Welcome to the thirteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with western and mystery writer Larry Payne. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hello, Larry. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Larry: I’ve been writing on and off for a long time, but started taking it serious around 10 years ago when one of my co-workers read a piece I was working on and told me I should consider publishing it. That started the ball rolling.
Morgen: Ah, so he’s to blame, is he? What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Larry: My true passion is western fiction, but I have written in the mystery genre and am currently tinkering with science fiction.
Morgen: I podcast interviewed Jack Martin recently and his first love is the western (http://tainted-archive.blogspot.com) but has also written crime (http://www.freewebs.com/garydobbs). What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Larry: I have, within the last year, contracted with Wild Child Publishing to have my novella of western fiction published as an eBook. I also have three western fiction short stories published on the Webzine, Frontier Tales at www.frontiertales.com. Marketing and promotion is ongoing and I try to take every opportunity that comes my way.
Morgen: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Larry: Agents aren’t climbing all over each other to represent western fiction. So, I’ve decided to run with the ball without one. Are they vital to success? I guess I’ll be finding out.
Morgen: You might like to pick Jack’s brains. Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Larry: My debut eBook, Ride The Savage Land, is still awaiting a release date. The whole submission process at Wild Child Publishing has been outstanding. They give you a genuine feeling that they want you to succeed.
Morgen: That’s so important. What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Larry: My first acceptance was one of the short stories at Frontier Tales. It was a definite feeling of accomplishment and made you want to jump up and down. Being accepted is always a thrill. The only thing that topped it was when the readers of Frontier Tales voted my short story, And Hell Came With Him, story of the month for the April 2010 issue.
Morgen: Well done. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Larry: Ride The Savage Land has been rejected, but I never gave up. I re-evaluated and re-edited it, then submitted it to Wild Child Publishing and the rest is history. Rejections are just part of being a writer. You cinch up your belt and move on.
Morgen: Absolutely. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Larry: I am currently working on books 2, Guns Of The Range Land and 3, Return Of The Bounty Hunter, of my Savage Land Series and also tinkering with a work of science fiction, The Genesis Project.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Larry: I work a full-time night job, so writing time is at a premium. I write where I can, when I can. I’ve been known to carry a pen and pad to work and write during lunch time with a pen in one hand and a sandwich in the other. The most I’ve written in one day is about 4,000 words during one of my NaNoWriMo sessions.
Morgen: I have small pads and pens in every dog-walking jacket I own as I’ve been caught out before (the ‘brilliant’ idea which I’d promptly forgotten by the time I got home). I’ve done NaNoWriMo (http://nanowrimo.org) and would recommend it to anyone. This interview comes out mid-June so there’s still four and a half months to prepare for this November 1st. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Larry: I believe it exists, which is the reason I have multiple projects going at the same time and in different genres. When it strikes, I switch projects for a couple of chapters or a couple of days. I even switch genres at times.
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Larry: I have never been an outliner. I find them too confining. When I start a project, I know how I want to start it and end it. I let my characters dictate the journey in between.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Larry: If it’s in a drawer, there’s always hope. Anything I can’t live with is residing in some landfill.
Morgen: Or being ecological, a recycling centre. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Larry: My favorite aspect is the feeling you get when you complete that first draft of a project. My least favorite aspect is the wait when you make a submission. The weeks feel like years.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Larry: Write, write, write and keep writing.
Morgen: What do you like to read?
Larry: I like to read in the genre of the project I’m working on. For the westerns, I’ll read Ralph Compton for instance. When I work on mysteries, I like to read Mickey Spillane, Robert B. Parker or Ed McBain.
Morgen: Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Morgen: I’ve come across Writing World quite a few times but Fiction Factor is a new one on me, thanks for that. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Larry: There are a couple of sites and forums I visit on a regular basis. I have gotten some good advice and the feedback was invaluable.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your work?
Larry: You can find some of my western fiction online at Frontier Tales www.frontiertales.com.
Larry: I’d like to thank you for this opportunity.
Morgen: You’re very welcome. Good luck!
UPDATE April 2012: “A lot of things have happened since the interview. I joined the ranks of the published authors last November, when my western fiction short story, The Reverend Mister Black, appeared in Rope and Wire’s Western Short Stories Vol.2 anthology. Another western short story, The Badge Of Lucius Maddox, will appear in Vol. 4 of the same anthology later this spring. In May, my April 2010 story of the month, And Hell Came With Him, will appear in a print anthology of the Best Of Frontier Tales Vol. 1. All are or will be available on amazon.com and the Rope and Wire e-book anthologies are also available on Barnes & Noble. I’m still waiting for a release date for Ride The Savage Land.”
Larry Payne grew up in East Chicago, Indiana and now resides in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, Susan, and their two cats, Molly and Emily. He is a US Navy Veteran where he served as a Hospital Corpsman and is currently employed as a Cardiac Monitor Technician at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Arizona.
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