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.
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.
Thank you, Larry, for telling us about your story and the inspiration behind it.
Please leave a comment for Larry. :)