background in theater, where roles are swapped like caps on a regular basis, La Salle wasn’t comfortable with the idea of writing in just one genre and just one voice. As a result, he switches between fiction and non-fiction and jumps between genres as well. The gravitational pull of theater also exerts a force, which means La Salle also writes several new plays each year. Not being a specialist comes at a price but La Salle has seen his plays on stages around the country and his books finding better reviews and reception with each published work.
When you’re not a star, it’s difficult to find publication for literary non-fiction, such as a memoir. But Ken La Salle hasn’t allowed that to stop him. Instead, he has dived, head first, into publishing his own work, most of which is available on all e-book formats. This gives him the freedom to develop the kinds of projects he likes, even as he works with his agent, Jeanie Loiacono, to publish some projects with traditional publishers. (Climbing Maya, from Solstice Publishing, is available in both digital and paperback.)
Recently, La Salle found that he did not need to leave his performing background too far behind when he launched a line of audiobooks. Written, read, and produced by the author, they include everything from fiction, to inspirational, to memoir with the library still growing. All books are available on Audible, iTunes, and around the web.
La Salle’s inspirational work is all rooted in the same message: Follow your dreams! This can be found in his monthly piece on the Recovering The Self website. Earlier this year, La Salle followed another avenue for getting his message out with his new podcast, So Dream Something, which can be found on iTunes, around the web, and on his website. Each month on So Dream Something, La Salle interviews someone who has followed their dreams to learn the highs and lows and lessons from some very different perspectives. Some of his guests have included writers, actors, painters, teachers, and a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail at the age of 58.
Ken La Salle is not stopping there, however. Recently, he also launched several new series on YouTube to highlight his talents and help get the word out about his books. My Side is a monthly series about random anythingness and the meaning of life… somewhat. Radio de’Olde is Theater of the Mind in bite-sized servings and hard to swallow caplets. Lastly, 5 Brief Minutes takes a specific topic and twists it beyond all recognition.
Ken La Salle hopes that all of this leads to increased book sales… because Top Ramen really sucks after 15 years.
And now from the author himself:
People often say this word to me as if I don’t know the meaning.
But at 47 years of age, I’m running out. My Patience meter is on “E”.
When faced with the challenge of being a writer at a time when anyone with a keyboard and a monkey can take a turn at being a writer, I realized that my alternatives were to give up or lose my mind. And my sanity had plenty of dents in it already, anyway.
Here’s what I mean by “lose my mind”. I mean that my option was to dig myself even deeper into the hole I’d created by being a writer, embrace being a starving artist, with more energy than I knew I had. Or, as Joseph Campbell once said (and I then butchered), “When falling to your death, dive.”
I decided to do that by using every talent at my disposal.
This started with audiobooks. After all, I love audiobooks. True story: I’m not a big reader. I would much rather have books read to me. I’ve repurchased some of my favorite books in audio just to enjoy the experience. Why wouldn’t I want to provide that experience to my readers? As an actor, I loved the idea of reading my work aloud. All I had to do was set up a recording studio, purchase all the recording equipment (which is far less than you might think), and find a distributor. While this might sound intimidating, keep in mind the whole “losing my mind” bit.
But I wasn’t done there. Already having the recording setup, I thought it might be nice to join the whole “podcasting” movement. I’m a firm believer in following your dreams, no matter what they might be. Dreams make us better people, and I wanted to get that message across. What better way to do it than to invite others on who were following their dreams. These episodes have been an inspiration to me and have helped me continue in my endeavors, even when the world seems deaf and apathetic.
This, of course, brings me to the craziest idea of all: the YouTube videos.
Here’s something you might not know about me. I don’t really know the meaning of the word “confidence”. So the idea of creating my own series of videos – worse still, the idea of anyone being at all interested – was just deranged from the start. And yet, I knew they would be a lot of fun to create. And this is what gave me the courage to do it. Yes, courage – because the land of YouTube is fraught with trolls and other beasties and being ignored is not the worst thing that could happen.
The bottom line, though, is that I have only one chance to be a successful writer and, if I’m going to take that chance, I have to take it for all its worth. And this is where I ask you, dear reader, to give me a try. I have books available in digital formats, in paperback, in audio – and so much more content to listen to there’s bound to be something to catch your imagination.
I certainly hope you’ll give my work a try with my thanks.
You can find more about Ken and his writing via…
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