Scott R. Larson was born and grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley. He has also lived in France, Chile and for many years in and around Seattle, Washington. He currently finds himself in the West of Ireland where he writes one of the internet’s longest running film blogs. His first novel was the coming-of-age story Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead. At various times in his life, he has been a fan of the television shows Dark Shadows, Babylon 5, Fringe and Doctor Who.
What inspires you to write?
Like a lot of people, I have always felt a need to express myself. Years of reading really good stories by writers who have gone before me make me want to write my own story. I suppose the ultimate inspiration for writers is the quixotic quest to someday write the perfect story. Because I began to write fiction for publication relatively late in life, I have not worried about what is commercial or what sells. I try to write the kind of books that I myself would like to read and then hope that other people might like to read them too.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have never encountered writer's block, and I think that is because I figure that the best way to write is simply to write. In other words, I tend to just start writing and try to let the story grow organically. Inevitably, though, I have to make notes of where the plot needs to go and who the various characters are so that I have something to reference for the sake of consistency. I have tried using MS Word but it frustrates me because I wind up getting involved in formatting issues when I just want to create. My first two books were written with a plain text editor, but that has drawbacks as well. For the third book I am using Google Docs. This has the advantage of allowing me to add a bit of text when I get inspired when I have a device at hand other than the computer, since the manuscript is always in the cloud.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, it's amazing how characters take on a life of their own. When you think about, though, this only makes sense. How are the characters going to come alive for the reader if they are not alive for the writer. Like a lot of writers I create some of my characters by basing them on someone I know or on a composite of various people. Before long, though, they magically become someone unique and different from anyone else. Even when I have finished a book, I sometimes find myself interacting with my own characters in my dreams. Kind of like a friend who has gone away and whom I miss.
Who are your favorite authors?
Since I was a teenager I have been a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. Later I became a devoted reader of the late Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Because I can read and write in Spanish, I have been able to read him in his original language. I even took a graduate seminar on his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude when I was a student in Chile. In more recent years I have enjoyed reading Ernest Hemingway. I admire his deceptively simple writing style and the way he gets into the male psyche.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to self-publish based on the observation that this seemed to be the way things are going. Because I worked in the publishing industry during my career, I have the skills to do the press prep work myself. Also, self-publishing gives me more control over my work. The downside to that, of course, is that there is no publisher to check any of my bad decisions. The other downside is that I am not particularly strong in marketing and promotion skills. I am happy to see that so far I am finding an audience.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future of publishing seems very bright to me. Not unlike the music business, it is easier than ever to get your work out there and available to a wide audience. Conversely, this democratization of the business made possible by the technology and sites like Amazon means that it is very hard to make a living off your art. There will always be big winners in the book business and masses of struggling artists. But it is easier than ever to take your shot. And readers are awash in choices of books on all the various platforms.
What genres do you write?
fantasy, literary fiction, adventure, coming of age
What formats are your books in?