Ron McLarty Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Ron McLarty

Ron McLarty

An interview with Ron McLarty

A Q&A with Ron McLarty

How much did your own life experience influence the creation of your characters and drive the plot of The Memory of Running?
My parents had a car accident while visiting me at a vacation spot in Maine. I stayed at a motel between my mother's trauma center and my father's neurological hospital. Between visits, I wrote The Memory of Running as a play. After their deaths, I expanded it into novel form. Like in all of my work, I try to explain the world and its affect on me. I have always felt that writing is a deeply personal thing and not a road to wealth and happiness. In terms of my characters, although I start from my own experience, I seem to let my characters go from my control. They wrote their own stories from their own points of view.

Although Stephen King calls Smithy Ide, "a smokes-too-much, drinks-too-much, eats-too-much heart attack waiting to happen," he also posits that your protagonist Smithson Ide, "is an American original, worthy of a place on the shelf just below your Hucks, your Holdens, and your Yossarians." What do you think of his impressions?
I appreciate his impressions although I must say that I don't think Smithy Ide is a shelf lower than Yossarian or Caulfield. And who could be on par with Huck Finn anyway?

How has your acting career shaped your life as a writer? Do you think acting has made writing easier because you have a better understanding of real characters? Now that your writing career has taken off with flying colors, will you continue to act?
Acting has been my entrée into the world. Not just creating roles but the energy that swirls around each varying project, starts me up. But it's also a calling that requires permission to do it. If your career is a hill then the mountain next to it is the rejections accrued. Writing was something that I didn't need permission to do. It's why, I think all my work, is different. No rules. Nothing but myself and my imagination and memories…But writing has never been easy for me. If I work for, say, five or six hours in the morning, I might go through twenty five pages, but almost inevitably, I end a session with 5 or 6 I can use. I would prefer to only write I suppose, but I think it's too late to change at my age. I need even the small order an acting career offers so that I don't flab away the days.

Do you have a specific routine that helps you write? How has having insomnia shaped your writing process?
I write in the early morning, four or five hours. Later, if there's time between auditions, I love the energy of the main reading room at the NY Public Library .To be able to get even a paragraph or a phrase, that feels right, down on paper in stolen time is a joy. I've always had what my mother called ‘short sleep,' so over the years I've learned quasi meditations to give myself additional rest. I always have a pad and pencil next to me for when I ‘meditate' upon a character or idea that's been consuming me.

Stephen King acted as a catalyst in getting The Memory of Running published, will you talk a little bit about this experience. How did it feel to finally get that call saying that it would be published?
I certainly am in Stephen King's debt. How does one say thank you? We've talked and I'm determined to put my own good will out into the world as selflessly as he did for me. I will never forget being thunderstruck by the realization that I will finally have a chance in the writing arena. Yet everything comes with a price tag. I'm not the only writer to put everything he is onto paper and been told there's no room at the inn. After I while, I gave up on sending work out—too difficult…Although I do believe it took kismet for my work to get any credibility, it's important that I express how hard I labored over this novel. I learned from a myriad of failures. I found my voice, lost it and found it again. Sometimes, frankly, it's discouraging to think that this and subsequent work will be viewed by many as luck, as if I sat down one day, popped a beer and scribbled it down…I still have 37 years of the whipped dog in me.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Midwinter Break
    Midwinter Break
    by Bernard MacLaverty
    Northern Ireland's Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five novels and multiple short story ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ninth Hour
    The Ninth Hour
    by Alice McDermott
    In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of ...
  • Book Jacket: Rebellion
    Rebellion
    by Molly Patterson
    Rebellion overlays the stories of four women, spanning a century and the globe in their wide ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.