Happy Hump Day, RG2E Peeps!
Welcome to The RG2E and/or Welcome Back!
Here’s another terrific Reader2Author Interview from the A-mazing Alicia Street!
For this edition, we’re talking with Thriller Author Richard LaPlante and his Superfab Reader Mayo Morley.
Richard LaPlante has been writing professionally since 1987. He has published eight crime fiction novels and three memoirs. He recently founded a micro-publishing company, Escargot Books. He is currently working on a fifth novel for his Fogarty-Tanaka series, entitled, Berserker.
Our reader is Mayo Morley. Aside from being a wife and mother with grown children, Mayo has worked as a book editor for many years and currently works at a Montessori School in California.
Alicia: When did you first become a reader? As a child or an adult?
Mayo: I’ve been an avid reader from early childhood. Growing up in the ‘50s, reading was the main family pastime. My parents read to us nightly, and I and my siblings learned to read at a very young age. The love of books has been passed on to my children, and subsequently to their children. My husband is not a book reader, especially fiction. He reads magazine articles (internet and print) for information, never for entertainment.
Richard: I became an avid reader of magazines and martial arts books when I was a kid, maybe twelve or thirteen years old. Mostly bodybuilding magazines like Bob Hoffman’s Strength and Health, or martial arts how-to-do-it books, like Bruce Tegner’s Judo and karate stuff. Regarding actual novels or biographies, I read only what was required in school, and maybe —judging by my grades —not even that.
Alicia: What do you read now?
Richard: I am still into books about health and fitness. Recently Body By Science, which is a continuation of the stuff I read as a kid. Some biographies and memoirs. For fiction I like James Patterson, Dean Koontz and Thomas Harris.
Alicia: Where do you read? Is there a time of day that is usually ‘reading’ time?
Richard: In my office, which is a built on addition to the garage, and that reading is mainly off the Internet, or at night in my bed.
Mayo: I read daily for work and for pleasure. My only “regular” reading time is in bed, but I’m always thrilled when I find myself with time to read during the day.
Alicia to Mayo: What genres are your favorites? Any you absolutely would never read?
Mayo: My reading tastes are pretty eclectic—from memoirs to espionage thrillers to poetry. Great writing is my only real criteria.
Alicia to Richard:Was there a particular book that first made you want to write?
Richard: Red Dragonby Thomas Harris inspired my Fogarty-Tanaka thriller series. I found Harris’s writing compelling and terrifying. His economy of words is fantastic and I’m a sucker for the macabre type of antagonist that Harris brilliantly creates.
Alicia to Mayo: How did you discover the first Richard LaPlante book you read? How did it affect you?
Mayo: The first Richard LaPlante book I read happened to be his latest memoir Never Again. I found the book completely engrossing and enjoyable, and laughed aloud in several places. I was thrilled to discover that this talented author had written several other books, and knew I would read all of them.
Alicia to Richard: What was the most satisfying response you’ve gotten from a reader? The most unusual?
Richard: After my book, Leopard, the second in the Tanaka-Fogarty series was trashed by the New York Times – effectively ending my rise to literary stardom (which was the hope of my publisher) I was dejected.
At that point a fan letter arrived. Written by a man who described himself as an ex-English teacher, he went on to say that although I had a great story I had let myself down by terrible sentence structure and sloppy editing. It was a scathing criticism of my book and a huge compliment at the same time. “Great story, terrible execution.” He went on to give specific examples — lines and paragraphs — and offer his corrections. Then said that he was in a hospice, dying, and that he would not provide a name or address because he had said everything he had to about my work and there was no need to thank him or correspond. It was a rather profound letter.
Alicia: Whoa. That’s quite a story. And the book was traditionally published at the time, right?
Richard: Yes. Don’t ask me what happened with my editor.
Alicia: So did his feedback influence your work? Or your perspective?
Richard: Absolutely. After the letter mentioned in the last question, I re-wrote Leopard. But this was before ebooks and Indie publishing took off. So it was for my own sake, because I knew he was one hundred percent right in his assessment and I could not let it rest as the mess that it was. It was not a monetary based decision; it was to honor this man, whoever he was, and to help myself.
Alicia: And this is the version you used in your new ebook after getting print rights back from the original publisher?
Richard: Yes, so I feel in some way I’ve repaid him.
Alicia to Mayo: What kind of heroine or hero do you usually like to read about? One that you will go back to again and again?
Mayo: I like multi-dimensional, complex protagonists.
Alicia: Which of Richard’s characters is most compelling to you? Any that you don’t like?
Mayo: The serial killer in Mantis is shudderingly vile, but also a fascinating villain.
Alicia to Richard: Is there a character you’ve created that is your personal favorite?
Richard: Yes, Josef Tanaka, who is based loosely on my great karate sensei Keinosuke Enoeda.
Alicia: Tanaka is one of the protagonists in the Tanaka-Fogarty series. Why him?
Richard: Tanaka is a Japanese-American, part Samurai, who had accidentally paralyzed his brother in a martial arts championship in Tokyo. He migrates to America to get away from his guilt. Despite the fact that he becomes a doctor, he struggles with the memory every day. It is his fatal flaw – like a death wish- and it influences everything that he does, all his relationships, everything. I had heard a similar story about Sensei Enoeda (injuring his brother. Whether it is fact I cannot say) and it stuck with me. He was such a handsome, noble man, charismatic in the extreme, and was known as the Shotokan Tiger, revered to have the strongest punch in all Japan. I guess it was the personal flaw (the brother tragedy) that inspired me to create the character. That coupled with Enoeda’s looks and fighting prowess forged Josef Tanaka. He seems fearless, which I would love to be, but am not.
Alicia: Is there a particular character you get the most compliments or complaints about?
Richard: Both men and women seem to love Joey Tanaka. Even film producers, as they have been trying to make the series for almost twenty years, but that’s Hollywood, and that’s another story.
Alicia to Mayo:What is the reason you continue to read Richard’s books?
Mayo: Few authors have the versatility and talent of Richard LaPlante. His thrillers are always tightly plotted with believable characters, and his memoirs are full of insight and humor.
Alicia: What prompts you as a reader to contact an author?
Mayo: When I finish a book that stays with me and feel that an author has touched upon a universal (or sometimes a very personal) truth, I want to acknowledge this.
(D. D. here):
Wow! Just over the moon fabulous! 🙂 Thanks bunches, Alicia, Richard and Mayo!!!
Who all would like an Ebook Gift Copy of Leopard or Mantis? Let us know below, and you just might win one from The RG2E!
The Best of RG2E Ereading Wishes — D. D. Scott, RG2E Founder