Interview: Larry Kahn
Larry emailed me about reviewing his book and this blog tour and I just had to be a part of it. I’m so glad I am! I’m reading King of Paine right now and it’s just amazing. I’ll have my official review up when I’m finished with it. Unfortunately troubles with my back has made it a little hard to read. I will tell you this though. GRAB IT! It’s only 99 cents right now and you won’t be disappointed! Enough of my ranting though. Check out this interview!
TTS: The Top Shelf would like to welcome Larry Kahn to the blog! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your book King of Paine.
I’m an ex-attorney living in the Atlanta suburbs with my fun-loving wife; our two sons attend college in Atlanta, and we’re loving the empty nest! I authored The Jinx, a political thriller, while on sabbatical a few years ago, and King of Paine, is my first effort since leaving legal practice in my rearview mirror.
King of Paine is a sexy, fast-paced suspense novel filled with characters who grapple with a range of intriguing end-of-life issues while everything they care about is at stake. The story follows two investigations, Special Agent Frank Paine’s pursuit of a stalker commiting a series of kinky Internet crimes and a reporter tracking the disappearance of wealthy senior citizens across the nation. Both paths lead to a hidden enclave where a brilliant biochemist harbors a deadly secret. Somebody is going to die there, and it may be Frank Paine’s soulmate. Or him.
TTS: How did the idea for this book come about?
I could write an entire guest post on my inspirations for the plot. In fact, I did! It will appear on CMash Loves to Read on Monday, December 19th. To give you a brief preview, though, one of my inspirations was my own musings about how far a desperate patient would go to chase down rumors of a potential cure. Would the law, religion or basic morality be enough to keep a dying man from killing for a chance to save himself? That’s a tagline I’ve been using: How far would YOU go to find the fountain of youth?
TTS: I like to ask this question of every author I interview because I find character creation interesting. How did you name your characters and did you shape them after people you know in real life?
I often name secondary characters after people I know as a little tip of the cap, and I do draw on real life models for physical descriptions, whether an actor or actress I see playing the role or a friend or acquaintance. Frank Paine, the protagonist in my story, was named with a series in mind. He’s not cast in my work-in-progress, but I could envision him returning in FBI sequels like Paine and Suffering and Agonizing Paine, or Paine in the…Neck. Maybe not so much that last one.
TTS: Did you have the storyline all planned out when you sat down to write or did it take a life of its own beyond the initial paragraph? When you sit down to write a story do you use an outline?
I do a lot of brainstorming and create a working outline before I start writing, but the story remains fluid as I write. I might lock down five or six major plot points and then let the characters figure out how to fill in the gaps. I do many, many drafts, layering in the kind of details that add depth to a story, finding links between the plot lines, weaving in themes. I delete a lot of crap and try to make the jewels that remain shine.
TTS: Were there ever moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted it to go? How did you deal with that?
I’m a problem-solver by nature–I enjoy the little puzzles that constantly arise when you’re crafting a complex story. Sometimes I go down what seems like a great path and then come to a point where I can’t connect another path without relying on coincidence, so I either have to make an adjustment in one or both paths to set the stage for the intersection of the plot lines more organically or just scrap the idea and start over. That’s the beauty of outlining before writing, though–I never find myself in the awful spot of having to choose between scrapping great pages or relying upon a cheesy coincidence to make the story work. I hate when I’m reading a thriller and solutions magically appear. That’s bad planning.
TTS: What led you to writing?
I was born to write. My life story is more about what led me away from it. I won book review contests as a first grader, always had a writing class on my schedule, and wrote for my college newspaper. But it was too hard to pass up Yale Law School for a sports reporting gig at a local rag. In the end, my 20-year legal career navigating the world of international mergers and acquisitions gave me the life experience to write more interesting novels.
TTS: Are you planning on sticking to one genre or are you going to branch out into others?
I’ll probably stick with thriller/suspense novels. I like the way I can combine social themes with dramatic pacing.
TTS: What do you like to read?
I like to read thriller/suspense, too, but usually have a non-fiction book open at the same time.
TTS: What are you reading at the moment?
The Arranger, by L.J. Sellers–an opportunity to support a fellow indie thriller writer who has her act together–and The Price of Civilization, by Jeffrey Sachs, a nonpartisan analysis of how the U.S. got into the economic mess we’re in and what we need to do to get out of it. Both are highly recommended.
TTS: Do you think what authors read influences what they write?
Without doubt. We learn more of what we know about story structure, character development and incorporation of themes from the authors we admire most than from “how-to” books and articles. I’ve personally been most influenced by great thriller authors like Frederick Forsyth, John Grisham and Greg Iles, as well as more literary novels like Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and Foucalt’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco that feature outside-the-box plot twists. I love originality in what I read, and I strive for it when I write.
TTS: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now if you’re working on anything at all?
I’m still outlining my next thriller, tentatively entitled Hostile Takeover. My protagonist discovers a conspiracy by Asian sovereign investment funds to acquire vital U.S. companies and subvert the government. I’m still debating whether to have my protagonist take heroic action to save the American way of life or write the last third of the book in Chinese. I know, tough call, right?
Once again, I would like to thank Larry for taking the time to be here! I would love to have you back again sometime!
Larry Kahn, the author of The Jinx and King of Paine, successfully negotiated the fast-paced world of domestic and international mergers and acquisitions for twenty years, first at a major New York law firm and then at an Atlanta Fortune 500 company. He penned The Jinx while on sabbatical in 1999 and is now devoted to writing fiction full time. Many of his more cynical legal clients and associates have accused him of writing fiction full time for many years. He resides in Atlanta with his family.
Larry developed a keen interest in social issues while attending Yale Law School, an idealistic spirit that continues to spice his novels. The vision of a colorblind America in his political thriller The Jinx led to endorsements by leaders of the ACLU, National Urban League and Artists Against Racism. And as the Baby Boomer generation scatters about the country, King of Paine envisions a renewed emphasis on family and tradition in which Americans create for their venerable elders, and ultimately themselves, a peaceful place to die.
Website and blog: http://www.larrykahn.com
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Larry-Kahn/135241939892196
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/743265.Larry_Kahn
Synopsis: King of Paine is a sexy, fast-paced suspense novel filled with characters who grapple with a range of intriguing end-of-life issues while everything they care about is at stake. The story follows two investigations, Special Agent Frank Paine’s pursuit of a stalker committing a series of kinky Internet crimes and a reporter tracking the disappearance of wealthy senior citizens across the nation. Both paths lead to a hidden enclave where a brilliant biochemist harbors a deadly secret. Somebody is going to die there, and it may be Frank Paine’s soulmate. Or him.