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September 12, 2014

Author Interview with Larry Farmer

Please welcome Larry Farmer to Write with Fey. I interviewed him about his novella, The Kerr Construction Company, a fascinating story that I plan to read.

Larry, tell us about your current release.

A mini-novel published by The Wild Rose Press called The Kerr Construction Company. A story based on a time in my life in a period of transition. I wanted to just get away and sort myself out and drove out to a Navajo Indian reservation in New Mexico. I met some very interesting people in the process in an exotic setting. Including a girl.

Genre: Romance
Length: 62 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: March 25th 2014


1.    My father was a construction worker throughout my childhood, so I love the concept for your book. What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to be a writer and so started writing. I didn’t just want to write anything, but to have a message and be entertaining too. This is based strongly on a happening in my life. A transition I was going through. A lot of Marine veterans from the Vietnam era went through. Changing values, changing world, facing life as a young adult. So, I wanted to write about all of that and at the same time have fun and be entertaining and readable. And I met a girl and there was big time chemistry to spice up the story. I included a love story. It was fun.

2.     I like that it's based strongly on your life. What books would you compare to The Kerr Construction Company?

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck somewhat. America was not in a depression in my story, but the main character needed the challenge of a setting like that and went looking for it. How to survive in a world that doesn’t care. It created a cleansing.

3.    How did you pick the title for your book?

The main character is college educated and very skilled. But he wants out of the rat race and ventures off to a Navajo Indian reservation in the desert in New Mexico. He looks for and finds a dreary, minimum pay job with the down and out while living in the back of a panel truck. He works for a construction company as a laborer in a job that takes on a life of its own. The title of the book is derived from the name of the construction company.

4.    Why did you choose the setting for The Kerr Construction Company?

The setting is exotic. New Mexico itself is a gorgeous state. People that haven’t been there would be surprised. The main character is surprised like that. But inside the setting of exotic is a stark and harsh setting in the desert. On an Indian reservation where they stuck people on land no one else wanted. It fits the story line.

5.    New Mexico is now on my list of places to visit. Did you do special research for The Kerr Construction Company?

Since this is based on a true story that I lived I didn’t have to do all that much research. But research is always needed. The town in the story is Gallup, New Mexico. The Indian capital of America. But on top of that I looked up facts about Gallup and saw that it refused to allow its Japanese population to be placed in an internment camp during World War II like most areas did back then. I loved that and mentioned it and it flavored the story.

6.    If your book had a soundtrack, give us a list of a few songs that would be on it.

Funny you should ask. If you go inside my webpage I linked to a YouTube song, ‘The Wayward Wind’. That song is out of the mid-fifties when I was a boy. The setting of the story is the mid-seventies. But the theme of the song fits somewhat the theme of the story. The wayward wind, how it moves him along like a tumbleweed. So I have it in my webpage as the theme song on the homepage. I had also for a split second ‘In Germany Before The War’, but took it out afraid people would get confused as to the setting. But that is a lonely soul searching song that fit the personality of the main character of the story. In particular, the line that catches the most from this Randy Newman song, how he’s looking at the river but thinking of the sea. Sends shivers down my spine. The endless search. Fits like a glove. But included on any soundtrack would also be Billy Joe Shafers ‘Easy Come Easy Go’, a country boy just out and going to see and experience. In the book I referenced Hank Williams and Beethoven with his ‘Moonlight Sonata’, and Pachobel’s Canon in D, and even Roy Orbison’s song ‘Crying’. Also Dick Van Aarsdale’s beautiful lonely country/folk song, ‘Lonesome Tumbleweeds’. These all just fit so well the overall theme of the story. 

7. How did you come up with the names for your hero and heroine?

      I wanted catchy but not overkill names. I’m from Texas and all my sons have names from cities. Actually, my oldest doesn’t because his mom overruled me on that, but my choice for him was Denver. So, I named the Texan main character in the story for a Texas city, in the panhandle, Dalhart. I liked the sound of it. And myself and the main character are from Texas A&M and an unsung hero in Aggie football lore is a guy named Dan McIlhenny. This guy ran a kick off back 102 yards for a touchdown with fifteen seconds remaining to beat Texas Tech one year. I liked his name too and wanted to give him some credit. So. The girl in the story was a real girl though I expanded upon our relationship. She was Hispanic, I’m Anglo. So, there was a bi-racial element, but that wasn’t the key, just part of the setting that fit the story. She was gorgeous, electric, and with personality. She reminded me somewhat of the opera ‘Carmen’, so I named the heroine after her. 

8. What would women find irresistible about your hero?

      Some women, at least, might like a tall, blond haired, muscular, sensitive intellectual in conflict with himself. And courteous and respectful to women. Wanting a relationship, but not wanting to dominate anyone.

9. I know I do! Which actors would play your hero and heroine in a movie?

      I can’t place anyone really for the leading male, but maybe the closest would be Mark Wahlberg. For the girl, I’d want a gorgeous Hispanic actress, but to be honest, the real Carmen girl beats them all in Hollywood. Jennifer Anniston might be the closest even though she’s not Hispanic.

10. Share three random facts about you.

      -I was in a Hollywood movie with Sir Lawrence Olivier. 
-I was a coach in American Football in Bern, Switzerland that won the national championship. 
-And my first paying job was for less than minimum wage and no time and a half in a cotton gin in South Texas. We used to work over hundred hour weeks. And I’m proud as hell to tell you. So is the guy in the story. That’s how I was raised and raised my kids that way.

About the Author:

I was born and raised in Harlingen on the border with Mexico on the southern tip of Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico. I was raised with old school values on a cotton farm. After high school I went to Texas A&M and was in the Corps of Cadets there. I quit in the middle of my senior year to join the Marines in the hope of going to Vietnam. I also served in the Peace Corps in The Philippines. I travelled around the world between these two events in my life and saw enough to want to write about it.

I worked for eleven years in Switzerland. I married there and raised two of my three children there. I now work for Texas A&M. And finally have time to reflect on my life and its meaning. And write about it.

Author Links:

Thank you, Larry,  for telling us about your story and the inspiration behind it.

Please leave a comment for Larry. :)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those first two random facts are cool!
The Southwest is a beautiful place. Something magical about the desert.
Congratulations, Larry!

M.J. Fifield said...

Really great interview. I enjoyed learning about this story and its author. Congrats, Larry!

Pat Hatt said...

Not sure I'd ever choose Wahlberg as he acts the same in every single movie haha great interview

Chrys Fey said...

Larry did pick interesting facts to share with us. Thanks for leaving him a comment. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for stopping by for Larry's interview, M.J.! :)

Chrys Fey said...

lol I do like some of Wahlberg's movies though...

Barbara Bettis said...

Wonderful interview, Larry.You were in a movie with Sir Lawrence O.??? Wow!! Best of luck with your book!

Chrys Fey said...

Isn't that neat? I'd love to hear about his experience on the set. :)

Unknown said...

I'm for all things Texas! I always think the best stories are those we have experienced ourselves. Sounds like a winner Larry.

Syl Zamarron said...

I'm very interested in reading his book. Like Larry after high school I took off to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I would love to go back but no one wants to take me. I remember the dust storms! There's no better breeding than hard farm work. I know that you must have worked pretty hard on your book.
This was a great interview that offered inside to the author. My mother's name was Carmen n there never be another like her! I want to compare the two! I have 4 Philippino grandchildren as well! Interesting!

Chrys Fey said...

I agree, David. Our experiences can bring stories to life. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Sounds like your destined to read Larry's book, Syl! :)

Ashantay said...

Larry, I have your book in my TBR pile. Looking forward to opening it soon. I also believe NM is gorgeous - especially the never-ending sunsets. And the Wayward Wind? Yep - remember it well. Thanks for the ear worm. :>)

Nick Wilford said...

Wow, you have a lot of life experience to bring to bear in your writing, Larry. There's nothing like first hand experience of a setting to bring it to life on the page. I also like the musical element - adds another layer. Cool interview, Chrys!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Larry's interview, Ashantay! And the song. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Nick!

Unknown said...

I'm a Tex-Mex border girl, too from Del Rio and I love New Mexico and Latino romance. Very interesting interview!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you like the interview, Hebby!

Sandra Dailey said...

I have the book on my kindle and can't wait to read it. If you didn't live in that era you'll be amazed by the changes that took place. Many soldiers came home to a country they didn't recognize. Terrific interview, Chrys! Good luck and great sales, Larry!

Jana Richards said...

You really have a lot of writing experience to bring to your writing, Larry. I feel like a wall flower compared to you! Best of luck with the book.

brenda said...

I agree New Mexico is magical. I've passed through the state dozens and dozens of times. I prefer Patsy Cline's version of Wayward Wind, but hard not to love a song like this. Looking forward to reading the story.

CottonSr said...

oh yes, Sylvia. you can visit my webpage and easily buy book from there if you get around to it.

CottonSr said...

you are just there for us all, Ashantay. i love being in the TWRP stable with you. You will love my next book coming out by Christmas with setting in Philippines. I was there during overthrow of Marcos. Met Cory Aquino and Cardinal Sin too. I did not have to make much up. Volatile times. Thanks so much.

CottonSr said...

This will be a reply as Cotton Sr, but it's really Larry Farmer. You are there for so many of us, Barbara and I appreciate it. Yes, I even got to meet Sir Lawrence. Talk to him. I had not a clue about him except that he was god. But there he was. I spent my youth as an adventurer, even though highly educated and skilled as in story published in interview. I walked on to a set and he was the star. i auditioned to be double of an actor and also a stunt man and was the only walk on that passed. I got to hang around all the stars in it. Terrence Young was the director. he did the first James Bond movies. I became best friends with Jacqueline Bissett's double and she showed me around the Hollywood ropes. She was also from Texas. And then one day, right there, Sir Lawrence Olivier was amongst us. As natural and gracious and kind and easy to be with as anyone. he spoke with me and even delved into conversation, not just polite talk. asked about me personally. i nearly fainted. i purposely only talked a little with him so as to not take up his time because he never cut me off, he was so genuine and polite. Later i found he had a reputation of being that nice and down to earth. so love telling the story.

Chrys Fey said...

That is amazing, Larry! Thank you for commenting back so we could know more about your experience on set, in Hollywood, and with these talented people.

Chrys Fey said...

I think it's great you have Larry's novella on your kindle, Sandra! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Because of his experience, his book is sure to be great!

Chrys Fey said...

It is a great song. Thanks for stopping by, Brenda!

Stephanie Faris said...

Great interview! It sounds like a fascinating story--and a subject the author has an insider's perspective on.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for reading Larry's interview, Stephanie! :)

Trisha said...

I loved reading this interview - and the book sounds like a great read. Thanks for featuring Larry and his book!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Trisha! And thank you for stopping by! :)