Wednesday, February 04 2015
My Interview with Larry Laswell
February 2, 2015
Susan Young for Marshell Publishing
Today I sat down for a discussion with historical fiction author Larry Laswell to discuss his latest book as well as his upcoming book projects. Here is that interview in its entirety:
Susan: What kind of feedback have you gotten so far from readers of your latest book, The Marathon Watch? Was the response what you expected?
Larry: I would say I’ve been blown away by the response. I’m getting mostly 5-star reviews and it’s selling better in the U.K. than in the U.S. right now, but there are a lot of people who have said positive things, including that they can’t wait until it is made into a movie.
(The Marathon Watch) is one of the few military books where there is no fighting or war. It’s all about the turmoil that individuals go through on a ship during difficult times. If I had a catch phrase (for this book) – it would be ‘duty, honor and tradition’ –and the characters succeed because of duty, honor and tradition.
It’s scary when you put a book out there and let everyone comment on it. I’ve received a few critical reviews, and I agree with them and I’m taking them into account in my next book, Vows to the Fallen.
Susan: Tell me about your newest book launch.
Larry: Vows to the Fallen (publishing August 9, 2015) is a World War II book that follows the main character, naval officer O’Toole, who was in The Marathon Watch. It examines what I call the burden of command. O’Toole is a skilled officer who is very good at what he does, but he has to come to terms with his inner demons in that he has to deal with sending men to their death. He is very much concerned about his men and that just makes his inner demons worse.
Susan: So are there themes throughout the book?
Larry: The catch phrase for that book might be ‘a commander can bury his death, but where does he bury his guilt and grief?’ The book follows the evolution of O’Toole from absolutely being devastated by the carnage of war and becoming a fearless leader. It is his men who get him straight (in order for him) to be able to order men in battle to their death.
Susan: What inspired you to write this book?
Larry: Really it’s a couple of things. One – it is a dedication to destroyer sailors. Destroyers never really get the credit for dangerous things that they have to do. For example, 80 percent of all U.S. Navy ships that sunk during WWII were destroyers. The second thing which inspired the book was the tremendous emotional burden that a military commander has in dealing with sending men to their death. I also (briefly) examine the topic post-traumatic stress disorder in the book.
Susan: Do people need to have read The Marathon Watch to understand Vows to the Fallen?
Larry: No –it’s a stand-alone book. There are still three or four common characters between the two books.
Susan: What should your fans look for in the coming months?
Larry: I will be publishing the first chapter of (Vows to the Fallen) in a month or so, and will put that on my website. I will also going to start a blog series, which will include all of the technical, strategic and geo-political facts and figures that were the background research of my latest book. It’s a lot of stuff that people don’t realize and that Hollywood doesn’t get quite right – they gloss over it.
Susan: What type of people will enjoy reading your books?
Larry: The books fall into the genre of “action/adventure” and also “military,” and another category which I’ll call Sea Stories. Anyone in military will extremely enjoy it. The story in The Marathon watch is universal theme and Vows to the Fallen also has a universal theme, so I think the book can be enjoyed by both men and women.
Susan: What do you think is the biggest surprise of the book?
Larry: I think the ending, from an action standpoint, is pretty intense, and the last page of the book is very interesting in terms of the main character’s evolution, and how he resolves his problems. That will surprise readers.