Featured Friday! Lawrence Kelter
This week’s interview is with none other than Larry Kelter. I’m not sure I can write a better introduction than the man himself, so read on!
Don’t push it!
Where are you from?
Fugetaboutit! Okay, don’t Fugetaboutit. Either way, I’m Brooklyn born and proud of it.
Tell us a little about you.
So, I grew up on Avenue F, a little two by nothing section of road that few have ever heard of. Had a great childhood even though my mother wouldn’t let me stray more than a mile in any direction. Great friends, great families—it was old school Brooklyn. You could stay out all day without worrying your folks, no namby pamby play dates, just a bunch of kids and a basketball down the block from the Gold’s Horseradish factory . . . and when they cooked those beets an air raid siren was needed—the smell was so bad you had to run home and shut the windows.
Tell us your latest news
I’m very excited to say that there’s a lot going on. First and foremost I signed a deal to write a series of comic adventures based on the funniest movie of all time, My Cousin Vinny. It’s always been my favorite, the kind of movie that will make you late for the most important function if it pops up on the tube as you’re preparing to leave the house. Due for release on 22nd May!
Recently Stephanie Chalice (a half million sold copies and counting) joined forces with a new partner, hard hitting ex-marine turned FBI SA, Chloe Mather in a new series called the Heat Beat. Book #1 is called Out of the Ashes. The gals are thrown a slow roller on their first assignment or so it seems. What seems a walk in the park becomes a large scale investigation taking Chalice and Mather from New York to Mexico in pursuit of a foe most despicable.
I’ve signed on for three coauthoring gigs but can only talk about one at this time. I’ve co-written The Last Collar with sensational crime writer Frank Zafiro about a Brooklyn detective with a deep dark secret. Published this January by Down and Out Books, I think you’ll love it.
When and why did you begin writing?
Because I got tired of the day job. No seriously, because I wanted to get rich. No seriously, really seriously, because I love it and I feel as if I’m immortalizing myself in some small way, leaving a legacy for my kids and their kids to read after I’m gone. Good reason, right?
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I quit my day job and man did it take forever for the words to come out of my mouth. “What do you do?” “I’m a . . . writer? I’m a writer. Whoopee!
What inspired you to write your first book?
It came to me one night. I was lying in bed, tossing and turning instead of settling into my immediate unconscious state and the entire plot came to me before dawn. I literally stayed up all night but it was worth it.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes and it’s called ridiculous. I’m usually working on bits and pieces of several books at a time (currently four). When an idea strikes, like lightning, I usually dash off a quick fifty pages before sitting back and determining if I’ve got something good enough to move forward with. After that it’s pencil and paper, outlining, crossing out and revising until I can see a clear path to the finish line.
How did you come up with the title? Which title?
How about Back To Brooklyn, the literary sequel to My Cousin Vinny. It picks up exactly where the film leaves off with Lisa behind the wheel of that magnificent red Caddy and Vinny looking over his shoulder as they race against time to escape Beechum County before Judge Haller realizes that Vinny sold him a bill of goods or as they say in Alabama, a lot of crap. From there they head home to Brooklyn where Vinny struggles to get his legal career going, but ultimately scores big, setting the New York legal scene on its ear. LYAO funny. I guarantee it.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. Laugh! Enjoy! Immerse yourself in the story and get lost for a couple of hours. If I can distract the reader from the pains of modern day civilization for a few hours then I’ve done my job. Life’s not always a bowl of cherries and I’m happy if I distract the reader long enough to make him forget what a crazy world we live in.
How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
To the degree that my work is not sci-fi or fantasy my books are believable and to the best of my skill set realistic. I do tons of research and have gotten called on the carpet several times by readers claiming they allegedly knew better than I did. Of course, I’m always leading the reader astray and circling back on course . . . well, sometimes you just have to suspend disbelief, but not often.
What books have most influenced your life most? Is there anyone that you consider a mentor?
So this is pretty cool. At least I think it is. Early in my writing career, I received support from none other than best-selling novelist, Nelson DeMille, who reviewed my work and actually put pencil to paper to assist in the editing of the first book. DeMille has been a true inspiration to me and has also given me some tough love. Way before he ever said, “Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum,” he told me, “Kid, your work needs editing, but that’s a hell of a lot better than not having talent. Keep it up!” I was also a member of a closed circle of novelists and screenwriters conducted by legendary soap opera actress, Ann Loring, who starred in Love of Live for fourteen years. Her instruction was invaluable and we all had one hell of a good time learning from the master. I used to call her Ann of a Thousand Plays.
My thanks to Lawrence for answering our questions!