Welcome author Larry Sheridan. Larry’s outstanding novel Work in Progress has really soared on Amazon and rated one of the best novels written by a new author many times over. Read my interviewer with him, listen to my show from January 10th at four Eastern, get to know this great author and leave some comments and questions.
Fran Lewis: Interviewer
Why did you decide to write this novel?
I have always enjoyed writing and had tried in the past to start some things but never really focused on them or got what I started finished. This time I had the story in my head and I began feeling that either I wrote it down, getting it out of my thoughts, or it was going to drive me crazy. You see, I try and share the movie playing in my head. That is the way the stories come to me. I watch them and try to write down all the details for the reader. I want the reader to see what I see, feel what I am feeling, tasting what I taste. I also use a lot of inner monologue because I don’t want to tell you what the characters are thinking, I want you to hear their thoughts. The arguments they are having with themselves in their minds. If I can accomplish this then I feel that I have been successful in my efforts.
Summary of the novel
I think your review really got the summary of the story.
How did you develop your main character?
Well, it wasn’t as much that “I” developed “him” because, as I said, I was watching this movie in my mind play out. As I got more and more of him on paper (or, actually in the computer) I saw that there were several things I liked about him. There were also a lot of things I struggled with because I didn’t like them. The characters in “Larry’s World” which is the world I create in my stories, develop in their own way. I guess they sort of develop the way we all do. They face their own challenges and hurdles: at times they are successful and at times they fail. This makes up the way the characters work to come to life.
Where and how did you come up with the storyline?
I’m not really sure how it happens. I will get an idea and it begins to unfurl in my thoughts. Kind of like I am watching a huge tapestry caught in the wind, the length of it billowing out. Once the wind stretches the tapestry out it changes, turning from the tapestry into a film that I watch as it plays out in my thoughts. I keep replaying this movie while I am working on putting the details of it onto paper.
What does Jeremy think happened to him and how does he wind up in the hospital? I think Jeremy is still trying to figure out what happened to him at the end of the book. Now, he is in the hospital two different times. The first time he is trying to figure out if what he remembers is from some kind of twisted dream and the second time he is trying to reconcile the acts he has committed, almost as a denial to who he believed he actually was before all of these events began happening to him.
Why and how does his wife Cassie become involved?
We, the readers, are left to decide whether we believe she has always had some involvement in all this or if that is just too farfetched to accept. I wanted to leave that part open and come back to it in a future story line. Not sure if it will be in the second book but I kind of doubt it. It is an issue that will be addressed at some point along the way though. I think it is important, I’m just not ready myself to make that decision.
Who is Tish and what is her function? Tish is the dream employee or assistant who seems too good to be true. You know the old saying, right? If something seems too good to be true it usually is. Well, Tish fits that statement well. It is a statement that I think speaks volumes. All Tish is doing is personifying the cliché.
Why does she appear to be the perfect assistant? She frees Jeremy up to focus on the areas of his work he is good at and takes care of those areas he is weak in. This, in my opinion, is the perfect assistant. It is that person who understands your nuances and takes the jobs off of you which slow you down. The jobs you are encumbered with and by. When this is done, efficiencies occur and success can be more easily obtained.
How does she pretend to be invaluable and what is her motive? I don’t think she is actually pretending to be invaluable to Jeremy. I think that over the past few years she has proven her worth to him and he has become so dependent upon her that she is able to manipulate him. In a way Jeremy has become her puppet and she has become his puppeteer. Just because she has other plans and ulterior motives doesn’t mean she is not invaluable to him. I wanted to bring in real life situations and I think the people we rely on the most, the one’s we’ve given the majority of our trust to are the ones who can cause the most damage. In one sense this is a form of humanity’s fatal flaw.
What presentation is Jeremy making and for what reason? He has become a very high stakes advisor. Though this is a larger pool he is presenting to it is not totally out of the ordinary for him to make this presentation. The room represents his battlefield, or what he knew to be his battlefield though that does change later in the story. The reason he is making the presentation is that this is part of his normal course of business. I wanted to show the reader that Jeremy was good at what he does and instead of telling you, the reader, that I made the conscious decision to offer a glimpse into his knowledge.
How does he know that he needs to switch gears in order to keep the interest of those he’s presenting his information to? Because when you are as successful and good at what you do as Jeremy Jackson is then you read the body language of the room. You feel the thoughts surrounding you and you respond to them. It becomes more of an art form than it is an actual presentation.
What are his major strong points?
I think that he, like a lot of us, has some qualities which are rough or difficult to see. My goal with him is to show him as seemingly very polished and finished, like a fine diamond of sorts. Then, as we progress through the story we question certain things about him. You know, is he really as polished as we thought he was? Is he as successful as we thought he was, or as he himself thought he was? And I want to take some of those qualities and scuff them up a bit. Often times, we as individuals try to show the world our finished “self” – kind of like when we tell our kids to be on their best behavior. But, as someone gets to know us better, we let them into the various inner worlds of ours and they see not only our beauty marks but also our warts too. I think we are all like that in one way or another. But, with Jeremy Jackson, I think his best qualities are that he has a lot of integrity, is a very hard worker, loves his family and is faithful to them.
How do things change when he gets to know John?
John is the no-nonsense character in the story. He is who you see. Sometimes he is scary and sometimes he seems almost kind but we never really know. I like that about John. He is warm and friendly but if you cross him he can take your head off and just might do it. Jeremy finds there are many things in his own life he has no control of anymore and so has to play someone else’s game. This is challenging for Jeremy, especially when you think about where he starts the story from.
What is John’s real story and how does he fit into the events that occur? John is someone you are still trying to figure out…maybe even decide if you like him or not…at the end of the story. John’s character is still being developed in the second installment and you won’t really “get” him until book #3 I think. I like the options with John and feel there are a lot of them, so I’m having fun playing around with him.
Who is this women he meets and how does she get Jeremy to take the wrong meds? Well, she is an attractive woman but the drugs Jeremy is subjected to make everything more intense for him and that is how she gets him off balance. She slipped him something on the plane and then, due to his sleeping, she is able to change his medication. He doesn’t even realize they’ve done this. I know how easy this is to do, as far as get things mixed up. I am ADD and so I take my medication every day. Sometimes I’m not sure if I have taken it and sometimes I can even get confused about the meds I am taking. I think, with the addition of the drugs, this is not a really big stretch to accomplish.
What is the end result when he realizes who and what she is and has done?
Well, once he realizes what she has done to him, with the video and the other women, his world is destroyed and he has very little to live for. This may be a scene which seems a bit melodramatic but I believe when we have our perception of reality ripped away from us it can be and often times is extremely painful.
What happens to his family and why does Cassie appear to be working for the wrong side? Well, as far as this story goes his family becomes the leverage they (the bad guys) feel they have over him. I am still developing whether or not Cassie is on the other side or if they have something on her to make her go along with them. Its an additional way to sort of string Jeremy along.
Why does he want to fire Tish and why can’t he? Once he realizes she has taken control of his business and is setting up a huge money laundering scheme he wants to fire her. The problem for him is that he is looking like it is him that has set the whole deal up and Tish has positioned herself as innocent. She is in the perfect role of his “trusted” assistant while able to really make him look like he is blatantly breaking all of the rules. She has done trades for him without his knowledge but since he has final control he will be responsible for not knowing what she was up to. In this business, though Tish works for him there are many levels of oversight and he can’t just fire her. He has to follow various procedures and protocol to address the issues relating to her. By the time he does it is too late and his career is probably over even if he manages to stay alive and out of jail.
What part does Ross play and why do they want him to take the money and keep quiet? Ross plays both sides of the fence. He is undercover where he is working for the group that Tish is going after. His original loyalties are with John Stephens so Ross has a lot of complexities surrounding him.
What is the company? It is an agency within the US Government. It is much more clandestine than the CIA and very few people in power even know about it. This group has been around for a very long time, has secrets on everyone thus insuring they will continue to be around for a very long time.
Will you bring Jeremy back again? Yes. Absolutely. Jeremy is central to this series.
What is his fate? I don’t know yet. He is just know becoming A Work in Progress.
Why did you decide to become an author and write a murder/mystery? There are some days I ask myself the same question! Just kidding…kind of. I enjoy writing and I enjoy telling a good story. They just fell into place for me. There weren’t a lot of options, really. I knew no one would be interested in an autobiography so that was out of the question and the story was in my mind so it just made sense.
How do you promote your work and how are sales for your book? A lot of word of mouth, I have a blog where I try and write something every 4 – 6 weeks and build up a following there, Twitter, Facebook, blog interviews and radio shows, and book signings. If there is anything else you can think of please let me know. Sales have been good at times and slow at times. It seems that they have been fairly steady. People who have started some businesses using the internet to get interest have told me my numbers are great but I would obviously like them to be a lot better. At one point my book had reached #5 in the Top Rated Murder/Mystery category as well as Action/Adventure on Amazon. Then, for whatever reason, amazon began deleting several of my best reviews and now I am back in the 30’s or 40’s.
What is you next project? I just finished up a collection of short stories called Five of Five a collection of five short stories for the Kindle and am about to release Five of Five a collection of five short stories plus a couple extra which will be released on Kindle, print and on Smashwords. I am working on the next book in the series which will begin with the same event as A Work in Progress did so that will be cool to finish. I got about 35% through then realized I didn’t like where it was going so I am reworking it.
What other things have you written? As I mentioned before, the collection of short stories and lots of checks!!
What about your short stories? Yes – they are fun to write because you get to change them around and have a lot more variety. I enjoyed them as they were a bit of a challenge because you have to tighten everything up and can’t go into a lot of detail. That is actually what I enjoy about the novel, the amount of detail I can work with.
Where do you see you career going? I don’t know. Right now I am enjoying what I am doing and if the road I’m on takes me someplace else then so be it.
What are your websites?
Twitter – @AboutmybooksLS