We are pleased to announce that the roster of the TuesdaySerial team has been expanded and enhanced by the addition of our third member, Larry Kollar. Many of you might know Larry as @FARfetched58 on Twitter, and be familiar with his serials, his FridayFlash stories and his website, “FAR Manor”. Today, we get to know Larry a bit better as we welcome him to the TuesdaySerial family.
1. Easy question first: tell us a little about yourself.
I was born on Thanksgiving, and I like to joke about why. It’s nice to have my birthday during a long weekend most years, though. The only thing I’ve missed so far is candles on the turkey. Maybe this year, right?
I majored in Technical Communication in college — it’s a writing degree that can get you a job. Not that technical writing is a very healthy vocation these days, but I’m used to the “anyone can write” attitude and have become too bored to be offended by it. A lot of my dayjob involves file conversions, so publishing eBooks is a fairly simple exercise for me. I have built an ePUB from scratch, although if I were to do it again I’d probably write a script.
2. Another easy one: how long have you been writing?
I think I was 12 when I attempted my first fiction: some kind of Hardy Boys knockoff. I got maybe two or three chapters done. But thanks to a typing textbook my mom had saved from her school days, I came out of that aborted effort knowing how to touch-type — so it wasn’t a total waste!
From that early start, for several years I wrote a lot of short fiction, mostly fantasy and sci-fi. During college, I actually completed a novel, and found the handwritten manuscript – written on scrap computer printout – in a drawer a few years ago. Although the story itself follows a well-worn path, one of my current projects uses two characters from that novel.
3. So, when did you first post your fiction on the internet? In what context (blog, writing community, etc.)?
The first post on my blog was November 25, 2005. It’s called A Bloodless Coup. Twitter has put me in contact with the only writing communities I’ve been a part of.
4. For your serials, how far ahead do you write?
As far ahead as I can possibly manage. I prefer to stay at least 10 episodes ahead. I finished the first drafts of my shorter serials, including Xenocide, before I started posting. Ever since my first serial (FAR Future) caught me out several times (before it turned into an epic 104-part story), I’ve been paranoid about not having the next episode ready to roll.
5. In taking your serial “Xenocide” to the Kindle, did you re-edit the serial episodes, or treat each of them as complete-as-posted?
I released the eBook in late November, about halfway through the posting process. When I decided to do it, I lined up a beta reader to help me clean up the entire story. Once I finished the edits, I declared “no further changes” and put the remaining episodes in the posting queue. From that point, it was done.
6. Do you own a Kindle or some other dedicated e.reading device? If so, how does it change the way you picture someone reading your work?
Yes, I have a Kindle 3 (just replaced my Kindle 2). The nice thing about eBooks, even Kindle eBooks, is that they’re device-agnostic. You can read them on desktops, laptops, tablets, dedicated eReaders, and smartphones. I’m not sure that it changed the way I saw people reading my work, except that it opened up the opportunity to bypass paper publishing.
7. Post-apocalyptic fiction is often about nuclear war, zombie armageddon or runaway climate change. Your vision of post-apocalyptic America is much more about post-oil economic decline and social change. What was it about that angle that interested you?
I’m writing more or less from the heart there. It’s quite likely that a “post-oil” future is going to happen in our lifetimes, and touted replacements for fossil fuels don’t stand up to a few minutes of number crunching. Suburban lifestyles are built on cheap, easily available energy — so when energy gets scarce and expensive, changes will naturally follow. But I don’t think all the changes will be negative. I could write a hundred thousand words about this… oh yeah, I have.
8. You write some really funny fiction. I’m thinking about your recent story about a haunted motorcycle. What’s a good way to balance humor with horror?
Stephen King is the master at this. He builds the tension, ever higher, then punctures it with a silly (and usually crude) quip. You have to deflate that tension somehow, so the reader can catch a breath and continue reading. Otherwise, you end up desensitizing your readers.
9. Tell us about “Far Manor”… how did it get that name?
FAR is an acronym for “Forget About Retirement.” I was essentially pushed into buying this oversized house with maintenance issues by the wife and in-laws, who “had to get the land back into the family.” We’ll finish the mortgage when I’m about 73.
10. Random question: someone who is planning a presidential run in the 2016 election comes to you and wants you to ghostwrite a book for him, with the usual arrangement: you get a paycheck but no recognition. You agree with about 60% of this person’s policies. What would it take for you to do the book?
Ha – I can’t imagine a candidate I agree with more than 60%! I’m not sure I could afford to do it since I’d have to leave my steady job (see #9). Even if they offered an advance that would pay off my mortgage and cover the rest of my expenses while writing the book, what would I do afterwards? If, however, I were otherwise unemployed, I’d probably have to take the gig.
Thanks, Larry, it’s great to have you on board! Larry Kollar joins P.J. Kaiser and Tony Noland on the TS Team, the people behind TuesdaySerial. Our mission, as always, is to provide a showcase for diverse and entertaining serial and serialized fiction on the web. We help readers find great serial fiction, and help writers find great readers. At TuesdaySerial, everybody wins!