Sunday, 24 April 2016

Author Interview - Larry D. Shackelford @larrydshack

It is said that the life of an author can be a very lonely one - we are glued to our screens, lost in our own little world  - "poor love, she doesn't get out much.." but, I disagree. Since becoming a published author and starting my blogs, I have met some of the most interesting folk - many of whom I now consider as friends - this is certainly true for author,  Larry D. Shackelford. Larry has agreed to run the gauntlet of one of my interviews, but before we hand the blog over to him, let's take a quick look at one of his fabulous books...

In 1982, a St. Louis college student traveled to Northwestern Brazil to visit his Lutheran missionary parents. The epic journey reduced the young man to the most primitive and instinctive forms of survival; but also to the nascent essence of life and death, and the ultimate archetype: the evil nature of man. The Cheribum Rosewood is an incredible story that will challenge the reader to reconsider choices they have made in their own journey through life and reflect upon this narrative of survival, hope and healing.

MY: Hi Larry, could you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a published author? 

LS: I started writing approximately seven years ago simply because I enjoyed writing.  I found that writing fiction stories was not only enjoyable, but therapeutic in many respects.  Similar to reading, it seemed that no matter what was happening in my life, writing was a great escape from stress, and a healthy way to exercise my mind.   

MY: I find writing a wonderful way to escape as well. What does your average ‘writing day’ look like?   

LS: I am one of those strange fiction writers who is always working on two or three manuscripts at a time.  I still work a full-time job, so I write mostly at night or on the weekends.  My disposition at the time usually determines which manuscript I focus my attention on.

MY: Are there any authors that you particularly admire? And if so, why?  

LS:  I admire authors whose writing inspires a wide range of emotions.  The most recent example would be this blog’s very own Mary Anne Yarde.  I thoroughly enjoyed her novel The Du Lac Chronicles and I am currently reading her sequel The Pitchfork Rebellion.  I am honoured to recognize Mary Anne’s manuscripts, not only for my personal enjoyment, but because many of my co-workers have also read her works.  One young woman in my office was so moved by Mary Anne’s first novel that she has committed to writing her first novel.  The woman stated that Mary Anne’s story brought back many fond memories of her youth, friends and family, and she wanted to emulate Mary Anne’s passion in her own writing.  To me, this example illustrates the epitome of inspirational writing.  Thank you Mary Anne! 

MY: Wow! I wasn't expecting that answer - thank you!!  Could you tell us what you are currently working on? 

LS: I am finishing my third sci-fi book, and my second archaeology action/adventure story.  Consequently, and as noted earlier, I have started another crime thriller which seems to be taking up the majority of my free time .

MY: I thoroughly enjoyed your first archaeology action/adventure story, The Keresa Headdress - I can't wait to read the next one!  If you could give advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

LS:Write because you love it and you have a story to tell.  It does not matter who does or does not like your story, it only matters that you wrote it.  If you are inspired…write! 

MY: Authors are often portrayed as being cat owners who drinks a lot of coffee. Is this true for you?   
LS: Guilty as charged and the photo below is irrefutable evidence. I think other writers will also recognize the expression on my face: it's the look after you re-read your first draft of a chapter and wonder how in the world you could wrist something so poorly!

MY: I recognize that expression well!! What does your ‘perfect’ day look like? 

LS:  Coffee…writing, coffee…tennis, coffee…writing, coffee…sandy, sunny beach, bourbon…writing!

MY:  What is your biggest vice? 

LS:  I love a great romance story!  The hopeless, socially incompetent guy and the homely, lonely gal should always fall in love and live happily ever after…but of course, not without a substantial amount of controversy before the happy ending!

MY: Me too!  If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be and why?   
LS: I am an avid reader of history, and I would love to have dinnger with Sir Winston S> Churchill and listen to him talk about the events he has witnessed and experienced. To this day, my favourite quote of his is:

“Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance.  As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.”
This quote is displayed next to my work desk computer. Seldom has a day gone by that I have not reflected upon his words.

MY: Where do you see yourself in five years?

LS: This question is rather poignant for me due to the fact I will be nearing 60 years of age at that point. I have been truly blessed in my life, more than I deserved, and by the grance of God, I hope in five years I am still writing, drinking coffee, playing tennis, riding my road and mountain bike. More importantly, I hope I am still able to read great books written by inspirational authors!
MY: It has been great having you on the blog, Larry. One more thing, could you share an extract of  The Cherubim Rosewood with us?
LS: Of course! 

Book Extract
I discarded the rock to my left side, and removed the man’s machete that was fastened to his right hip.  As I continued eastward down the path, I assumed that I had killed the man, but I was not confident.  I continued to run, hoping he would not get up and pursue me.  After a few hundred yards, I realized he was not following, so I slowed my pace enough to where I could work the noose off of my neck and over my head.  I also managed to remove the primitive rope that bound my hands.  Trying to remain objective, I thought, “That’s the good news, but, the bad news is…I’m naked, shoeless, and crap…no eyeglasses.”
If the man survived my assault, I assumed he would wait with the group until Tofi’s [tribal leader] prayers had concluded.  I quickened my pace, only looking back every minute or two to see if I was being chased.  I ran through the first patch of trees into a small opening with a circumference of about two hundred feet.  I was scared, and running without a distinct purpose or plan.  I just wanted to put as much distance between me and the soon to be hunters. Staying on the path next to the river, I scampered through a cleared, open area, when I realized I was not far from where my father had instructed me to go.  I had a much needed, moment of clarity…“Get to the tree.”
I estimated that I was only about one hundred yards from the turn off to the designated, angel tree.  I desperately looked for the familiar rock pile my father and I had seen previously, marking the area to move northward.  Without my eye glasses, the terrain appeared as though it had changed, and the surroundings were frighteningly unfamiliar.  I could not recognize or identify any landmark distinctly, and moments before I panicked, thankfully, I recognized the path on my left.
Changing directions, I cut through the dense brush, and thin shaped trees.  After traveling an additional fifty yards north, I had reached the opening were my intended target stood like a beacon in the night across the open field.  I could make out its shape easily, and knew I was in the right place, but my elation was short term, because without my glasses, I was not confident I could locate the unspecified cache my father had referenced.  Feeling an additional wave of panic creep through my body, I could feel the jungle slowly start to close in, and around me.  I had no concept of what my father had left for me, but the thought of not finding the treasure was suffocating.  My attempts to hold off the swarming feelings of claustrophobia were futile, and the devastating symptoms were beginning to manifest.  Now, my body was being compressed; squeezed by imaginary tree limbs.  My lungs were also burning, and the realization that my aerobic conditioning was extremely suspect and vulnerable magnified the fact that my outer being was slowly caving in.  The trees in the jungle felt like they were growing…reaching out to me, to accost me and suck my entire being into their large trunks.  I pictured myself unable to move in their trunks, slowly being digested by each growth ring of the layered wood.  I wanted to explode, but I did not make a sound.
I arrived at the welcomed landmark, and trying to ignore my symptoms, I frantically started removing the clumps of brush that were loosely laid around the bottom of the massive tree.  I was on the verge of a psychological melt-down as I hastily threw the loose vegetation aside.  I was losing hope, but trying to stay sound.  Seeking academic relief, I reminded myself to consider my premise, my position.  My mind reverted back to one of my philosophy classes, and Mr. Johnson was now standing before me.  My professor not only looked like Charleston Hesston, but he spook like him as well.  In his distinct, prolific voice, he said, “You have got to defend your position; your premise requires a clear, concise, and cogent response and qualification to address your situation.  Mr. Hamilton, are you are defending an enthymeme or a syllogism?  What is your position?”
His favorite topic to debate was capital punishment.  He was adamantly opposed to the death penalty because he proffered the law did not deter recidivism rates.  Just to be obstinate, I always argued with him from a theological positive perspective, because he was a devout atheist.
I spoke out loud to the imaginary Mr. Johnson who was now beside me, “Well Mr. Johnson, or Mr. Moses look alike, here is my position.  I am in the middle of flipping nowhere, being chased by drug induced head hunters, and I’m butt naked, I have no shoes, no clothes, and no glasses.  So my qualifying statement is this…I’m screwed, I’m totally screwed."
  Where can I purchase a copy of  
The Cherubim Rosewood?
Amazon US 
Amazon UK 

About the author  
Larry was raised in southwest Missouri where he received his college degree, but he received his education after he graduated and began working in a maximum-security federal prison. After spending two years behind bars, he continued his law enforcement career as a criminal investigator, residing and working in eight states and two foreign countries. Larry retired from law enforcement after twenty-five years of service and resides in Salt Lake City with his wife and cat.

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