Author Interview with Larry Luikart

Today I’m interviewing Larry Luikart, author of “Throw Salt on the Water”. I hope you enjoy the interview, and thank you to the author for taking the time to answer my questions.

Author Interview

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  1. How long have you been writing?

   After a career as a Missouri State Trooper about six years ago I decided to make a serious commitment to writing a book. I started another project approximately ten years before that but could never get it done. This time however, I had the time and the desire to see it through. After four years of writing and research my project came to fruition.

  1. What is your favorite genre to write?

     I am a historian by training making that my favorite overall area with Civil War and World War II both the European and Pacific campaigns as specifics to the broad area. The current project is historical fiction in order to appeal to a broader audience than just pure history individuals.

 

  1. Which genre have you never tried before, but would like to try out?

     This is an interesting question. I’ve really never thought about it before. Maybe a mystery novel or something centered around my Christian faith in a historical context of course.

  1. Please tell us about your book.

Throw Salt on the Water, A Test of Friendship and Faith is the story of two friends, Tug in Virginia and Andrew in Ohio. These two boys have grown up along the Ohio River and become best friends. The looming Civil War and then the war itself force the two boys to make serious decisions about their relationship and the paths they will take regarding their loyalties to the political firestorm around them. All the battle movements and troop designations are historically accurate. The characters are fictional which allowed me some latitude to keep the story interesting.

  1. Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Andrew Hale is my favorite. He is the protagonist who moves the story forward but without Tug Goodloe the story would only be half told. Tug is a slightly less strong character but still essential to the story.

My least favorite is Colonel Traxton – Revonne’s father – Tug’s love interest. He is a pompous, stuffy, aristocratic southern planter turned Confederate soldier who makes it clear he does not think Tug is good enough for his daughter. Almost always absent he left Revonne to operate their plantation while he “ran off to play soldier” as Revonne indicates in one passage from the book.

  1. What was the hardest part about writing the book?

     The most difficult part of writing a book is the constant concern, the question always present in your mind, “Are my words really conveying what I want to say? Are the emotions for this character being transmitted to the reader? What could I do differently to

make a sentence, paragraph, or chapter flow so the reader enjoys the journey through the book?”

  1. What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing.

     I found writing in the morning works best. My mind is fresh and uncluttered with the cares of the day. I tried to write six hours a day. I did research in the afternoon. The one absolute for me is quiet. I cannot have a lot of noise and other distractions going on while I try to write. It takes focus and concentration to write well. Otherwise, I found it a waste of time. I would end up redoing my work or just giving in to the noise, quitting for the day.

  1. How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

   The final draft from start to finish took about three years. But I did not work at it full time. The editing took another four months and another eighteen months to find and complete the publishing.

  1. Can you tell us about your editing process?

   The most important task is to get those first words on paper. Once I had that done then I would first go through a chapter to remove the obvious typos and misspellings. The second go through would involve cleaning up the text for clarity, composition, mood and flow. I may do that a couple more times. A good writer like any other artist is not ever satisfied with their work. Eventually, you have to say I can live with this revision. I then sent my entire manuscript to a professional editor. If you don’t think you need this step it is a mistake. I learned a tremendous amount regarding how the story read and how the characters evolved from another set of eyes. My editor also verified historical facts and events.

  1. Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

     I thought quite a lot about a second book. Throw Salt on the Water ends near the last part of 1863. The Civil War went on for another nearly two years making a second book a real possibility especially if it went into Reconstruction. I decided to let the readers help make that determination. So far, even though the book is relatively new I have received some very positive feed – back for a sequel. Time will tell.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

     Write, write, write. This sounds cliché almost worthless advice for its obviousness.
The fact remains writing is not innate or a God given talent. It is a learned skill requiring intense practice. The key is to keep in mind the idea of what you write today will be better than what you wrote yesterday. I found that one word or one punctuation mark made a tremendous difference in producing the result I wanted. Be patient as you write. Take your time and savor those words you put on paper. Each word matters offering you an opportunity to give your characters unique voices for your readers.

  1. Why should everyone read your book?

       I created a book that was historically informative and easy to read. The idea was to create interesting characters who moved through a historically accurate background. People find pure history boring and dry. I hoped to create a book that would offer a good story while you learned a little history. I don’t think everyone will read my book by the way. But, it certainly is a lofty goal!

  1. If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which would you choose?

     Shelby Foote: His three volume coverage of The Civil War is wonderfully done.

     David McCullough: His style and choice of words coupled with his consummate research makes reading his work a joy.

       Doris Kearns Goodwin: She draws you in to her story and before you know it the book is done and you’re asking for just one more chapter.

  1. What inspired you to write your book?

       I have read history for forty – five years. I thought it time I gave something back.

Besides, if you read long enough you begin to think, “I can do that too.” It proved to be a much more difficult journey than I expected but it was well worth the effort.

  1. Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

     Yes. I have a couple of projects in mind but I think it best to keep them in my mind for now.

 Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions regarding my work. I appreciate the opportunity to showcase Throw Salt on the Water. My sincere hope is that your readers enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

Best regards

Larry Luikart

About the Book

Throw Salt on the Water tells the story of two young friends thrust into making decisions regarding their personal friendship and faith by finding themselves on opposite sides of the US Civil War. A novel of historical fiction. Follow these two as they move from boyhood transformed by the crucible of war into men.

About the Author

DSC03626-250x250Larry Luikart is an Ohio native who holds Bachelor and Master degrees in History and Political Science from Concordia College [Concordia University]. An avid reader and historian, he has studied the Civil War for over thirty years.

Larry completed a twenty-six year career with the Missouri State Highway Patrol where he served as a road officer, member of the SWAT team, full time ATP multi-engine aircraft pilot, and gaming agent on a riverboat casino.

After obtaining an Accounting and Finance Bachelor’s Degree from Missouri Western State College, Larry ran an accounting business for several years.

Larry and his wife, Monica, live in the beautiful Westcliffe, Colorado area with their two giant breed dogs. Larry writes articles for the weekly newspaper, the Sentinel, serves as a citizen volunteer on the local school district budget committee, is a board member of the Southern Colorado Space Museum and Learning Center, and currently serves as an Elder in his local church.

When not writing Larry enjoys camping, fishing, travelling, and cooking.

Buy the book on Amazon.

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