Welcome Charles Larlham. Thank you for agreeing to do and interview with us.
1. My first question is, what made you want to tell your story?
a. I remember most everything that happens to me, and I loved to tell stories about some of those things to my friends. Eventually, I wrote a couple, and then a couple more, and then...
b. About three years ago I began writing my stories on a writers’ social media site called Gather.com. It wasn’t long before site members started saying I should make a book of them. After a while I strung a bunch together in a single file and discovered I had about ninety thousand words. Sunuvvagun... I had written a book about my youth and all I’d been doing was telling stories.
2. Would you say you can from a large town or a small town?
a. No town at all, Patty. I grew up on a “gentleman’s farm” about three miles outside the Village of Mantua, Ohio, a village of about a thousand people.
3. Do you have siblings? And if so how do they feel about your writing this book about you and the Old Man?
a. I have a brother about a year and a half younger than I. He has his own concerns, and the book isn’t really of much interest to him. You’ll meet him in the book.
b. I also have a sister, Lyndella, about six years younger than I am and she’s very proud of the whole idea. She thinks I glossed over some rough patches, but rough patches are for books of self-analysis. This is a book about the good times I often didn’t recognize until they were past.
4. If you could pick out the one most important childhood memory what would it be?
a. My twelfth birthday – in The Old Man and Me, it’s a whole chapter entitled “The Best Birthday Ever.” It may be the most important memory of my childhood for my readers, too.
5. Your mother Hattie Larlham started the Hattie Larlham Foundation. Could you tell your readers what the Hattie Larlham is all about? And how that got started?
a. Oh my, now that’s a big question. The Hattie Larlham Foundation cares for more than fifteen hundred developmentally disabled children and adults, both at the main campus at our old farmstead and in homes and home-like environments. It has expanded so much since we started with a half-dozen children in our home that it would take this whole interview to describe it fully.
b. It got started with a my mother’s dream to find a way to help the families of developmentally disabled children in Ohio, and the children as well. But it just never seemed to get off the ground. Then a neighbor family was forced to take a child they couldn’t care for home from the hospital. Mother’s response was, “Somebody ought to do something!” According to her, backed by the Old Man, I responded (wholly out of exasperation), “Well, aren’t we somebody?” As it turned out... we were.
6. Your bio said you were a soldier for three years. Were you ever deployed?
a. I was a soldier from August 1962 until August of 1965. During that time I was sent to South Korea for thirteen months. I suppose it was technically a deployment, since that conflict was only under truce. There was no surrender, no winner, no loser and no end.
b. The two Koreas were not officially in an active combat situation, although there were constant “incidents.”
7. How old were you during World War II?
a. I was born the end of July 1942, about seven months after Pearl Harbor. I was barely three when WWII ended.
8. How did the great depression impact your family and town?
a. It affected the Old Man and Mother a great deal. As did many people, they worried constantly about whether they were about to find themselves in similar circumstances again. What we could buy was often tempered by a need to do without and put that money aside for something “important.”
9. Getting back to your books. How does it feel to be a first time author so late in your life? And if you could give one piece of advice to other people in your age group, on how to tell their stories or how to get started. What would that advice be?
a. Ah, one of those questions. How does it feel? I don’t think about it a lot, but when I do there is a great sense of wonder. I guess it’s tinged with a bit of wistfulness, because I tried selling short stories when there were magazines that bought them, and I tried writing novels, but I always ran out of story at about 30,000 words. I kind of wish I’d tried this genre’ a lot earlier. But it is what it is.
b. I can only tell other people what I did, and what my kid brother told me a long time ago. I just wrote as if I were telling stories in a bar, around a campfire, in the barracks... wherever. What Giles told me was to add the background... talk about the setting, describe the room, the woods, the sky above you, the dog trotting by and distracting you. Modern writing teachers say, “Show the story, don’t tell it.” That’s why my stories take off on tangents. It keeps people interested and they learn something.
10. Have you started writing your second book in the series yet? Have any ideas when that will be available?
a. I have the second book about ninety-five per cent written, and about fifty percent edited. I will write at least one more story about undergraduate college days, and there may be a couple more that I’ll drop in if I get time to write them.
b. I have not discussed a publishing target with Black Rose Writing, but I would think it would be out by early spring 2014. Book Three is about 50 percent ready as well, and it might be a story for this time next year. Whether there would be more, I can’t say.
11. Ok I have to ask. Your name is Charles and I know your friends call you Chuck but your Initials are RC. What does the R Stand for?
a. My given name is Richard Charles Larlham. Richard was also the Old Man’s first name, and he went by “Dick.” People would ask Mother, “How’s Dick?” After I came along, the question & answer session would go something like this: A friend would ask, “Hello, Pat. How’s Dick?” Mother would answer, “Oh, he’s fine. Has to work this weekend.” The friend would then ask, “And little Dickie?”
b. Mother hated diminutive names, so I quickly became Charles, and then Chuck (although never to Mother).
Well Chuck I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us and to let your readers know more about you.
You can find Chuck Larlham on the web at these locations,
Chuck’s first book “The Old Man and Me” is now currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble or order them from any of your favorite book stores.