Larry has traveled throughout the world – he was born in India and has been to England and South Africa. He grew up in Rodesia and spent his life working in industry.
His first book – Feeding the Leopard – is set in Africa and is an adventure that involves a conspiracy.
Despite being retired, he is interested in the technical aspects of publishing and enjoys working with computers.
Larry, welcome to the podcast. I appreciate you taking some time for this today. So, Justin, great. Let’s get started with a little bit about who you are, where you live and a little bit about your life outside of writing. Well,
I was originally, I was born in India, and my side traveled with my parents quite a bit when I was young. We left India and went to England and then from England, we went to South Africa and then to Rhodesia. Now, all that happened before the age of six. Wow. And so I grew up in Rhodesia. So I’m pretty much a product of that country. Even though I wasn’t born there. The I went to school in a little town called bolo, where it’s actually the second largest city in the country. And I ended up going to university in what was in Seoul spree and now Harare. So when I left university, I took out articles with the firm of Chartered Accountants. And so I ended up being a finance person in industry. And I spent most of my working life in manufacturing. But I spent some time not only in bulwell and salt spray, but also in Johannesburg. I took a break from Johannesburg to go to Hong Kong for a short while, six months. And when I got back to Rhodesia, I was called up for the army because that’s when Rhodesia was having its bush war. And I stayed there till the end of that period, and then decided that this was now 79 1979 that for my family’s sake, I needed to find somewhere else. And so I came to Australia. So now I live in Melbourne. My, my first wife and I divorced, so I’m on my second marriage, and been married for what, almost 24 years. So in, in Australia, I continued working, I swapped over mainly to general management. And I worked in industry and then later on a little bit in service industries. And then I gave up work in 2013. Initially, my idea was to do a little bit of foreign currency dealing, but I decided that was a bit too much like gambling. And so I went to my second choice, which was writing. So over here in Melbourne, these days are my main interest is walks with my wife, reading dining art. And the other thing I love doing is learning about the technical side of the writing or the self publishing business. Because there was an incredible number of software’s that I had to learn to end up in a position of a published book. And I’ve pretty well done everything Myself built my own website, completely gone from beginning to end. And I wasn’t really a tech person, so possibly took me longer than it should. And it took away from my writing. But I’ve really enjoyed the learning process.
Well, so that was gonna be my next question, what kind of got you into writing, which we covered? But let me ask one question about your background, you moved around a lot, um, was that your father, your family or jobs or they just wanted to?
It was? Notice because in those days, it was what? The right to the end of the 40s. And the people after the war, were looking for work. So my father was, first of all in England, and then in South Africa, nothing nothing. And eventually, people said, well go north to Rhodesia, that country’s really booming. So that’s the reason
for that. Okay. And so now you’re in Australia, which I think is really kind of great. That someplace, I wouldn’t mind going to visit some time, as long as the spiders aren’t going to eat me.
But it’s probably no worse than the US. I know, people like to say there’s so many ways that you can get killed in Australia. But it’s the same everywhere. I’ve been anywhere.
Yeah, that’s true. But I think visiting someplace like Australia would be pretty fascinating them. I’ve I’ve been up north to Canada at this far out, really gotten. And really it’s like a stone’s throw away from me.
Yes. I think the thing about Australia’s climate is so different from what you’d possibly expect, you know, overall, much warmer country, I think, than the northern parts of the US.
Yes. Yeah. Okay, so you mentioned, you got into the publishing. We’ll talk about that in a second. I have some questions there. But tell us about your book. First. Tell us a little bit about what it’s about, and why you decided to write that story.
Okay. If I can just go back a step. Steven. Why did I want to start writing? Well, actually, I never did. I, the reason I ended up writing is people kept on saying to me, I should. But okay, in fact, I hated writing. Because to me writing was school lesses uni University assignments, board reports, tenders, the sort of thing. And I really didn’t like writing the people, I think for to know you’ve had an interesting life. I’ve sort of been in a lot of the hotspots where history was happening. So I think people are saying, why don’t you write about it, but I was, in some parts of it too young to know much about it. But the idea, but why don’t you write in 2010 I was I got pneumonia, and I was ill for quite a long time, eight weeks. And the family member bought me a novel. And it was a novel set in Africa, in a part that in parts that I knew. And I suddenly thought, Well, you know, maybe I’ll do this sometime. So three years later, when I stopped working, I still don’t go straight forward straightaway. But in about 2015 was when I really thought well, maybe I should write. And what I discovered is writing fiction is a lot more fun than business writing, or, you know, assignments. You’re writing about what you want to write about, and it’s a lot like reading but obviously a little slower. So that’s why I started writing. And the reason I wrote the book I wrote is because that’s where I grew up another place so well I know the people so well. And and it’s set in. We’re now set in Zimbabwe, which is the new name for what was Rhodesia. So it just seemed a natural. But the book that I was given by my relative and I was sick was my inspiration because I Read it now 14, I think I could do this. The actual journeys been a lot harder than I imagined at that time. But that’s why I wrote the book I wrote, The book is set in some Barbary. And it’s about a person who loses their job in the global financial crisis, someone living in Melbourne, who was born and brought up in some Bob way up to the his teenage years, but goes back half expecting that it will be the same while knowing it isn’t. And it’s what he goes back and what he finds and the trouble he ends up getting into because of his while he’s just the way that he is, you know, he’s someone who can’t not stay involved in a way. So,
it’s real quick, what’s the title of the book? The
book is called feeding the leopard. And the leopard is the main antagonist in the book. Okay. And it’s not a leopard. It’s a nickname of an individual.
Okay, so I know I ran across your book, I really loved that cover. So you wrote about this story? Obviously, it sounds like growing up moving around some of the places you’ve been inspired some of this? And you said it took a while? Did you find what was the hardest part for you the writing the craft, you said you got into the publishing. But what took a while for you?
I think I spent a lot of time editing. The other thing is, because I’m one of those people who just loves learning new things. I went down a little side avenues, like learning HTML, and spent quite a while on my website. So while the book itself, I think writing was almost is part editing, I didn’t enjoy. But it was satisfying in the end, because it helped improve things. But you know, really, I made work for myself. And I know from all I listen to a lot of podcasts and training from people on the net, and they say, you can do it the easy way. In other words, do my course. And it only costs $1,000. Or you can do it the hard way, and spend a long time and spend a lot of money working attach yourself. Well, I haven’t spent a lot of money. But I have spent quite a bit of time. So it’s been an enjoyable experience. The writing experience was a big surprise. I never thought I’d enjoy it. But I did the learning of all the software’s, and I’ve had to learn, for my purposes, how to deal with well over 30 different types of software programs, well over 30 may even be 40 by now to achieve the end result, and I’ve enjoyed all that. The one thing that was a little bit of a drag is the editing. But I think I’ve found a way to improve that as well.
So, okay, so what is what are the programs that you’re talking about that you used for the writing for the publishing? Well,
I originally wrote in Microsoft Word, and I then discovered Scrivener. But although I do my initial writing and Scrivener I spend most of my time in Microsoft Word. Because of the editing aspect. I use a program for editing apart from my own personal editing, called pro writing aid. And I think without Microsoft Word and pro writing aid, I’m not sure I would have wanted to write a second book. Pro writing aid is almost more important than Microsoft Word because it can be used with other word processing programs, including Scrivener. But it is critical because it’s taken the boring part of editing out of editing So, from the one of the biggest holdups I had was the cover, not the image, not putting the words on the image, but just working out how to do it, because I published through Ingram Spark, as well as Amazon. And just working out the whole process. I started out using Canva for the cover. But I ended up with using InDesign, because it has that wonderful of the red.or green dots at the bottom, that tells you if your cover for print has any mistakes in it. And if it does, the red dot comes up, it tells you where the mistake is and what it is. And then of course, you know, doing the PDF through Adobe Acrobat. And the professional paid version of Adobe Acrobat also has something called pre flight. And that tells you all the things all the problems you might have in having your cover printed. As far as the the interior goes, I originally formatted it 100% through Microsoft Word, going through all the little details in Amazon. But then, you know, the problem, if you when you justify the gaps between the words can be uneven. And someone suggested a formatting service called Booker. It’s a book our index in the on the internet. And book car that’s B double, okay, who, who just makes it so easy to format, the interior of the book, and it looks very neat and professional. So although I could do my own formatting, I decided to use that service just for the look of the end result. Technically.
That’s why I haven’t heard of before. Go ahead. I’m sorry. They’re still. Yeah, yeah, I was just saying that’s that book out. That’s one I haven’t heard before. So I’ll have to look that up. Go ahead, continue.
Um, yeah, I’d strongly recommend book our associates book, our index on the internet. So that’s the only outside service that I’m using, even though I spent time learning how to do it myself. I suspect he does it in InDesign, but it makes life a lot easier. But there’s so many other things. You’ve heard of caliber, I use caliber to get my you know, the E pubs and Moby and I use those to get ready to go on to book funnel, where you can put out your books to your beta readers. And I find that a very easy and helpful program to use. So I’ve been through quite a large selection of programs.
So a lot of authors really liked the writing part, ran the creating part. But then they get to the more technical aspects with the software and the website and things and they just really can’t stand it. They don’t like that. Why do you think you enjoy it so much? But you still enjoy writing?
Well, I just love learning new things. And, you know, when I say if it’s relevant to what I’m doing, if I see there’s a program that someone says, Oh, this is very useful. I really start looking into things like that. But it’s very satisfying. And I think the main reason I do that as well. Another main reason came with an example would be my website because I designed the whole thing myself, and drove me mad at times because these sort of advice and support wasn’t that helpful in in my theme. But what I was wondering or thinking was, every time I want to make a change, and I’m always looking for improvement, so I’m a solver person of endless change, I feel like I would have to find someone who knew how to do it. And they will charge me a healthy fee, which would discourage me from doing what I wanted. That’s why I felt I had to do everything myself. But I just enjoyed the process. And I can use programs that I never thought I’d ever understand. And I never certainly intended to use them. But the whole process of self publishing, you need to be flexible, and look at all this. And I’m glad I did it this way. Because some, you know, I’ve come through the tunnel a little bit. And looking back. It’s been such a boon to be able to do things myself.
And as hard as the beginning. Yes. And I totally understand that I’m a computer programmer by day. So working on the software, and doing that has never bothered me my website things now, I don’t have the graphical chops to make things necessarily look good. But I have the technical skills. If you give me what looks good, I can get it live, or make it work.
Yes. Yes. So I can understand that. I mean, go ahead. Sorry, carry on Steven. Now, I can completely understand what you’re saying. We’re not equally good at all the different facets. But it’s fun trying.
Right, right. So you mentioned the second book that you’re working on? Can you tell us a little bit about that? Is it a sequel to the first book? Yes, it
is. It is in, I’m actually planning to, for it to be a three part series. The second book is called the blue whale boys club. Now below, where was the city where I grew up? It is sequel to the first one. But my series is slightly different to most in that my series is not based on the protagonist, it’s best on the antagonist. So part of the reason for that, I like happy endings. And if you have a happy ending, especially if it’s a happy ever after. It makes it a bit difficult for the same protagonists to come back and put themselves in danger and risk everything. So I thought, Well, look, it’s easier to have the antagonist as the thread through the series, that other people will pop in and out of the other books. But they’ll, especially in the third book, they’ll you’ll see more of the other, the protagonists in the series. But I’ve really made the link, the antagonist and his organization.
Got it? Well, that’s interesting. That’s a slightly different take on series and sequels. So when you’re growing up, obviously, moving around had some influence you use some of the places you lived. Besides the locations. Did you read a lot? And if so, what are some of your favorite authors and books?
I did read a lot, but only as you might say, up until I went to university. After that, everything was textbooks for about over 30 years. It was only when I was given that book when I was ill, which was a novel that was the first novel I’d read and all the time. Since then, I have read a lot and I read in the genre. So I don’t think in terms of My favorite author being this person because this style of writing or whatever, I tend to be drawn to anyone who’s writing in the genre within the genre. And again, I’m not a person, I’m not a literary fiction person, I’m more general fiction, trade fiction type person. That’s my reading interest. But when I have read literary fiction, I must say, it’s been quite revealing my very favorite book and is called half a yellow sun. It was written by a Nigerian author called Chimamanda. Ngozi Adichie, she, she now lives in the US. And her style of writing, you know, really makes you really makes you invested in her characters. But basically, my, the authors I’ve read apart from her is john Gordon Davis, who wrote a book called hold my hand I’m dying. That was about the last days of Rhodesia. And then, of course, as Wilbur Smith, and current author, Attorney Park, they both write about Southern Africa, which is the area that interests me in the area of the time writing. So I’ve read a lot of their books off all those authors.
I haven’t heard of some of those. Well, you’ve heard of Wilbur Smith, probably. Yeah, that one rings a bell.
Yeah. But the others are, are not as well known, except to people who love reading about Africa.
And that’s one of the great things I like about finding new authors and this podcast is, you don’t hear the same things over and over, you know, you hear a lot of authors, younger kids, you know, oh, I read Harry Potter and I wanted to write, you know, everybody’s heard about those books, it’s really nice to get some books that you may not have heard of, that could become your next favorite book, your next favorite author who knows, I like reading in a wide variety.
Well, half a yellow sun is set in Nigeria. So it’s not Southern Africa, which is my area. But it is close enough for me to recognize pretty much everything. And it is such a reset in the Biafran war. But it’s not about the war. It’s about the reaction and the lives of the people who aren’t involved in the Army or anything, but it’s sort of building up in the background. And as I say, you really get invested in the characters. It’s a such, I think, such a brilliant writing. And that really, I suppose you could say his literary fiction. And that ended up being my very favorite book. But I spend most of my time on other authors writing general fiction about Africa. JOHN golden Davis is dead. Robot Smith, and Tony Parker stole going.
I’ll definitely have to make some links in the show notes to some of those for people that are interested. So Larry, do you have any advice you’d give someone that’s still struggling to get their first book out? Well,
advice, I suppose one of the things I learned when I wrote my first book, and that book, every chapter has a date. And some of those dates are very specific on a certain day. I would avoid being too specific about dates. Because a couple of things happened. One, I had my characters staying in a safari Lodge, at a certain time of the year, only to discover that that particular Safari lodge actually had been burnt down and hadn’t reopened at that time. So I had to rewrite that part of the book to make it a month later when the launch did open. The other thing is, people are crossing the SAM PC in a canoe. Now the problem There is when the flow is very strong. That is not a sensible thing to do. But there are times of year when you can do that. So you have to watch all these little things. If you’ve got a specific debt, like I had in the paper and enjoying the view of the full moon, someone can look that up and say, hang on, there was no full moon on that date. So I would avoid that, definitely. But, you know, someone asked me what to write, what do you need? I mean, you don’t have to go through almost 40 different software’s to write, I would say need just two things. For me, it’s Microsoft Word and pro writing aid, simply because they have made my life so simple for writing. And I don’t think I’d write if those two didn’t exist.
Yeah, I use pro writing aid myself. You
do. It’s such a wonderful thing. I think.
I’m just thinking. The other thing is, don’t be, don’t allow people to Russia. When you tell people you’re going to write and I think it’s a good idea, if you’re serious about it’s a good idea to tell people because that helps motivate you. But don’t let people Russia because they’ll keep on saying, how’s your book? Have you put it out? Have you published it as yet? No, I haven’t. But it’s been two years. Yeah, it won’t be long. And then it three years, you’re saying it won’t be long. But keep going until you are ready. Now. I don’t mean perfection, you’ll never reach perfection. But just make sure you make a decent Fist of it. I think. The other thing is when you write, I would say aim for a word count. Look at your genre, see what the typical word Cantor’s. And then you’ve got a something to aim for. Now, I made the mistake of looking at a Wilbur Smith book. Now he’s an established author. He’s got long books. So my initial word count was 150,000 words. And then I discovered Oh, no, you know, force an unknown like me. You should really, you know, be 100,000. You know, I think 100,000 Sachi a bit tight about 110. For me, really. But then for word count, I think that puts some discipline into your writing. Yeah, so that’s the main things I would say. Coming back to that pro writing aid, I’ve had a lot of people object to the idea, often editing software, saying that, oh, it’s, it’s going to make all your writing the same. But if you understand how it’s structured, it doesn’t force you to write one way or another, it just suggests where you may have gone off the path. And it’s up to you how you change it. And I found that have another look at this paragraph or this area. I find that really helpful. It hasn’t changed what I want to say in the style I write. But I think it’s made my writing better because it has pointed out. Well, I’ve used the same word too many times. Well, misuse the placement of commerce. So it helps improve your writing. And it makes suggestions without you Without making everyone uniform. That’s my belief.
Yeah, and I like it, if you use it to learn from and you don’t just blindly follow. Yes, exactly. It’s definitely a good learning tool. And I know I feel my writing has gotten better just be taken out like was in sentences and I used to start a lot of sentences with an IMG word. And like was almost ridiculous.
Yeah. I still suffer from Watson were but one thing it did is you know the pronoun starting a sentence. With a pronoun. I used to struggle with that in the beginning, and now I never do. So it’s really helped enormously.
Right? Train yourself a little bit. Yes. So Larry, tell us, again, the name of your book and where we can find it.
Well, feeding the leopard is available online. It’s published both by KDP, and Ingram. And so you can buy it and pretty much anywhere online. The other thing is you can walk into your bookshop and ask them to order it for you. Right. And amazingly, I find that the prices not that different from books that the book shops sell. So it’s pretty much the same.
And do you find living in Australia that that’s any type of barriers to getting the book out in the rest of the world? No,
no. In fact, I was very surprised to see how widespread my book was. Because different distributors pick it up from Ingram. So you’ve got you know, a B books. No, it’s everywhere. Right. So no, it wasn’t a problem.
Great. Well, Larry, I really appreciate you taking some time to talk with me today. You had some great, interesting advice there. I think. Hopefully, some people will listen to this and say, Hey, you know if this guy can write a book based on his life, and you know, he’s not 20 years old, I think that could be really inspirational. Some people.
Yeah, I think everyone has something to say about their life. And it’s a different view from every person. Yeah, so that was quite simple. Stephen, if I can just mention my second book, The blue whale boys club. That will be out probably this week.
Oh, and well, I’ll have to follow up because this podcast probably won’t be live for a couple weeks. So it might be out by the time this goes live, we can.
I think it will be. The other thing, I’ve written a short book. At this stage of cold writing my novel and unexpected education, which is earring year hearing, Lee, similar to our discussion today, I’ve got all in there, I’ve got all the different software’s I’ve used. And I’ve got It’s Mike Asana, how to book there’s a lot of how to books out there. It’s my experience of writing my first novel, how I felt at various stages, and so on. And that was a writing memoir, in a sense, but it’s a very, it’s short, it’s only going to be maybe 25,000 words or something. But it’s that that will be out very shortly as well. And then I’ll be the now continue writing the third in the series.
Great. Why I also like to follow up with people six months to a year afterwards. So I’d love to talk to you again and find out if well, first of all, find out your third book, if it’s out and any of that, but also to find out if you’ve had any spiders trainee, you? Yes. Great. Sure. Well, Larry, thank you for taking the time to talk with me. It was wonderful. I
cannot I cannot just say Steven that my website. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Lt k.com. And it’s the LT, and the k is k one. So it’s just one word. ltk.com.
It’s nice to get you the website. That’s your name. Exactly what you want. That’s hard nowadays.
And yes. And the Facebook is facebook.com forward slash lt Ks with an S after the k, lt Ks. Two. And those are the two places that I’m on an unlock. I’ll look at Instagram, but I haven’t got going on it as yet.
Yeah, I don’t do Instagram either.
Everyone’s saying you should.
Well, I still got to work on figuring out getting things together on the website. And then advertising with Amazon and Facebook and stuff, then I’ll move on to something else. Like you learn it first.
Yes. Stephen. I tried to look up your, your website or your Facebook. Could you tell me your split?
Sure. So a dash Schneider. s ch er can Ei d r.com.
k. And your Facebook I can find from there.
Yep. As a Schneider ot au th. Okay. Excellent. Good. Steve. Yes. It was great talking to you, Larry. I appreciate you taking the time down under there. No, it’s a pleasure.