June 3, 2011
Interview with Author Larry Peterson
by Ella Johnson
Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a freelancer, he has written many newspaper columns for local publications. “Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes” is his first children’s book. Peterson has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida for the past 28 years.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog today.
What is the last book you read?
I’m reading (again) the last volume, #7, in C. S. Lewis” “Chronicles of Narnia”. The title is “The Last Battle”. So I guess the last book I read is volume #6, “The Silver Chair”. Anyway, I love how Lewis let his creativity run with these books. And it is always, from beginning to end, about good vs. evil. Of course, good triumphs. Characters are wonderful, from “Aslan” the great Lion, to Jadis, the “white witch” and Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer and—well, on and on. It is fun.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
I guess in 6th or 7th grade. I use to like to write stories about people and their “imagined weaknesses”.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
No, I think I just did it.
Are you working on a new book?
Yes, I just finished a novel called “The Priest and the Peaches”. It is about five kids from the Bronx who find themselves orphaned during Christmas season of 1965. IT is about their initial attempts to stay together as a family and how their parish priest gently guides them on their beginning journey into “grown-up world”. I would classify it as YA or Adult contemporary fiction. I don’t know if it will ever get published but, you never know. I am always insecure in the work I do—never really think it is very good.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I worked in the building trades in NYC for 15 years (Metal Lathers & Reinforcing Ironworkers—even worked on the Twin Towers). Had to leave the business when I was diagnosed with MS. (It was not in my best interests to be stumbling around 50 or 60 stories above the streets of Manhattan—LOL). Anyway, my wife, three kids and I moved to Florida 30 years ago. I went to college, graduated with a BS Degree in Computer Programming and could never get a job although all my interviews were very “pleasant”. (I was on crutches, could hardly walk, and I guess I did not
present a long term promise to prospective employers. I look back and laugh about it. Plus, I hated computers anyway. I got the degree because they told me
I would be in a wheelchair and yada, yada, yada. Whatever—I got myself walking (no easy task by the way) and started fixing up houses and did that off
and on for about 15 years. Today, I work part-time in a high-school cafeteria, write when I can, and take care of my wife who has cancer and is undergoing
What inspired you to write ‘Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes’?
We were foster parents in New Jersey and the state sent us two brothers, aged 3 and 6, who were supposed to stay for about a week. Anyway, the youngest, Brian, had no self controls and would just get up and run right into things; the wall, the door, off the steps—he never got hurt and he and his brother stayed with us for two years. So, it was Brian who put the idea in my head.
How did you come up with your characters?
I guess from people I have known and/or met over the years.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Absolutely—to get rid of it I start to write, write anything, even doodle. Sooner or later a coherent thought kicks in.
How do you react to a bad review?
It is the “nature of the beast’ so to speak and I always can learn from any review. No problem.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
Never thought about something like this. Maybe Hemingway, definitely C. S. Lewis and his buddy. J. R. R. Tolkien just to be able to listen to them.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Find books that deal with “giving” to others and that show that ALL people are special.
What advice you would give to new writers?
“Keep on truckin”—it is a very winding, up and down road with many, many potholes, soft shoulders and detours but you must be tenacious and stay the course. And NEVER take rejection personal.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
That I appreciate the work that you do and thank you for taking the time to do this with me.
Thank you for this interview.