Sunday, December 22, 2013

Not From Around Here by Larry Hochwald: Interview and Excerpt


Welcome Larry! Thanks so much for being here! Tell us about your current release.

I'm very excited about, Not From Around Here, because it's my first book. It's a collection of short stories, a few of which I originally wrote many years ago. It spans many genres, including literary, humor, horror, science fiction and fantasy.  However, while it's a collection, as you read it you'll find there are several threads that run through different stories. I'm very proud that I was able to make it sort of a hybrid; individual parts that together help to tell a greater, somewhat unified story.   Without giving too much away, I know people sometimes read stories out of order in a collection, choosing long stories for when they have more time, and shorter stories for when they have less time.  That's fine, but I recommend you save the final story, which is the title story, for last!

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don't use a set formula.  I do find that when it comes to plots, I will often get an idea for a beginning and an end though sometimes the end comes later.  Often the end will change once I am into the book and its starts to write itself.  By “write itself,” I, of course, mean the plot and characters start to control the action. Somehow I still get stuck with the actual task of typing!  Though admittedly, I'm not a very good typist and I do sometimes dictate to my computer.  For a long time that got me nowhere, but then I decided to buy a dictation program.  With the proper software my computer now listens to me when I speak to it, instead of just sit there and ignore me.

What is your favorite meal?

Even when I became a vegetarian, it didn't really change, because that's pizza!

What are you passionate about these days?

I believe in fairness and respect.  I fight for it for those who have been disenfranchised due to chronic illness or other factors beyond their control. 

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

You better write because you love it and you need to do it, because there are no guarantees.  With the new technology it easier than ever to become published. At the same time, this has created such a crowded marketplace that is more challenging than ever for an author to stand out.  Sink or swim, more than ever, your success will be up to you.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

My mother.  Not for anything bad; we had a great relationship. I just don't feel I did enough for her. I always thought there was time.  But no one knows how much time they get with anybody.  Live for today and never take even one day for granted.  That's the best advice I can give, or take.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

Often, my main character, when it's a male, is named the same name; Alan Trente.  I originally did that because I needed a way to remember my main character's name!  Alan is my middle name, and Trente was a name I really like, for some characters I really like, from one of my favorite authors, Harlan Ellison. However, as my body of published stories grew, it became apparent I couldn’t keep using the same name----or could I?  I might very well answer that question in the book. If you read it, you’ll find out!

What would we find under your bed?

Very confident dust bunnies.  They’re confident because there’s strength in numbers!

Do you have a Website or Blog?

I have a website and blog.  The website is  You might wonder how I came up with that original and unique address, but it just came to me one day.  My blog is  That name came about because it was originally a health care, political and social commentary blog.  Since then I have also added anything that has to do with my writing.  I stream the blog into my website in the “News and Interviews” page, as well.  I love having so many ways to hear from, and communicate with, my readers.  In my book, both the ebook and paperback, I give my contact information and sites, so that I’m easily accessible.  My readers are the best!  They are thoughtful, intelligent, insightful, creative and caring people and I appreciate that they are also ardent supporters who have actively been helping, through word of mouth, to expand my readership.

Not From Around Here is a collection of 18 unique and connected stories that are sometimes scary and sometimes funny, but are always thought provoking, entertaining and unlike any you’ve ever read before. In this book you’ll find: “Best Friend”, where a young man is going through difficult times, until a little boy with a remarkable secret reminds him of the healing power of friendship. “The Placebo Effect,” where a doctor uncovers a shocking conspiracy, but his murder leaves it in the hands of his close friend to get the truth to the government. “Join the Club,” in which a college organization has a frightening initiation and a tantalizing reward. “Faker,” a rich grandfather wants to make sure his grandchildren grow up just right—unlike his own children. “Fur and Loathing,” the story of how a disgruntled groundhog takes matters into its own paws. “Old Ways,” where an African curse threatens to end a family’s bloodline. And “Mirrors,” where a man getting a haircut sees a reflection in the mirror of someone waving to him, who isn’t actually in the room. All of these, and 11 more extraordinary tales, await you.

Excerpt from  Not From Around Here, by Larry Hochwald. 
From the story, "Join the Club."

“Did you see that Steve---she smiled at me!  I gotta join that club!”

“Alan, you’re not Goth and you’re not cool.  She probably has a rock in her shoe and that smile you mistakenly saw was actually a grimace.  Besides---“ But Steven stopped talking.

“Besides what?”

“Well, it’s just a rumor.”

“C’mon, spit it out!”

“There was this kid, Jerry Arnette.  He tried to get in the club last year.  They say he chickened out in the middle of the initiation.  The rumor is during the initiation he almost got killed, and his hair turned white as snow.  People only know that from someone who ran into him that night, because he never came back to school again.  They say he went to live with his older brother in California.”

“Easy enough to verify.  Doesn’t anyone know him on social media?”

“I never heard of anyone who did.”

“Probably just an urban legend, that’s why.”

“He lived on my block.  I never saw him again.  You can’t find him on the net, or anything.  No urban legend, I can tell you that.”

“Listen, everyone in that club passed the initiation.  Maybe Jerry did something wrong; made a mistake that endangered him.  They’re Goth and a little weird, man, maybe they just tried to convince him he was in danger, and he fell for it.”

“Why would you join a club like that?” Steven asked.

“Did you see that girl?!”


When I wrote the "about the author" for the back of the book it came out very dry.   You don't have much real estate when you're writing a book blurb.  When I copied the same thing here, I realized I was doing my best to drive readers away from my site, which could possibly lead them away from my work!  So let me try revising it a bit.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  When I started writing, it wasn't on stone tablets, we didn't use a quill and inkwell and to write at night didn't require any candles.  Nevertheless, when I started, computers were called "Typewriters" and my word processing programs were called "Wite Out." or "Ko-rec-type"

I like to write about real people thrust into surreal situations.  I want to entertain, make you think, and make you feel things that will keep you coming back for more.

Besides writing fiction, I write about improving healthcare and am a health care advocate; speaking, writing and acting on behalf of those challenged by mental illness and other chronic disease.  My writing on those subjects has been published in "The Mental Health News" and on blogs, including my own. You can access it this link, or go to this sites "News" page where there is a blog feed and another link. Here's to Your Health, America

My work has been published on Yahoo Voices through the Yahoo Contributor Network since 2011. Some of my fiction has been featured content there. I built up a readership of thousands, and scores of fans at Yahoo before I decided to take the plunge and come out with my first book.
"Not From Around Here" is that book, and is my first collection of short fiction. 



1 comment:

LHwrites said...

Thanks so much for this! I love all your sites and all the great work you highlight and review! It was great getting to speak with you. You're the best!!!!! To celebrate this interview, as well as help out anyone looking for a last minute e-stocking stuffer or Christmas present, Amazon has lowered the price of the "Not From Around Here" ebook to $.99 until Christmas. Amazon and Barnes and also have the paperback on sale. Happy Holidays and A Healthy and Successful New Year to you,Laurie, and all your readers!