I’m here with L C Larsen the author of the new novel, Some Men Deserve to Die. Lars is a member of the Pamlico Writer’s group. After years of working as a doctor and instructor, why would you embark on yet another career?
Lars: I had wanted to write a short novel for about two decades before I retired because of the joy I’ve experienced from reading them during times of stress during my life and career. I mean, we all have difficult times in our lives or times when we’re just overwhelmed and there’s no better way to escape those pressures than to curl up in a chair and read a good novel. I retired and decided to try writing a novel and, hopefully, provide some happiness to my readers. It also would provide a meaningful project I could work on with my adult children—I spent so much time working as a physician that I hadn’t worked with them as adults on any projects where we could function as peers, to interact as equals and strengthen our relationships accordingly. However successful the novel turns out commercially, the final outcome in that regard has been fantastic.
Sherri: That wonderful Lars. My husband and sons have all helped me with my novels and it’s so much fun being able to share our passions and learn from each other.
What genre is your new novel?
Lars: Murder mystery, with a physician-detective protagonist. It could also be classified as “murder mystery adventure.”
Sherri: Why did you choose to write a murder mystery?
Lars: I have always enjoyed classic murder-mystery stories, those with thoughtful and observant protagonists like Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. As a former physician with roughly four decades of clinical experience caring for patients from all walks of life and hearing their deepest secrets, I felt my medical knowledge and insight into human behavior would provide a solid foundation for weaving an interesting story about the worst of crimes, about killing a person, and how possibly to get away with it.
Sherri: Tell me something about your main character, Jack Damen, that is not in your book?
Lars: An important aspect about Damen that’s not explicit in the book is that while he’s different from the great majority of readers, he is similar in a very human way: he’s flawed with a dark side but works hard to overcome it and be productive in his life. Also, he has done terrible things in his life and has sought redemption but it seems to escape from him time and time again because of the choices he makes, as it often does for many of us. I named my self-publishing company, Three Choices Press, after that phenomena: we all make choices, some good and some bad, and many times we make choices that don’t neatly fit into either category but work out for us nonetheless.
Sherri: How did you come up with your title, Some Men Deserve to Die?
Lars: I’ve always been an observer of people and their actions. As a physician and in my non-medical life, I have witnessed firsthand the depravity in humankind’s soul; in my experience, it’s been primarily in males.
Sherri: How long did it take you to write this book? What was your process?
Lars: Five years, writing two hours daily, five days per week, nine months each year. The best time for me to think and write creatively is in the morning after breakfast before reading the news or being distracted by anything else. I have a comfortable chair in our family room where I would sit with my “lap desk” and laptop, coffee on the side table, and go at it until mentally exhausted about two hours later. That’s also the maximum amount of time I could isolate myself from Pat, my wife, without negatively affecting our relationship.
Sherri: In crafting your characters, do you fashion them on people you know?
Lars: No, not really, not on individuals I’ve known. All of my characters are blends of people I’ve met or observed with imaginary attributes I assign to them for their roles in the novel.
Sherri: What do you wish you’d known before publishing this book?
Lars: How difficult it is to be a creative writer and how long it would take to write this novel. I had done a fair amount of scientific and academic writing in my career but transitioning to creative writing was the hardest thing I’ve done since medical school. The first three years of writing this story were trial and error, learning my mistakes and studying to correct them. Coupled with the time and mental effort required each day to just “put the story down on paper”—conceptualizing scenes and typing them—it was a major challenge but one I enjoyed as I progressed through the process.
Sherri: What do you hope to do different with your new book?
Lars: The plot will be better established before I begin writing. In Some Men Deserve to Die, I initially formulated the beginning and end of the novel but the body of the story and its characters evolved as I wrote it. Also, it was designed to be the first in a series of Jack Damen books so writing the sequel should be easier now that the characters have been developed. In fact, I’ve already determined a plot for it—so exciting!
Sherri: What would you tell a new writer?
Lars: Be prepared to work twice as hard and long on your book as you anticipate and be prepared to learn unexpected things about yourself, aspects of your personality that will help and hinder your creative writing. For me, having had narrow focus and linear thinking allowed me to be successful as a physician, but these are traits I’ll always have to compensate for as a creative writer.
Sherri: What character was the most difficult to write? Which one was the easiest?
Lars: My protagonist, Jack Damen, was the most difficult because his personality is so multifaceted. Also, I wanted readers to discover more about him as the novel progressed, personal traits that would resonate with them. I felt really good when one reader sent me a letter with their revelations about him.
Dr. Michelle Lewis was the easiest because I’ve known so many people like her: really smart southern women who’ve been underestimated because of their genders and communication styles.
Sherri: Is there a scene you removed from the final edit of the book? Why did you take it out?
Lars: Yes, I removed a scene about an abusive, alcoholic father and his subsequent relationship with adult children. I took it out because one of my preliminary readers felt it cluttered up the plot. It was a powerful segment, though, and I’ve saved it for a sequel.
Sherri: Did you do the publishing yourself? Was it difficult?
Lars: I did the publishing myself through KDP Amazon. It wasn’t difficult but learning how to do it took quite a bit of time. KDP provides a software tool, Kindle Create, that can be downloaded onto your personal computer along with a working copy of Pride and Prejudice that you can practice on—editing, formatting, etc. After that has been mastered, you enter your manuscript into the software, edit it, and upload the final product into the KDP server. Choosing a book cover is the final step, one made easy by software on the KDP server. Having already done it, I feel it will be a piece of cake the next time around.
Sherri: Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.
Available in Kindle and paperback formats at https://Amazon.com
My website is www.lclarsen.com
My business email is firstname.lastname@example.org
My business page on Facebook is L.C. Larsen (found most easily in Facebook by searching my username: L.C. Larsen@ThreeChoicesPress)