Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | June 29, 2011

Meet Larry Enright, Author of “Four Years from Home”

T. Hello Larry, thanks for dropping by. Please tell us a little about your background to start.

L. I was born to Irish Catholic second-generation immigrants and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After college, I moved to the Philadelphia area where for the past 40 years I have filled my life with many careers including teacher, musician, computer programmer, researcher, and writer. I have written three novels. Four Years from Home (2010) is my first published work.

T. When did you start writing?

L. Despite my “D” in penmanship in 6th grade, I have been writing for as long as I can remember. There were a few published scholarly pieces from college, but my novel writing did not begin until the early 1980s.

T. Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor? Tell us about him/her.

L. In my freshman year at college (1968) I took a course in creative writing and the poet, Michael Mott, was our professor. He was a fantastic, energetic, and creative person who inspired us all.

T. Please tell us about your current book; genre and blurb.

L. Four Years from Home is primarily a mystery, but it is laced with the dark humor of the sarcastic bully who is its protagonist. I wrote it as a character study of a person struggling with his own identity and his need for self-importance. It explores themes of sacrifice, redemption, and morality. Here is the blurb that sets the tone:

Tom Ryan — firstborn of five children in a large, Irish Catholic family, smart and acerbic, a cheat and a bully — calls himself the future king of the Ryans. There are other opinions. His mother calls him a holy terror. Mrs. Ioli calls the police on him. His father says that had Trouble been a saint, that would have been Tom’s middle name. But his parents, neighbors, peers, and siblings all must bow down before him or suffer the consequences. Just ask the Christmas turkey leftovers he buried in the side yard.

Harry, the youngest Ryan, was the shining star of the family. Bright, sensitive, and caring, he was protected by parental radar, called by God and Grandma Ryan to the priesthood, and was in Tom’s eyes, a brown-nosing little punk who had become a threat to his kingdom and the primary target of his search and destroy missions.

Then Harry changed. He abandoned his vocation and quit the church, and when he left for college, he left for good. He never called. He rarely wrote. His picture disappeared from the mantle. It was as if he had ceased to exist and his shining star had been but a passing comet. The enemy had retreated and Tom’s war was over.

“Four Years from Home” begins on Christmas 1972 during Harry’s senior year at college. The Ryan family has gathered without Harry for another bittersweet holiday celebration. When an unexpected and unwelcome gift arrives, the family demands answers and Tom Ryan, bully cum laude, must make a reluctant journey of discovery and self-discovery into a mystery that can only end in tragedy.

T. Do you have a sequel or prequel in mind or in progress?

L. I recently completed the first draft of another novel that does involve Tom Ryan, the unlikable protagonist of “Four Years from Home.” It continues the exploration of his journey through the complicated maze of his own mind, but the lead will be a shared role in this work-in-progress. There will be two other, distinctly different points of view, put forth in the two other main characters. The story will be less linear, and therefore more complex to write without making it too complex to read and enjoy. I’m enjoying the attempt to make it work.

I am also publishing a weekly serial novel called “A King in a Court of Fools.” It takes the Tom Ryan character back to his 6th grade childhood and follows him through an entirely new adventure. The irony of this serial is that it was the book mentioned in “Four Years from Home,” making it, as it were, a book within a book. Twelve episodes have been published. It is also available in audio format and the complete story to-date can be downloaded to all Kindle or Nook compatible e-readers. It can be read at http://kinginacourt.blogspot.com/

T. What are your writing habits? Are you an outliner or do you write “by the seat of your pants?

L. I start with the idea. As ideas come to me at random times, I jot them down and keep them in documents on the computer. As things occur to me about a particular idea, whether they are words or phrases or sentences, I add them to those documents. When an idea gains enough momentum, which to my thinking means that it has a distinct beginning and end, I write the beginning and the end. At that point, what comes in between has a definite beginning and a definite end, and must therefore follow logically.

T. What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?

L. I really never thought I’d be saying this, but I do like my Kindle. In my personal crystal ball, it is the future. But it does make me sad that someday there will be no books, no music, and no movies other than what exists in digital space. I enjoy sitting in the study with my movie collection, looking at the covers, remembering pieces of each film, deciding which to watch again. Books and music are the same thing. It’s an experience in itself that will be gone.

T. Anything else to share?

L. Thank you for this time. The existence of the independent writer community was a complete and wonderful surprise to me once I had finished Four Years from Home and was looking to publish it. People like yourself have been so supportive and kind, not to mention creative! It engenders a symbiotic relationship that can only be good for the entire community.

T. Thank you, it’s been fun getting to know you better. Keep us updated.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for everything, Tom. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be interviewed by you.

  2. Tom, thanks for having this lovely, talented gentleman on your blog.

    A “D” in penmanship, Larry? Good thing you can type!

    eden

  3. Wonderful interview. I, too, will miss the look and feel of book covers, and the pages within, but digital has the potential to open up reading to so many more people.

  4. Great to get to know Larry better!

    Thanks for doing this interview thing, Tom.

    As Larry expressed, I had no clue there existed this network of support within the author community. It’s a real pleasure to be a part of it.

    Glenn


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