Suckin’ on your last breath never comes easy. There is an undetermined limit to the imagination, but a very defined limit to one’s ability to translate what is festered or nurtured in the mind onto the page. If there wasn’t, sure everyone would be a writer. Certainly there are plenty of pretenders and wannabes but the true sign of writing talent is when a writer makes it seem easy.
I have been in awe of some of the simplest books really. Perhaps my favourite example is The Little Prince, a book I have adored and read many times. Ernest Hemmingway, Stephen King to name just a couple of other divergent writers, similarly keep it quite simple and make their stories come to life in a way that implies the task was easy. Although I am not a huge fan of Stephen King, one of his books, The girl who loved Tom Gordon, likewise lies in a small group of books that I found fascinating by their simplicity. It is quite a lesson in suspense if you haven’t read it.
Back to my opening comment. The reference is to one of my favourite characters Larry Flynn and how hard it can be to translate to the page what a character is going through. Many people look at my book Little Big Boy and see quite a simple tale, but that was a monstrously challenging task, perhaps the most technically difficult book of all to write, yet I hope it comes across to the reader as a simple enough tale. Larry Flynn by contrast has a more complicated plot if you will but for me the same rules always apply. I like my characters to develop the plot no matter how complex it might be. They dictate the pace and not the other way around.
Larry is a man slowly dying throughout the book, that much is clear from the opening lines. Making what he goes through seem real was a challenge but keeping it simple when there is so much going on in the story, for me was all down to character development. Let me explain.
Holding a knife normally used to slice lemons to a prone man’s exposed testicles, is hardly the act of a kind man. Kidnapping a mother and child, shooting a man dead or strapping a bomb to a young girl are all acts of extreme violence, that certainly suggest a level of disturbance in the mind of the perpetrator, that might lead you to believe him to be at least on the cusp of evil.
In truth the man guilty of all of these acts of despicability, is a lesser character in my book Larry Flynn. If anything, he is a nice man, a kind, loyal patriot who while not strictly someone who blindly follows orders, is a man willing to be led in the circumstance where he feels he has a responsibility to do the right thing. That he is willing to go the lengths described here does not in itself make him a brutal or evil person.
As a bit player in the story of revenge that is Larry Flynn, I wanted to infuse this minor character, a man called Ken Black with enough menace to allow him face up to a vicious Dublin crime gang alongside his boss Tom Brookhaven. In the strangest of ways it was a challenge. People often assume that books write themselves I think, but there was a lot of thought that went into Ken despite the relatively minor nature of his place in the book.
Larry Flynn, right from the opening scene dominates the book as he should. He is a ‘Bollix.’ Forgive the use of the profane but it is the best way to describe him. To me I see him in a more sympathetic light and I want the reader to get there with me eventually of course but his character is quite flawed and unattractive.
Alongside Larry, Mallet, the leader of the Dublin crime gang that he mistakenly gets into bed with so to speak, is an equally despicable character. Here indeed is the ultimate man of violence if you will. Uncompromisingly ruling with an iron fist, willing to go to any lengths to protect his position of power and control, he has a softer side when it comes to his family, but he borders on the psychotic.
Behind all of this is a back story that dates to the Second World War and Larry Flynn’s dark secret involving another unpleasant character, the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, John Steele. Larry Flynn is a tale of misplaced, love, loyalty, and utter vengeful desire that spirals out of control. It is filled with men of such low moral character, that even the relatively good ones are tainted and the challenge for me as a writer was to find my way to the hero.
Nothing is ever simple in a Max Power Book, the revelation of the history behind why Larry is so bitter, is only part of the story, his warped hierarchy of values is very much what this book centres on. He is in many way’s my Shylock from the Merchant of Venice. But John Steele is no Antonio. Central to everything is the target of Larry’s plan to achieve vengeance, the ambassador’s daughter Laura, the one true innocent in the madness.
Given what she has to endure, finding my way to any hero was always going to be a challenge, for some acts are hard to come back from, some things impossible to forgive. If I return to the premise of making it all look easy, well for me that is down to drawing you in to the character as much as the plot. If you invest in the character, you go along with the story. Poor old Larry was tough to write at times but Ken loitering around the fringes took much more thought just to make him seem easy to write.
It is all about remembering who you are writing for and why you are writing. I write with one goal in mind and that is to tell a good story. I want to entertain just as if I had you sat in front of me in a cottage in the hills with no electricity and just the roar of an open fire and maybe a cup of tea or a glass of wine to keep us company. I’m not writing to show off, I’m writing to tell the story and as long as I remember to put myself in the place of the reader, I know I have the best chance of doing just what I set out to do.
I have written such different books, Larry Flynn, Darkly Wood, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy, and they have all had their unique challenges. I always want the reader to find their own very unique way to the hero in every book and that is a lot harder than it sounds. If I did it right, you’ll barely even notice. Larry Flynn ultimately twists its way to the conclusion, relating past and present in a way to help you as a reader find your hero. The question is of course, who will that be? There really is only one way to find out. http://www.amazon.com/Larry-Flynn-Max-Power/dp/1500941409
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : – http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower